Friday, January 09, 2009

Board of Supervisors 2: Presidential Election

Living a block away from City Hall, I went home and watched the newly inaugurated Board of Supervisors vote for a president, which is an enormously important position that gets to appoint fellow supervisors to various committees that range from powerful to powerless.

The eleven-member Board was almost evenly divided. Sean Elsbernd, Michela Alioto-Pier, and Carmen Chu were all originally appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and tend to be lackies for the mayor's agenda. They were joined as a bloc by Bevan Dufty (mentored by former Mayor Willie Brown) in an attempt to install Supervisor Sophie Maxwell as President. On the "left-leaning" side, as the San Francisco Chronicle likes to put it, there were six votes and four candidates, including frontrunner Ross Mirkarimi above.

The seven successive votes were fascinating, Mirkarimi starting with four votes from the progressive wing, but then watching his support defect first to John Avalos and then, in a surprise to most observers, to the newly elected 38-year-old David Chiu from District 3.

Mirkarimi finally conceded defeat and voted for Chiu to give him six votes over Sophie Maxwell's five and the chambers exploded with applause.

The inimitable political enthusiast Janet Tandy found herself "deeply moved" by the afternoon...

...and the do-it-yourself video journalist above looked like she had been given the scoop of the century.

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