District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell might have been a self-proclaimed City Hall outsider when running for office, but he got a big dose of City Hall when dealing with a land-use development.
As Farrell was out in his district meeting with residents and trying to broker a compromise on the project, his colleague on the board, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, introduced legislation for the project as proposed, interfering in a matter not in his district, which is generally not done out of respect.
Farrell has seemingly taken it in stride, but he addressed the matter late Tuesday as the Board of Supervisors was voting on the development. He said when the development was proposed five neighborhood groups and dozens of neighbors opposed it.
“I took those as a district supervisor to heart – that’s what we are here to do as district supervisors, listen to our constituents,” Farrell said. “So I took them to the project sponsor.”
Farrell then said to opponents that if he could have the project lowered from 55 feet to 45 feet, one story less, would they support it? They all said yes. But Mirkarimi was charging ahead with legislation for the 55-foot project.
“I think it’s a very slippery slope, and I think we need to be very careful on this board about introducing legislation in someone else’s district,” Farrell said. “This is about one building. Not only that, it’s about one story of one building. My question is where does it stop?
“If I don’t like the looks of some doors on a project in your (Mirkarimi’s) district am I going to introduce legislation amending it, opposing it? To me it becomes a poster child of why we don’t need district elections if we are going to go down that road and to me that’s inappropriate.”
Farrell made one last effort Tuesday to lower the project by 10 feet. His motion failed in a 7-4 vote, with Supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Carmen Chu and Scott Wiener supporting him.
All that aside, The City will see a new development for transitional youth, which everyone can agree is much needed in San Francisco.