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Speculation begins for Newsom's replacement

March 12, 2010 7:17:19 PM PST
The buzz around San Francisco City Hall right now is who will San Francisco supervisors choose to fill out the last year of Mayor Gavin Newsom's term? Newsom's term as mayor does not run out until 2012, but if he is elected lieutenant governor, he will leave office in January of next year. Picking his replacement will not be the job of voters; under the county's charter, it is the Board of Supervisors that decides.

"Many voters don't realize that the board chooses the mayor and it can be any registered voter, I believe," political consultant David Latterman said.

Latterman is right; the Board of Supervisors can pick anyone. But the winner has to have six votes, and there is a twist.

"The only twist is that a supervisor cannot vote for him or herself," Latterman said.

Latterman believes that could make it very difficult for the board to choose. David Chu is the board president and his political mentor Aaron Peskin believes he is the likely choice.

"I think possession, as they say, is nine-tenths of the law," Peskin said.

Peskin points out Chu would take over as acting mayor and would be the board's logical choice to be interim mayor.

"If they deadlock and they can't select one of their own, it's conceivable that they could go outside," Peskin said.

Outsiders could include State Sen. Leland Yee, former Mayor Art Agnos, State Sen. Mark Leno, Assm. Tom Ammiano, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and former Mayor Willie Brown.

Brown says he would not take the job and that there are plenty of others who really want the job. Dufty has announced his running in the next regular mayoral election in 2010, but he says he would not be interim mayor

"I think the most appropriate thing would be to have someone who could come in and be a caretaker," Dufty said.

The one other prominent name being mentioned is former Supervisor Peskin, who Friday said his wife would not want him to take the job, but when pressed, declined to answer. Brown answered for him.

"Are you kidding me? He would think he'd died and gone to heaven," Brown said.


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