Ball appears to be in wrong court for SF mayor pick

Leave it to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — the clock is ticking, they have one final shot and they decide to give the ball to Andris Biedrins.


For those of you who did not have seven hours to sit through a hearing to see how the board would deal with the selection of an interim mayor this week, I salute you on having a real life. Sadly, for the remainder, it was hardly worth the wait.

City law leaves the decision to pick someone to fill out the remainder of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s term with the board, and the choice requires six votes. That is something of a key figure because none of the supervisors have the votes, even though several of them desperately want the job.

This will explain why the so-called progressive supervisors that make up the board’s majority are, to be kind, desperate to find a replacement that fits their value system while still giving the appearance that they are looking out for the best interests of San Francisco.

They were tying themselves in rhetorical knots for more than two hours talking about how “unprecedented” the whole scenario is (actually, it is not) and that they were rushing into judgment because “nature abhors a vacuum” (actually, it does not).

But ultimately, what they decided was that they would try to work out a “process” that would help them find an adequate replacement, although they could not quite determine if the rules that would guide them on their quest would require six or eight votes.

I am all for due process, but the board is not quite shooting straight on this issue. They said they wanted the whole thing to be vetted publicly, but then when they invited public testimony there were 25 or so of their progressive cronies there — half of them from Service Employees International Union Local 1021 — talking about how they supported a progressive mayor.

So much for transparency.

Yet before they go off on the next phase of their search, perhaps a few breaths of reality might give them pause.

There is no hurry to the matter on hand. The board cannot fill Newsom’s seat until there is a vacancy, and that will not happen before Jan. 3. Newsom has said he is “99 percent” certain he will resign on that date, but — and it is not a small catch — if he feels the board is going to use the pick as a partisan power grab, he will likely delay it.

More important, four new supervisors have been elected to the board and they will be saddled with whatever decision is made about Room 200 for the next year. It makes considerably more sense for the new supervisors to be involved in the decision, and, in fact, it’s the right thing to do.

All of Supervisor Chris Daly’s bluster about the great need for the current board’s “experience” to handle such weighty issues as the budget crisis is completely off-base. At least one of the new supervisors, venture capitalist Mark Farrell, has more financial experience than the current supervisors combined.

Certainly, public input should be part of the process, as long as it is real and not orchestrated like this week’s hearing. But it definitely should not involve actual candidates for the job showing up in the Legislative Chamber to answer questions about how they would govern. Anybody who agrees to that format should automatically be disqualified as a poser because no qualified, self-respecting candidate would agree to that.

This scenario was suggested by the lefty propaganda sheet the Bay Guardian, which included a series of questions for the candidates, a veritable progressive wish list with such winners as:

How much would you raise taxes?

How much would you raise fees on car owners to pay for Muni?

How quickly would you move to stop more tenancy-in-common and condo conversions?

This much we know: Anybody who would answer yes to those questions should not be mayor. The far-left agenda that guides the board majority and its followers was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in this month’s election. People are not looking to bail out a city government that is offering far fewer services at higher costs. They are asking for tough decisions and budget cuts.

In all, they want a much better shooting team.

Bay Area NewsColumnistsLocalNews ColumnistsPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Construction in the Better Market Street Project between Fifth and Eighth streets is expected to break ground in mid-2021.<ins></ins>
SFMTA board to vote on Better Market Street changes

Agency seeks to make up for slimmed-down plan with traffic safety improvements

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater on Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Kamala Harris to resign from Senate

Bridget Bowman CQ-Roll Call Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will resign from the… Continue reading

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) speaks during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Pelosi called for the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump a day after his supporters stormed the Capitol. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
Feds seeking woman whose ex says she stole Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during Capitol riot

Jeremy Roebuck The Philadelphia Inquirer Federal authorities have obtained an arrest warrant… Continue reading

Most Read