Where's Michela? - Page 2

Is Sup. Alioto-Pier's heart in San Francisco -- or at her house in St. Helena?

Helena property but thought better of it, crossing it out and replacing it with a San Francisco address on Jackson Street that she appears to have used for at least two years, according to Napa County records.

In response to questions regarding the business registration records for Alioto-Pier Vineyards, the supervisor said neither she nor her husband signed the form and that it was filled out by their attorney.

"Alioto-Pier Vineyards LLC is a small wine producing business (approximately 250 cases per year) whose business address is more suitable to where our vineyard (approximately one acre) is located — at our St. Helena property," she wrote.

The form asks for the addresses of the company's managers separate from the location of the principal executive office. For both Alioto-Pier and her husband, Zinfandel Lane is given as the home address.


As a supervisor, Alioto-Pier has exhibited savvy on emergency preparedness, mothers in the workplace, energy use, and the threatened demise of St. Luke's Hospital in the Mission, which treats primarily low-income patients.

Mick Suverkrubbe, president of the Marina Merchants Association, said the supervisor always has a presence at the group's meetings.

"If she doesn't show up, one of her aides shows up," Suverkrubbe said. "She's always been real responsive when we've had questions."

But some critics say Alioto-Pier appears all too willing to take direction from the Mayor's Office, well-financed business interests, and Democratic party functionaries rather than independently arriving at positions.

"She's like the windup doll," said one City Hall insider who asked not to be named. "It's fair to say every time I see Sean Elsbernd [her board ally] make a decision, I know that it's coming from a policy perspective, not someone yanking his chain. It's the exception, not the rule, that she comes up with her own policy perspective."

"She has three more years, and hopefully they'll be better," Bill Barnes, an aide to Assemblymember Fiona Ma who formerly worked for Sup. Chris Daly, said of Alioto-Pier's current board term. "The point of district elections is that supervisors respond to their neighborhood. The values and concerns in District 2 are going to be more moderate and conservative than some other areas, but you still have to provide that basic level of service."


Alioto-Pier's attendance record has also caused her trouble and made her an easy target for political adversaries.

"I see her here on Tuesday afternoons," when the board meets, one City Hall staffer said. "She probably spends a full day here when she has a committee hearing with an item. Beyond that, her office is routinely shut on Fridays."

Alioto-Pier missed 17 of 160 board and committee meetings in 2004 and 2005 — that's only about 10 percent. But throughout her tenure as a supervisor, she's attended barely half of the meetings of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, where each of the supervisors automatically serves as a director, according to an analysis of the $100 payments the members receive for attending meetings.

"I missed Transportation Authority meetings related to the birth of my third child and the complications of that pregnancy," Alioto-Pier told us.

Alioto-Pier noted, as did others at City Hall, that she had health problems in 2006. She was pregnant with her third child, and there were complications. Further, she said, supervisors don't get time off for maternity.

"All city employees with the exception of members of the Board of Supervisors are allowed to take a four-month maternity leave. I was the first member of the board in the history of San Francisco to give birth while in office.

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