Alioto-Pier cleared to run for re-election 

District 2 Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier can seek re-election after a Superior Court Judge overturned a more than 2-year-old city attorney opinion that said she was termed out of office.

“I feel good about it. We felt very strongly about the case going in,” Alioto-Pier said following Supervisor Court Judge Peter Busch’s decision Thursday.

“I’m going to grant the petition and order that the respondent be permitted another term,” Busch said. In doing so, he overturned the opinion that Alioto-Pier’s appointment for 10 months and subsequent election for a two-year term does not constitute a four-year term under the city charter, as City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s opinion had said.

“I think that that is consistent with the plain language of the charter,” Busch said.

The decision comes as the deadline to enter the District 2, with campaigns already in full swing, is in August.

“The job of the city attorney is to represent the voters,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s spokesman Matt Dorsey said. “To reach the conclusion that the judge reached it means there is a provision of the charter that voters put there that can no longer be applies. So the city attorney is going to consider his options and make a decision about whether or not to appeal.”

Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Alioto-Pier in January 2004 to fill the District 2 seat he vacated when he won the mayoral election. Alioto-Pier 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.

Herrera issued his opinion in a 2008 memo that 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.”

In a legal filing, Alioto-Pier argued that she was appointed to serve “less than one year and then elected to serve two years, which is not “the same as being ‘appointed ... to complete in excess of two years.’ The City Attorney is wrong on the math and the language.”Alioto-Pier “cannot gain another term in office by sweeping away the voters’ words or ignoring their intent,” Herrera said in his argument.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

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