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Who Is Going to Replace David Chiu as Supervisor?

Scott Lucas | November 11, 2014 | Story Politics

A shocker for you here: Local politicians are playing politics. Who'd have seen it coming?

The latest internecine struggle is over two related questions. Who will Mayor Ed Lee name to replace outgoing Supervisor David Chiu? Second, who will the Board vote to replace Chiu as its president? The answer? Nobody has any idea! But we have so many words to type before hitting our quota. Here we go!

Chiu will be sworn into his new office on December 1. That leaves the board to vote to appoint a temporary President, who will serve for the remainder of the year, at its December 9 meeting. (Whoever wins that vote is expected to be able to continue in the post when the board votes for its permanent President at its meeting on January 8.) Meanwhile, Lee can appoint a successor to Chiu as soon as December 3—but will probably delay until the new year, since an appointee who takes office then would be able to serve ten years, rather than six, thanks to the way the term limits law is written. Got all that? Good. Now it gets interesting.

Who's in the running to replace Chiu? All ten members of the board are eligible. But the names that have floated to the surface most prominently are Jane Kim, Mark Farrell, London Breed and Katy Tang, according to the Examiner. Nobody is talking publicly about their respective chances, but the Chronicle thinks that neither Farrell nor Kim have been able to round up the votes, leaving Breed—or, less likely, Tang—a possible compromise candidate. Though the board isn't split up into formal parties, the members do tend to vote along an ideological spectrum. In general, progressives hold three votes, moderates five (used to be six), and two supes—Kim and Breed—have positioned themselves as swings, depending on the issue. Tim Redmond thinks that math favors a David Campos board presidency. (Though: The dude just lost his election. Momentum isn't a huge deal, but it does matter, and Campos's is going the other way.) So where's that leave the presidency of the Board? Who knows! Probably one of those four people—unless it isn't!

Another thing we don't know: Who replaces Chiu? The general sense has been for a while that the Mayor was leaning towards Cindy Wu, the current chair of the Planning Commission and a staffer at Rose Pak's Chinatown Community Development Center. But it seems that pro-development interests have been pushing back against her, as she is to the left of Chiu on several issues. The mayor got burned once by appointing a Planning Commissioner: Christina Olague, who voted to keep Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in office, which lead to her loss in the subsequent election. So that's one shoal to avoid. But if the mayor appoints someone seen as too cozy with developers, a challenge could develop from the North Beach neighborhood groups that spearheaded the No Wall on the Waterfront campaigns. So, once again: Who knows! Maybe it'll be some tech millionaire? Maybe Bad Elmo? Maybe you?

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