michela.jpgSan Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said today he is appealing last week’s superior court ruling in favor of Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier’s bid to run for another four-year term.

Judge Peter Busch’s decision Thursday that Alioto-Pier’s term from 2004 to January 2007 did not count as a full term under the city charter allowed the District 2 supervisor to run again this November.

Alioto-Pier was appointed in 2004 by Mayor Gavin Newsom to replace him as District 2 supervisor after he was elected mayor.

She then won an election in November 2004 to serve out the remaining two years of the four-year term, and was re-elected to another four-year term in November 2006.

The city charter limits supervisors to two successive four-year terms.

In his opposition to Alioto-Pier’s re-election bid, Herrera cited a “rounding-up” rule on midterm appointments enacted by voters in 1990, arguing that the rule makes her first term count as a full term for purposes of determining term limits.

“With last week’s ruling, however, supervisors appointed to fill a vacancy will have the entirety of their first term uncounted toward term limits,” Herrera said in a statement today.

He said voters never intended to allow appointed incumbents the opportunity to serve nearly three terms, which Busch’s ruling effectively allows.

“The duty to defend the will of San Francisco voters belongs to the city attorney, and that’s a duty I will fulfill,” Herrera said.

Alioto-Pier blasted Herrera’s decision, saying in a statement that his appeal is squandering taxpayer money.

“After the superior court handed down a decisive decision to allow a run for a second term, I thought he would be apologizing, not appealing,” she said.

For now, Alioto-Pier is still eligible to run this November pending an appeals court decision, Herrera spokesman Matt Dorsey said.

“But we’re going to ask for an expedited briefing schedule,” he added.

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  • Greg Dewar

    This is what happens when you pass lots of laws without seeing how they affect existing laws. Too often, busybodies and do-gooders pass all sorts of laws to game election results or stab at people they don’t like and as time goes on, these things start to cause this kind of confusion.

    If we had elected officials who thought more about what it is they were doing, perhaps this wouldn’t be a problem, but so long as you have a voting public who clap like seals whenever some feel good legislation is passed, don’t expect much to change.

  • bloomsm

    Seems like Herrera and Jeff Adachi are in a race to see who can become more annoying before an election.

  • supertamsf

    I’m with Dennis Herrera on this. Term limits were enacted to prevent people from staying in office more than two 4 year terms. If Alioto-Pier wins on this she will be in office approx. 11 years. It violates both the spirit and intention of term limits. Plus: Alioto-Pier is a shitty, ineffectual, downright counterproductive supervisor. All she does is sue the city. Immediate case in point.

  • bloomsm

    Agree wholeheartedly re your final three sentences.

  • brad

    I’m no Alioto-Pier fan either, but I think someone needs to show us what the law the voters passed in 1990 says EXACTLY. If it is open to such differing interpretations, it must not be very clear. Does it say that if you are appointed for one day more than two years that it counts as a four-year term? Why did she have to win election to the final two years of Gavin’s term is she was already appointed to fill it out? I’m confused. I agree with first commenter Greg.

  • supertamsf

    The language IS confusing. Bottom line; Term limits were enacted to prevent supervisors from serving more than 8 years. Given that, Alioto-Pier should not be able to serve 11. She is is unwilling to accept the rules as they exist and is looking for a technical loophole to get another bite at the apple. Not only that, she expects the taxpayers to pick up her $50,000 legal bill for her petulant litigious behavior.