When I first began writing about local politics, the Board of Supervisors was depressingly funny. There was former (and current) comedian Tom Ammiano, wry Aaron Peskin, “supervisor straitjacket” Chris Daly and the lovable, poetry-quoting Jake McGoldrick. But that was then. The class of 2010 has been relatively calm and grown-up, enjoying a decent working relationship with each other and with Mayor Ed Lee. As a citizen, this makes me happy, but as someone who watches board meetings, it just makes me sleepy.
Happily, the November 2012 election marks the beginning of some new chaos over at the dome.
THE MIRKARIMI EFFECT. Ron Conway and his wife, Gayle, along with at least eight more women formed and funded the group San Francisco Women For Accountability and a Responsible Supervisor to successfully oppose incumbent Supervisor Christina Olague’s bid to hold on to her position. Olague tried to paint the last-minute push against her as coming from a bunch of “out-of-town billionaires” who were “running a shell game for landlords, realtors and running PG&E’s agenda,” but neglected to point out that she accepted money from two of those “out-of-town billionaires” (who list a Pacific Heights address) back in August, when the Conways each gave $500 to Olague. She has not returned the money.
While Olague tries to paint this as a real estate issue, contributors to the group say their opposition to Olague is based on her (horrendously stupid) vote to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi after he was removed for pleading guilty to falsely imprisoning his wife. While it’s difficult to know how much of Olague’s loss is attributable to her Mirkarimi vote, the result has emboldened several groups of people who have been waiting to see if a Mirkarimi recall is feasible. If his name was successfully invoked to defeat a progressive candidate in the most progressive district in San Francisco, their thinking goes, imagine the support for a recall they can whip up in the rest of The City.
At its next meeting Nov. 28, the central committee of the Democratic Party is set to vote on a resolution calling for Mirkarimi to resign or be recalled. My bet is that if the resolution is approved, the funds for a recall will come through the committee.
THE BREED EFFECT. The biggest beneficiary of Olague’s miscalculation on the Mirkarimi matter is undoubtedly London Breed. In fact, after the Mirkarimi vote, Mayor Ed Lee and Willie Brown might have considered changing their endorsements from Olague to Breed if she hadn’t already made the following statement to Luke Thomas at the Fog City Journal, “You think I give a f*** about a Willie Brown at the end of the day when it comes to my community and the s*** that people like Rose Pak and Willie Brown continue to do and try to control things. They don’t f***ing control me — you go ask them why wouldn’t you support London because she don’t do what the hell I tell her to do. I don’t do what no motherf***ing body tells me to do.”
While she may not promise to use the f-word at every meeting — a la Daly’s memorable 2010 New Year’s resolution — I’m confident that Ms. Breed will keep us all awake. And I hereby request that she be appointed to chair the Budget and Finance Committee.
THE CHIU EFFECT. As of this writing, the election in District 7 remains too close to call, but we do know that the incumbents in other districts — John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu and Eric Mar — have all been re-elected. So the jockeying for Board of Supervisors president and beyond can commence. With the election of Breed in District 5, moderates picked up a seat, but will lose a seat when either Norman Yee or F.X. Crowley is elected in District 7. This leaves the voting dynamics of the board largely intact, which bodes well for Chiu to retain the presidency of the board.
Both Chiu and Campos are looking to run for Ammiano’s Assembly seat when he is termed out in 2014 and will spend the next two years trying to distinguish themselves, at the expense of each other where possible. The vote on Mirkarimi’s reinstatement (Chiu voted against it and Campos voted for it) was one loud area of disagreement between the two ambitious supes. There will be more.