Griffin: Alioto-Pier remains voters’ fave 

On Tuesday, I got to peek at the results of an internal poll of likely voters in District 2 of The City. It was conducted in early July and asked folks whether they would vote for Mark Farrell or Janet Reilly in the race for supervisor.

Now if you don’t know who Farrell is, you’re not alone. He’s a politically moderate small-business owner. Most of the people polled had not heard of him. His campaign commissioned the poll.

On the other hand, almost half the people polled recognized Janet Reilly’s name. She’s the glamorous wife of real estate mogul Clint Reilly, and she currently serves on the Golden Gate Bridge transit district’s board of directors.

Of the voters who had heard of both Farrell and Reilly, Farrell was ahead by 10 points.

Overall, the candidates were in a statistical tie, with Farrell getting 10 percent of the vote and Reilly 11 percent. I found this surprising, given Reilly’s strong name recognition and the fact that Farrell is a political newbie.

Of course, as is usually the case in July of an election year, the vast majority of voters are undecided.

The situation gets even more interesting when the pollsters started asking about the current District 2 supervisor, Michela Alioto-Pier. She has massive name recognition and is hugely popular among district residents, far more so than even Farrell and Reilly combined.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera is continuing his crusade to keep Alioto-Pier out of the race by arguing that her six years on the board are the equivalent of eight years, which would mean she is termed out and cannot be re-elected. A judge recently ruled that Alioto-Pier can run for re-election, but Herrera is appealing the decision anyway.

I think he’ll lose that appeal and Alioto-Pier will be allowed to enter the race to keep her seat. If that happens, both Reilly and Farrell will likely re-evaluate whether to stay in the race.

Foot-beat measure goes to ballot, but not before a little political trickery

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, a ballot measure introduced by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi that would require police foot patrols was considered. The debate was highly amusing, and voters will be able to consider the measure in November.

First up was Mirkarimi himself, explaining that the Board of Supervisors and voters should get involved in police matters because, among other reasons, constituents complain to members of the board about crime. That argument is the same one he used when trying to empower the board to appoint members of the Recreation and Park Commission. Whenever he brings it up, I am reminded of my days working at a frozen-yogurt stand at Six Flags. People would yell at me because a small cup of chocolaty mush cost $7. This fact did not entitle me to sit on the Six Flags board of directors.

My point: Sometimes people complaining about things over which you have no control is just part of the job. Deal with it.

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier was interested in a different kind of citizen complaint. She pointed out that voters should not get dragged into the issue of foot patrols because the law can just as easily be passed at the Board of Supervisors without voter approval.

“People that elected us to do our job say, ‘Well, why aren’t they doing it? Why do we need to make this decision? Can’t they sit down, come to the table and figure out these problems by themselves? That’s what we elected them to do,’” Alioto-Pier said.

Supervisors David Campos and David Chiu said the reason the measure is on the ballot is because it’s the alternative to Mistermayor’s ordinance prohibiting sitting or lying on city sidewalks, which also is on the ballot.

At that point, things got really interesting.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd used an ingenious little trick of parliamentary procedure in an attempt to keep the measure off the ballot. I won’t bore you with the details, but nerds like me thought it was wonderfully amusing to watch the supervisors parsing through their rule books to figure out how to deal with Elsbernd’s attack.

Back and forth they went, with Elsbernd on one side and Supervisor Chris Daly, Campos and Chiu on the other.

“I appreciate Sean Elsbernd’s creativity with the board rules, but ultimately he’s wrong and any advice coming from [Deputy City Attorney Cheryl] Adams at this point matters less than the decision from Harvard-trained attorney David Chiu,” Daly said.

Since no one from Yale University was present to overrule Chiu, his decision to end the fun was final and the measure will be on the ballot.

Quote of the meeting

“Whether you agree or disagree with what the public defender has done, we should not use the budget analyst in any way to exact retribution.”

— Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, speaking out against Supervisor Chris Daly’s proposal to have Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s office audited. Public employee unions are personally unhappy with Adachi because he worked to put pension reform on the November ballot. The audit and the unions’ ire may not be related, but, like kissing your sister, it doesn’t look right. By the way, Daly’s proposal for an audit failed, with Daly and Supervisor John Avalos the only ones voting in favor of it.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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