Controversy swirls around board president vote

Protestors chained together block the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street in front of the Oakland Police department Monday

Protestors chained together block the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street in front of the Oakland Police department Monday

The timeline for when the Board of Supervisors should vote on who will serve as interim president turned into a guessing game around City Hall in recent days. And while the latest twist has the decision coming as early as next week, that may not happen since one supervisor will be out of town.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who will be replaced after winning a seat in the California Assembly last week, submitted a motion Wednesday to allow the board to vote on an interim president at its upcoming Tuesday meeting. The deadline for the motion was Wednesday.

Chiu, who won the heated District 17 Assembly race against Supervisor David Campos, will be sworn in as successor to Tom Ammiano on Dec. 1 — leaving the board without a president and District 3 without a supervisor. He has held both posts since January 2009.

But there's a catch: Campos won't be attending the meeting next week since he is on vacation with his family, his legislative aide Hillary Ronen said. However, the Campos camp is confident the vote will not take place.

“We're not too worried about it,” Ronen said, noting that it takes only one supervisor to send the motion to a board committee, which would prevent the full board from voting on it next week. “People knew he was going to be away. I'd love to know the intention behind [Chiu's motion].”

It may seem more logical to vote for who should take over as board president when there is an actual vacancy. The earliest that could happen would be Dec. 9.

But Board of Supervisors Clerk Angela Calvillo sent out a memo late Friday to board members with her recommendations for the process, which included taking action before the actual vacancy since “it allows the board to have a president at all times.”

“I am appreciative of our board Clerk Calvillo's perspective that we should not have a time period where there is a no board president,” Chiu told The San Francisco Examiner. “I support the board deciding as soon as possible when to do this.”

Chiu said he will hold on to the role until he is sworn in as assemblyman Dec. 1. He declined to say who he would support for interim president.

“I'm in conversations with colleagues and I look forward to continued conversations,” Chiu said.

Names of those in the running are Jane Kim, London Breed and Mark Farrell. The president's post is often called the second-most powerful political position in San Francisco after to the mayor.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said he supports a prevacancy decision.

“It makes sense to have a board president elected and ready to take office seamlessly when David Chiu leaves for Sacramento,” Wiener said.

That may prove to be harder than it sounds. Campos is away Tuesday and at the Nov. 25 meeting, the last one before Chiu is sworn in to his Assembly seat, Supervisor Malia Cohen said she will be absent.

Not only that, but some of Chiu's colleagues don't want Chiu, who has often acted as a key swing vote on controversial issues at the board, to vote on the matter.

Supervisor Eric Mar told The Examiner that it was “premature to vote that early,” but if the board did, he would support Campos, the most senior member, for interim president.

“He has shown tremendous leadership at the board level,” Mar said of Campos.

<p>Mar said that Chiu should not be allowed to cast a vote.

“He's not even going to be here,” Mar said of Chiu. “The 10 of the rest of us, plus if his replacement is chosen, should be the ones deciding who should be interim and who should be the board president for the next two years.”

But Chiu countered that “I think the full board, all 11 members, ought to take a vote on it. We all have perspectives on this. I certainly have a perspective on wanting to see a future board president who is fair, balanced and able to hammer out consensus on the difficult questions of the day.”

He added that “my constituents of District 3 would also want a District 3 representative to cast a vote.”

Supervisor John Avalos said the board should wait until Dec. 9.

“It should happen when we need it to happen,” he said. “I think David Chiu has left the board, I don't think he should be part of the process. It should be the remaining members.”

If the board appoints an interim president, then it would have to vote again on board president for a full two-year term Jan. 8, under City Charter rules.

Mayor Ed Lee has the authority over appointing Chiu's replacement as supervisor. If the mayor waits until Jan. 9 then the appointee can serve for 10 years. If he does it before, it would only be six years.

A rumored front-runner is Cindy Wu, current chairwoman of the Planning Commission and a community planner with the Chinatown Community Development Center, a nonprofit housing provider.

Bay Area NewsDavid ChiuEric MarGovernment & PoliticsMark FarrellPolitics

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

Just Posted

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia taps elbows during a rally for supporters on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Both become senators Wednesday.  (Jenny Jarvie/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Vice President Harris swears in senators Padilla, Warnock, Ossoff

New Democratic senators tip balance of power in upper legislative house

President Joe Biden plans to sign a number of executive orders over the next week. (Biden Transition/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)
Biden signals new direction by signing mask order on his first day in office

President plans ambitious 10-day push of executive orders, legislation

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
A new turn in history: Kamala Harris sworn in as 49th vice president

Noah Bierman and Melanie Mason Los Angeles Times Kamala Devi Harris, born… Continue reading

Most Read