The Sunset Supervisor Race Got Wacky, Fast

Eric Mar's twin brother and the lead singer of beach-pop band Sonny and the Sunsets have both pulled papers for the Sunset supervisor position.

(Image: Flickr)

After Supervisor Katy Tang’s surprise announcement earlier this week that she would not be running for a second term this November, a slew of curious personalities have pulled papers to run for the job.

In all likelihood, this probably wasn’t the plan; In a clever but-not-unheard-of move, Tang’s aide Jessica Ho (who has only lived in S.F. since March) filed papers for the job Tuesday just minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline to apply for the seat ended. At 5:17 p.m., Tang made the announcement that she wouldn’t seek re-election.

It’s a passing-of-the-torch pattern that is all-too-familiar for District 4. In 2007 29-year-old Carmen Chu was appointed to the job by Mayor Gavin Newsom after former-Supervisor Ed Jew was suspended due to mail fraud. When Chu was appointed to assessor/recorder in 2013, her 29-year-old legislative aide Tang was appointed to her seat. Now, with Tang stepping down, 30-year-old Ho is considered the frontrunner.

But upon receiving Tang’s news on Tuesday, the Department of Elections extended the deadline for District 4 supervisor applications to Monday, allowing the pool of possible candidates to widen. It’s unlikely that everyone who’s pulled papers will complete them and qualify, but it has shaken up what was otherwise considered a pretty boring incumbent supervisor race. Here are just some of the names that have popped up in the past couple days:

Gordon Mar
The executive director of Jobs with Justice is a mover and shaker in his own right, but he also happens to be the twin brother (younger by 45 minutes) of former-District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar. He’s spent decades fighting for workers rights, which may resonate powerfully with the Sunset’s union-heavy population if he qualifies for the race. He fought to block a WalMart from opening up in 2011, and just last year, penned an op-ed in our sister publication the Examiner about providing much-needed housing for the city’s laborers.

Sonny Smith
The lead singer of beach-pop band Sonny and the Sunsets has also pulled papers, bringing a little rag-tag artistic action into the race. Described on his site as a “singer/songwriter, playwright, author and onetime troubadour,” we’re really hoping he follows through because political campaigns should definitely have more music involved. Also, perhaps it should be a requirement that the next supervisor for the Sunset knows how to surf.

There are also a few less-well-known candidates applying, but a quick Google search shows that they are as follows:

Lou Ann Bassan is a lawyer specializing in workers compensation (another possible lure for working-class Sunset voters). Curiously, she also appears to be a member of the National Coalition for Men, which describes itself as a “nonprofit educational organization that raises awareness about the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys.”

Another lawyer, Michael Levin-Gesundheit, has pulled papers for the job. The Harvard and Stanford graduate is an associate at large law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. 

The above are all new; Adam Kim and anti-turf Green Party member Mike Murphy qualified prior to the original deadline. 

Aside from evidence of interest gleaned from the Department of Elections site, rumors abound that John O’Riordan, member of The Westside Democratic Club and the Irish Caucus of the California Democratic Party, may run.  

There are currently three qualified candidates and nine pending, and the new deadline isn’t until 5 p.m. Monday. In the meantime, we’ll be hitting refresh on the Department of Elections site to see if anyone else throws their hat in the ring. 

Editors note: this is preliminary coverage, as only three candidates were qualified by Friday, and the deadline to apply isn’t until 5pm Monday. Check back with us for more thorough coverage of qualified candidates once the race is officially underway. 

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