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“Let the sunshine in” has apparently become the theme for the Board of Supervisors’ search for a new mayor.
The board unanimously approved two motions Tuesday: to begin a nomination and selection process for a succeeding mayor to fill the remainder of Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom’s term and to convene meetings with input from the public.
“This is the democratic process we are involved in,” said Supervisor John Avalos, author of the motion calling for public meetings. “We can avoid the kind of tragedies Shakespeare wrote about in the plays of Julius Caesar and Macbeth, and we can have a process that can guarantee we will be supporting one another in making the best decision we can.”
More than 30 people lined up before the board for public comment, lauding the board’s efforts in transparency. Some stressed the urgency of selecting a successor while the current board has a half-dozen meetings left on its calendar. A new board with four new members takes office Jan. 8.
“The new board won’t have had office hours yet,” labor activist Gabriel Haaland said, addressing the board. “We’re asking you to step up and make a decision.”
Avalos called for the meetings last week to prepare for a looming $400 million budget deficit. A smooth transition of power isn’t just a matter of good governance, housing activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca told the board.
“The board’s greatest decision is not the mayor, but dealing with the economic crisis in the city,” Mecca said. “Get down to the real important work of ending poverty and making sure that the budget doesn’t cut vital human services next year.’
Supervisor Chris Daly, who is being termed out, said he would like to see the incoming mayor posess three qualities: knowledge of the city’s inner workings; compassion; and the ability to get six supervisors’ votes on legislation.
“I think I can do one and two just fine, but with three I think I have a problem,” Daly said, joking.
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T.J. Johnston is a San Francisco-based journalist. He has been published in Newsdesk.org; Street Sheet; Street Spirit; Poor Magazine; Race, Poverty & the Environment; and Now Public, among other publications and Web sites.
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