Mayor of San Francisco

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Mayor of the
City and County of
San Francisco
Flag of San Francisco.svg
Mayor Ed Lee Pelosi.jpg
Incumbent
Ed Lee

since 2011
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderJohn W. Geary
Formation1850
WebsiteOffice of the Mayor
 
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Mayor of the
City and County of
San Francisco
Flag of San Francisco.svg
Mayor Ed Lee Pelosi.jpg
Incumbent
Ed Lee

since 2011
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderJohn W. Geary
Formation1850
WebsiteOffice of the Mayor

The Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco is the head of the executive branch of the San Francisco city and county government. The mayor has the duty to enforce city laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch. The mayor serves a four-year term and is limited to two successive terms.[1] Because of San Francisco's status as a consolidated city-county, the mayor also serves as the head of government of the county; both entities have been governed together by a combined set of governing bodies since 1856.[2]

There have been 42 individuals sworn into office. John W. Geary, elected in 1850, was the first mayor of the city. Charles James Brenham, who served as mayor during the 1850s, is the only person who has served two non-consecutive terms. The previous mayor, Gavin Newsom resigned to become the Lieutenant Governor of California on January 10, 2011. Ed Lee was appointed by the Board of Supervisors on the following day to finish out Newsom's term. Lee was elected to his own term on November 8, 2011.

Elections[edit]

The mayor of San Francisco is elected every four years; elections take place one year before United States presidential elections on election day in November. Candidates must live and be registered to vote in San Francisco at the time of the election. The mayor is usually sworn in on the January 8 following the election. The next election for the mayor will be in 2015.

Under the California constitution, all city elections in the state are conducted on a non-partisan basis. As a result, candidates' party affiliations are not listed on the ballot, and multiple candidates from a single party can run in the election since a primary election is not held.[3]

Mayoral elections were originally run under a two-round system. If no candidate received a simple majority of votes in the general election, the two candidates who received the most votes competed in a second runoff election held several weeks later.[4] In 2002, the election system for city officials was overhauled as a result of a citywide referendum. The new system, known as instant-runoff voting, allows voters to select and rank three candidates based on their preferences. If no one wins more than half of the first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and second-choice votes (and third-choice votes, if necessary) are counted until a candidate captures the majority. This eliminates the need to hold a separate runoff election and saves money. This was first implemented in the 2004 Board of Supervisors election after two years of preparation.[5] In 2007, the new system was implemented in the mayoral election for the first time.[6]

Duties and powers[edit]

The mayor has the responsibility to enforce all city laws, administer and coordinate city departments and intergovernmental activities, set forth policies and agendas to the Board of Supervisors, and prepare and submit the city budget at the end of each fiscal year. The mayor has the powers to either approve or veto bills passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, participate in meetings of the Board of Supervisors and its committees, appoint a replacement to fill vacancies in all city elected offices until elections, appoint a member of the Board as acting mayor in his/her absence, and to direct personnels in the case of emergency.[1]

Succession[edit]

Back and white photo of a bearded man wearing a suit
John W. Geary, 1st mayor of San Francisco
A bearded man wearing a suit and a bow tie
Isaac Smith Kalloch, 18th mayor of San Francisco
Back and white photo of a man wearing a suit sits on a chair
Washington Bartlett, 20th mayor of San Francisco
Back and white photo of a bearded man wearing a suit and a bow tie looking right
Adolph Sutro, 24th mayor of San Francisco
Back and white photo of a man wearing a suit and a bow tie
James D. Phelan, 25th mayor of San Francisco
A picture of Edward Robeson Taylor
Edward Robeson Taylor, 28th mayor of San Francisco
A woman wearing a suit and a necklace stands in front of a U.S. flag
Dianne Feinstein, 38th mayor of San Francisco
Gavin Newsom, 42nd mayor of San Francisco

If the mayor dies in office, resigns, or is unable to carry out his/her duties and he/she did not designate an acting mayor, the president of the Board of Supervisors becomes acting mayor until the full Board select a person to fill the vacancy and finish the previous mayoral term.[7] (In the case that both the president of the Board of Supervisors and the mayor are incapacitated, the order of succession is followed.[1]) This has happened four times: James Otis died in office and was succeeded by George Hewston,[a] James Rolph resigned and was succeeded by Angelo Rossi,[c] George Moscone was assassinated and was succeeded by Dianne Feinstein,[d] and Gavin Newsom resigned and was succeeded by Ed Lee.[e]

