Things became testy at a virtual Assembly District 17 candidate forum January 12, with multiple candidates blaming fellow candidate Supervisor Matt Haney for the conditions in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. “With all due respect to the supervisor, and this is for the voters, if you want to see the kind of work the supervisor does look at what has happened to the Tenderloin under his leadership, if you can call it that,” said David Campos, a gay man who is one of the four people seeking the seat. “Thank you, Mayor [London] Breed, but that’s not the kind of leadership you need in Sacramento today.” Haney, a straight ally who represents District 6 on the Board of Supervisors and is a Tenderloin resident himself, had been defending his record representing the neighborhood since 2019 while responding to another candidate — straight ally and former Obama administration staffer Bilal Mahmood. “Every single day I walk this neighborhood,” Haney said. “We fought for safety, foot patrols, community ambassadors, more supportive housing.

Frankly I’ve never seen Bilal [Mahmood] or David Campos here even though David’s job as [District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s] chief of staff is to keep this neighborhood safe.” Mahmood said he lives in District 6, too. “The onus should be on the supervisor,” Mahmood said. “Blaming me for not meeting you is an unfortunate mistake.” The forum was hosted by the nonprofit TogetherSF and the Rescue SF coalition.

The candidates (the fourth is Thea Selby, a straight ally who is a City College of San Francisco trustee) answered questions put to them by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Heather Knight.