District 9 supervisory race 2024.

Welcome back to our “Meet the candidates” series, in which District 9 supervisorial hopefuls respond to a question in 100 words or fewer.

Our week seven question: What would you do to reduce overdose deaths?

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Julian Bermudez.

Julian Bermudez

Establish a drug buy-back program. We can all agree that the number one goal is to get drugs off the streets. My proposal will encourage people to surrender fentanyl or fentanyl-laced drugs for cash. The cash-back value will be higher than the street market price of the drugs turned in. This allows regular residents to take part in the removal of drugs from our streets, with a cash incentive.

I’m a businessman, and I aim to tackle our drug crisis like corporations ruin small businesses. Drug dealers don’t sell because they like selling drugs, but because they like the… Read more

Supervisory candidate H. Brown.

h brown


I would move to follow the European model and decriminalize all drugs.

Notice that I did not say “legalize.”

When you decriminalize, you take two of the three worst elements out of the equation.

First, you remove the cops, because nobody’s doing anything illegal here.

Second, you remove the dealers, because there is no profit for them.

Don’t insist on re-inventing the wheel.

Copy Switzerland and Portugal.

Did Prohibition teach us nothing?

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Trevor Chandler.

Trevor Chandler

In the short term, we must consolidate our numerous crisis-outreach teams under one roof for greater communication and responsiveness to stop overdoses as they happen.

In the medium term, we must shift our strategy from harm reduction only to one that gauges the success of departments and nonprofit partners on how many people they direct into addiction treatment. Bringing someone back from death just to let them die slower is not kind, and it is not progressive.

In the longer term, I have proposed a bold plan at www.trevor4sf.com to make San Francisco a leader in fighting opioid addiction.

A cartoon of District 9 supervisor candidate Jackie Fielder.

Jackie Fielder

Last year’s record number 806 overdose fatalities — disparately impacting Black San Franciscans and growing among Latino San Franciscans — demonstrates a broken status quo. I would call for a declaration of emergency to rapidly coordinate resources and provide true Treatment on Demand.

Portugal put decisions about drug policy into the hands of public health experts, and the result was 100,000 people in recovery. Mobile clinics, medicated assisted therapies (MAT), public education campaigns, street outreach, language access, wellness hubs, more dual diagnosis beds, research, tracking outcomes and, most importantly, staffing up so we can provide treatment 24/7 are all priorities for me.

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Jaime Gutierrez.

Jaime Gutierrez

Addiction is a disease of isolation. Harm reduction by itself does not work. It is enabling addicts to isolate themselves. This needs to be rethought with an emphasis on community rather than dying alone.

The city needs detoxes where addicts can safely get sober, make a decision, and then obtain the resources they need to stay sober and recover by any means necessary, including medication or through mental health programs. They can learn to give back. San Francisco has become the place to come to get loaded and die, rather than a place to find a way out and live.

A cartoon of supervisorial candidate Roberto Hernandez.

Roberto Hernandez

As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, I understand firsthand the experience of a user and the time-intensive healing process — in my case, the last 28 years.

We need to improve the overall the health and well-being of people who use drugs by addressing social determinants of health by engaging those people and increasing availability and accessibility of substance abuse services.

A “Whole City” approach to overdose prevention means strengthened community engagement and social support for people at high risk, alternatives to drug use and solutions for deeper, undiagnosed health issues that are part of the city’s mental health crisis.

A cartoon of District 9 supervisorial candidate Michael Petrelis.

Michael Petrelis

We need to open storefront drug consumption sites along with using an RV for users to safely inject or inhale substances, with trained staff present to assist in the event of bad reaction or overdose.

Homeless users have no indoor location where they can be off the street and get high. Let’s give them a few hours to ride out their highs.

Opening the Tenderloin Center for a few months at UN Plaza saved lives, and reduced visible drug use on surrounding sidewalks. This band-aid approach undermined opening a secure and permanent consumption site, addressing long-term solutions.

A cartoon of supervisorial candidate Stephen Torres.

Stephen Torres

We need to treat overdose deaths as what they are: A public health crisis. In San Francisco, we listened to doctors and scientists during Covid-19 and avoided the devastating death toll experienced in other places.