List[edit]

To date, 42 individuals have served as mayor. There have been 43 mayoralties due to Charles James Brenham's serving two non-consecutive terms: he is counted chronologically as both the second and fourth mayor. The longest term was that of James Rolph, who served over 18 years until his resignation to become the California governor. The length of his tenure as mayor was largely due to his popularity. During his term, San Francisco saw the expansion of its transit system, the construction of the Civic Center and the hosting of the World's Fair.[8][9] The shortest term was that of Charles Boxton, who served only eight days before resigning from office. Two mayors have died in office: Otis died from illness and Moscone was assassinated. Dianne Feinstein is the only woman, Willie Brown is the only African American, and Ed Lee is the only Asian American to have served as mayor.

Eleven mayors are native San Franciscans: Levi Richard Ellert, James D. Phelan, Eugene Schmitz, James Rolph, Elmer Robinson, John Shelley, Joseph Alioto, George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein, Frank Jordan and Gavin Newsom. Four mayors are foreign-born: Frank McCoppin and P. H. McCarthy (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, present-day Republic of Ireland), Adolph Sutro (Prussia, present-day Germany) and George Christopher (Greece).

This list does not include all acting mayors, of which there have been many, as an acting mayor is typically appointed by the mayor whenever he or she will be out of the city.

#MayorTerm startTerm end Party
1Geary, John W.John W. GearyMay 1, 1850May 4, 1851 No party
2Brenham, Charles JamesCharles James BrenhamMay 5, 1851December 31, 1851Whig
3Harris, Stephen RandallStephen Randall HarrisJanuary 1, 1852November 9, 1852Democratic
4Brenham, Charles JamesCharles James BrenhamNovember 10, 1852October 2, 1853Whig
5Garrison, Cornelius KingslandCornelius Kingsland GarrisonOctober 3, 1853October 1, 1854Whig
6Webb, Stephen PalfreyStephen Palfrey WebbOctober 2, 1854June 30, 1855Know Nothing
7Van Ness, JamesJames Van NessJuly 1, 1855July 7, 1856Democratic
8Whelan, George J.George J. WhelanJuly 8, 1856November 14, 1856American
9Burr, Ephraim WillardEphraim Willard BurrNovember 15, 1856October 2, 1859American
10Teschemacher, Henry F.Henry F. TeschemacherOctober 3, 1859June 30, 1863Vigilance People's
11Coon, Henry PerrinHenry Perrin CoonJuly 1, 1863December 1, 1867Vigilance People's
12McCoppin, FrankFrank McCoppinDecember 2, 1867December 5, 1869Democratic
13Selby, Thomas HenryThomas Henry SelbyDecember 6, 1869December 3, 1871Republican
14Alvord, WilliamWilliam AlvordDecember 4, 1871November 30, 1873Republican
15Otis, JamesJames Otis[a]December 1, 1873October 30, 1875Populist
16Hewston, GeorgeGeorge Hewston[a]November 4, 1875December 5, 1875Democratic
17Bryant, Andrew JacksonAndrew Jackson BryantDecember 6, 1875November 30, 1879Populist
18Kalloch, Isaac SmithIsaac Smith KallochDecember 1, 1879December 4, 1881Democratic
19Blake, Maurice CareyMaurice Carey BlakeDecember 5, 1881January 7, 1883Republican
20Bartlett, WashingtonWashington BartlettJanuary 8, 1883January 2, 1887Democratic
21Pond, Edward B.Edward B. PondJanuary 3, 1887January 4, 1891Democratic
22Sanderson, George HenryGeorge Henry SandersonJanuary 5, 1891January 3, 1893Republican
23Ellert, Levi RichardLevi Richard EllertJanuary 3, 1893January 6, 1895Republican
24Sutro, AdolphAdolph SutroJanuary 7, 1895January 3, 1897Populist
25Phelan, James D.James D. PhelanJanuary 4, 1897January 7, 1902Democratic
26Schmitz, EugeneEugene Schmitz[b]January 8, 1902July 8, 1907Union Labor[10]
27Boxton, CharlesCharles Boxton[b]July 9, 1907July 16, 1907Union Labor
28Taylor, Edward RobesonEdward Robeson Taylor[b]July 16, 1907January 7, 1910Democratic
29McCarthy, P. H.P. H. McCarthyJanuary 8, 1910January 7, 1912Union Labor
30Rolph, JamesJames Rolph[c]January 8, 1912January 6, 1931Republican
31Rossi, Angelo JosephAngelo Joseph Rossi[c]January 7, 1931January 7, 1944Republican
32Lapham, RogerRoger LaphamJanuary 8, 1944January 7, 1948Republican
33Robinson, ElmerElmer RobinsonJanuary 8, 1948January 7, 1956Republican
34Christopher, GeorgeGeorge ChristopherJanuary 8, 1956January 7, 1964Republican
35Shelley, JohnJohn ShelleyJanuary 8, 1964January 7, 1968Democratic
36Alioto, JosephJoseph AliotoJanuary 8, 1968January 7, 1976Democratic
37Moscone, GeorgeGeorge Moscone[d]January 8, 1976November 27, 1978Democratic
38Feinstein, DianneDianne Feinstein[d]December 4, 1978January 7, 1988Democratic
39Agnos, ArtArt AgnosJanuary 8, 1988January 7, 1992Democratic
40Jordan, FrankFrank JordanJanuary 8, 1992January 7, 1996Democratic
41Brown, WillieWillie BrownJanuary 8, 1996January 7, 2004Democratic
42Newsom, GavinGavin Newsom[e]January 8, 2004January 10, 2011Democratic
43Lee, EdEd Lee[e]January 11, 2011incumbentDemocratic

