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Thursday, January 8, 2015

London Breed Is Your New Board President

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 1:27 PM

Our favorite London Breed photo.
  • Our favorite London Breed photo.
Sometimes everything in the world of local politics seems to happen all at once. And it all blends together into some sort of political gruel. 

Mayor Ed Lee appoints the supervisor to David Chiu's vacant seat his tech baron allies and inner circle not named Rose Pak wanted; Sen. Barbara Boxer announces her pending retirement; the United States Olympic Committee decides on what American locale may host the 2024 Games; and London Breed is elected president of the Board of Supervisors.

Let's go with the freshest: The ascension of Breed to Top Supe. 

There are, obviously, two questions: How did this happen? And what will come of it? Let's start with the first one. 

Breed and Supervisor Mark Farrell battled for the presidency in November and the position fell, on an interim basis, to Supervisor Katy Tang. At the time, Tang said she'd "cross that bridge when she came to it," with regard to the decision to hold onto the presidency on a full-time basis. It appears Tang opted to not cross this bridge. 

"Katy didn't start counting votes," sums up a City Hall source. That is, Tang didn't go around and hit up her colleagues for support because, for whatever reason, she didn't seem to desire it. "People like her. And she could have probably gotten some progressives to vote for her. Eric Mar and John Avalos walked out, but Jane Kim and Norman Yee voted for her." So it was there if she wanted it. Apparently, she didn't. 

Back in November, Breed told us that she and Tang "have a good relationship. We're not going to fight it out. That's just not going to happen."

And, lo, it didn't have to. Breed has obviously desired this outcome for quite some time. And, say what you will about London Breed, one adjective that comes to mind is "driven." 

With Tang demurring, it was down to her and Farrell for the post. One City Hall denizen gracefully explained that Farrell may have had some difficulties procuring the votes of some of his female or minority colleagues, so he and Breed came to some form of amenable agreement.

There had been November talk of Farrell riding to power by cutting a deal with the board's dwindling progressive minority. But that would appear to be a spectacularly efficient way for a potential future moderate mayoral candidate to alienate the city's wealthy and ascendant forces. For Farrell to cross the mayor and his moderate allies and cut a deal with progressives would, conceivably, lead to his political career meeting the same end as this Colombian fireworks factory

Breed outpointed progressive stalwart David Campos by a final vote of 8-3 (Kim, Avalos, and Campos in the minority). 

Breed may use this position to pursue different individual ends than Farrell or Tang may have. But, looking at the bigger picture, it's hard to differentiate these politicians. As your humble narrator reported in his column this week, the folks at the mayor's office feel it "doesn't make a lick of difference" who the board president is (considering who was up for the job). 

It'll make a difference for Breed — and, potentially, the people of District 5. The moderate has to run for re-election in the city's most progressive district and it'll help to be anointed with the impressive title of board president and use her newfound sway to cajole department heads and city power brokers into delivering for the district.  

For the people governing us, at least the dominant moderate faction, everything's coming up roses. 

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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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