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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Liveblogging the Supes! Chiu Is President. Everybody's Pregnant, Dufty Is Hilarious, Daly Stabs "My Closest Ally" in the Back

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 12:25 PM

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By Benjamin Wachs

Update 2:33 - This meeting is OVAH!

Now everybody eats desert.  Anybody know which Supe has the best desert? 

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Update 2:27 - David Chiu's speech so far is measured, brief, and moving in the way that something clearly prepared and calculated can but (but isn't really).

He thanks the outgoing board, referring to "professor McGoldrick," and "Judge Sandoval," and saying that "We will never have another Board President like Aaron Peskin."

Add "flattery" to David Chiu's considerable roster of skills.

So far, however, there is nothing of substance to this speech that we haven't heard before (over and over and over ...).  He does promise a new spirit of cooperation with the executive branch - but can even David Chiu stroke an ego that big?

Update 2:18
- Michela Alioto-Pier outsources. She's not pregnant, but a member of her staff is. That counts, right?

She begins, though, by admitting to David Chiu that she didn't support his candidacy, but that she's glad for him. Is this courageous? Cynical?  It's unusual, though - and oddly honest.  She's the only person to have actually addressed the fact that many of these people were trying to keep each other from taking office not long ago - something that isn't usually discussed.

Alioto-Pier's speech is very domestic, but it works for her: she comes off as very personable, caring, and not at all like a snarling member of a moderate minority who has been shoved and punched at every day for the last four years. 

Impressive.

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Update 2:11 - Bevan Dufty one ups everyone by holding a small child while giving remarks.  It's his daughter, and she's unbearably cute. 

"Daddy," she says, grabbing the mic from him.  And right when he's trying to thank the press corp for doing our job. 

Bevan, I appreciate it, but, the press is all messed up these days - and we know it.  If we were really doing our job, half of city hall would be in jail. 

He then thanks the public for the comments they give. I no longer believe he's sincere.  No one possibly could be. 

But he claims the funny crown after he thanks his parenting partner and says "You've got to be gullible by letting a gay man get you pregnant in this town."

And then by thanking all the people who are already running for his seat when it opens.

And THEN by by asking the sheriff's office to please remove his daughter. 

Damn, I like Bevan.

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Update 2:05 - Sophie Maxwell shines: she's personable, passionate, and brief. She's also going to the Obama inauguration.

Chris Daly, by contrast, is funny:  he opens by saying "I don't have any remarks, just some questions for the Mayor."  The room bursts into laughter. 

"Chris," David Chiu says, "we want him to come back."

Daly then tries to mend fences, pointing out that Mirkarimi, who he just stabbed in the back, has been "my closest ally."  Which tells you a lot about Chris Daly. 

Then he also makes a "Chiu/Chu" joke, saying that calling David "President Chiu" and Carmen "supervisor Chiu" will solve the confusion.

Chris Daly is no longer funny. 

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Update 1:59 - Okay, look people, the fact that David "Chiu" sounds like Carmen "Chu," is NOT FUNNY. Okay?  It wasn't funny when the people in public comment pointed it out, and it's not funny when Carmen Chu and David Chiu tell it's other "it's good to share a name with you...almost."  Okay? This is not a joke, let alone one with a shelf life. Please stop.

Meanwhile ... wow ... Carmen Chu is speaking for several minutes.  Has that ever happened before?  Will her jaw get tired?  Is her tongue going to get a cramp? 

She says she's very proud of getting rid of both of her two titles:  the "newest member" and the "only Chinese member" of the Board of Supervisors. 

Fair enough. 

Hopefully now the other Supes won't pick on her so much.   

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Update 1:52 - For just a moment, Ross Mirkarimi sounds like he can't believe he's having to do this. "Everybody knows I should be president," you can almost hear him say.

Then he clears his throat, and all that goes away.

And then... WHOA ... Ross Mirkarimi announces that he and his partner are also expecting their first child!

"We don't know the sex, but we do know it's going to be a constituent," he says, which is both hilarious and vaguely creepy.

Hmmm... he keeps sounding like he's about to launch into a truly great speach, but never quite makes it. 

