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San Francisco passes measures to strengthen police, require drug screening for welfare

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(The Center Square) – San Francisco voters passed two measures to strengthen policing and require substance abuse screening for recipients of cash welfare, suggesting voters are ready for a course change for the consolidated county-city.

Breed introduced Measure E, which would allow officers to pursue suspects of felonies and violent misdemeanors, including retail theft, and Measure F, which would require drug screening and treatment for recipients of county-administered cash welfare, in October 2023 amid perceptions San Francisco was in a “doom-loop” of declining business activity driving more businesses out of the city.

“In recent years, San Francisco has earned a reputation as a destination for people who use the most toxic drugs to come, and eventually die,” said San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman in a statement. “I support this effort to make San Francisco the city where people are able to get sober and build a better life.”

Each measure required a simple majority of voters to pass, with Measures E and F each respectively earning 62.6% and 65.4% of voters’ support in early ballot counts.

In pre-election polling from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, which supports the measures, the two measures each maintained support from 61% of likely voters.

Breed, who ran as a progressive Democrat, has recently embraced tough-on-crime policies that include cracking down on open-air drug markets, reselling of shoplifted goods on city streets, and the hiring of more police.