Jan 10, 2023 - Politics

San Francisco supervisors elect Aaron Peskin as board president

Aaron Peskin

Supervisor Aaron Peskin during a board meeting in June 2019. Photo: Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Outdoing the 15 rounds of votes it took in the U.S. House for speaker, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors on Monday went 17 rounds before choosing District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin as its president for the next two years.

Details: It took about two hours to finally elect Peskin to the position. Three supervisors were initially nominated: District 10's Shamann Walton, the now-former president of the board, District 1's Connie Chan and District 8's Rafael Mandelman.

  • After 12 rounds of votes in which no progress was made, nominations were reopened and Peskin nominated himself.
  • It was not on Peskin's "list of things to do today" but he didn't "want to get to that magic 15," he said at the meeting, referencing the numerous rounds of voting it took to elect U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
  • But the supervisors surpassed that milestone and in the final round, Peskin received seven votes while Walton received four.

The big picture: The board president oversees board meetings and appoints supervisors to lead and sit on committees; those panels have the power to reject legislation before it gets to the full board.

  • The board president is also next in line for mayor if that person cannot fulfill their duties.

The election of Peskin, a progressive, comes amid a slight political shift on the Board of Supervisors, to which two more moderate candidates, Joel Engardio and Matt Dorsey, were elected to the city's legislative body in November.

  • Yes, but… There is still a progressive majority on the board.

Of note: This marks Peskin's third term as the board's president, after serving two consecutive terms in the role from 2005 to 2009.

What they're saying: "We live in a city where income inequality is rife and we have a job to do to address that," Peskin said at yesterday's meeting.

  • City supervisors "have an obligation to take care of our most vulnerable and needy as [their] first order of business," he said.

What's next: The board has a lot on its plate this year, including the urgent task to approve a plan to build 82,000 housing units over the next eight years and, of course, addressing homelessness and the opioid crisis.


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