New mayor could have a few jobs 

Mistermayor has said he will delay his swearing-in as lieutenant governor until after new Board of Supervisors members assume office, thus preventing the current board from appointing an interim mayor. However, it is wrong to think such a cute trick will spare us from the drama and fiascoes of choosing the next mayor.

First of all, the current Board of Supervisors could go right ahead and elect an interim mayor at its last meeting Jan. 4 despite the fact that Mistermayor is still around. If that were to happen, it would be a little constitutional crisis and lawyers would have to scramble to put the issue in front of a local judge for a quick ruling.

However, for the sake of argument, let us assume that the new board will choose the interim mayor and consider what happens next.

The rules require the new Board of Supervisors to meet Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. to choose a board president. (The term of a board president is two years, so the first reign of current President David Chiu would officially be over.) The new board cannot vote on an interim mayor, cannot pass legislation, cannot even declare skinny jeans a violation of human rights until it chooses a board president. Only this time, supervisors are not just choosing someone to lead the pledge of allegiance and bang the gavel when Chris Daly starts cursing. No, this board president would be the acting mayor until a new mayor is officially designated.

That is one heck of an introduction to being a supervisor for our newbies, two of whom have never held public office.

Might the pressure of effectively voting on the new mayor mean that no one can amass the six votes needed to be board president? Board rules require that the president lord over any meeting — so no president, no meeting. The result of a stalemate? For a time there would be no mayor, no board president and no Board of Supervisors meetings. Come to think of it, this does not sound too bad.

Assuming someone can net the six votes to be the new board president, he (I use the pronoun “he” because so far no “she” is seriously in the running) will serve as the acting mayor until the board can choose an interim mayor. (Chiu is the likely choice, as his popularity will increase with the new board — he was the only supervisor to endorse incoming District 10 winner Malia Cohen and he is a close pal of new District 6 supervisor Jane Kim.)

Once board president/acting mayor is in place, the really difficult issue of designating an interim mayor begins. First, unlike the board presidency election, supervisors cannot vote for themselves for interim mayor, so there have to be six other supervisors willing to cast their votes for someone to win the position. (Nominees who are not supervisors need only six votes.) Plus, whoever is the board president/acting mayor has an incentive to thwart plans for a replacement if the person wants to stay in office.

If no one can acquire the votes for interim mayor, we might have an acting mayor for quite awhile. Legally, there is nothing stopping an acting mayor from serving until a “real” mayor is elected in 2011.

There is this funny thing about the acting mayor, though. They do not have to give up their seat on the board, where they are still board president. So, we could have up to 10 months of an acting mayor who is also a supervisor, also the board president and — just for good measure — also running for mayor in 2011.

Stay tuned, San Franciscans. Mistermayor’s delayed swearing-in is only the beginning.

Wireless service has enemy in City Hall


Think twice before you buy that newfangled contraption for yourself or your loved one this Christmas because it is about to be even harder to find a wireless signal in San Francisco.

Supervisor John Avalos has proposed legislation that would make it more difficult for wireless carriers to acquire permits to put equipment on public property. The ordinance passed in the Land Use and Economic Development Committee last week and is headed for the full Board of Supervisors after the holiday break.

At issue is the use of public property (like telephone poles) to attach “wireless facilities” (usually a black box at the bottom of a pole and an antenna at the top) around The City. Some residents claim the boxes are unsightly and are put up near their homes without notice. One woman produced a picture of a phone pole with four large black boxes attached to it, not 8 feet from her front door. She was rightfully angry. But Avalos’ legislation, with its mandatory review of permit applications by the Planning and Recreation and Park departments, will slow the permit process for even well-placed equipment. Also, the new ordinance might even be unlawful because the federal government prefers to be the last word on telecommunications regulation.

One other fun fact about Avalos’ legislation is that it is retroactive. That means some boxes that are already up will have to come down if they do not comply with new requirements. Note that, according to an attorney for AT&T, the demand for wireless data in San Francisco has increased 5,000 percent in the past three years. For Verizon Wireless, the number is 300 percent year over year.

What we need is more, not less, wireless service in our fair city. Where is the supervisor who will champion that cause?

Mayor struggling to keep city on the world stage


Now that America’s Cup representatives are trying to make us jealous by flirting with Newport, R.I., whether we will be chosen as the host city for the 2013 race is in jeopardy.

I hope Mistermayor asked Santa Claus for the race to be held in San Francisco, because his legacy in the “keeping-San Francisco-on-the-world-stage” department is not looking good.

Since he has been mayor, San Francisco lost the bid to host the 2016 Olympics, was not even considered for the 2018 World Cup (Nashville, Tenn., was) and soon will no longer have a professional football team.

Time to put out the fancy cookies for Old Saint Nick.

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Melissa Griffin

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