SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Mayor London Breed is apparently doubting voters’ progressive mood so much that she’s banking her reelection on a shift to the right.

The Democratic mayor is proposing the city require all recipients of county-funded welfare to undergo drug screening — and treatment, if needed — in order to be eligible for cash assistance.

Breed defended her proposal during a news conference at City Hall, where talked about the need to make subsidies contingent on personal responsibility. Progressive critics were quick to compare her comments to Republican welfare policies.

“No more anything goes without accountability. No more handouts without accountability,” Breed said on Tuesday.

It was a striking moment for the mayor of San Francisco, long an ultra-liberal bastion of Democratic politics. It illustrated how homelessness and fentanyl addiction have frustrated residents and upended political norms. Breed has increasingly leaned into tough-on-crime rhetoric in recent months as she faces a growing field of challengers.

Critics framed Breed’s proposal as an expedient shift as she runs for reelection. She announced the effort on the same morning that Daniel Lurie, a nonprofit executive and Levi Strauss heir, announced that he will challenge her in next year’s election.

Lurie, speaking to supporters a few miles away in Potrero Hill, said he would seek to dramatically increase San Francisco’s police force. He vowed to “slam the door shut on the era of open-air drug markets and end the perception that lawlessness is an acceptable part of life in San Francisco.”

Breed also faces a tough road getting the progressive-leaning Board of Supervisors to go along with her proposal. Several were swift to call her plan inhumane and politically motivated.

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, a progressive and potential rival in the mayoral race, said Breed has failed to work with police to close open-air drug markets. “We need serious ideas, not politicians desperately grasping for a political lifeline.”

The flurry of startled reactions reverberated through San Francisco political circles. Honey Mahogany, chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party and a progressive, framed Breed’s proposal as a political gambit that could push people out of their homes.

“Perhaps she thinks this will differentiate her by moving more to the right,” Mahogany said. “But it might be at the cost of seeing homelessness increase.”

Breed was already facing a mayoral opponent in Ahsha Safaí, a moderate on the Board of Supervisors. Breed is likely to face as much — if not more — incoming criticism from moderates as she does progressives.

Maggie Muir, Breed’s campaign consultant, said the mayor’s proposal is about responding to a crisis, not her reelection strategy. “Whatever the progressives are offering, it’s just not working. People are dying every day on the street,” Muir said.

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