Alioto-Pier fights to run for re-election

July 14, 2010 7:11:08 PM PDT
San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier is suing the city she serves because she wants to keep on serving. The city attorney says she is termed out and Alioto-Pier thinks she should be able to run again in November.

Both are citing this provision in the city charter that says: "Any person appointed to the office of supervisor to complete in excess of two years of a four year term shall be deemed to have served one full term."

"I was appointed for less than a year," Alioto-Pier said.

Alioto-Pier was appointed by Gavin Newsom when he became mayor in January 2004. That November she had to run for election and won, finishing out what would have been Newsom's last two years. She then successfully campaigned to win her current four-year term.

"The charter is very clear. It says term limits are two elected four-year terms. I've been elected to one four-year term," she said.

"She is the type of incumbent the voters intended to apply term limits to," Deputy City Attorney Jon Givner said.

Givner is arguing the case for the City Attorney's Office. Their legal opinion is that whether appointed or elected, term limits apply.

"Supervisor Alioto-Pier served three years of a four year term and then served another full four-year term and is now asking for another four years," he said.

Melissa Griffin is a political columnist for the San Francisco Examiner and an attorney. She believes Alioto-Pier has the superior case based on the language in the charter.

"Legally speaking, you always look at the plain language before you start inferring what people think about a particular statue and in this case when it comes to the plain language, Michela is going to win," she said.

The ruling could also affect Supervisor Carmen Chu who was initially appointed to fill the seat of now imprisoned supervisor Ed Jew.

The case is expected to go before a superior court judge next week.


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