Lots of buzz and politicking around D5 appointment

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Who will succeed Ross Mirkarimi as supervisor from District 5?
Evie Pit

There is eager speculation – and lots of public and private pressure being applied to Mayor Ed Lee – over the question of who he will appoint to fill the District 5 seat on the Board of Supervisors that is being vacated by Sheriff-elect Ross Mirkarimi.

Anti-progressive entities from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce to the San Francisco Chronicle are urging Lee to appoint a fellow moderate to the solidly progressive seat, despite the outrage that would trigger on the left and the difficulty that appointee would likely have keeping the seat after the November election.

Chron columnist CW Nevius today published a weird little puff piece plugging London Breed – a moderate who wants the D5 seat, a fact he strangely didn't mention – and her leadership of the African American Art & Cultural Center. Chron columnist Leah Garchik also pumped up Breed as a D5 appointee last week. Nevius' column in particular seemed to be a thinly veiled attempt to influence the decision, despite the regular insistence by Nevius and others at the Chron that they never have a political agenda or try to influence City Hall. Yeah, right – at least we at the Guardian are honest about our advocacy for more progressive city leadership.

Breed is being strongly pushed by Willie Brown, the former mayor and current Chron columnist, as well as most of the city's African American ministers, such as Revs. Amos Brown and Arnold Townsend, who showed up at last week's Board of Supervisors meeting and followed Lee back to his office after his appearance before the board.

Sources connected to the ministers told us that Lee hadn't returned their phone calls in recent weeks and they were angry about the snub, so they showed up to let him know and mau-mau him into appointing Breed. Indeed, Brown did get a private meeting with Lee after his followers wedged their way into the office.

Reporters had asked Lee about the D5 appointment just moments before and he said that he was in no hurry to make a decision. “I want to pay my respects to many groups in District 5,” Lee said.

While many names have been floated as D5 contenders, there are a few that rise to the top. Malcolm Yeung, public policy director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, is being pushed by Rose Pak, the Chinatown power broker who worked with Brown to get Lee into Room 200.

But given Lee will probably avoid simply choosing between the Brown and Pak choices – unless they can privately coalesce around someone, which is certainly a possibility – most City Hall speculation these days falls on Christina Olague. The Planning Commission president comes from the progressive camp but she also served as a co-chair of Progress for All, creators of the Run, Ed, Run campaign that persuaded Lee to run for a full term.

Speaking to the Guardian in October, Olague denied that her early endorsement of Lee had anything to do with the D5 seat, which she said she wasn't seeking but would take if offered. "If we get progressives to support him early on, maybe we'll have a seat at the table,” was how she explained her support for Lee.

On Friday, Olague showed up for Mirkarimi's art opening and holiday party in his City Hall office, and she chatted with other possible contenders for the D5 seat, including Quintin Mecke, Julian Davis, Gabriel Haaland, Jason Henderson, and Michael O'Connor. Asked by the Guardian if she had any insights into how the appointment was going, she said all she knows is what she's read online and in the newspapers.

And so we wait.

Comments

Ginsburg would be the worst possible appointee, far worse than Breed or Yeung, who are least represent constituencies in the district. Ginsburg is an autocratic political hack who has destroyed RPD and is hostile to public input.  Forget it.

Posted by steven on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 11:34 am

Is outfitting them with astroturf and stadium lights.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

Nonsense, Ginsburg has been an arrogant administrator who has privatized the parks.

The homeless are still there!

Posted by Richard on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 8:43 am

The article has conveniently left out Thea Selby, a strong grassroots community advocate. She not only is a strong candidate, she is a parent of public school children, a small business owner, and a centrist who would tow no one's line and could have broad support among D5 residents due to her independent intelligence and experience. Thea Selby should be on any shortlist for this appointment if the conversations are anything more than political land grabbing and owing someone for something.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 11:10 am

Thanks for tip, will do a little checking.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

Nice use of the meaningless catchphrase "strong grassroots community advocate," but anyone who thinks they can win a key supervisor seat without years of involvement with the difficult, contentious issues facing the city is either clueless or a wingnut. Serious politicians need a solid base and a level of respect among at least a few of many different factions that shape the city's politics. Thea may want to check the election results for Terry Baum and Joanna Rees if she seriously thinks she would have any chance next November against one of the many well-known and seasoned contenders in the very active D5 district.

