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Home Featured D5 resident says Breed can’t run in June as “acting mayor”

D5 resident says Breed can’t run in June as “acting mayor”

A challenge to the ballot designation again raises the question of how one person can run both branches of government (and run for mayor as an incumbent)

Will Breed step down early to let her allies elect a new board president?

A District Five resident has challenged Acting Mayor London Breed’s ballot designation for the June election, adding another wrinkle to the question of whether one person can serve as both mayor and president of the Board of Supes for an extended period of time.

Karen Fishkin filed a formal challenge this afternoon to Breed’s effort to be listed on the mayoral ballot as “acting mayor.”

“Acting Mayor” was added after the filing deadline

That ballot designation is a bit strange anyway: Documents on file with the Department of Elections show that Breed initially described herself as “president, Board of Supervisors.” That’s what the documents showed when she filed for mayor on the final deadline day, Jan. 9.

But two days later, on Jan. 11, that designation was crossed out and replaced with “acting mayor/supervisor.” The change was initialed “MM,” apparently a reference to Breed’s campaign manager Maggie Muir.

Fishkin notes that under state election laws, a ballot designation by an elected official may only include “an office to which he or she was elected by a vote of the people.” If the person holds office by virtue of an appointment, the designation must say “appointed incumbent.”

“Acting mayor is neither a job that London Breed was appointed to or elected to,” Fishkin’s appeal letter states. “Acting mayor is not an occupation, because she is not paid to do the job of acting mayor.”

The appeal cites a December 12, 2017 memo by City Attorney Dennis Herrera that states that Breed has the right to hold both offices until June. The memo argues that Breed has never been sworn in as mayor and isn’t getting paid the mayoral salary.

The ballot designation may not seem like a huge deal, but the power of incumbency is real. It clearly means enough to her campaign that Muir showed up two days after the filing deadline to change it.

“I wish we’d had an extra two days,” Jon Golinger, who is managing Sup. Jane Kim’s campaign, told me.

Fishkin told me that she filed the appeal as a private citizen and not a member of any group. “What she did, whether on purpose or not, was take advantage of this tragic event,” Fishkin told me. “There are rules, and the need to be followed.”

The appeal with challenge Herrera’s Office: If, as the city attorney argues, Breed is only acting mayor because she was the board president when Ed Lee died, an although she has all the powers of the mayor she can still be president of the board, effectively running both branches of government, then “acting mayor” doesn’t appear to be a legal ballot designation under state law.

It’s another twist in this strange situation where Breed is in essence trying to run as the incumbent without actually taking the oath of office – which would require her to renounce her board seat.

Herrera will have to make a decision fairly quickly so the issue can be settled – and if necessary, litigated – in time for ballots to be printed.


  1. What makes your claimed 99% a “class”? If they don’t act together in some tangible way(like voting, for instance) then they’re just some people you’ve arbitrarily chosen to group together. IOW, I could group together any 99% of the population(say people with a particular gene) and call them a “class”. But that wouldn’t have meaning unless they actually act as a group.

  2. You don’t know Joe Matthews and his Sunday column in Insight? Or are you just being your combative self?

  3. No, you misunderstood me. By 99 percent, I was referring to class, not a voting bloc. In other words, London Breed is supported by Ron Conway, a white San Francisco billionaire, and she will always follow the wishes of the rich white billioniares who support her over her constituents or the 99 percent.

  4. What you’ve written has nothing to do with Breed’s occupation being listed on the ballot as acting mayor. Of course, that’s moot too because she’s no longer acting mayor. If 99%(or even 50%) of SF voters don’t like Breed, she won’t be elected mayor. Somehow though, D5 SF voters elected her as supervisor. That means that yes, you are disgruntled. And your claim that 99% of SF agrees with you(about Breed) is a fantasy.

  5. @billtaplan:disqus London Breed routinely votes with rich white developers over the interests of the 99 %. I am in the 99% AND a resident of D5, Breed’s district, so yeah, I am disgruntled that my supervisor ignores the wishes of her constituents to favor wealthy people who don’t even live in her district.

  6. So I’m just wondering if anyone else has made this connection: homeless camps have all but disappeared in many previous locations – Division St, Folsom St, the Hairball, 7th St, Berry. Illinois …

    I’ve noticed the difference for the last several weeks.

    Then it occurred to me that we have a new “sheriff” in town for the last 6 weeks, and could there possibly by any relati0n? If so … !!!

  7. It’s moot. Elections department denied the challenge the day it was presented.

    It won’t go to court. But it’ll resurface as a “whispering campaign” to circulate rumors that discredit Bree and aimed at conspiratorialists, the cynical, and the disgruntled. Seems there are a goodly number of those in SF.

  8. Uhm, we have this on tape. One of the public radio stations interviewed the city planner who worked with Calvin on that downzoning and what it was intended to fix was new apartments with low rents moving into the area. Those apartments had black people in them.

  9. HANC started to kick black people out by downzoning to make it unaffordable for them to live there. Now it wants to block a building completely allowed by current zoning because affordable housing should go somewhere else. What’s so much more important than providing 20 homes for families that desperately need them?

  10. I want to make sure it’s known that many D5 residents support the work of HANC, and I want to be clear that I personally do not support the McDonald’s site exceeding 50′ in height.

    You and Kraus are laying the conjecture on thick.

  11. From a part time position ($25k) w/ one aide to a full time $121,000 with THREE aides … and yet not much has really changed.

  12. The entire city paid for the acquisition of that lot, which could go far beyond 50′ under current zoning. Now you want to reduce the supply of homes for many San Franciscans just to preserve your exclusive whitewashed community.

  13. Does that affect the application?

    As a D5 resident I support a vetting of the McDonald’s site plan. We need to ensure our historic corridors have community and preservation in mind. I do not support new housing over 50′ in height at the Haight / Stanyan site.

    Thank you for your good work, HANC.

  14. Absolute bullshit, and a preview into what a corrupt London Breed City Hall would look like. Speaks volumes that her campaign would try to pull a shady trick to claim the incumbency edge by sneaking in 2 days past deadline when no one was looking. Moreover, she’s currently D5 Supervisor, Sup Board President and acting mayor, which means she’s spread too thin and not doing any of the jobs effectively.

  15. Karen Fishkin is not simply some random “private citizen”. Ms. Fishkin sits on the Board of Directors of the notoriously anti-housing Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC.)

    London Breed has been instrumental regarding the City’s acquisition of the troubled McDonald’s property at Haight and Ashbury in order to develop it into 100% affordable housing . The site is zone for this use with a height limit of 85-feet.

    HANC, on the other hand, has written a preemptive letter to the City expressing their “serious environmental/quality-of-life” concerns regarding any such affordable housing development over 50-feet.

  16. from SFGATE – “John Arntz, the elections department director, said that after reviewing the ballot designation challenge, Breed was within her rights to list her occupation as the city’s acting mayor and supervisor.”

  17. It is not necessary for anyone (e.g. “election officials”, Supervisors, City Attorney, etc.) to “rule” on this.

    The City Charter is very clear — London Breed can serve both as Mayor and Supervisor until the election.

    The only “overreaching” and “misstating” is on your part.

  18. No. The City has not ruled on this specific issue. Because of Mayor Lee’s sudden death and Breed’s appointment by The City Charter, her status is “appointed.” Breed was not elected to be mayor. Under state election laws the ballot designation must say “appointed.” No one has voted for London Breed to be mayor. She is over reaching again and mistating her position to advantage herself.

  19. Please do the right thing Supervisor Breed and call for a vote on a caretaker mayor. We need a fair and level playing field for all candidates who are running for the office of mayor. One single person cannot run both branches of government at the same time.

  20. Transparency please. No dirty tricks two days after the fact. D5 residents and the people of San Francisco deserve better than this underhanded power grab by back room deal makers like Con Wrongway, Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom.

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