[Hpn] SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Runoff Set in San Francisco Mayoral Race - Associated Press - November 05, 2003

editor editor" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Wed, 5 Nov 2003 08:03:04 -0500


Runoff Set in San Francisco Mayoral Race

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By LISA LEFF - Associated Press - November 05, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO - Mayor Willie Brown's hand-picked successor
and a Green Party upstart seeking to preserve San
Francisco's left-of-liberal identity on Tuesday advanced to
a runoff that will determine who becomes the next mayor.

Democrat Gavin Newsom, a city supervisor with a get-tough
approach to the city's homeless problem, was the top vote-getter
Tuesday, followed by Matt Gonzalez, who is vying to become the
Green Party's only mayor of a major U.S. city.

Newsom got 73,635 votes, or 41 percent. Gonzalez had 35,753, or
20 percent, despite entering the race just 13 weeks ago. The
runoff next month is necessary because neither candidate got a
majority of the vote.

"Round One!" Newsom, 36, said in his victory speech. Now, he
said, "we have to work stronger, we have to work harder."

Gonzalez, 38, expects to pick up support from voters who backed
the third- and fourth-place finishers, who also campaigned hard
against Newsom.

"We're going to win this race," said Gonzalez, a
Stanford-educated lawyer. "This is someone who has been running
for two years and has spent more than $2 million. We have been in
the race for 90 days and have spent maybe $100,000-150,000."

Newsom, who would be the youngest San Francisco mayor in more
than a century if elected, is best known for his efforts to get
panhandlers off city streets. His proposal to outlaw panhandling
in many public places was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday.

Both Newsom and Gonzalez are city supervisors.

Brown said that Newsom "has an awesome task to defeat this man,
and I think he will." Gonzalez was able to get this far only
because voters found him to be exotic and mysterious compared to
the better-known alternatives, said Brown, who cannot run for a
third term because of term limits.

San Francisco voters decided 14 ballot measures Tuesday,
including the panhandling proposal, a citywide minimum wage of
$8.50 an hour, a potentially costly measure to subsidize child
care for poor families, and a $295 million bond measure to
improve city schools. All of those measures passed.

The city's district attorney race also goes to a runoff, between
the incumbent Terence Hallinan, who proudly proclaims himself
"America's most progressive district attorney," and Kamala
Harris, a former prosecutor in Hallinan's office.

San Francisco was the largest of a number of California cities
holding elections Tuesday. In Palm Springs, Democratic challenger
Ron Oden became the city's first openly gay, black mayor.

In San Bernardino County, emergency polling places were opened
for wildfire victims to cast ballots on school and water
districts, city councils and local initiatives.

And voters in Bolinas, an isolated community on Marin County's
rugged coast, appeared likely to approve a measure that was more
about poetry than policy. Measure G would acknowledge that
Bolinas is a "nature-loving" town, even for skunks.

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