The last thing Mr. Lee needs next November is to have one of his most important political appointees go down in flames by the D5 voters. At least Juanita Owens was well known in the political community before Willie Brown appointed her, but her election loss further marginalized the mayor during his last few years in office. Mayor Lee may be a moderate, or a consensus builder or a centrist - or whatever political buzzphase downtown uses these days to help tighten their grip on city politics - but there's no indication he's stupid or silly enough to apppoint a political lightweight to a seat that could be used by his opponents to reduce his perceived power a few notches if his chosen candidate loses next November.

Even the appointment of Ms. Olague - a choice that would likely win re-election next November - doesn't get the mayor much since Board President David Chiu gets to pick her replacement on the Planning Commission.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

What the hell is a "centrist"?????

Moderate = Conservative

Progressive = Liberal sellout!

Orwellian!

Posted by Richard on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 8:44 am

moderates are not conservatives. They are broadly neutral on the often ridiculous left versus right wars.

"Progressive" is a dumb word too. Did you ever meet a politician who called himself "regressive"? "Left" or "Liberal" does the job.

SF doesn't really have many conservatives and so the lefties like to call people like Newsom and Lee "right win" but that's obvious, blatant nonsense.

So we'll get a moderate in DT but not a conservative. A fair compromise.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 9:06 am

moderates are not conservatives. They are broadly neutral on the often ridiculous left versus right wars.

"Progressive" is a dumb word too. Did you ever meet a politician who called himself "regressive"? "Left" or "Liberal" does the job.

SF doesn't really have many conservatives and so the lefties like to call people like Newsom and Lee "right win" but that's obvious, blatant nonsense.

So we'll get a moderate in D5 but not a conservative. A fair compromise.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 9:07 am

She's certainly making the rounds. Talked to her at a couple of holiday parties, and she came off as very progressive. Now I hear she's a "centrist." So what is it that makes her a centrist? Is she saying one thing to progressives and something else to moderates?

Posted by Greg on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 7:20 pm
D5

One: the Academy of Art is a for-profit school last I heard. Anyone can attend and students rack up tremendous loans that they must pay back. This is not a good model for education.

Two: Christina Olague has been a generally reliable progressive vote on the Planning Commission, but she is not a leader. A leader is someone who can convince her colleagues to vote with her, as did Chief Justice Earl Warren, when he first came onto the Supreme Court and immediately convinced all of his colleagues, who had been serving on the court many years prior to his appointment, to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson and uphold Brown v. Board of Education. Olague does not do that. She is, in fact, a bully who resorts to the race card when called on her misbehavior. Can she be a leader? That takes work and depends on whether or not she is willing to do the work. I hope that is the case, as she may be the best candidate for San Franciscans who are not part of the tech bubble -- or firefighters or police officers who have managed to carve out protections for themselves.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

Good question, though I do know who I'm NOT gonna vote for. Need to find out more background information on this operation, www.AmericansElect.org, but it appears 'interesting' at least.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 22, 2011 @ 10:10 am

whoever pays eddie and rose the most gets the seat. DUH!

poor john rizzo f&cked himself by endorsing Yee and selling the sierra club endorsement.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 23, 2011 @ 9:45 am

Gabs couldn't even break the top three when he ran for this seat in the last decade. There's no way in hell Lee would EVER appoint Haaland as supervisor in D5, which is kinda sad because Haaland knows he'll never be able to win either a city or district-wide election and that his only hope of getting into office is exactly that - an appointment. But that's not going to happen with this mayor.

Nope. Gabs is going to be SEIU's head political hitman in San Francisco for the rest of his life. Preaching to the converted is Haaland's thing - not attempting to convince the skeptical.

Posted by H. Monk-Brown CI on Dec. 28, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

Moderate = Conservative

Progressive = Liberal sellout!

Orwellian!

Posted by Richard on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 8:45 am