DA candidate Nancy Tung arrives at her Nov. 2019 election-night gathering on Brannan Street. Photo by Lydia Chavez

Purported offer to yank Nancy Tung’s nomination in exchange for approval of Geoffrey Gordon-Creed is allegedly rejected by mayor — both candidates spiked

By a 10-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday afternoon rejected Mayor London Breed’s nominee for the Police Commission, Nancy Tung. Fellow nominee Geoffrey Gordon-Creed withdrew his candidacy today when it became apparent he, too, did not have six votes. 

This comes a week after a fraught, seven-hour meeting on June 1, when the Rules Committee recommended the full board reject both nominees. 

Tung, who last year ran for District Attorney as the field’s “law and order” candidate, was facing a difficult road to confirmation even before Minneapolis police on May 25 killed George Floyd. 

Following that tragedy, and weeks of worldwide protests, the notion of placing conventional candidates on the Police Commission — who have not spent their careers working with minority communities and fighting for police reform — very rapidly became untenable. 

One by one, the supes politely praised Tung’s gumption and accomplishments — before rejecting her in words that often pushed into severe condemnation. 

“This is not a time for people who are not in favor of systemic change,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton. “It’s not about the race or ethnicity of the candidate but the person who is needed at this time. I think it would be disrespectful to our community, the black community, if you do support this appointment. That comes from my heart as a black man.” 

Board President Norman Yee said that the Chinese community “should not settle for the nomination based upon the [candidate’s] race alone” before rejecting the Chinese American Tung. 

Peskin expressed annoyance that the board had to vote on this appointment at all. 

“All of this has been obvious for many days now,” he said. “Why has this candidate not withdrawn? That would be the proper thing to do.” 

Only Supervisor Catherine Stefani voted in favor of the mayor’s appointee.

Tung in the last election cycle took a donation from the reactionary Police Officers Association and was the only DA hopeful who unequivocally said she’d welcome the POA’s endorsement. She supported Proposition H — which the POA put on the ballot in hopes of eluding the Police Commission and writing its own Taser policy — and opposed moves to shutter Juvenile Hall. 

Geoffrey Gordon-Creed.

Gordon-Creed, a former Deputy City Attorney, doesn’t carry any such baggage. City Attorney Dennis Herrera purportedly made calls on his behalf. 

But, during the June 1 hearing, Gordon-Creed did not seem fully prepared, showing unfamiliarity with the landmark AB 392, which in 2019 lowered the nigh-impossible standard required to charge police for unnecessary force. Gordon-Creed also professed to not have sufficient knowledge of recent lethal San Francisco police encounters to answer questions about whether officers should’ve been charged or even lose their jobs. 

Still, some members of the board viewed him as potentially “as good a mayoral appointee as we’re going to get.” But the loose coalition of left-leaning supes potentially in favor of voting for Gordon-Creed appears to have ruptured shortly before today’s meeting.

Mission Local is told by multiple sources that Mayor London Breed was not receptive to an offer emanating from the Board of Supervisors to have Tung bow out in exchange for preserving Gordon-Creed’s tenuous path to six votes. 

This purported deal didn’t go anywhere — and news of its existence was greeted with surprise and disapproval by multiple members of the Board’s progressive wing. Regardless, Tung was voted down today with gusto and Gordon-Creed submitted his letter of withdrawal, bluntly stating “It does not appear I have sufficient support from the Board of Supervisors …”

Tung days ago told Mission Local she would stick out this process to the bitter end, even though the votes weren’t there. We’re told she was, in fact, in queue for the virtual meeting early today, well before her agenda item came up. 

Following today’s vote, she released a lengthy statement on the outcome and process.

“Let’s be clear, this is about the Supervisors playing politics with important City commissions,” said mayoral spokesman Andy Lynch after 10 supervisors voted against Breed’s nominee.

“The Mayor has spent her career leading on the issue of police reform and she just announced that she will be leading the effort to redirect funding from the San Francisco Police Department to support the Black community. This is the type of action this moment calls for, and the Board needs to stop holding critical commission seats vacant when we have real, important work to do.”

But a number of supervisors last week told Mission Local that these Police Commission candidates, in addition to several other recent mayoral appointees, were not vetted with the board at all. Putting forward candidates who do not have the requisite six votes doesn’t make much sense to our legislators — especially when, as demonstrated today, they do not pay much heed to the pressures of identity politics. 

Politically, especially in the George Floyd era, the supervisors may pay no political price at all — or even be rewarded — by voting down a moderate candidate for the Police Commission, regardless of her ethnicity. 

Today, a process that was grueling and unpleasant for everyone involved, not least the candidates Tung and Gordon-Creed, came to a close. 

And, then, the supes moved on to Item No. 14. 

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Managing Editor/Columnist. 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. I don’t think the board of supervisors thinks that anything is a crime except those that involve social justice. That’s not a balanced approach to managing safety for all in any way.

  2. SF gets the police commission, and the police department it deserves. Just like the sidewalks full of poop it deserves. Enjoy it, progressives.

  3. “It’s not about the race or ethnicity of the candidate….” but the person who is needed at this time. I think it would be disrespectful to our community, the black community, if you do support this appointment. That comes from my heart as a black man.”

    This isn’t about race, you understand…Just deny what your words really mean…and ‘poof’….say whatever you want….

  4. This is a lovely polemic, but if actual journalism is in the Mission Local’s 10-year plan then they might want to encourage their writers to use a more objective tone.

    1. Regarding “polemic,” you’re fighting a losing battle with Merriam-Webster.

      And we’ve been around for 12 years now. But thanks for the advice.


  5. It is so boorish that way they trashed an accomplished person like Nancy Tung. You would think she was the devil incarnate. She was only going to one voice on the commission and would probably change things too much, but her legal expertise would probably have been invaluable in providing insight in crafting policies, etc. As for Norman Yee being self proclaimed Independent he has now been exposed to the Chinese American community as someone you really can’t count on.

  6. Aaron Peskin, unprofessional at every turn. He could have just kept quiet, but no, he had to spout off. He’s the poster child for stricter term limits. Maybe one term per lifetime.

  7. How rude. Nancy Tung has served the community for years…and Peskin can’t even be bothered by her? Given his history, he doesn’t know anything about the “proper thing to do”.

    I understand that this is mayor vs BOS politics but what a shame to have public servants like her and Gordon-Creed get caught up in the nonsense.

    1. Agreed. Nancy Tung has actually good/clear positions on many of these topics. She has reasonable/logic on many of the points raised. To not even give her the light of the day is insulting to what we stand for as a city. But i’m not sure i expect much out of the BoS as this point…

    2. Yeah

      Aaron’s gotten downright rude in insulting people when
      it does not benefit him to do so.

      Falling Testosterone levels?

      I can relate.

      But, not agree.

      I’ve used the time saved from answering those calls to?

      Listening and watching NOam Chomsky.

      And, Chris Hedges.

      And, Matt Taibbi.

      Adjust the dial burning up your anger to something positive old friend.