San Francisco Board of Supervisors

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislature of the City and County of San Francisco, California.

thumb|right|280px|San Francisco City Hall]

Government and politics

As the official name implies, the City and County of San Francisco is a consolidated city-county, being simultaneously a charter city and charter county with a consolidated government, a status it has had since 1856. It is the only such consolidation in California and the only California county with a mayor who is also the county executive. San Francisco is the only California city with a board of supervisors, which is also the city council.


There are 11 members of the Board of Supervisors, each representing a geographic district (see below). The current president of the Board is Aaron Peskin, who represents District 3.

How the Board of Supervisors shall be elected has been a bone of contention in recent San Francisco history. Throughout the United States, almost all cities and counties with populations in excess of 20,000 divide the jurisdiction into electoral districts (in cities, often called "wards") to ensure proportionate representation of the whole community and to evenly distribute the community interaction workload among the members of the governing body (city council, county board of supervisors, etc.). But San Francisco, notwithstanding a population of over 700,000, has often been an exception.

Prior to 1977 and again from 1980 through 2000, the Board of Supervisors was elected at-large, with all candidates appearing together on the ballot. The person who received the most votes was elected President of the Board of Supervisors, and the next ten were elected to seats on the board. The first district-based elections in 1977 resulted in a radical change to the composition of the Board, including the election of Harvey Milk, only the third openly gay or lesbian individual (and the first male) elected to public office in the United States. Following the assassinations of Supervisor Milk and Mayor George Moscone a year later by former Supervisor Dan White, district elections were deemed divisive and San Francisco returned to at-large elections until the current system was implemented in 2000.

Under the current system, Supervisors are elected by district to four-year terms. The City Charter provides a term limit of two successive four-year terms. [ [ City and Country of San Francisco 1996 Charter codified through 2008-06-03, Sec. 2.101] . ] The terms are staggered so that only half the board is elected every two years, thereby providing continuity. Supervisors representing odd-numbered districts (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11) are elected every fourth year counted from 2000 (so, 2000, 2004, 2008, etc.). Supervisors representing even-numbered districts (2, 4, 6, 8, and 10) were elected to transitional two-year terms in 2000, thereafter to be elected every fourth year (2002, 2006, 2010, etc.). The next election is scheduled for November 4, 2008.

The President of the Board of Supervisors, under the new system, is elected by the members of the Board from among their number. This is typically done at the first meeting of the new session commencing after the general election.

In the November 7, 2006 election, Supervisor Fiona Ma chose not to seek reelection in District 4, having won the Democratic nomination for California State Assembly District 12. Ed Jew was elected to fill her seat, winning from a field of six candidates, including one supported by Ma and another supported by Mayor Gavin Newsom. All other Board of Supervisor elections were won by incumbents.

For the 2008 election, AsianWeek reported that ten of the 11 candidates for District 3 supervisor met for a town hall debate in lower Nob Hill on June 16.The community board of the district asked the candidates about the issues affecting the area, which is one of the most densely populated Asian Pacific American neighborhoods, and all the candidates addressed the problem of homelessness in the area. [Kang, Leila (Jun 27, 2008). [ "District 3 Candidates For Supervisor Debate"] . AsianWeek. Retrieved June 30, 2008. ]


Members of the Board of Supervisor are elected from eleven single-member districts. The districts cover the following neighborhoods, approximately.

See also

* Members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (historical list)


External links

* [ San Francisco Board of Supervisors website]

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