San Francisco Mayor's Seat Up for Grabs? - NBC Bay Area

San Francisco Mayor's Seat Up for Grabs?

Supervisors are asking if acting mayor appointment may be void



    San Francisco Mayor's Seat Up for Grabs?
    Steve Rhodes
    Should President of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu rightfully be mayor until San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's return from the islands?

    When San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom jetted off to Hawaiiwithout even telling his press secretary, he left plenty of political watchers scratching their heads.

    None more so than his opponents on the Board of Supervisors, who are wondering if everything's on the up-and-up with Newsom's supposed appointment of Supervisor Carmen Chu as acting mayor.

    By law, Newsom has to sign a written declaration appointing an acting mayor in his stead while in California, otherwise the post automatically goes to Board President, in this case, Supervisor David Chiu.

    Problem is, the originally letter of appointment submitted was signed by Newsom, but by a mayoral staffer. Chief of Staff Steve Kawa has promised that he has the real letter, with the real signature, promise. Really. Honest. Trust him.

    It's not the first time a Newsom trip to the tropics has proven controversial. In the wake of the Cosco Busan oil spill, Newsom told San Francisco "Aloha" and took a planned vacation to the islands anyway. Requests for copies communications between the mayor and City Hall were denied.

    And the issue isn't just over whether Chu or Chiu gets to pimp around in the mayor's tricked-out, three-ton, gas-guzzling ride -- there are plenty of vacant positions that need appointing, and Chiu's appointments probably wouldn't be those favored by the mayor.

    Famously, when former mayor Willie Brown took a trip and chose Supervisor Chris Daly to act as mayor, Daly blocked the appointment of the hilariously unqualified son of a major Brown political supporter to the Public Utilities Commission.

    However, the more calculating Chiu probably learned the relevant lesson from that little coup -- it's widely seen as dooming Daly's chances of ever being elected to anything more than supervisor in San Francisco. So in the unlikely event Chiu is named acting mayor, he's unlikely to act out, especially since he's rumored to have designs on the mayor's office himself.

    And the ultimate decision would probably have to be made by City Attorney Dennis Herrera, another likely mayoral candidate.

    As for Newsom? No word, no word at all -- not even on Twitter, where his account has been silent for over a week. Not even a "Hello from Hawaii, spending time with my 'life coach.' Oh, and my beautiful baby daughter Montana!"

    It's doubtful any of this behavior is encouraging Senator Dianne Feinstein to jump into the gubernatorial race and appoint Newsom to the senate.

    Jackson West still likes playing "Where's Gavin?"