Where's Michela? - Page 3

Is Sup. Alioto-Pier's heart in San Francisco -- or at her house in St. Helena?
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As such, there were no guidelines in place, and I had to place the health and safety of my newborn first," she said.

But for many months in 2004 and 2005, before that pregnancy, she missed all or almost all of the Transportation Authority meetings.

She also missed 16 of 20 scheduled meetings, including three public hearings, during the short time in 2004 that she spent as a director for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

Alioto-Pier left the district before her term was set to expire after serving only six months, complaining that she didn't have enough time for the position. In her resignation letter, she acknowledged that the bridge was adjacent to her district and "given my ongoing commitment to improving waterfront security in San Francisco, I hope in the future I will once again be able to work with you and serve as a director." She never has, but four other supervisors have served on the district's board for years.

And she's apparently not too busy to be running a winery in St. Helena. It's a modest operation, but it has to take some of her time.

WHERE DOES SHE VOTE?

Alioto-Pier's voter registration history is confusing.

She doesn't appear to have voted at all in the November 1999 election — at least not in Napa or San Francisco counties — but, curiously, she did vote in that year's December runoff, when Willie Brown won a second term over Sup. Tom Ammiano.

She cast a ballot as an absentee in Napa County one year later, even though she was registered at that time to vote in San Francisco under the name Michela Angelina Alioto-Pier, public records show. She voted here in November 1998 with the last name Alioto-Pier, but she didn't marry her lawyer husband until May 2000, county records show.

In 2002 she voted in San Francisco during the primary and general elections under the name Michela Angelina Driscol Alioto, yet she was still registered concurrently under the name Michela Angelina Alioto-Pier.

Alioto-Pier said that she and her husband returned to St. Helena in July 2000 but moved back here in early 2001, reregistering in both places. She added that San Francisco and Napa counties were at that time slow to remove "deadwood" registrations from their rolls.

"Clearly, once one reregisters, the county has the obligation to cancel all previous registrations for that person," she said. Alioto-Pier insisted that she voted in San Francisco's November 1999 election, but an office attendant at the Department of Elections asserted that the system "says she was eligible but she did not vote."

Her 1996 Republican opponent, Riggs, also castigated her for failing to vote in 1994 and 1995. Alioto-Pier's explanation, according to press accounts? Her permanent residency wasn't clear.

"As best as I can recall from the events of a decade ago, I responded to Republican Frank Riggs by saying there was a mix-up with my absentee ballots," Alioto-Pier told us.

She's listed a string of San Francisco addresses in public records over the past two decades in addition to her St. Helena dwelling. But in 2005 she finally bought the condo on Vallejo Street in San Francisco. She didn't file for a homeowner's exemption on the condo in 2006, but neither has she taken advantage of the tax break on her Zinfandel Lane home during any year since 1997, according to property records.

Alioto-Pier said she was unaware of qualifying for the homeowner's tax exemption. "However, we declare as a deduction the mortgage interest from our Vallejo Street home on our federal tax returns," she said. Taxpayers are permitted to benefit from the deduction on a second residence.

Whispers at City Hall surrounding the time Alioto-Pier spends in St.

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