Port commissioner will wait to resign until after influential vote 

click to enlarge Pricey project: The Port Commission will vote May 16 on the controversial 8 Washington development, which includes $10 million condos. - COURTESY RENDERING
  • COURTESY RENDERING
  • Pricey project: The Port Commission will vote May 16 on the controversial 8 Washington development, which includes $10 million condos.

While Mayor Ed Lee has asked city commissioners running for a seat on the Board of Supervisors to step down, one board hopeful on the Port Commission plans to keep his seat long enough to vote on the controversial development known as 8 Washington.

Lee has contacted the four mayor-appointed commissioners in the running for a November board seat and asked them to step down under a policy supported by previous San Francisco mayors to eliminate conflict of interest or the appearance of one.

But this policy is an informal one that is not fully enforceable since there are no deadlines for resignation and some commissioners can only be removed for cause. Some observers suggest that for the policy to accomplish its goals, the resignation should occur the day a commissioner pulls papers to run.

F.X. Crowley, who serves on the Port Commission and is running in District 7, has yet to commit to a resignation date. He said Wednesday that he plans to vote on the 8 Washington development, which the commission is scheduled to consider May 16. The development includes more than 100 condos ranging in price from $2 million to $10 million.

When asked why he hadn’t yet resigned, Crowley said, “There are still a few projects I’m still waiting on that I’d like to see come to fruition.” Asked what those projects were, Crowley said the America’s Cup yacht race — which has already been approved — and another project he declined to discuss because he said he wasn’t sure it would happen.

Asked specifically about voting on 8 Washington, Crowley said, “I don’t think it’s a conflict.” He said he will take a vote “based on the facts before me.” As for the potential political benefit that could accrue to his campaign from his vote for or against the project, Crowley characterized that as a “double-edged sword.”

“I think I shouldn’t step down until I made an agreement with the mayor on when I should step down,” Crowley said. “I’m trying to figure out when the best time for me to step down is.”

Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey said, “He has not set a deadline and expects commissioners to comply within a reasonable time frame to ensure as much continuity as possible on the commissions they serve.”

District 1 candidate David Lee resigned from his Recreation and Park Commission seat Monday after a final meeting last week. District 7 candidate Michael Garcia is stepping down from the Board of Appeals after the body’s May 16 meeting. Fire Commissioner London Breed is running for District 5 and has taken issue with the policy.

Breed could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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