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What Just Happened in San Francisco?

High drama at City Hall—involving race, tech money, and politics—lays bare the city’s simmering tensions.
San Francisco Interim Mayor Mark Farrell, joined by family members, speaks to reporters after being sworn into office at City Hall in San Francisco
San Francisco Interim Mayor Mark Farrell, joined by family members, speaks to reporters after being sworn into office at City Hall in San FranciscoJoel Angel Juarez/AP

On Tuesday night, Mark Farrell was sworn in as interim Mayor of San Francisco, becoming the third person to hold that office in twice as many weeks. Farrell, the former city supervisor, takes the reins from London Breed, the president of the Board of Supervisors, who had been acting mayor since Mayor Ed Lee’s untimely death on December 12.

In an only-in-San Francisco tale that involved a mix of tech money, racial tension, and political jockeying, the city’s most progressive elected officials spearheaded the ouster of the city’s first female African-American mayor, a woman with roots in the city’s public housing projects, in favor of a white, male venture capitalist who represents the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods.