Supervisors punt mayoral decision back a week

Who will occupy Room 200 after Newsom? San Franciscans won't know for at least another week.
Ben Hopfer

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors today voted to delay until Dec. 14 the process of choosing a mayor to succeed departing Mayor Gavin Newsom after taking about 40 minutes worth of public testimony, most of it calling on supervisors to act quickly to choose a public-spirited mayor to deal with a variety of neglected issues.
After Assembly member Tom Ammiano announced earlier today that he would not accept the board’s nomination to become mayor, it seemed unlikely that anyone could get the required six votes. But Sup. Chris Daly, who led the campaign to recruite Ammiano, argued for beginning the process today as agendized.
“While the Board of Supervisors is not prepared today to appoint someone as successor mayor of San Francisco, we shouldn’t truncate the conversation,” Daly argued, reiterating his call last week for a mayor who is experienced, compassionate, and willing to work cooperatively with the board.
But Sup. Sophie Maxwell didn’t want to have that conversation, making the motion to continue the item for one week, a motion seconded by Sup. Bevan Dufty. Neither offered reasons or arguments for the action.
Yet Daly noted that the board has an approved process for selecting a new mayor and “it might be a good idea to try it out and see how it works,” even if six votes aren’t there yet to approve a nominee. “I’m prepared to make a nomination.”
He addressed calls for delaying the mayoral succession decision by noting that Oakland Mayor-elect Jean Quan and Governor-elect Jerry Brown have both put together transition teams to prepare for taking power at the same time that Newsom will resign as mayor to become lieutenant governor.
“Typically, a mayor would have had about a month to put together a transition team,” Daly said, also noting, “We are now borrowing time against the next administration of San Francisco.”
Sups. David Campos and Eric Mar also spoke in support of this board making the mayoral succession decision “sooner rather than later,” as Campos put it. “We do have a very tough budget year we will be facing and many challenges in front of us,” he said. Campos said he was open to the delay, but he said “it would be a mistake” not to begin dealing with the decision in earnest next week.
Mar said he was open to the delay because he was interested to read the “Values-based Platform for the next Mayor” that a coalition of labor and progressive groups called San Francisco for All distributed at the meeting. The four-page document called for a mayor to value accessibility, consensus-building, making appointments who are accountable to the community, more equitable budget priorities, and transparency.
The motion to delay was approved on a 9-2 vote, with Daly in Sup. John Avalos in dissent.


It's pathetic a progressive Board majority lacks the will to act and choose an Interim Mayor despite the editorial heft of the SFBG. There must be something about this political period, but in it liberal politicians are incredibly shy and tentative about using voter granted authority. Does anyone see a Phil Burton moving to "continue" the vote for an interim Mayor? The outstanding question is whether this Board has the capacity to act as leaders rather than facilitators.
Yes, Newsom has tossed a threat out that he'll delay his swearing in for LG past January 3rd. However, that means at least one other politician in addition to Newsom must use their political capital to say the state constitution doesn't count. Newsom also faces the prospect of Michela Alito-Pier style litigation that cocks up an otherwise simple transition process at two levels of government. All of this can make for weeks of ugly press with Newsom playing the pawn in a crass, Tammany style political story. Hardly "A Blueprint to the Issues that Matter Most" California voters were promised. See:
Over the course of the last few weeks Newsom has moved from flirting with delay, to 99% certainty that he'll take the oath on January 3rd to today’s ambiguous language. No progressive on or off the Board has taken this ugly threat head on publicly. They’re a big passive audience for Newsom's last narcissistic personality disorder act at City Hall. The net result is more civic drift.
One thing is certain, if Newsom delays his swearing in, he'll be known for years to come for that so when he comes back to town in a statewide primary or maybe even for Congress after Pelosi retires (or is retired by her colleagues who read the New York Times) that decision will be one Newsom gets to own. If Newsom's political dna is on his successor, and that person is a dud he gets to own that too. City voters won’t be sympathetic to a cynical delay of a constitutionally required swearing in date to satisfy the needs of a few donors or journalist hacks paid by right wing newspapers.
What is more troubling is the fact six elected progressive supervisors have been cowered by this and their own fear of choosing they can't use the telephone, meet in a coffee house or confer to settle on an Interim choice. This is why we elected them. Newsom was running for statewide office the moment the confetti dropped in 2007. There are excellent people to choose from who can lead San Francisco. The Naugties are about over, and we need to move on.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2010 @ 9:43 pm

Problem solving by our supervisors is tangential to the care and feeding of their coalitions with public largess. Occasionally these days we'll see something interesting, generally an initiative of Avalos, that tries to set the progressive agenda.

But in general, its the care and feeding of the corporations, for and non profit, the gifting of public entitlements to contributors with the public cleaning up the mess and footing the bill "in the out years."

And, of course, it has been Newsom throwing crap at the Supervisors to occupy their time and the supervisors not having the strategic sense to bat that shit down on arrival.

A progressive or even a liberal mayor who prioritized the reconstruction of the Moscone coalition of neighborhood groups and progressives over the Brown coalition of neighborhood groups and downtown could undo much damage in a short time if they were able to make the tough decisions to root out corruption from both the downtown and progressive coalitions.

But just as the Board of Supervisors appears unable to discharge its duties, I don't think that anyone they'd pick would be able to slap down our local oligarchs according to advancing liberal and progressive values to the extent that is necessary to begin to solve the problem.

Since Daly's reelection, the accomplishments of the Board of Supervisors have been effectively cut in half each year to the extent that they are barely perceptible now. To my mind, it is not worth it to break into a sweat for 1/8 of the pie, there is little difference between 1/8 and 0/8, and losing that last bit would put the progressive oligarchs out of business, opening the door to a new, post-nonprofit model of progressive organizing. This one is shot.

When Daly comes out with a position and is visible and vocal about it, there is a good chance of just the opposite coming to be.


Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

“Values-based Platform for the next Mayor”

Thank your imaginary god that we have Eric Mar to tell us about values, like the born again progressive that he is. I always thought that Daly was the dumbest born again like values shouter, Marr and his screaming happy meal eating children seem to be worse.

Obey your master SF, the Utopia is on its way.

Posted by matlocker on Dec. 07, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

The previous comments about Mar are off. There are at least one dozen, solid progressive individuals out there whose names have been floated in the process at one time or another who would do a spectacular job. These names are all over the blogosphere.
Mar is correct that this choice needs be anchored in values. Fortunately, there are many good Interim Mayoral choices that share progressive values. That is where this decision gets tricky.
Where he and the rest of this Board merit criticism is that they are taking a circuitious route to make that choice. The Board process now looks like Max Baucus' Senate Committee markups on Healthcare Reform. That legislative process was a case study in delay and avoidance for the benefit of established interests. People and journalists need to start asking, "who benefits most from the Board not picking an Interim Mayor?" Hint: it's not Guardian readers.
It comes down to the six progressive Board votes and their shared responsibility to those who elected them. It would be great if Supervisors Dufty and/or Maxwell join that coalition but their support is not required. It's the progressive majority that has to do the real work here. We need to ask them to do this job.
Today's delay happened because Ammiano rejected a job offer for a position that he has run for twice. That is his right. However, that should not be an excuse for this Board not to speak, bargain and broker with each other until they can make a choice hopefully by December 14th.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 2:12 am

The progressives are salivating to get their own Gary Bauer like insurance from god salesman as mayor so they can jamb their "values" down our throats.

Who benefits most from these people not appointing "one of their own" as mayor? People who don't belong to the smarmy progressive sect are the ones who win, that would be the majority of the citizens of SF.

Remember what progressives values means, bemoaning state power and then finding way to increase it over your life. Removing the old values and replacing them with much better values like...

telling people what to eat

telling law abiding citizens what they can own, then bemoaning the constitution when they lose

trying to remove voluntary school programs that offend the delicate sensibilities of progressives

yelling "fuck you" at board meetings

sending felons to boys camp at thousands of dollars a month, so the felons can walk off and come back to sell drugs in the TL

Letting the public employee unions give them orders while bemoaning "downtown"

complaining about the mayor and the city not following the constitution, when passing unconstitutional laws

inviting the nations drunks and druggies into the city to use up services, then trying to find new ways to pay for these hobo's

bemoaning mixing religion and politics when it doesn't go their way, then using it to their advantage when it does

calling anyone who doesn't agree with them bigots no matter how far fetched the reasoning, but then a qualification for office to a progressive is a persons race or gender identity, unless its Teresa Sparks.

So yes, vote for the "values" candidate, the person who shouts about values the most has the least usually. Just like Tom Delay, America's Chris Daly.

Posted by matlocker on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 6:10 am

Crystal ball?

This one has all the ear markings of a classic, 'Marbury vs Madison' clash that's decided by the courts. Can Newsom delay his swearing in to the Lite Guv position in order to overturn the nomination of ... ?

go Niners!

Posted by Guest h. brown on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 8:31 am

Great work on covering all the nuances of San Francisco politics. The SF Sentinel, on the other hand, is not covering any issues at City Hall. They spent their time today putting out a piece on the excellent marketing done by Al Qaeda. Two days ago, the anti Niners, anti Santa Clara, anti stadium SF Sentinel put a false story about Lisa Lang, who left the Niners on a high note and by her own choosing. Why? Because, while the Guardian is deep in the effort to lay out the details of the new political situation in San Francisco, the Sentinel takes orders from Lennar to bash good efforts being done to make Bay Area sports sound economically. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Guest James Rowen on Dec. 09, 2010 @ 8:43 am

Mr Rowen,

The Sentinel was co-opted completely by the local Jewish media cabal a couple of years back. When I wrote a piece critical of a couple of local Jewish billionaires, Sam Lauter (then, head of the Northern California head of AIPAC) pressured Sentinel publisher, Pat Murphy to fire me.

Which was kind of funny cause I've never written for anyone for money. A couple of years later, new Sentinel partner, Luke Thomas wrote something critical of the state of Israel and Lauter moved in and drove Thomas out (Luke lost his investment).

Then, it got really surreal. Pat Murphy converted to Judaism and the blog became a straight-out mouthpiece for AIPAC which is where it remains today. Pushing things like Lennar ('Leonard and Rosen') and anything Feinstein and Dick Blum have a cash interest in.

Thus, the Sentinel went from being the only outlet in town with writers who dared question the business and political moves of the local Jewish Cabal to being the number one supporter of same.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Jewish media cabal,

Go Niners!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Dec. 09, 2010 @ 11:02 am

The Fog City Journal is being quiet on the new mayor issue also. I wonder what's up with that?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 09, 2010 @ 6:29 pm


Luke Thomas has been on his honeymoon in Hong Kong for the last couple of weeks. He'll be back on the 15th and, I'm sure, jump right back in.


Posted by Guest h. brown on Dec. 09, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

Four modest questions:

(1) How can any voter watching the charade under the dome in appointing a mayor any longer have any respect for the supes as a body?

(2) How can the supes themselves pass each other in the corridors at City Hall and not immediately break out into laughter?

(3) What does any of this have to do with progressive politics?

(4) Does this phrase even have any meaning anymore in SF?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Dec. 09, 2010 @ 8:45 pm