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Friday, June 11, 2010

Alioto-Pier: Not Progressive, Thus Termed Out?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM

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  • Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier just doesn't understand. Tom Ammiano served fourteen years on the Board of Supervisors, Chris Daly ten. So why, then, is City Attorney Dennis Herrera insisting that Alioto-Pier -- who's been on the Board since 2004, when she was appointed to fill the seat vacated by just-elected Mayor Gavin Newsom -- termed out?

Here's one theory: politics. 

Alioto-Pier, a moderate and an ally of Mayor Gavin Newsom, is not what you'd call a friend to the progressives. While his office is nonpartisan, Herrera is an elected official -- and he has close ties with filthy rich man-about-town and fundraiser Clint Reilly, who generally supports progressives (and has been photographed with Herrera at fundraisers by Fog City Journal). Reilly's wife is Janet Reilly, a candidate for Alioto-Pier's seat in District 2.

Now, it's somewhat far-fetched to state outright that Herrera's legal opinions would be influenced by city politics, and Alioto-Pier did no such thing in comments to The Snitch. It's probably libelous, in fact, which is why The Snitch isn't doing anything of the kind, either. Yet one is forced to wonder.

"It's outrageous what's going on here," Alioto-Pier told SF Weekly on Thursday. She'd spent the entire morning re-reading the City Attorney's opinion on Ammiano's tenure, in which term limits are discussed at length. "How they can interpret that section of the law [with Ammiano] and then turn around completely and give an opinion [wherein Alioto-Pier is deemed to be termed-out] which contradicts the previous one is astounding."

"Chris Daly's been allowed to serve ten years, but with Carmen Chu and me it's six and a half and seven?" she asked. "Frankly, it looks like, 'Ok, you're voting like us, and that's ok. You're not voting like us? That's not so great.'"

Alioto-Pier has until August to officially file to run for her seat in November. In a letter sent Thursday to Department of Elections Head John Arntz, her attorneys set a deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday for Arntz to overturn his decision. If Arntz does not, Alioto-Pier's attorneys at the Jim Sutton Law Firm -- who do lots of work for moderates, such as drafting Alioto-Pier ally Supervisor Sean Elsbernd's Muni charter amendment -- must file by Wednesday morning in order so that a judge can hear the case and issue a ruling sometime in July.

Should that happen, Alioto-Pier's reelection effort will have some catching-up to do: she'll be months behind the election campaigns -- and fundraising efforts -- of Reilly, Mark Farrell and the other aspirants to her seat. Her response to that? Bring it on, bitch.

"I'm known in District 2," she said. "I'm not worried about it."

This case will certainly end up in court, as Herrera is not inclined to change his ruling, according to spokesman Matt Dorsey.

"[Herrera] is confident that we're right on the law," Dorsey said. "But like anyone else in the United States, Supervisor Alioto-Pier is entitled to her day in court."

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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