Mayor selects new planning commissioner to replace supervisor candidate

For its last three meetings, San Francisco’s influential Planning Commission has had a member in name only: Christine Johnson.

Johnson, who is running to represent District 6 on the Board of Supervisors, has officially been a member of the commission but hasn’t attended recent meetings. Her absence has caused the seven-member body to deadlock on important decisions regarding multimillion dollar projects.

Worse yet, Johnson’s dual role caused some city insiders to worry donors to her supervisor campaign may have influenced votes she took at the Planning Commission before announcing her candidacy.

SEE RELATED: Why hasn’t Christine Johnson quit the Planning Commission?

Now, Mayor Mark Farrell has nipped the problem in the bud.

Farrell sent a letter Tuesday nominating Milicent Johnson as a new planning commissioner. Her appointment must be approved by vote of the Board of Supervisors within 60 days.

According to City Hall insiders, the Planning Commission seat occupied by Christine Johnson was widely viewed, unofficially, as one meant to be held by women of color, a tradition Milicent Johnson will carry forward.

The late Mayor Ed Lee chose to appoint Milicent Johnson before he died Dec. 12 last year, according to the Mayor’s Office. Farrell agreed to appoint Mayor Lee’s choice.

“As you are well aware, this appointment provides you with the opportunity to serve the citizens of San Francisco in a meaningful and lasting manner,” Farrell wrote in his nominating letter to Milicent Johnson.

Millicent Johnson manages the Women’s Donor Network, a charitable foundation, according to her Fair Political Practices Commission filing, and recently worked for the Tipping Point Community, another charitable foundation. Her salary at each organization was noted to be more than $100,000.

She also previously worked as a community engagement manager for Shareable Magazine and helped plan the SHARE San Francisco conference.

Christine Johnson previously told me she was waiting for the Mayor’s Office — first with London Breed, then Farrell — to be informed of her departure before officially stepping down.

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

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez covers transportation for the San Francisco Examiner. He also writes the weekly political On Guard column. Reach him at Follow him on Twitter: @FitzTheReporter.

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