Many of us have already lost loved ones, neighbors, family and friends to this crisis. We cannot continue to blame, exploit and criminalize the victims of this epidemic for the sake of political gain. We must demand better. We must follow the public health evidence again — scale up effective interventions including treatment and avoid responses that make things worse — so we can save lives.

Candidates are ordered alphabetically. Answers may be lightly edited for formatting, spelling, and grammar. If you have questions for the candidates, please let us know at will@missionlocal.com.

Read the rest of the series here. Illustrations for the series by Neil Ballard.

You can register to vote via the sf.gov website.

Read more CANDIDATE answers

Follow Us

DATA REPORTER. Will was born in the UK and studied English at Oxford University. After a few years in publishing, he absconded to the USA where he studied data journalism in New York. Will has strong views on healthcare, the environment, and the Oxford comma.

Join the Conversation


  1. Julian Bermudez’s “buy back drugs” program would create an even larger drug market. Handing out more disease is not a cure. Helping people find a fulfilling life, where sobriety is better than being high.

    votes. Sign in to vote
  2. What a bunch of word salad and in some cases outright nonsense. Buying all the drugs from dealers? Give me a break.

    Of all the candidates, I like how Trevor Chandler at least has a specific plan. It’s the only way our democracy works: Elected officials commit to action, and voters hold them accountable if they achieved what they said they would do.

    Vague promises like “staffing up” and “following Oregon and Portugal” make it too easy for politicians to dodge accountability.

    votes. Sign in to vote
    1. Harrison,

      I agree with you that candidates should, “commit to action” and be held, “accountable”.

      I suggest making the SFPD Chief an elected position again.

      If they say they’re going to put 200 officers on Permanent Foot Patrol and fund another 300 Patrol Specials from their budget and don’t do it you can vote them out.

      You like that idea ?

      Right now everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else.

      Go Niners !!


      votes. Sign in to vote
  3. Wow these people are actually idiots and shows who is incentivized to run for public office….if these are our options the city is screwed

    votes. Sign in to vote
  4. Julian has no idea of how drug supplies work with the scale they produce, and yet says he’s a businessman. Unless the idea is spending billions to buy back an infinite drug supply backed by Cartels and the industrial might of China. Good luck.

    Trevor is probably showing some NIMBY aspirations by shoveling the drug problem by building a major treatment complex……right on top of a superfund site on the Bayview Shipyard. And the guy put that in bold. I am sure that community is elated to get more problems shoveled into their neighborhood. For the billionth time.

    Jaime is asking for detox, while isn’t bad, is not even close to the actual gold standard of opioid care, which is suboxone or methadone. Not to mention pretty obvious as a first step to intake, but detox won’t be even close to effective. There’s no real thought here past that.

    Ronen left a big mantle with Mental Health SF, and it will be their job to pitch and direct the effort as D9 Supervisor.

    I just don’t see the candidates listed in my comment before this line having a legible thought on the issue.

    The only one that actually seems to know the basics of policy and able to properly explain it is Jackie Fielder, otherwise it’s vague and unassuming.

    votes. Sign in to vote
  5. ‘B’,

    I agree with you on Fielder’s explanation on Portugal’s work.

    Oregon just North of us is having success with decriminalization.

    I gotta like myself and my own opinions best tho else what’s the sense of getting up ?


    Jackie has my second place vote in our Ranked Choice system and I want to hear her come out for Legalizing the Sex Trade and licensing the World’s Oldest Trade in some of those 55 vacant store fronts on Mission.

    Time for Michael Powers to become a chain.



    votes. Sign in to vote
  6. If you brought the intellectual capital of all of the candidates together, you might have a half wit, at best. Buying back drugs would simply mean that the addicts step on the product they’re selling back to you; government being the biggest fool of all. Marijuana has been decriminalized, it isn’t going anywhere. It’s still here. The idea of centralizing all nonprofit activities and support services has been rehashed for years. I have a better idea, a “Phoenix” program. Send the drug addicts out on buses to deforested areas, owing to massive fires, and have them live in tents, like they do on the street, while they eat healthy meals in nature, and replant the hill slopes. No need to wait on a treatment bed, no need for the public to pick up the tab with nothing to gain in return. The addicts should be in a good eight hour day of labor, so that they can sleep soundly at night and be proud of what they’ve achieved; instead of spending their days stealing from wherever they can, with seemingly no way out of the trap of addiction.

    votes. Sign in to vote
Leave a comment
Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *