Mark Farrell anxious to get to work as new District 2 supervisor

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier
and Supervisor-elect Mark Farrell
The election of Mark Farrell as supervisor to District 2 culminates one of the strangest local political dramas seen here in many years.

To make it more intriguing, Janet Reilly – heavily supported by the honchos of the Democratic Party, including Mayor Gavin Newsom – garnered more first-choice votes than Farrell. But he won anyway.

Reilly received 9,898 votes for 41.06 percent of the District 2 vote. Farrell got 9,700 votes equaling 40.26 percent. With neither candidate earning over 50 percent, it was the second place votes from the remaining candidates that determined the winner.

The majority of voters for every other candidate marked Farrell as their second choice, which gave him 11,426 votes and the magic 50.57 percent.

Reilly finished the ranked-choice count with 11,168 votes (49.43 percent).
This is all part of the hotly debated three-tiered local voting system.

“There are things to be said on both sides of this election process,” says Farrell.

On her website, Reilly, who did not return our phone calls by deadline, was bitter.

“Public service is an honor,” she wrote. “It is an integral part of our democratic tradition for candidates to pass a series of difficult tests before earning the right to hold office. Still, I understand why many bright, capable people choose not to run for office when I see how poisonous and cynical the process can be.”

Mark Farrell plans to “hit the ground running” when he takes office. He says he has been working with incumbent Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier for a smooth transition into City Hall.

“Michela has really been great,” he says. “She’s been bringing me through it. Michela says that I have every reason to be confident.”

Avoiding a runoff might be one.

Alioto-Pier fought to keep her job as supervisor, but the City Attorney and the courts had other ideas, and she lost her bid to remain in office. She argued that she had not completed a second term. Her efforts threw the powers at the Democratic Party into some distress.

Farrell says the City’s budget crisis will likely be the first order of business as he takes office.

 “There will also be the local issues that impact District 2,” says Farrell. “There will be Doyle Drive and there will be the CPMC matter, as the hospital moves into Cathedral Hill [where the Cathedral Hill Hotel was located on Van Ness] and management moves all services out of the facility on California Street in Laurel Heights. They will eventually sell off that property. I will be closely watching how these changes affect the neighborhoods. This is a very big deal.”