Court rules Alioto-Pier cannot seek re-election

Pacific Heights residents will have a new face representing them after an appeals court ruled Tuesday that District 2 Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier cannot seek re-election.

With less than 70 days before the November election, the court ruling upholds a more than 2-year-old opinion from City Attorney Dennis Herrera that Alioto-Pier is in her second and final four-year term in office according to the City Charter. It struck down a Superior Court judge’s ruling last month that Alioto-Pier must be listed on the ballot.

Alioto-Pier, however, is not done fighting, and plans to file a request today for the California Supreme Court to review the case. The Department of Elections is expected to send Nov. 2 election ballots to the printer Sept. 1.

District 2 candidate Janet Reilly, a Golden Gate Bridge transit district board member, praised the legal decision.

“Frankly, it has been difficult for the voters to clearly evaluate the candidates without knowing whether or not Supervisor Alioto-Pier was on the ballot,” Reilly said. “Now that we have clarity, I am looking forward to continuing my door-to-door campaign to meet the voters of District 2.”

Five other candidates are in the running, including venture capitalist Mark Farrell.

Alioto-Pier had scored a legal victory July 22 when Superior Court Judge Peter Busch struck down Herrera’s opinion. But Herrera appealed. The 3-0 ruling by the California Courts of Appeal judges was issued Tuesday.

Alioto-Pier was appointed to the board seat by Mayor Gavin Newsom in January 2004. She was required to run for election in November 2004 and served the remainder of what would have been Newsom’s complete four-year term, ending in January 2007. She was re-elected to what Alioto-Pier is calling her first four-year term, but what Herrera said is her second four-year term.

The City Charter says anyone who is appointed to serve more than a two-year term will be considered to have served a four-year term. But Alioto-Pier said her November 2004 election means she was appointed for a term of less than a year.

Herrera said someone who’s appointed and serves more than two years of a four-year term will be considered to have served a four-year term “whether they stand for election during that period.”

Read the City Attorney release here.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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