District 2 candidate vows to appeal decision against moving up election

District 2 candidate Nick Josefowitz vowed to file an appeal after his bid to have the election moved up from June to November was defeated in court Thursday.

Josefowitz, a BART board member, filed a lawsuit Feb. 1 against The City arguing that the city charter requires the District 2 contest to be decided in June. But Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn issued a tentative ruling Tuesday against Josefowitz and upheld it on Thursday.

Josefowitz told the San Francisco Examiner, “We will appeal the ruling.”

Mark Farrell vacated the District 2 seat last month when the Board of Supervisors appointed him as mayor.

He then appointed Catherine Stefani to serve out the remainder of his term, giving her the advantage of incumbency heading into the election. A June election could have limited that power by giving her less time in office.

Political observers have suggested Josefowitz’s effort is more about keeping his option to run for re-election to the BART board in November if he fails in a District 2 bid in a June contest. He couldn’t run for both seats in November.

But Josefowitz said Thursday that if the contest isn’t in June he remains committed to remaining in the District 2 contest.

“Absolutely I’m still running,” Josefowitz said. “I’m not going to let a backroom deal stop our campaign to hold City Hall accountable for delivering real results.”

In the “backroom deal” he refers, the moderate Farrell worked with progressive supervisors to be voted in as interim mayor until the June election. His appointment ousted Board of Supervisors President London Breed from her position as acting mayor, which she assumed when Mayor Ed Lee died on Dec. 12.

Josefowitz’s lawsuit called into question conflicting city charter provisions that determine the timing of elections when there are vacancies on the Board of Supervisors. One provision states there should be an election for the vacated seat at the already scheduled election date for that seat if it falls within one year, while another states there should be an election for the seat at an election when another board seat is also up for election.

The District 8 contest is scheduled for June. Supervisor Jeff Sheehy was appointed to that seat last year after former supervisor Scott Wiener won election to the state senate.

Kahn said in his ruling that when voters approved the vacancy charter provisions in 2001 their intent was to have the District 2 race in November. At the time, elections were held every year. However in 2012 voters approved a measure to consolidate elections, resulting in no election in 2017.

Had there been an election in 2017, Sheehy’s race would have been last year and not in June, and then the second provision wouldn’t be the subject of debate.

In addition to Josefowitz and Stefani, Kat Anderson, a lawyer and Recreation and Park Commission, and Schuyler Hudak, founder of a media startup, are also candidates in the District 2 race.

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