He doesn't get much of a fanfare when he, too, lauds the departure of the Bush administration. Are people actually getting tired of hearing that, or at least clapping for it?

Ross is incredibly passionate ... deeply passionate ... profoundly passionate ... and also inarticulate.  He's jumping around a lot:  not being incrementalist, going over the budget, protecting the vulnerable, praising Obama ... I'm usually a big fan of Ross' speeches, but honestly man, can you pick a theme and stick to it? 

He gets a free pass, though, because of the kid.  Anybody who announces they're having a baby at this meeting gets a free pass.

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Update - 1:44 Sean Elsbernd is not given such a rousing round of applause. He says that "teachers and educators" are the true public servants, and breaks up a little when he says that the teachers and educators in his family are the true role models.  

Interesting - this is the most sincere I've ever heard Elsbernd sound.  He's almost ... human ... instead of an Android that downtown business interests found buried in the laboratory of a mad scientist and put a suit on. 

"This is not purely a revenue problem:  this is a revenue and an expenditure problem," he says, suddenly launching into the closest thing to a policy discussion we're heard today.  And ... wow ... he follows that up with an announcement that his wife is pregnant. 

He concludes by talking about the challenges SF faces, and sits down having wowed everyone listening.  Amazing.  

When did Sean Elsbernd get a soul?

Update - 1:33  David Campos gave a short, moderately moving speech.

Eric Mar gave an extremely long, extremely boring speech.  He gets a big round of applause, though, when he says he looks forward to cleansing the federal government of the stink of the Bush administration.  He also notes that Jake McGoldrick left him a note in the office, with advice on it. The advice, as it turns out, is extremely banal, about loving the city.

John Avalos gets BIG applause when he steps up.  He, too, doesn't like the Bush administration, and he, too, is moderately boring.  But not so boring as Mar.  He says he has experience, from working in Chris Daly's office, working "across the political divide."  In Daly's office, you'd have to be good at that - if you don't work across the political divide, you have no place to go.

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Update 1:18 - Gavin manages to sound smug at someone else's inauguration. It's quite amazing. 

He starts welcoming all the public officials too. Dear God.

"This (vote) was rather quick and efficient by Supervisorial standards," he says.  The man just can't be nice, can he?  Of course, he's right. 

Gavin says he's "enthusiastic about 2009 and the fresh air of progress that is demonstrated by the vote today."  Once again, it manages to sound mean. 

His remarks are otherwise mercifully brief.

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Update:  1:14 - "This is a little unexpected," Chiu says in his fist words as Board President.  This gets a big laugh.

He has ascended the podium, and is now thanking all the assembled dignitaries. 

"Thank you all for being part of this incredible city family."

"I also want to acknowledge all of the mayor's department heads that are here," he says ... and then realizes that he doesn' t have a list and can't recognize them all. 

He welcomes them anyway, and is looking forward to working with the anonymous hoards of bureaucrats.

Chiu next introduces Newsom.

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Update:  1:10 - Avalos has withdrawn his name from contention, and Daly has voted for Chiu for the first time - it seems with some distaste.

AND MIRKARIMI VOTES FOR CHIU!  IT'S OVER!

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Update 1:07 - Avalos and Campos both vote for Chiu, as does Chiu, but Daly votes for Daly instead of Avalos or Chiu ... Mirkarimi votes for Mirkarimi again, with a tremble in his voice indicating he knows his ship is sinking. 

But it's not enough.  Maxwell has five, Chiu has four, Mirkarimi and Daly each have one.  Ain't nobody getting through. 

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Update 1:03 - Alioto-Pier speaks.  "One of the reasons I'm supporting Sophie Maxwell is to see a woman in high position of authority in San Francisco government."

Yeah, because that's never happened before. 

She's black, too:  did you know that?

She goes on.  "As we enter into one of the most precarious financial situations that San Francisco has ever been in, ever, that we have a leader" who both understands the issues and has a good working relationship with everybody in the city." 

Really?  Because, I've got to be honest, every time I hear people talk about Sophie, it seems more like she's tolerated than respected.  Hmmmm ... kind of like Alioto-Pier.  Except for the part about "tolerated."

