Supervisor London Breed alongside Joshua Arce and others at the neighborhood preference press conference at 1950 Mission St. on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

Mayoral candidate Mark Leno last week took legal action to compel rival London Breed to alter her ballot designation as “acting mayor” because she is, in fact, not acting mayor.

That, Mission Local has learned, led Breed’s representatives to initiate discussions, which postponed a scheduled Thursday hearing. And, today, an agreement has been publicized between Breed, Leno and the Department of Elections to change Breed’s designation.

A “Stipulation and [Proposed] Order Replacing Ballot Designation” was today filed in Superior Court. Breed, Leno and Elections boss John Arntz “agree to resolve this dispute without the need for further legal proceedings,” and “have agreed to an alternative [Breed] ballot designation, ‘President, Board of Supervisors,’ that resolves the issues herein.”

Thus concludes what political observers believed could have been an embarrassing legal drama for the board president.

Breed, as president, assumed the position of acting mayor upon Mayor Ed Lee’s untimely Dec. 12 death. She filed to run for mayor in early January, listing her ballot designation as “acting mayor/supervisor.” But, on Jan. 23, she was voted out of the acting-mayor position when six of her colleagues opted to put Mark Farrell in City Hall Room 200.

Arntz claimed, however, that the deadline for him to proactively alter Breed’s ballot designation had passed by that time. And Breed did not seem inclined to push the issue. When we asked her in late January if she’d change it, she laughed. “No!” she replied forcefully. “Why would I?”

The answer to that question became clearer last week, when Leno moved to put the matter before a judge. And this could have gone badly for Breed; had the judge found in Leno’s favor, she could have been accused of actively attempting to mislead San Francisco’s voters.

Oddly, within today’s legal stipulation, Breed maintains the designation “acting mayor/supervisor” and occupational designation “acting mayor, San Francisco” remains “valid pursuant to the Elections Code and applicable to Secretary of State regulations.” And yet she still concedes the matter.

“London Breed was acting mayor when she filed her papers; she is President of the Board of Supervisors,” said Breed’s campaign in a statement. “We’ve always stated that we are fine with changing the ballot title to President of the Board of Supervisors. Let’s get back to the real issues facing the city.”

Leno’s team, however, noted that, “facing a lawsuit, Breed’s ‘why would I?’ wilted, quickly morphing into ‘why can’t I?’ Unfortunately, the answer was clear — under state law, using the title of a position held for only a few short weeks is grossly misleading to voters.”

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Stipulation and Proposed Order Striking and Replacing Ballot Designation by Joe Eskenazi on Scribd

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Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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1 Comment

  1. London Breed may well be interim mayor again as the Session’s DOJ is sending in federal marshals to apprehend Mark Farrell and Libby “valley girl” Schaff. Mark, Mark, Mark: didn’t take long as mayor to throw cake to the unwashed masses, did it? Willing to go to jail rather than give up sanctuary city status? Oh yeah, big boy? I’m hoping you get the chance. That’s just more bluster from the latest member of California’s Democratic Big City Sleaze Machine. That aside, If either Mark Leno or Jane Kim become mayor it pretty much pushes this city over the edge. They, Mark and Jane, are the problem, not the solution. Jane is suddenly all over the homeless issue and the filthy streets issue. Wow, what took so long? A little late for this voter, Jane. Were you actually taking credit for the as you say 60% of new housing stock in the city that’s gone up in your district? I highly, highly doubt you had any measurable influence on any of it but if you did back it up how on your official website or even your campaign website. That housing was built in SPITE of City Hall, not because of it. Think about that one for a while, readers. And an endorsement from John screwin’ around on my wife Avalos, easily one of the worst supervisors San Francisco ever had? Jane is the queen of divisive, us-against-them politics and believes all social ills can be solved with another tax on “rich people,” or in this town anyone that owns property or a business. Jane, who actually believes Uber and Lyft are to blame for our clogged streets? Laughable. Her campaign slogan is ” This is our city. Let’s take it back.” Wow, once again that’s strong stuff for somebody barely here twenty years with very little skin in the game but pray tell oh wise one: just who’s city is it? And who are you taking it back from?

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