DA decision looms as Newsom prepares to announce successor 

Come Monday afternoon, San Francisco will no longer have a district attorney — not until Mayor Gavin Newsom decides who to appoint to serve as The City’s top prosecutor.

With both Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris winning statewide positions this November, the political intrigue in San Francisco is at an all-time high, as both of these powerful positions will be filled by appointees — not by the voters.

The district attorney leads an office of about 200. A successful district attorney will be able to instill confidence in the frontline prosecutors, political observers say.

Newsom has yet to announce who will serve the remaining year of Harris’ term until voters choose a new district attorney in the November election. Harris is scheduled to be sworn in as California’s attorney general on Monday between 1 and 2 p.m.

Newsom’s decision might be made Monday or “a day or two later,” mayoral spokesman Tony Winnicker said.
“[Newsom] will consult again with Kamala Harris before making an appointment. … He wants to make the right pick for San Francisco, not a fast pick,” Winnicker said.

Last week, Newsom told the San Francisco Examiner the appointment of a district attorney is “on my shoulders. I have to figure that out.”

“I’m looking for [Harris’] counsel,” Newsom said. “But in the absence of her saying ‘Here is my person,’ because she may not want to do that for whatever reason, then I got to make a choice.”

Harris, who did not respond to an interview request, has not publicly endorsed a successor. Harris’ spokeswoman Erica Derryck said the outgoing district attorney will talk with Newsom about the qualities, characteristics and skills she believes a successor would need to be successful in that post.

The selection could determine whether low-level crimes such as graffiti and other quality-of-life crimes are aggressively enforced, which could bring improvement to The City’s conditions, political consultant David Latterman said. “It could have a real impact,” he said.

Newsom himself had been in line to be sworn in as lieutenant governor on Monday, but recently he has indicated he will stay on as mayor a few extra days. This will allow Newsom to have greater influence over who the Board of Supervisors vote to name as interim mayor.

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