The newest member to the Board of Supervisors is Christina Olague.
Monday morning’s announcement by Mayor Ed Lee ends weeks of speculation on who he would appoint to serve as the next District 5 supervisor to represent the Western Addition, Fillmore and Haight neighborhoods. It was one of the best kept secrets around City Hall.
A long list of those in the running kept growing leading up to Monday’s appointment. But Olague was thought to be one of the most likely choices all the while. Olague has progressive roots, but broke from that political faction last year when she became one of the most outspoken advocates encouraging then-appointed Mayor Ed Lee to run for re-election after he said he would serve only as interim mayor. Olague made passionate pro-Lee speeches as part of the controversial Run Ed Run campaign, of which Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak was a major fundraiser .
Olague was appointed to the Planning Commission in 2004 by then Board President Matt Gonzalez, a Green Party member and a hero of the progressive movement. She was reappointed to the Planning Commission by a progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors led by Aaron Peskin and Chris Daly. She had previously served in a lead role in the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition. Olague first became active in San Francisco politics in 1982, working with groups like the Harvey Milk Club.
For Lee the challenge was to pick someone who was aligned with his more moderate brand of politics but also someone who could be re-elected in San Francisco’s most left-leaning district. Lee was also in an interesting situation because he didn’t prevail in District 5 in the mayoral race. Progressive Supervisor John Avalos, who ultimately came in second, topped Lee there.
Olague’s appointment increases the number of women on the board to four. She will face her first election in November. She beat out other politically connected District 5 residents looking to land the seat, including former Mayor Willie Brown’s ally London Breed, executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex, and Michael Breyer, president and co-founder of Courtroom Connect, who was backed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein.