Saying they shared the same vision, Mayor Ed Lee appointed Planning Commissioner Christina Olague on Monday morning to serve as the District 5 supervisor representing the Fillmore, Haight-Ashbury and Western Addition neighborhoods.
The 50-year-old Olague had long been considered a likely choice to replace outgoing Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi — who was sworn in as sheriff Sunday — in the politically progressive district.
Olague has strong progressive roots, but broke from that political faction last year when she helped organize the Run, Ed, Run campaign to encourage Lee to seek a four-year term, an effort supported by Chinatown power broker Rose Pak.
She will serve out the rest of Mirkarimi’s term and face election in November.
“It was both smart and safe,” political analyst David Latterman said of Lee’s choice of Olague. With Olague, Lee puts in a progressive who can win an election, but who he also can count on for some votes, according to Latterman.
Since Olague has voted on land-use projects as a planning commissioner, she may have to recuse herself from some votes coming before the board, including appeals of the environmental impact report for the America’s Cup.
Lee said Olague shares his vision “of job creation and economic development” and that they also have the “same values,” having worked for the rights of tenants and immigrants.
In 2004, Olague was appointed to serve on the commission by then-board President Matt Gonzalez, a Green Party member at the time. She had previously served in a lead role in the Mission Anti-
Displacement Coalition, which helps low-income residents in the Mission district.
After the swearing-in, Olague spoke of creating more jobs, the creation of more affordable housing for those of middle and lower income, and improving public safety.
“I grew up working-class poor," she said. “I grew up in a farm labor camp in a town called Firebaugh in Central Valley. With a stainless-steel spoon in my mouth, I guess.”
Olague won’t have a total free pass this November. District 5 candidate Thea Selby called Olague “a natural choice for Mayor Lee given her key role in the Run, Ed, Run campaign” and said the district doesn’t need a “City Hall insider.”
The appointment leaves a vacant seat on the Planning Commission. Board President David Chiu will nominate someone for that post, and the board would need to vote to approve his pick.
Hometown: Firebaugh in the Central Valley
Education: Bachelor of Arts from the California Institute of Integral Studies (with a concentration in liberal studies)
2003: Served as co-chair of Proposition L, which voters approved to increase the minimum wage in San Francisco
2004: Appointed to Planning Commission by former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez
2008: Reappointed to the commission by former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin
2012: Named as interim supervisor for District 5
Sources: Mayor’s Office, SFGov.org