Other offices held[edit]

The following is a list of congressional, gubernatorial and other offices held by mayors, before or after their term(s).

* Denotes those offices which the mayor resigned to take
MayorMayoral termOther offices heldReferences
Geary, John W.John W. Geary1850–1851Territorial Governor of Kansas (1856–1857)
Governor of Pennsylvania (1867–1873)
[11][12]
Webb, Stephen PalfreyStephen Palfrey Webb1854–1855Mayor of Salem, Massachusetts (1842–1844, 1860–1862)[13]
Van Ness, JamesJames Van Ness1855–1856California State Senator (1871)[14]
Blake, Maurice CareyMaurice Carey Blake1881–1883California State Assemblyman (1857–1858)[15]
Bartlett, WashingtonWashington Bartlett1883–1887California State Senator (1873–1877)
Governor of California (1887)
[16][17][18]
Phelan, James D.James D. Phelan1897–1902U.S. Senator from California (1915–1921)[19]
Rolph, JamesJames Rolph1912–1931Governor of California* (1931–1934)[16]
Shelley, JohnJohn Shelley1964–1968California State Senator (1938–1946)
U.S. Representative from California (1949–1964)
[20]
Moscone, GeorgeGeorge Moscone1976–1978California State Senator (1966–1975)[21]
Feinstein, DianneDianne Feinstein1978–1988U.S. Senator from California (1992–present)[22]
Agnos, ArtArt Agnos1988–1992California State Assemblyman (1976–1988)[23][24]
Brown, WillieWillie Brown1996–2004California State Assemblyman (1964–1995)[25]
Newsom, GavinGavin Newsom2004–2011Lieutenant Governor of California* (2011–present)[26]

Living former mayors[edit]

As of December 2012, five former mayors are alive, the oldest being Dianne Feinstein (1978–1988; born 1933). The most recent mayor to die is George Christopher (1956–1964; born 1907), on September 14, 2000.

MayorMayoral termDate of birth
Feinstein, DianneDianne Feinstein1978–1988June 22, 1933 (age 80)
Agnos, ArtArt Agnos1988–1992September 1, 1938 (age 75)
Jordan, FrankFrank Jordan1992–1996February 20, 1935 (age 78)
Brown, WillieWillie Brown1996–2004March 20, 1934 (age 79)
Newsom, GavinGavin Newsom2004–2011October 10, 1967 (age 46)

Notes[edit]

  • a In 1875, James Otis died of diphtheria during his tenure as mayor. Supervisor George Hewston became acting mayor until Andrew Bryant was elected to the office.[27][28]
  • b In July 1907, Eugene Schmitz was convicted of extortion and sentenced to 5 years in prison. The Board of Supervisors replaced Schmitz with Supervisor Charles Boxton who had also taken bribes. Boxton served for eight days before he resigned. The Board then replaced Boxton with Edward Taylor.[29][30]
  • c James Rolph resigned to become the Governor of California in 1931. The Board replaced Rolph with Angelo Rossi.[31]
  • d On November 27, 1978, George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White. Supervisor and Board President Dianne Feinstein was named acting mayor.[21] She served the remainder of Moscone's term and was subsequently re-elected twice.[32]
  • e Gavin Newsom resigned to become the Lieutenant Governor of California on January 10, 2011. Supervisor and Board President David Chiu briefly served as acting mayor until city administrator Ed Lee was unanimously appointed on the following day by the Board to finish out Newsom's term.[33]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ a b c City and County of San Francisco Municipal Code art. III[dead link]
  2. ^ Coy, Owen Cochran (1919). Guide to the County Archives of California. Sacramento, California: California Historical Survey Commission. p. 409. 
  3. ^ California Constitution art. II, § 6 (a)
  4. ^ Gordon, Rachel (August 21, 2003). "Judge denies instant election runoff". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2009. 
  5. ^ Murphy, Dean E. (September 30, 2004). "New Runoff System in San Francisco Has the Rival Candidates Cooperating". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved June 26, 2009. 
  6. ^ Wildermuth, John (November 7, 2007). "Counting S.F. ballots will take a record amount of time". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2009. 
  7. ^ City and County of San Francisco Municipal Code art. XIII § 101.5[dead link]
  8. ^ Starr, Kevin (1997). The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s. Oxford University Press US. pp. 115–117. ISBN 0-19-510079-4. 
  9. ^ Nolte, Carl (April 25, 1999). "A Roaring Decade, A Glorious New City, A Rival to the South". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Eugene E. Schmitz (1864–1928)". Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Governors of Kansas". Kansas State Historical Society. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  12. ^ Cope, Michael (August 13, 2007). "Gettysburg unveils statue of Mt. Pleasant-native general". Pittsburg Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Mayor's of Salem". City of Salem, Massachusetts. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  14. ^ Clarke, S.J. (1913). San Francisco: Its Builders, Past and Present : Pictorial and Biographical. Clarke (S.J.) Publishing Company. p. 118. 
  15. ^ Shuck, Oscar Tully (1901). History of the Bench and Bar of California. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. pp. 551–552. ISBN 1-58477-706-0. 
  16. ^ a b "Governors of California". State of California. Retrieved March 12, 2009. [dead link]
  17. ^ "California Governor Washington Bartlett". National Governors Association. Retrieved June 18, 2009. [dead link]
  18. ^ Hittell, Theodore Henry (1897). History of California. N.J. Stone & co. pp. 709–710. 
  19. ^ "Phelan, James Duval, (1861–1930)". United States Congress. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Shelley, John Francis, (1905–1974)". United States Congress. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  21. ^ a b Sward, Susan (November 26, 1998). "Moscone's Time Was Anything But Quiet". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Feinstein, Dianne, (1933 – )". United States Congress. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  23. ^ St. John, Kelly (June 7, 2001). "Mary C. Agnos – son was S.F. mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  24. ^ Gordon, Rachel (May 31, 1995). "Agnos begs off Senate bid". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  25. ^ Gordon, Rachel (January 4, 2004). "The Mayor's Legacy: Willie Brown". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  26. ^ York, Anthony (November 3, 2010). "Gavin Newsom elected California lieutenant governor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  27. ^ Egan, Ferol (1998). Last bonanza kings: the Bourns of San Francisco. University of Nevada Press. pp. 168–169. ISBN 0-87417-319-1. 
  28. ^ Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences. California Academy of Sciences. 1893. p. 365. 
  29. ^ Bean, Walton (1952). Boss Ruef's San Francisco: the story of the Union Labor Party, big business, and the graft prosecution. University of California Press. pp. 227–230. ISBN 0-520-00094-3. 
  30. ^ Nolte, Carl (November 6, 2007). "Exhibition spotlights career of 'totally forgotten mayor' Taylor". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  31. ^ "San Francisco Race Close" (PDF). The New York Times. The New York Times Company. November 5, 1931. Retrieved March 13, 2009. 
  32. ^ Gordon, Rachel (November 26, 2008). "Feinstein recalls S.F.'s 'day of infamy'". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Ed Lee becomes the city's first Chinese American mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc. January 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011.