On Tuesday morning Mayor Mark Farrell gathered his constituents together at the Marina Branch Library Plaza, and announced that Catherine Stefani would be their new supervisor — until elections are held in November.
In a fun twist for the political drama that is our City Hall, Stefani also used the swearing-in and press conference to announce that she will run for the District 2 supervisor position in November. In a city that loves its incumbents, she has just propelled her campaign enormously by accepting this interim role.
Stefani is a county clerk, and spent nine years as an aide to District 2 supervisors, both to Michela Alioto-Pier and Farrell, and has also lived in Cow Hollow for 17 years. She worked as a district attorney in Contra Costa County, and as a policy analyst and aide for San Jose Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez, and state Assemblyperson Herb Wesson.
“She understands the needs and concerns of our community,” Farrell says. “She’s built her career drafting policies not playing politics.”
“This is an opportunity I did not see coming, and one I cannot pass up,” Stefani told the crowd after being sworn in by Farrell. “I have always had a deep desire to better the lives of those around me. I come from a place of empathy.”
Stefani highlighted public safety as a key issue she will be working while holding the position of supervisor. Gun control, car break-ins, homelessness, and theft were all issues she raised as core priorities for District 2.
The assignment is effective immediately, with Stefani attending the Board of Supervisors meeting in City Hall Tuesday afternoon.
The district has been without a supervisor for one week, after Farrell was nominated to be a caretaker mayor by his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, ousting then-Acting Mayor London Breed.
District 2 includes the Marina, Cow Hollow, the Presidio, and Pacific Heights — and therefore, some of the wealthiest residents of San Francisco. A heated race has already begun for those vying for the supervisor position, which — even before Farrell took on the role of mayor — was scheduled to take place in November. Nick Josefowitz, Michela Alioto-Pier, Kat Anderson, and Schuyler Hudak are all fighting for the role, in what the Examiner calls a “big money political slugfest.”
But the race got more complicated when Farrell was made mayor on Jan. 23. In a jab at her colleagues, Supervisor Malia Cohen called for Farrell’s replacement in District 2 to be someone not currently running for the position in November, out of concerns they’d have an incumbency advantage. The same argument was made by progressives as a reason to oust Breed from her seat as acting mayor.
“We should hold each office to the same standard,” Cohen said in a statement Tuesday morning. “This is about principle and good governance. A level playing field in the supervisorial races is no less important than in the mayoral race.”