[Hpn] SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Newsom to face Gonzalez in mayoral runoff election - Sacramento Bee - November 04, 2003

editor editor" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Wed, 5 Nov 2003 07:28:43 -0500

Gavin Newsom to face Matt Gonzalez in
mayoral runoff election next month

By Herbert A. Sample -- Sacramento Bee - November 04, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO - A member of the Board of Supervisors best
known for his focus on homelessness and a more liberal colleague
were chosen by voters Tuesday to face off next month in what
could be an electrifying contest for mayor between two

Gavin Newsom and Matt Gonzalez were heading
for a one-two finish in the race to succeed Mayor Willie Brown,
who could not run again because of term limits. Newsom, 36, is a
moderate who enjoys the support of Brown and many business
groups, while Gonzalez, 38 and a member of the Green Party,
considers himself ideologically progressive.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Newsom had 42 percent
of the votes and Gonzalez had 20 percent. Two other progressives,
former Supervisor Angela Alioto and Supervisor Tom Ammiano,
trailed with 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

In all, nine candidates competed in the non-partisan election. Of
those, Newsom had been considered the front-runner for several
months. But because he gained less than half the vote, he and
Gonzalez will compete in a Dec. 9 runoff election.

In another contentious contest, two-term District Attorney
Terence Hallinan was heading for a runoff against former deputy
district attorney Kamala Harris.

Voters also were passing three controversial ballot measures that
focused on police accountability, panhandling and a hike in the
city?s minimum wage.

And in Fairfield, a growth control measure was strongly

In San Francisco, where the philosophical yardstick is skewed
leftward, progressives tend to be ardent supporters of rent
control, strict limits on development, more taxes on business and
increases in social services. Though Brown and Newsom would be
considered liberals most anywhere else in the country, they are
usually categorized as moderates here.

Newsom has gained significant political support from his efforts
focusing on homelessness, mainly his "Care Not Cash" initiative
last year that sought to slash cash grants the city gives to
several hundred homeless persons and replace them with housing
and other services.

A judge later invalidated the guts of the
measure and Newsom's colleagues on the Board of Supervisors have
refused to re-implement it.

Newsom, a wealthy restaurateur,
sponsored another measure aimed at homelessness that also
appeared on Tuesday's ballot, Proposition M. It would prohibit
aggressive panhandling and offer substance abuse treatment for
repeat offenders, and voters were approving it 59 percent to 41

Critics, however, called the two measures political vehicles for
Newsom's mayoral ambitions. Gonzalez, Alioto and Ammiano opposed
the panhandling measure.

Gonzalez, the current president of the Board of Supervisors, was
first elected in 2000. Because of his Green Party ties,
Democratic Party officials may be incited into action during the
runoff against Newsom, who is a Democrat in this heavily
Democratic city.

As for Alioto, a civil rights lawyer, Tuesday marked her third
failure to gain the mayor's office. The daughter of former Mayor
Joe Alioto lost to Art Agnos in 1988 and to Brown in 1995.

Ammiano, running as a write-in candidate in 1999, forced Brown
into a runoff, in which he was trounced by the mayor. A
three-term member of the Board of Supervisors, Ammiano also
served as board president for several years.

Trailing in the field of mayoral candidates were City Treasurer
Susan Leal, with 8 percent, and former police Chief Tony Ribera,
with 2 percent.

Hallinan was seeking a third term against Fazio, whom Hallinan
had defeated in two prior elections, and Harris, a former
prosecutor who now is a deputy city attorney. With 99 percent of
the precincts reporting, Hallinan collected 36 percent of the
vote, while Harris and defense lawyer Bill Fazio garnered 33
percent and 30 percent, respectively.

In addition to Proposition M, two other controversial ballot
measures were decided Tuesday. Proposition H sought to strengthen
the powers of a city agency that adjudicates complaints against
police officers, increase the size of the city Police Commission
from five to seven members, and allow supervisors to appoint four
of those members. It was passing 52 percent to 48 percent, with
62 percent of precincts reporting.

The proposed charter amendment emerged after a near-scandal
earlier this year in which the police chief and several top aides
were indicted for allegedly obstructing an inquiry into a street
brawl involving three line police officers. The indictments were
later dropped or dismissed.

Proposition L aimed to set a new, higher minimum wage within San
Francisco. The state minimum wage currently is $6.75, but the
initiative would increase that to $8.50 in the city, and allow
for yearly increases tied to the region?s inflation rate. It was
being approved, 60 percent to 40 percent.

In Fairfield, a long-running struggle over growth was the subject
of Measure L. Earlier this year, growth control advocates
collected sufficient signatures on a proposed ordinance
reinforcing strong limits on housing and other development near
Travis Air Force Base and in other parts of the city.

State law required the city council to either place the proposal
before voters or adopt it as an ordinance, and the council chose
the latter. However, developers and other opponents then gathered
enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot. It was
winning, 60 percent to 40 percent, with 94 percent of precincts

Herbert A. Sample at (510) 382-1978 or hsample@sacbee.com.
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