She gets a lot of applause anyway.

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Update 1:01 - David Campos makes a statement - could this be the game changer?  "One thing I'll say about being on the Board of Supervisors, it's certainly very interesting.  To my colleagues, I think that anybody who was nominated will do an excellent job, and I was proud to support Supervisor Mirkarimi and nominate him.  But I think this is important to wrap this up, and with that I'm going to support David Chiu ... and I ask that others do that as well."

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Update 12:59 - More of the same.  Maxwell keeps the moderate/conservative block, without exception.  Avalos heads the progressive block, followed by Mirkarimi, who right now is only getting the votes of Campos and Mirkarimi.

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Update: 12:56 -  In the second round of voting, Chiu and Mar both switched their votes from Mirkarimi to Avalos, putting Avalos ahead of Mirkarimi, but still behind Maxwell.

Meanwhile Daly has said he'll withdraw his name from consideration - as did Chiu.  "I am willing to be considered as a consensus candidate, as that need arises."

Neither of them actually withdraws, however.   

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Update 12:53 - Public comment is now closed!  The election is beginning.  The nominations are:  David Chiu, John Avalos, Chris Daly, Sophie Maxwell, and Ross Mirkarimi.

First round of votes:

Alioto Pier votes Maxwell

Avalos votes Avalos

Campos votes Mirkarimi

Chiu votes Mirkarimi (Wow!)

Chu votes Maxwell

Daly votes Avalos

Dufty votes Maxwell

Elsbernd votes Maxwell

Maxwell votes Maxwell

Mar votes Mirkarimi (very interesting)

Mirkarimi votes Mirkarimi

So far nobody's got it.

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Update 12:48 - The comments are coming in strongly pro-Mirkarimi, but there are other opinions.

Someone gets up to say 'Thank you' to the Board of Supervisors for having 3 Chinese members.  He's also tickled that Carmen "Chu" and David "Chiu" have names that sound alike. 

Meanwhile "Junebug," a public commentator named "Junebug" says that "when I think of 'for the people, by the people," I think of Chris Daly.  Whether i'm dealing with housing, childcare, or medical marijuana issues, Chris Daly has always been there to help me.  I'm sorry I'm out of breath, I ran up the stairs to say 'Go Chris!'"

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Update 12:43 - Oh SNAP!  One of the public speakers pointed Newsom out in the crowd and said it's nice to see him not be truant - and then said she doesn't support anybody for Board President! 

That's brutal.  But so true. 

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Update 12:40 - John Bardis has endorsed Mirkarimi, but has said that if we can't elect Ross, he'd be happy with David Chiu. 

A taste of things to come? 

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Most speakers are supporting Ross and Sophie, but a surprising number of people are saying they want Chris Daly. 

Could it be? 

Jazzie Collins says it's because Daly "takes care of the people's business" and Daly "has given his heart to the city and county."

And his spleen.  Don't forget that - it's what most of us think of when we think of Chris Daly. 

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You could say it's a zoo at the Board of Supes today - but it's more like a squeeze.  According to security guards, there are so many "ticketed" visitors to the meeting that swears in new Supes and selects a new board President that only about 20-25 spaces are open to the public. 

And naturally, a lot more than 25 people want to share what's on their mind.

A lot more journalists do, too:  the press alcove is overflowing, with a heavy press to get in, and an awful lot of local journalists are stuck on the outside. 

     
The written press and radio are well represented inside - because they showed up early.  The TV stations, by contrast are mostly stuck on the outside, along with a bevy of photographers:  and are screaming bloody hell because they can't get the shots they want. 

      
The guards are telling them there's no overflow room, so they should go to the North Light Court and watch it on video like everybody else.  To which they reply, with indignation, that that ain't so good for pictures.

Meanwhile the meeting has started anyway, the business part moved fast and furious, and the new Board of Supes is now taking public comment about who the next president should be. 

      
The scuttlebut is that both Ross Mirkarimi and Sophie Maxwell are close-but-no-cigar, and so Peskin is pushing David Chiu as a compromise candidate.  But really, nobody knows what's going on.

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Benjamin Wachs

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