Term-limits case leads to double ballot 

In preparation for a last-minute legal ruling, The City will create two versions of the November ballot for the District 2 Board of Supervisors race in case a pending court decision knocks incumbent Michela Alioto-Pier out of the running.

The Department of Elections has to send the Nov. 2 ballot to the printer Sept. 1, but the legal wrangling continues over Alioto-Pier’s effort to continue representing the Marina and Pacific Heights neighborhoods.

Awaiting a decision from three California Courts of Appeal judges, the department plans to draft one version of the District 2 ballot without Alioto-Pier listed as a candidate in case the July 22 legal ruling placing her on the ballot is overturned at the final hour, according to Department of Elections Director John Arntz.

A decision, however, could come at any moment. On Wednesday, Alioto-Pier and her team of attorneys, led by Jim Sutton, faced off against Deputy City Attorney Jon Givner. The three judges said they would make a decision “as quickly as we can,” following more than an hour of oral arguments. 

On July 22, Superior Court Judge Peter Busch struck down City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s more than 2-year-old opinion that
Alioto-Pier was termed out of office and could not run for re-election in November. Herrera appealed Busch’s ruling.

Alioto-Pier was appointed to the seat on the Board of Supervisors by Mayor Gavin Newsom in January 2004. She was required to run for election in November 2004 and served the remainder of what would have been Newsom’s complete four-year term, ending in January 2007. She was re-elected to what Alioto-Pier is calling her first four-year term, but what Herrera said is her second four-year term.

The City Charter says anyone who’s appointed to serve more than a two-year term will be considered to have served a four-year term. But, Alioto-Pier said her November 2004 election means she was appointed for a term of less than a year.

Herrera said someone who’s appointed and serves more than two years of a four-year term will be considered to have served a four-year term “whether they stand for election during that period.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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