SAN FRANCISCO—Some leading San Francisco Democrats want Mayor Ed Lee to appoint a mother to the Board of Supervisors in order to boost the political representation of both women and families in the city.
With Lee’s appointment of Supervisor Carmen Chu as the city’s new assessor-recorder earlier this month, Chu’s District 4 supervisor seat will become vacant.
The call comes in a resolution proposed by members of San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC), the governing body of the city’s Democratic Party.
The proposal urges Lee to “take a stand for women and families in San Francisco, and recognize the unique and significant contributions of women by appointing a mother to replace Supervisor Carmen Chu.”
Alix Rosenthal, vice-chair of the DCCC and author of the resolution, said in a phone interview that her main motivation is to call attention to a “gaping hole on the Board of Supervisors.”
With Chu leaving, there will be only three women left on the 11-member Board, and not a single mother.
Rosenthal calls herself a “life-long advocate for women.” She has served as the president of the National Women’s Political Caucus (SF chapter) and last year she was instrumental in helping a slate of women candidates elected to the DCCC.
She hopes that appointing a mother to the Board will inspire more mothers to become politically active and run for a political office themselves.
“It is especially difficult for mothers to balance the challenges of family and work and a political life,” Rosenthal said.
According to the resolution women are “even in San Francisco … historically unrepresented,” with only 12 out of 31 elected office-holders being women.
Rosenthal points to the shrinking number of families in the city. The 2010 U.S. census showed that non-family households with 55.3 percent are the rising majority, and only 16.7 percent are families with children under the age of 18.
“Families are fleeing San Francisco,” Rosenthal said.
Mayor Lee has made no indication who he will select for the supervisor seat but has said that he wants someone like Chu. Chu has been a reliable moderate ally to Lee. Chu has held the supervisor seat for the Sunset neighborhood since 2007 when former Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed her.
It is especially difficult for mothers to balance the challenges of family and work and a political life.
—Alix Rosenthal, vice chair, San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee
Suzy Loftus is one possibly appointee mentioned in media reports these days. Loftus, a police commissioner and former assistant district attorney, is a working mother with three daughters.
Rosenthal insists that this resolution “is not about Suzy or any other particular candidate” but about women being adequately represented in government.
It is expected that the mayor will pick a candidate who is both loyal to him and also has a good chance of being reelected in November.
At the same time, Lee does not want to be seen as opposing women or families, therefore choosing between an ally and a mother “could be potentially embarrassing” to the mayor, Rosenthal said.
The DCCC will vote on the resolution at their next meeting on Feb. 27, while Lee said he will find a replacement for Chu by March 4.
Correction: An error appeared in a previous version of this article. The correct number of women on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors with Supervisor Carmen Chu leaving will be three. The Epoch Times regrets the error.
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