Mayoral candidate Tony Hall cries foul on exclusion from police forum 

Former supervisor and mayoral candidate Tony Hall believes he’s being pushed out of a forum debate Thursday night held by the San Francisco Police Officers Association over his stance on a controversial pension reform issue for city employees.

In a press release Wednesday, Hall said he sees the snub as a move to exclude opposing points of view from discussion of the issues. While Hall stopped short of saying he supports the plan of Public Defender Jeff Adachi, he has made it clear that he doesn’t support the pension reform measure being pushed by The City and unions representing police and firefighters.

“I have said it in my campaign and it is clearer than ever that I am the only candidate willing to challenge the status quo to make this a better city,” Hall said in the release. “The other candidates will all be sitting side-by-side in a row Thursday night.”

Kevin Martin, vice president of the Police Officers Association, said the organization’s leadership decided not to include Hall mostly because he isn’t one of the “viable” candidates in the 36-person race. Martin said the pension matter played into the decision, but the critical factor was viability.

“In fairness to the candidates, there was going to be a cutoff point,” Martin said.

Martin added that other candidates, including Supervisor John Avalos, also have not always agreed with the organization’s stances, and the goal is not to push out countervailing points of view.

“If that were the case, we would have nobody at the debate opposed to any positions taken in the past,” Martin said.

Candidates included in the Thursday forum are Phil Ting, Joanna Rees, Dennis Herrera, David Chiu, John Avalos, Bevan Dufty and Michela Alioto-Pier. Leland Yee was invited, but is not able to attend, according to Martin.

Hall’s campaign manager, Jamie Fisfis, said the organization’s reasoning for leaving his candidate out doesn’t add up.

“I’m not going to name names, but they have a lot of candidates in there who have less opportunity to win than Tony does,” Fisfis said.

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