The situation in District 2 — where Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier will, as of the now, stand for re-election in November, after a Superior Court judge ruled last week that Alioto-Pier is not termed out as City Attorney Dennis Herrera had argued — is a complex one indeed, but it’s not politically-motivated in the slightest, Herrera’s spokesman said Thursday.
That said, it should be resolved by August 16, a full ten weeks before the election.
Herrera is accused of playing politics by folks in Alioto-Pier’s camp, an accusation stemming from the relationship between Anne Herrera, Dennis’s wife, and Janet Reilly, a candidate to replace Alioto-Pier in District 2. Reilly’s husband is real estate magnate Clint Reilly, who has bankrolled numerous campaigns and has contributed to Herrera.
Of course, if the city’s top attorney were to be so motivated, he’d stand to be disbarred, and “the notion that Dennis Herrera would risk his license to practice law for a supervisor race is patently absurd,” according to spokesman Matt Dorsey.
Alioto-Pier, too, could be construed as being politically-motivated: she considered a bid for lieutenant governor before running for state insurance commissioner, a bid she abandoned this year after falling ill. That left her current seat.
In June, Alioto-Pier filed a lawsuit to seek relief from Herrera’s 2008 legal opinion stating that Alioto-Pier had served two full four-year terms — she’s been on the Board since 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed her to his old seat. She won injunctive relief from that ruling last week.
Herrera announced via a Chronicle op-ed that he’s appealing Judge Peter Busch’s decision, which “repeals a substantive portion of the City Charter,” he argued in his legal brief. In 1990, San Francisco voters approved what’s called an “eight year/ten year rule”, Herrera wrote, in which voters said a politician can serve no longer than eight years if elected, no longer than ten years if appointed. Busch’s ruling “turns voters’ intent on its head,” Herrera wrote.
In any case, this should be over quickly: Alioto-Pier’s attorneys are to file their arguments on August 6; the City Attorney is to respond August 13, with a decision requested by August 16, according to Dorsey.
Attorney Tom Pier, Alioto-Pier’s husband, stood fast in questioning Herrera’s motives.
“It’s clear that his legal case has no merit,” Pier said. “It’s then incumbent upon people to look at what the political motivations of Dennis Herrera are, and his allegiance and alliance with the so-called progressive movement in this city — including, but not limited to, Clinton Reilly — is well documented.”
“And if his legal case has no merit,” Pier added, “what’s his motivation? I think he’s in a hole and doesn’t know when to stop digging.”