Election 2010: SF's season of political madness


You can draw -- or not draw -- all sorts of conclusions about the meaning of last night's national election, but I can tell you what the state and local results mean: A season of political madness. As of the first week in January, San Francisco will have a new mayor and (probably) a new district attorney, and neither will be elected by the voters. And if some pundits are correct and Nancy Pelosi decides to retire rather than taking a seat on the back bench, then a once-in-a-lifetime change to take a safe seat in Congress will open up. And man, will the mad scramble be on.

Gavin Newsom will be sworn in as lt. governor the same day that Kamala Harris (if her lead in the polls holds) will be sworn in as attorney general. In theory, that means Board President David Chiu will become acting mayor -- with the authority to appoint a new district attorney. That's if Harris doesn't step down a day early, allowing Newsom to appoint her replacement. Deals are being offered and tossed around already (and one of the interesting elements is that Chiu has always been interested in the D.A.'s job -- which would open up not only the board presidency but his D3 seat.)

Then the current board members will have five days before their terms end to choose a new mayor by majority vote (except that no supervisor can vote form him or herself), and in the meantime, Chiu will be both acting mayor and board president. If the supes can't make a decision, the new board -- and we still don't know who will be on that board -- will get a chance to elect both a new board president (and acting mayor) and a new mayor.

And to make it more complicated, a number of the people being looked at for the mayor's job -- and some of the people who plan to run for mayor next November -- would also be very interested in Pelosi's seat.

This election isn't over yet -- but already, I promise you, the talks are on and everyone's thinking about the deal.

It's going to be crazy -- and it also offers progressives a rare change to reshape city politics. No matter what happens with the D6 and D10 races, progressives will hold the board majority. If they can work together -- thinking about the larger agenda, not just their personal egos -- this could turn out very well indeed.


Remaking SF's economy into that of Greece.

When the city turns down all the progressive measures and positions but one, the amoral conniving neo-con like progressives turn lemons to lemonade and think about how they can get over until the citizens have a chance to vote.

Daly's F.U. while taking his turn as "mayor for a day" to appoint his own clowns to positions isn't shit compared to the Oswald Mosley like dreams of Tim Redmond.

It is so odd that the progressives constantly claim such a moral high ground.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 03, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

This is the first time I've heard the current BOS may have a chance to appoint an interim mayor.

But regardless of whether it's the current BOS or next iteration, this is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities to appoint an interim mayor who might be a bit more "progressive" than voters would otherwise elect in a crowded field. If that appointment does a good job in the interim period they would have a far better chance being elected when the mayoral election (June? November?) comes around.

Assuming the DA position does open up (but aren't there still a bunch of votes to count from Riverside County?), I can't believe anyone, including the current mayor, wouldn't take the opportunity to appoint an ally or protégé or supporter to such a juicy appointment as a DA in a major, ground-breaking city. Come on, who of us would pass up making this kind of juicy appointment?

I didn't realize Supervisor Chiu had a criminal law background or was interested in the DA position. Mirkirimi for Sheriff sounded pretty good to me when I first heard it, but I've always thought Randy Knox or Matt Gonzalez for DA would be a good fit for that office.

Gee, does Mr. Chui have enough employment opportunities to think about? Mayor? DA? Putative replacement for Ms. Pelosi with the blessing and full support of the local Democratic Party establishment? Continued presidency of the BOS, which should become even more powerful next year with its new personnel and a more supportive and responsive interim mayor? Wow. Supervisor Chiu has a lot to consider, especially since the failure at the BOS to appoint an interim mayor means that he gets to be mayor for the next 6 or 11 months, which gives him a huge advantage in the subsequent mayoral election.

For me over the past 10 years there have been only three progressive legislators who have proven they know how to get things done, can be effective advocates, can work well with others who might have opposing viewpoints, and have broad connections to the innumerable "progressive" sub-communities - Mssrs. Ammiano, Gonzalez and Peskin. They each have many strengths in slightly different ways and each could really energize and invigorate progressive politics in SF (and the state/country).

Since a "caretaker" interim mayor would mean we will get a much more moderate mayor in the next election (eg, Yee, Herrera), I think the BOS - and particularly Supervisor Chiu since he holds so many powerful cards - should use this opportunity to give progressives a chance to show the city and country they can govern and that their ideas are better.

It's very likely the federal government will be gridlock for the next two years and beyond. The state of California is facing ballooning deficits (and long-term debts) along with declining tax revenues, so most of its attention for the next 10 years will be spent arguing over which programs to slash and whether the state should declare bankruptcy since it can't possibly afford to pay all of its future debts. This leaves cities as the one place where political leadership and innovative ideas have to be developed and nourished if there is going to be any hope for this country’s future. Let's hope the 7-8 "progressive" supervisors don't squander this opportunity.

Another Robert

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 8:10 am

I bet she could get the appointment. She's been the most progressive speaker of the House for decades and she'd be an amazing mayor. Far less divisive than Aaron "Tiny" Peskin and with the ability to forge consensus around difficult issues.

Personally I think she'd be awesome and let's face it: the "progressive" choice for mayor can't win citywide. Unlike the gerrymandered district-based voting process for supervisors the mayor is elected citywide. And if the board rams through a divisive, mean and angry candidate like Tiny he'll just be defeated in one year's time.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

I doubt that would happen. It's pretty clear that Pelosi isn't tuned into (or turned on by) local City Hall politics. Pelosi may endorse folks from time to time (like Wiener or Leno, for example), but she's a Washington type. She'll either remain a Congresswoman, retire, or continue working in the Capital as a lobbyist or in an appointed position, or something.

Can you imagine Pelosi at a Milk Club meeting trying to hustle for an endorsement? Laughable.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

I bet in many ways she'd rather deal with the Milk Club than she would the House Dem Caucus ;-)

Nancy has been in San Francisco politics for a long, long time. She knows a lot of people and has a lot of favors to call in. On the issues she's correct. I think she'd be a great candidate.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

"I bet in many ways she'd rather deal with the Milk Club than she would the House Dem Caucus ;-)" ---I never thought of it that way. You may have a point.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

Lucretia, you bin drinking too much snapple gurl

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 7:23 pm