This is how San Francisco gets its next mayor?

Since Mayor Newsom was elected Lieutenant Governor, the question many voters have been asking is how is it possible that the City does not have a process in place to choose a new Mayor in the event she/he is unable or unwilling to serve?  Doesn’t it seem irresponsible that this question hasn’t been addressed, and a process put in place after orderly consideration?  Instead, it’s been farce, left to the Supervisors under no small amount of time pressure.  At least some of the decision-making around identifying the selection process has been public, during last week’s Board of Supervisor meeting.  

The San Francisco City Charter, chock full of provisions about such important matters as whether the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors should have a public  Q&A, simply specifies that a vacancy in the office of mayor shall be filled by a San Francisco registered voter chosen by a majority of the Supervisors but offers no procedure for the choosing.   See the report to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors regarding the state of affairs and the Board’s options, prepared by the (one supposes) neutral Office of County Counsel, County of Santa Clara, and illuminating just how wide-open the possibilities for mayoral selection are.  

The default scenario following Mayor Newsom’s inauguration as Lieutenant Governor is that the President of the Board of Supervisors serves as acting mayor.   An election to fill the mayor’s office will occur in November 2012.   Not content to allow David Chiu, the current Board President, serve, the Supervisors will choose the successor mayor.  While the nominations and voting will be public, imagine the backroom negotiations that must be underway. 

Even if you believe the Charter is no place for procedure, surely an item of new business for the next Board of Supervisors is to determine and codify, in a transparent considered fashion, a process to choose a replacement mayor that measures up to the post being filled.   LLII.

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