Mayor hires Bevan Dufty – former campaign opponent – to oversee homeless

The City’s seemingly endless homeless issue will come closer to an end, Mayor Ed Lee said Friday as he announced the appointment of former Supervisor Bevan Dufty to a new position overseeing poverty in San Francisco.

Dufty set himself apart from Lee’s opponents in the 2011 mayoral race by being cordial in August when Lee reneged on his promise not to seek permanent office after being appointed to finish the term of former Mayor Gavin Newsom. While other candidates were hostile, Dufty went out of his way to welcome Lee to the race.

During the campaign, Dufty aggressively refuted claims he was seeking a future job in exchange for remaining pleasant about Lee’s late entry, and he also didn’t hesitate to take slight jabs at the mayor’s “Ed Lee gets it done” slogan in a television ad in which he said “it’s not enough to just get it done, we have to get it done better.”

Dufty’s status as a former opponent was not lost on Lee at Friday’s announcement, held at the Larkin Street Youth Services homeless outreach center.

“It’s never been about a campaign for an election,” Lee said. “It’s always been about a campaign to improve lives.”

Dufty said to expect a more comprehensive approach to homeless problems under his tenure. During the mayoral campaign, he floated like “wet housing” — shelters that focus on managing alcohol intake for homeless people with drinking problems instead of restricting it.

“I didn’t want to come into a job that I saw as maintaining the status quo,” Dufty said to a crowd of supporters.

Dufty will replace Director of Homeless Policy Dariush Kayhan, who is taking a position in the Department of Public Works. Dufty’s entry also means a new job title – Director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement — an acronym that spells out HOPE. The position pays $156,000 per year, according to the Mayor’s Office.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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