SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Residents in parts of San Francisco are voting for a new member of the state Legislature in Tuesday’s special election, a seat that opened following a scandal in federal public corruption in the city.
The main candidates to replace Democrat David Chiu, who left the state Legislature to become San Francisco City Attorney last year, are tied to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors: current Supervisor Matt Haney and former supervisor David Campos. They are both Democrats on the progressive side of the party.
Illicit drug abuse, homelessness and lack of unaffordable housing Dog Assembly District 17, which covers the eastern part of the city and includes the Mission, Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.
Political observers doubt either candidate will win more than 50% of Tuesday’s vote, meaning a likely runoff in April to choose who will serve the rest of the current term, which ends in November. That person will have to run again in the June primary and November statewide general election to retain the seat for another two-year term, meaning district residents could vote on the race until four times this year.
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Chiu resigned last year to become a San Francisco City Solicitor, a position that became available when Mayor of London Breed appointed then-City Solicitor Dennis Herrera to head the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission after Harlan Kelly resigned in 2020.
Kelly left after federal prosecutors charged him with fraud for allegedly accepting bribes from a permit shipper in exchange for inside information and assistance on a lucrative city contract. Kelly, who is fighting the charge, is one of many city officials and contractors caught up in the investigation. Former director of public works Mohammed Nuru pleaded guilty to fraud last month.
The other nominees, also Democrats, are Thea Selby, a transit advocate and administrator at City College of San Francisco, and Bilal Mahmood, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who has been endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Campos, 51, and Haney, 39, agree on many issues but are at odds over a proposed 495-unit high-rise apartment complex in Haney’s South of Market neighborhood that supervisors rejected Last year.
Haney, who joined the board in 2019, voted for the proposal, saying it would provide desperately needed housing and help alleviate the city’s severe affordable housing shortage. Campos, who quit the oversight board in 2016 over term limits, said he would have rejected it out of concern that gentrification would displace low-income neighborhood residents.
Selby, 58, has two adult children and would like to see more public funding for community colleges. She co-founded the Lower Haight Merchants and Neighborhoods Association and unsuccessfully ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2012.
Mahmood, 34, is new to politics and has called himself an outsider with new ideas. One idea is to give every California family earning less than $75,000 a year a guaranteed monthly income of $500. It would be paid for by carbon and wealth taxes.
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