Mayoral question perplexes the pundits


Today's post-election analysis session at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association featured the usual room full of smart political minds from across the ideological spectrum – including those of hosts Alex Clemens and David Latterman – but nobody had any real insights into the big question on everyone's minds: who will be the next mayor?

Everyone agrees that Gavin Newsom is headed to Sacramento in January, and state law calls for him to become lieutenant governor (and resign as mayor) on Jan. 3. At that point, Board President David Chiu becomes acting mayor, and the current Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet Jan. 4 and could vote for a new interim mayor. The newly elected board takes office a week later and as its first order of business it will elect a new president, who becomes the new acting mayor, and if the old board can't elect an interim, then the new one could elect an interim mayor, who would serve until after the mayoral election in November.

It's tough enough for anyone to get to six votes, particularly considering supervisors can't vote for themselves, but the deal-making could also involve the district attorney's job. If Kamala Harris holds her slim current lead for attorney general, the new mayor would get to appoint her replacement. And if Rep. Nancy Pelosi decides to resign, that plum job would mix things up further. So everything is revolving around the vote for mayor right now.

“Everything comes back to this,” Latterman said, as he and Clemens basically had to shrug off questions about who has the inside track to be mayor. There are just too many variables involved, too many possible deals that could be cut, too many ambitious politicians in the mix, not to mention innumerable outsiders who could be tapped (hmmm...Mayor Jones, it does have a ring to it).

Latterman, a downtown consultant who helps update the Progressive Voter Index (created by SF State Professor Rich DeLeon), noted that the citywide results in the election once again showed that the overall city electorate is more moderate than progressive, particularly because the districts that have the strongest voter turnout (Districts 2, 4, and 8) are also some of the city's most conservative.

As a result, he said, “The city is not voting for a far left mayor come November, so [progressives] will do whatever they can to get a mayor now.” Progressives are indeed hoping to get one of their own into Room 200 in January, and they hope that would allow whoever is chosen to win over enough voters to remain after November.

As a result, conservatives and most moderates will dig in, with many pushing the idea of a “caretaker mayor” so the playing field between left and right is still fairly even this fall.

“This is a World Series for political junkies,” Clemens said, who had the funniest way of casting the question: Normally, about 11 people run for mayor and the whole city picks one, he said, “but this is the opposite.” These 11 supervisors have the whole city to pick a mayor from, and at this point, it's anyone's guess who that will be.


3) h brown
4) ....too bad Ross and Jeff lost it.

NOT!! Dufty, Herrera, Leno, or...
Alioto-Pier !!!! someone please get her back on her meds.

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

...and for your comments at the forum, and the coverage. One thing, however, that should be clarified - I believe that the PVI was originally created by SF State University professor Richard DeLeon, and later revised by DeLeon and Latterman. Latterman is the only person updating it these days, and does a great job of it - but I think Dave would ALSO want Rich credited with his great, early work that takes an interesting, statistic-based look at our diverse electorate.

See you there next year...

Posted by Clemens on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

I swear to christ, if David Chiu fucks this thing up, someone should stick an umbrella up his ass and open it.

Posted by Matt Stewart on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 6:20 pm

@matt. I volunteer to be the 'doer'.

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

@Patrick, you would hardly stop with the umbrella.

Chiu is sooooooooooooooooo cute

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

Alex is correct. I love getting some credit, but Rich invented the PVI. Expect an update in early 2011.

Posted by David Latterman on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

...true, but setting politics aside, to my taste, chu is faaaaaarrrr cuter.

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

Are you a homopobe? Or why did you feel the need to clarify?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

Steve, it should be noted that assuming the current Board can come up with six votes for interim mayor, the new Board will not have another bite at the apple.

Your article seems to suggest otherwise.

Posted by Luke Thomas on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 8:56 pm


I have a solid 5 votes for mayor so far. One more and I'm in.


Posted by Guest h. brown on Nov. 04, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

David and Alex, I corrected that info, and Luke, I cleaned up my wording to make it more clear. Sorry, everyone, but I finally got caught up on my sleep last night, so I think I'm back on track.


Posted by steven on Nov. 05, 2010 @ 9:25 am

I know I got at least 6 write in votes for Supervisor, will they be part of the official tally.

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Nov. 05, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

Nope. There are thresholds for write-ins that basically require a concerted electoral effort for a candidate as a write-in.

So the write-ins for you, I assume will not be counted.

I had two write-ins for Assessor, one of whom was Karl Marx, and he of course will not be counted (and neither will my other write-in because she wasn't running as a write-in candidate).

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 06, 2010 @ 10:35 am

RATS !!!

Posted by Guest. Patrick Monk.RN on Nov. 08, 2010 @ 6:16 pm