Ever since Herrera opined in 2008 that Alioto-Pier was ineligible to run again, the D-2 supe has hinted at legal action. That lawsuit came in June.
Here's the crux of it: Herrera applied the "rounding-up rule," which
states that anyone appointed to serve two or more years of a four-year
term has, in the eyes of the law, served a complete first term.
Alioto-Pier saw things differently. After being appointed by newly
elected Mayor Gavin Newsom to fill his seat, she served 10 months. Then
she was elected to a two-year term. And then, in 2006, she won her "first" four-year term.
That's how Judge Busch saw things, too.
But, [on Aug. 24], a three-judge appeals panel sharply disagreed. In a 23-page
ruling, the judges felt that Alioto-Pier's interpretation, "if
accepted, would create an exception to the term limits provision that
would swallow the rule, as it would give her the opportunity to serve
almost three full terms instead of the two terms contemplated" by the
city charter. "And it would ignore rounding up. This would be, in
statutory interpretation language, an absurd result, which courts must
try to avoid." The appeals court argues that the will of voters asked to
decide on term limits measures - and, based on what they read in voter
pamphlets - is ill-served by a legalistic argument that favors appointed
candidates over elected ones.
"I believed and continued to believe that the intent of the voters as
reflected in the plain language of our city charter allows me to run for
second four year term. While I am disappointed in the outcome, I of
course respect the judicial process.
I will continue to work hard for the residents of my district and the
people of San Francisco for the remainder of time in office."