Lee and Chu seen here in a photo from 2011.
In a move that surprised no one, Mayor Ed Lee announced today that he would appoint Supervisor Carmen Chu as the city's next Assessor-Recorder, a position which had been vacant since previous occupant Phil Ting won a seat in the State Assembly. The mayor said that he would wait until as late as March 4 to announce whom he would appoint to represent District Four, which includes the Sunset and Parkside, but he did not reveal the identity of his choice—or even if a choice had yet been made.
Speculation—and intrigue—has been swirling for months over the Mayor's choice. Here's a guide to some of the most buzzed-about candidates (none of whom were interested in talking to us on the record):
Name: Suzy Loftus
Current position: Police Commissioner
Strengths: Loftus is closely associated with State Attorney General Kamala Harris, having worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General for Harris in Sacramento and Chief of Policy for San Francisco's District Attorney's office. She is also reported to have the support of tech mogul Ron Conway. Loftus is also Chief Operating Officer for the Center for Youth Wellness, a health and wellness center in Bayview.
Drawbacks: Ethnicity. Loftus is an Irish-American Roman Catholic. Since the return of district elections, D4 has been held only by members of the Chinese-American community (Leland Yee, Fiona Ma, Ed Jew, and Chu). If Loftus were to be appointed, expect a strong challenger against her in the next election from that voting bloc.
Odds: Reasonable. Loftus would bring a wealth of policy experience to the job.
Name: Katy Tang
Current position: Aide to Supervisor Carmen Chu
Strengths: Tang has lived almost all her life in the Sunset, and prior to joining Chu's staff, worked for the Mayor’s Office of Public Policy and Finance.
Drawbacks: She is still in her twenties and has never faced voters in a race.
Odds: Strong. As Renaissance schemer Machiavelli counseled in The Prince, it is safer to appoint inexperienced staffers to high positions, since their power base will depend on the appointer, rather than with themselves.
Name: Malcolm Yeung
Position: Deputy Director of the Chinatown Community Development Center.
Highlights: Yeung served as a top aide to Mayor Lee from 2011 to 2012, heading up the successful push for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Drawbacks: Though he seemed close to Mayor Lee, there have been rumors that behind-the-scenes lobbying by Chinatown power-broker/civic leader Rose Pak has backfired, leading to a split between Lee and Pak.
Odds: Apparently strong in the early going, but if press reports are to be believed, slim now.
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