San Francisco supervisor seat opens with Carmen Chu assessor-recorder appointment 

With Carmen Chu's appoinment to the assessor-recorder position the District 4 Supervisor seat has opened up. It will be 30 days before her appointed replacement is named. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • With Carmen Chu's appoinment to the assessor-recorder position the District 4 Supervisor seat has opened up. It will be 30 days before her appointed replacement is named.

Sunset district residents will have to wait 30 days before they find out who will be appointed to represent them on the Board of Supervisors.

Mayor Ed Lee announced Wednesday that he plans to name current District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu to the vacant assessor-recorder position, setting off political intrigue over who will eventually replace her.

There are a host of names being mentioned in various media reports and by political strategists, including Francis Tsang, a mayoral spokesman; Katy Tang, Chu’s longtime legislative aide; Suzy Loftus, a mother and member of the Police Commission; former District 4 candidate Doug Chan; and ex-Taxi Commissioner Art Tom.

Lee would not reveal whom he is considering for the spot, but said he would make an announcement by March 4, giving him 30 days.

One knock against Lee is the lack of success of his two previous appointees, said political consultant Jim Ross.

Lee’s appointment of Christina Olague to the District 5 supervisorial seat was a failure given her decisive loss in November. And Rodrigo Santos, whom Lee named to the City College of San Francisco board of trustees, met a similar fate in the last election.

The mayor’s appointee will face an election in November if he or she chooses to try to fill out the remainder of Chu’s term. Subsequently, he or she would be eligible to serve two four-year terms.

The District 4 seat represents the Sunset, which has a large Chinese-American population and a large number of homeowners. Ross, who ran Chu’s first election campaign, said it would be challenging for a non-Asian appointee to win an election.

“One out of every three voters in that district is not just Chinese but Chinese-speaking,” he said.

But Ross said a case could be made for Loftus. Currently, the board has seven men and four women, so appointing a woman would keep that makeup intact. And with family flight being a much-discussed topic, a case could be made for the need to have a woman on the board who also is a mother.

Ross said Lee is in need of a supervisor who is a “strong advocate” for his policies, instead of just an ally, if he wants to ensure political success. Lee said he wants to appoint someone who is similar to Chu.

Chu, who was first appointed by former Mayor Gavin Newsom after serving in his budget office, was part of the core moderate base whose votes could be counted on by both Newsom and Lee. In office, Chu gained the most attention when she cracked down on prostitution rings fronting as massage parlors, strongly opposed a medical marijuana dispensary in her district and most recently passed a law banning overnight parking of recreational vehicles in certain parts of The City.

District 4 leaders

Since district elections began in 2000, each supervisor representing the Sunset has been Chinese-American.

Leland Yee

  • Re-elected in 2000

Fiona Ma

  • Elected in 2002; served until 2006

Ed Jew

  • Elected in 2006; resigned in 2008

Carmen Chu: appointed in 2007; elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2010

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