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State Sen. Yee announces possible run for mayor next November

SF Public Press
 — Nov 10 2010 - 11:52am

The race for San Francisco’s next mayor is heating up, with the addition of one more aspirant: state Sen. Leland Yee.

Yee filed papers Wednesday at the Department of Elections to form an exploratory committee to run for mayor in November 2011. He did not express interest in the job of supervisor-appointed mayor when Gavin Newsom leaves the job in January to become lieutenant governor.

“I want to establish a conversation with residents of San Francisco on how to move the city forward through economic hard times,” he said.

Yee, who served on the Board of Supervisors from 1997 to 2002, was then elected to the state Assembly, where he served from 2003 to 2006. Last Tuesday he was elected to a second term in the state Senate. During his time in Sacramento, Yee has written 48 bills that became law.

Previously he was a therapist in the mental health department of the Oakland school district and also worked San Francisco in child mental health. He has a doctorate in child psychology from the University of Hawaii. He also served on the San Francisco Board of Education from 1986 to 1996.

If elected, Yee would replace the yet-to-be-named interim mayor filling in for Newsom. Newsom was elected lieutenant governor Nov. 2.

In January David Chiu, president of the Board of Supervisors, will become acting mayor until the board selects an interim choice, according to the City Charter. Candidates for interim mayor will need at least six votes from the board to win the position.

When asked by reporters Wednesday morning about the process of choosing the interim mayor, Yee said he would support the board in its decision.

Supervisor John Avalos introduced a motion at Tuesday’s board meeting to start the nomination process earlier, and possibly vote for interim mayor as early as next week’s meeting.

“We need to make sure that we have a steady transition, especially with our budget deficit that’s looming ahead of us,” Avalos said. He said the interim mayor needs to be focused on “righting this ship.” Knowing who will occupy Room 200 of City Hall will help, he said, and the board will be especially focused on finding someone to work closely with it.

It’s still unclear which names have been thrown into the interim mayoral candidate hat by the board. Other candidates with whom Yee will face off in November 2011 are City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who announced his candidacy in August, and District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty.