In a last-minute maneuver, public defender and pension crusader Jeff Adachi has filled out the paperwork to run for mayor.
Adachi -- both a lawyer and a politician -- has, since 2010, answered our queries of whether he'd run for mayor in the following way: "I have no plans to do so at this time." That, of course, is a malleable answer. At roughly 10:45 this morning, Adachi did have plans to do so -- and did so.
The move came as a shock -- but not a surprise -- even to those involved in Adachi's pension measure.
"Very clever," said Craig Weber, the treasurer for Adachi's Proposition D -- a pension measure dueling with the plan generated by labor and the city. "He can leverage his campaign for Prop. D and, at the same time, put together an organization for mayor."
Since contributions to ballot measures are uncapped -- which is not the case with candidates -- a politician strongly identified with a ballot measure can essentially ride it through a campaign finance loophole. The ubiquitous example is Gavin Newsom's use of Care Not Cash eight years ago. Whether Adachi plans to follow that path or step away from his pension measure is unknown at this time.
The public defender must return his completed paperwork, $5,000, and 25 signatures to the Department of Elections by 5 p.m. if he intends to run for mayor.
Adachi's leap into the fray is a move both his supporters and detractors have long anticipated. Whatever his motivations for confronting Big Labor via two pension measures, many, many city officials have told us they feel Adachi has been a huge help as the "bad cop" that led to subsequent concessions. They wish that's where he'd leave it -- instead of running a pension measure against the city's "consensus plan."
In late July he told SF Weekly he didn't think an electorate that would be receptive to Ed Lee running for mayor would be ready to endorse his candidacy. Something must have changed in Adachi's equation between then and now.
Our calls to Adachi and his second-in-command at the public defender's office, Matt Gonzalez, have not yet been returned.
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