Latest decision ends Alioto-Pier’s re-election saga

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier’s political career representing the Pacific Heights and Marina neighborhoods will come to an end in four months after she failed to win a legal battle to overturn the opinion that she’s ineligible to seek re-election. 

While uncertainty has surrounded the District 2 race, it was made clear Wednesday: The Nov. 2 ballots were shipped off to the printers without Alioto-Pier listed as a candidate. 

The California Supreme Court denied her request to take up the court case Wednesday. A California Court of Appeal had ruled against Alioto-Pier, saying she was termed out of office, upholding a more than 2-year-old opinion from City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The decision struck down Alioto-Pier’s July 22 legal victory when Superior Court Judge Peter Busch overturned Herrera’s opinion.

Alioto-Pier said she should be allowed to run for another four-year term, but that “while I am disappointed in the outcome, I of course respect the judicial process.”

Alioto-Pier was appointed to the District 2 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 then re-elected to her current four-year term, which ends Jan. 8.

The City Charter says anyone who’s 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.”

On Nov. 2, voters will decide who will fill the seat. Strong contenders among the six candidates are Janet Reilly, a Golden Gate Bridge transit district board member, and venture capitalist Mark Farrell.

End of the line

The legal wrangling about whether Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier could run for re-election focused on her time appointed versus elected.

January 2004: Appointed to District 2 seat by Mayor Gavin Newsom on Jan. 26
November 2004: Wins election for January 2005 to January 2007 term after being required by law to run
November 2006: Elected to current term, which runs from January 2007 to January 2011
November 2010: District 2 seat up for election
January 2011: Current term ends

Source: Board of Supervisors

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