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Law allowing supervisors to serve again ‘not a loophole,’ says original author

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Attorney Philip Ward says the charter amendment brought to voters in 1990, which he authored, intentionally allowed a person to serve multiple terms as long as he or she “sat out” a term in-between. (Courtesy photo)
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http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/on-guard/

I’m often tickled to peruse reader emails. Sometimes, a particularly spicy one catches my eye.

In this case, after my column last week highlighted the possible effort by supervisor candidate Nick Josefowitz to close a loophole in supervisor term limits — the same one that led to Aaron Peskin’s return for a third term — one reader was particularly peeved.

It was attorney Philip Ward, who happens to be the author of the law in question.

Ward wrote he was “particularly interested” in Josefowitz’s statement: “When the voters passed term limits, they didn’t mean to leave a big loophole in it.”

In fact, the opposite is true, Ward told me.

“When I drafted the term limits charter amendment back in the 1980s, it was specifically crafted to allow a person to serve multiple terms so long as he or she ‘sat out’ a term in-between — a policy decision made by the proponents of the measure,” he wrote.

Proponents of the charter amendment, including former San Francisco Police Department member Rich Bodisco, wanted to add term limits to leave room for fresh faces on the Board of Supervisors. At the time, some had served at least 10 years — yikes.

The amendment seemed to strike a careful balance, according to the arguments made in its favor on the June 1990 ballot.

“We know that a lake or pond will stagnate unless its waters are replenished from time to time,” the ballot read, and was backed by prominent San Franciscans like florist Harold Hoogasian, and then-Sen. Quentin Kopp.

But Ward said proponents “didn’t want to lose the benefits of a previously serving Supervisor,” if they decided to return, since that experience may need to be called on one day.

Just like Peskin’s return, some might say.

* * *
The Armory no longer houses the porn-purveyors of Kink.com, but that doesn’t mean the folks who work there don’t know how to party. The Bummer’s Ball last Thursday — named after Emperor Norton’s beloved mutt, Bummer — glammed up the brick-laden fortress in style for a good cause: Rocket Dog Rescue.

Pali Boucher founded the organization after recovering from homelessness and addiction. The draw of the night was easily country singer Emmylou Harris, who, at 70 years old, still managed to wow the crowd of a hundred or so people. It was so intimate, some sat cross-legged by the ankle-height stage as she crooned.

But why play for such a small venue?

Sure, she was already in town for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. But it seems Harris had more in common with Pali than one might assume.

“I have my own little rescue in Nashville,” she told the crowd. Harris said she set it in her backyard because “I don’t swim and I don’t play tennis.”

Many a San Francisco notable floated about the concert, from Green Apple Books co-owner Kevin Hunsanger, to Planning Department head John Rahim, and Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club co-chair Lou Fischer. But it was master of ceremonies Broke-Ass Stuart (my fellow columnist) who took the cake for groaner moment of the night.

While introducing musicians to the crowd, Stuart took stock of the many who had shown up to raise money for canines in costumes of all stripes, from horns and bodices to capes and flashing tassels.

“There are more people wearing dog collars here,” he said, “than actual dogs.”

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.

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