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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Supervisors Settle on 'Clusterf*ck' Process to Pick Next Mayor -- Possible Decision on Dec. 7

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Supervisor Chris Daly twice described today's process of deciding the next mayor as a 'clusterfuck.' He may be right.
  • Supervisor Chris Daly twice described today's process of deciding the next mayor as a 'clusterfuck.' He may be right.

The process of deciding how the Board of Supervisors will pick the next mayor required tedious procedural discussions recalling consumptive Dostoevskian soliloquies, an hourlong recess, and culminated with the quote "you can vote for the amendment to amend or you can go with the motion that amends the motion to amend."

Have we picked a new mayor yet? No we have not. But it appears we have a method of picking that person -- and it makes ranked-choice voting look kinda simple. 

The process originally put before the supes called for any board members nominated to potentially succeed Mayor Gavin Newsom to be "sequestered" in another room and not participate in the process whatsoever -- leaving the possibility of the bare minimum of supervisors making the all-important vote.

After hours of excruciating procedural detail -- and Supervisor Chris Daly twice referring to the process as a "clusterfuck" -- the following Daly-submitted method was worked out: 

The supes will have the chance to make "up or down" votes on individual submitted names. Supervisors who are eliminated from contention and withdraw can rejoin the process and cast votes -- or can participate from the get-go by turning down nominations for the post of interim mayor. The candidates will be voted on in the order of submission, and, akin to the National Football League's "Sudden Death" overtime rule, the first person to receive six votes is the next mayor.

So, here's a hypothetical. Say the supes have 10 submissions to vote on. The board will vote yes or no on the candidates one by one -- but if the fourth candidate gets six votes, there's no need to consider suitors five through 10. Similarly, if no one gathers six votes, the board can run through the candidates again and again (not unlike picking a board president).

click to enlarge Just another day at the Board...
  • Just another day at the Board...
The supes today punted on having the actual public meeting to decide the next mayor at 7 p.m. on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. That potentially explosive item will be on the agenda for the Dec. 7 meeting -- but could, in all possibility, be shunted even further down the road.

Those who predicted Board President David Chiu would do nothing but gum up the process -- if the supes fail to appoint a successor mayor, the job automatically falls to him -- were caught flatfooted when Chiu voted to approve Daly's up-or-down voting suggestion.

It was no surprise, however, when Chiu suggested putting off the actual vote for the next mayor until Dec. 7. It wouldn't be a huge shock if he found a way to delay it then, too. But you never know. With the Board of Supervisors you can vote for the amendment to amend or you can go with the motion that amends the motion to amend -- or, sometimes, you just might just do something surprising.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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