San Francisco Mayor London Breed is joining a Republican-led campaign to roll back parts of a law that aimed to reduce jail populations but that critics say has emboldened thieves. Breed threw her support behind the proposal to increase jail time for dealing large quantities of fentanyl, make it easier to charge drug dealers with murder, and increase jail time for repeat thefts and organized retail theft. San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan also announced his support for the measure, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. They’re among a wave of Democrats this year who are backing efforts to overhaul or reform Proposition 47, a 2014 law approved by voters that reduced punishments for drug possession and theft of property worth less than $950. Breed said she initially supported Prop. 47. She said she’s seeing unintended consequences of the measure as she tries to crack down on illegal drugs and thefts. “Our goal is not to keep people locked up,” she said. “But when there are no real consequences for crimes that are committed in this city, that’s a real problem.” Breed, who is campaigning for reelection, is under pressure to combat what many residents view as a scourge of crime, even though data shows some of the characterizations of lawlessness in the city are exaggerated.
Supporters of the proposal she’s backing are collecting signatures to place it on the ballot in November. They must collect more than half a million signatures by April 23. The campaign’s top donors are Walmart, Target, Macy’s and a powerful California prison guards union, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. California Republicans have long been the harshest critics of the law and have repeatedly tried to overturn it. They argue it has emboldened people to steal without fear of consequences. The initiative’s chief proponent and campaign chair are both Republicans. Rep. Kevin Kiley, who introduced an unsuccessful measure to roll back Prop. 47, hosted an event last week encouraging supporters to sign the petition to put the measure on the ballot. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and Assembly Member Vince Fong have also announced their support.