By Tim Redmond
JANUARY 8, 2014 – By the time the supervisors gathered for the ceremony of swearing in the new board, it was pretty clear how the vote for president was going to come out.
Once Supervisors Katy Tang and Mark Farrell were out of the running, Sup. London Breed was the only person who could get six votes.
There were maybe 10 speakers who supported Breed, three who supported Campos, but the deal was done. Campos got three votes (himself, Sup. John Avalos, and Sup. Jane Kim). The rest went to Breed, including Sup. Eric Mar, who generally votes with the progressives.
Breed has opposed the mayor on public power (and recently, on the Fire Department) but on housing, development, and economic issues she’s a centrist who generally supports Lee’s agenda.
There may be a difference between Breed and former Board President David Chiu: Chiu won his first term with progressive support, then after pissing off the people who put him in that office, won his second term as president by cutting deals with the conservative side of the board, and his committee assignments reflected that. I asked him, after the progressives got shafted in assignments, what had happened, and he told me that he wished it had come down differently – on other words, he wished that the left had supported him so he didn’t have to cut deals with the right.
Breed was going to win this anyway. Farrell was a potential challenger, but with the ethics issues he’s faced, progressives would have had a hard time lining up behind him. And nobody, I’m told, was cutting any deals with the folks on the left.
So if you want to see what the era of Board President London Breed is going to look like, check out who she puts on the Land use and Economic Development Committee and who is on the Budget Committee. That will be a pretty good sign.
On an upbeat note: I’ve watched the Board of Supervisors for many years, and I think Sup. Scott Wiener made a nice point before the vote: San Francisco has come a long way when one of the two candidates for board president is an African American woman who grew up in the housing projects of the Western Addition and the other is a gay man who arrived as an undocumented immigrant at age 14.
On the other hand, policy matters – and on a policy level, the two are very different. It’s going to be an interesting year.