Ammiano is Mayor if He
Wants Takes It
There was a time when Tom Ammiano wanted to be mayor of San Francisco. But that was then, in 1999 (and 2003).
Now it’s now, and while Ammiano in 2010 has the support necessary to become interim mayor — a petition with four supervisors’ signatures is circulating City Hall, and at least one more is on board (Board rules prohibit a fifth signature, and a sixth supporter is all but guaranteed, though more on all that later) — Ammiano was on record Monday saying “there’s no way I want the job.”
But that’s not necessarily the end of the story, according to Supervisor Chris Daly, the man circulating the petition. “Gavin Newsom didn’t want to be lieutenant governor — I didn’t want to run for reelection in 2006,” Daly reasoned. “And we were both swayed.”
Ammiano, too, could be convinced to take the mayor’s job, Daly thinks, if the people closest to him can convince him.
What’s the likelihood of that happening? Unknown — a call to Ammiano’s press contact was not immediately returned — but three things must happen in order for Ammiano to take the ride in the hybrid SUV.
First, Ammiano — who turns 69 on December 15 — needs to be convinced the job won’t be so bad. That means someone needs to tell him that a gig in the Legislature — where Ammiano is making a national name for himself as a supporter of legal, taxed marijuana — isn’t nearly as cool as balancing a gigantic municipal deficit in the fishbowl of local SF politics. He also needs to be convinced that the progressive community will unite behind him in November 2011, and elect him in his own right to a mayoral term.
And lastly — and perhaps most importantly — a seven year-old hatchet must be buried. Ammiano is still unhappy with progressives’ choice in 2003 of Matt Gonzalez over his own bid, it’s said, and is staying out of the interim mayor game because of those hurt feelings.
Even if he was convinced to take the job, Ammiano’s six votes aren’t wholly guaranteed. Supervisors Eric Mar, Ross Mirkarimi and John Avalos all joined Daly in signing the open letter to Ammiano. A fith supe, David Campos, is behind Amminao, but can’t sign the petition (Campos sits on the Rules Committee with Eric Mar, interim mayor is an appointment and in the purview of the Rules Committee, two members of a committee equals a quorum and ergo cannot discuss Rules business outside of City Hall without violating the Brown Act).
That means there needs to be at least one more. Board President David Chiu, who is where he is thanks to the progressives, has a shot at the interim mayor job himself, and he has an even better shot if the new Board of Supervisors select the mayor. (It’s for those reasons, some say, that Chiu did not release Campos and Mar from their duties on the Rules Committee, which is not scheduled to meet until the new Board is seated — however, Chiu spokesperson Judson True tells the Appeal that Mar will be released from the committee as of Tuesday).
Supervisor Bevan Dufty, termed out with Daly on January 6, has been rumored to be behind Ammiano should Ammiano seek the job, but chose not to get involved in this discussion (again) on Monday. “I don’t want to put any more pressure on Tom,” Dufty told the Appeal. “I’ve talked to him, and he said he doesn’t want it.”
The Board of Supervisors could nominate an interim mayor at 3 pm tomorrow at its full Board meeting, should it choose to do so.
So can Ammiano be convinced to take it? Who knows. But as Daly put it, “[Ammiano] has an opportunity to complete Harvey Milk’s legacy.” That sounds mighty fine to some.
But it’s Tom’s call, and so far, he’s saying no.
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