Push to fast-track San Francisco police commissioner reappointment draws criticism

Supervisor Aaron Peskin has pushed ahead with a vote to have Cindy Elias reappointed, four months before her term expires.

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Push to fast-track SF police commissioner reappointment amid criticism
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A push by some progressives on the Board of Supervisors to fast-track Cindy Elias' reappointment as police commmissioner is bringing sharp criticism from moderates.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The president of the San Francisco Police Commission is up for another term in April. But there's a push by some progressives on the Board of Supervisors to fast-track her reappointment, which is bringing sharp criticism from moderates.

Cindy Elias is one of the longest-serving members of the police commission. Twice the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously supported her.

Except that now Supervisor Aaron Peskin has pushed ahead with a vote to have Elias reappointed, four months before her term expires.

"She's doing an excellent job and deserves to continue and deserves to have the support of this Board of Supervisors," said Supervisor Peskin remotely via Zoom. Peskin was not able to attend Monday morning's hearing because of COVID.

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While this has been done before, the optics and the timing in this case are not good.

"This is just bare politics, it's as simple as that. The current board, which is leaning to the progressive side, is afraid that in the coming month, there will be new members that might not share that philosophy, and they want to preempt the idea of somebody else becoming a critical vote on the police commission," explained ABC7 News contributor Phil Matier.

Six months ago, the board had seven progressives, but with Gordon Mar and Matt Haney out, the two new elected supervisors, Joel Engardio and Matt Dorsey, are more to the center. This means there will be six moderates and only five progressives.

On Monday, the three members on the rules committee voted on the issue to reappoint Elias, with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, a moderate, in opposition.

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Supervisor Connie Chan, a progressive, defended Elias as someone with needed institutional knowledge.

"Most importantly is that we actually have someone that knows and has been through the process of justice reform to complete the reform process," added Chan.

Supervisor Peskin said there was no "hanky panky" involved in his decision and announced that the new board will be allowed to vote after Jan. 9 when the new term begins, but made it clear they would not wait until her term expires in April.

So the question now is, by having the support of the rules committed early on, would this discourage other potential candidates from applying?

"Oh, pretty clearly it shuts down the conversation on any alternative to her," said Mandelman.

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