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Breed willing to schedule vote on interim SF mayor, but date remains uncertain

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District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen speaks beside Acting Mayor London Breed during a Board of Supervisors meeting at San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. (Sarahbeth Maney/Special to S.F. Examiner)

A day after Supervisor Aaron Peskin called on the Board of Supervisors president to schedule a vote to select an interim San Francisco mayor, the date for when it will occur remained uncertain.

Board of Supervisors President and Acting Mayor London Breed is willing to schedule the special meeting — even though it could cost her the mayoral post — but Jan. 16, the date Peskin requested, is apparently off the table.

SEE RELATED: Peskin calls for vote on interim SF mayor, eight candidates file to run

Breed’s legislative aide Samantha Roxas told the San Francisco Examiner Wednesday that holding a meeting on Jan. 16 is “not possible but [we’re] still working on the new date.” She added, “One supervisor has a conflict that cannot be moved.”

That supervisor is Malia Cohen, the Examiner has learned. Cohen confirmed in a text message she would not be available for a special board meeting Jan. 16. Cohen did not respond to a follow up text message to explain why. Cohen, who supports Breed serving as mayor, initially told the board clerk Tuesday in a poll of the supervisors she could attend the special meeting, but subsequently said she wasn’t available.

“Hello all, I’m not able to meet. I should have checked my schedule prior but staff has informed me I am not able to meet,” Cohen said in an email sent to the board clerk Tuesday afternoon and obtained by the Examiner.

Peskin had called for the vote to occur at a special Board of Supervisors meeting Jan. 16. The board regularly meets every Tuesday except when there’s a holiday, as there is in this case with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day falling on Jan. 15.

Peskin reiterated his desire Wednesday to have a meeting Jan. 16. “I see no good reason not to have a meeting,” Peskin said. “I don’t think a delay is warranted.”

Other days were also being floated, even as early as Friday, but as of press time no special meeting was scheduled. Supervisor Katy Tang was the only board member to indicate in the poll Tuesday she wouldn’t be available for a meeting on Jan. 16 but she later was open to attending if it was scheduled, Tang confirmed to the Examiner Wednesday.

Peskin supports the board appointing a “caretaker” mayor who wouldn’t run in the June 5 election. The meeting would also give the public a chance to comment. Peskin opposes Breed remaining in both roles of acting mayor and a member of the board because it is a “mixing” of the legislative and executive branches of government.

With scheduling a meeting comes other steps as well, such as noticing the meeting in a newspaper and providing 72-hours notice. For it to occur Jan. 16, the deadline to schedule would be Thursday.

Breed, as board president, has the power to call a special meeting. A special meeting could also be called by six members of the board.

Meanwhile, the suspense builds on who will serve as San Francisco’s mayor until the June 5 election. Eight candidates filed by Tuesday’s deadline to run in the contest. In addition to Breed, the three other well-known candidates are former state Sen. Mark Leno, Supervisor Jane Kim and former Supervisor Angela Alioto.

Leno and Kim have told the Examiner Breed shouldn’t remain mayor until June. Leno said there should be a even playing field.

Following a Wednesday morning news conference, Breed said she was uncertain if she had the six votes to be named interim mayor. Breed can’t vote for herself. If she is named interim mayor, she would give up her seat on the board and appoint a replacement.

“We have certain laws. I can’t talk to all my colleagues about this so I don’t know,” Breed said of the possibility of having six votes.

She has disagreed with Peskin and others who argue she shouldn’t serve in dual roles until June.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I have had an incredible working relationship with my colleagues over the past year and I don’t want that to change,” Breed said.

She added, “I will honor their wishes. I will continue to work with them and whatever decision they decide. Whether I am going to be the interim mayor or not, I am still going to be a part of the leadership of this city.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information.

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