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Michela Alioto-Pier

Michela Alioto-Pier

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Michela Alioto-Pier served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislative body within the government of the City and County of San Francisco, California, United States.-Government and politics:...

. She represented District 2, encompassing the Marina and Pacific Heights neighborhoods. She previously served as a member of the San Francisco Port Commission. She was appointed to the Board of Supervisors by Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom
Gavin Christopher Newsom is an American politician who is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of California. Previously, he was the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, and was elected in 2003 to succeed Willie Brown, becoming San Francisco's youngest mayor in 100 years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007...

  after he was elected mayor in 2003. Newsom himself was initially appointed to this seat by former mayor Willie Brown.

Alioto-Pier is the granddaughter of former San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto
Joseph Alioto
Joseph Lawrence Alioto was the 36th mayor of San Francisco, California, from 1968 to 1976.-Biography:...

, and former San Francisco Port Commissioner and former SF Supervisor Michael J. Driscoll, Sr., and the niece of Angela Alioto
Angela Alioto
Angela Alioto is an attorney, a politician, and a member of the Secular Franciscan order and Democratic Party. She is a member of one of the best known political families in San Francisco, and her family is generally associated with the liberal democratic side of the city's...

, former President of the SF Board of Supervisors. She is the most recent member of the Alioto family to hold an elected political office in San Francisco.

She is currently a candidate for Mayor of San Francisco
Mayor of San Francisco
The Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco is the head of the executive branch of San Francisco's 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....

.

Biography


Alioto-Pier was paralyzed from the waist down in a ski-lift accident in 1981, when she was 13.

When she was 17, President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 appointed her to the President's National Council on Disabilities Advisory Board. She also served as a delegate to the U.S.-Japan Summit Conference on Disabilities. She later received a degree in anthropology from UCLA.

She is married to attorney Thomas Pier and with three children, she uses a self-powered wheelchair and drives a Jeep equipped with a hand brake and accelerator.

Early Political Career


After working as an aide to Vice President Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

, Alioto-Pier made her first run for public office at age 28 in 1996 against Republican Congressman Frank Riggs
Frank Riggs
Frank D. Riggs is a politician from the states of California and Arizona.Riggs was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and he served in the United States Army from 1972 to 1975. Riggs worked as a police officer and in real estate...

 in California's 1st congressional district
California's 1st congressional district
California's 1st congressional district is a congressional district located in the U.S. state of California and presently consists of the northern coastline and includes Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties and parts of Sonoma and Yolo counties.The district is currently...

, which included Napa
Napa County, California
Napa County is a county located north of the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. state of California. It is coterminous with the Napa, California, Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2010 the population is 136,484. The county seat is Napa....

, Mendocino, and Humboldt
Humboldt County, California
Humboldt County is a county in the U.S. state of California, located on the far North Coast 200 miles north of San Francisco. According to 2010 Census Data, the county’s population was 134,623...

 counties, stretching along the coast up to the Oregon
Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

 border. She won the Democratic nomination, but lost the general election. She is credited with mounting a strong campaign despite the loss. At the time, she ran under the name Michela Alioto.

Shortly after losing that election, Alioto-Pier announced that she would try again in 1998, but withdrew from the race in deference to fellow Democrat (and eventual winner) Mike Thompson
Mike Thompson
Michael C. Thompson , is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1999. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties as well as parts of Yolo and Sonoma Counties....

. Instead, she ran for the office of California Secretary of State
California Secretary of State
The Secretary of State of California is the chief elections officer of that U.S. state. The Secretary of State is also responsible for the California State Archives, as well as chartering corporations. The Secretary of State is elected to four year terms, concurrent with the other constitutional...

 and won the Democratic nomination but ultimately lost against Republican incumbent Bill Jones. She again ran for Secretary of State in 2002, but lost the Democratic nomination to fellow San Franciscan Kevin Shelley.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors


In January 2004, Alioto-Pier was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom
Gavin Christopher Newsom is an American politician who is the 49th and current Lieutenant Governor of California. Previously, he was the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, and was elected in 2003 to succeed Willie Brown, becoming San Francisco's youngest mayor in 100 years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007...

, to his old seat in District 2 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is the legislative body within the government of the City and County of San Francisco, California, United States.-Government and politics:...

. Although even numbered districts were not slated for an election until 2006, an off-year election was held for District 2 because she was an appointed supervisor. Alioto-Pier ran for the seat in the November 2004 election and won, and in 2006 she ran for reelection and easily won the seat.

As a Supervisor, Alioto-Pier is committed to the preservation of St. Brigid's Church, which was once slated for demolition. Another top priority for Alioto-Pier is earthquake preparedness, especially important for her district, hit hard by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Alioto-Pier explains:
"As the district representative for a community that was really hit in Loma Prieta, It is my responsibility to make sure if something like that happens again that we know what we're doing."


As a San Francisco moderate, Alioto-Pier has been attacked by San Francisco progressives for having a poor attendance record and mediocre constituent relations. One significant source of the criticism is over Alioto-Pier's attendance record while she was giving birth to her third child, which was a first for an elected official in San Francisco. Alioto-Pier responded by passing a family leave policy for elected officials in San Francisco.

On July 20, 2009, San Francisco Chronicle political columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross broke the story of Alioto-Pier's announcement for state insurance commissioner
California Insurance Commissioner
California Insurance Commissioner is an elected executive office position in California. The officeholder is in charge of the California Department of Insurance.The current Insurance Commissioner is Democrat Dave Jones.- Duties :...

.
Alioto-Pier, the granddaughter of former Mayor Joe Alioto and a protégée of former Vice President Al Gore, calls it "the most personal venture I've ever undertaken."

Having been in a wheelchair since a skiing accident at age 13, she says, "I've easily had more personal experience with insurance companies than any of the other candidates."


Alioto-Pier subsequently left the race for Insurance Commissioner due to a leg injury.

Re-Election Challenge in 2010


On June 3, 2010, Michela Alioto-Pier submitted papers to register as a candidate for re-election to District Two of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. San Francisco Department of Elections Director John Arntz issued a letter that same day in which he announced, in accordance with a 2008 ruling regarding term limites issued by City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Dennis Herrera
Dennis Herrera is City Attorney of San Francisco, best known for his court action in favor of gay marriage, including against Proposition 8. He was re-elected as City Attorney in 2009 with 96 percent of the vote...

, that she was not eligible to run for re-election for District Two supervisor. Arntz wrote, "Accordingly, the Department of Elections cannot list you as a candidate for this office on the November 2, 2010 ballot or any other election materials for that election." Alioto-Pier would have served on the Board of Supervisors for seven years when her term expired in January 2011. Supervisors are limited to serving two four year terms.

The municipal ordinance providing for term limits was a matter of debate. Some claimed the ordinance states that any person who has served more than one-and-a-half four-year terms in office (six years) shall be deemed to have effectively served for two full terms, and thus be ineligible to seek re-election.

Others claimed the law is more nuanced, and that one must be appointed to serve more than two years for it to count as a full term. Alioto-Pier was appointed to serve one year, then ran for a two year term, and then ran again for a four year term. According to this view, the question is whether or not the year she served as an appointed supervisor and the truncated two years she served can be combined and rounded up to count as a four year term.

Alioto-Pier challenged the ruling from the Department of Elections in Superior Court, which she won. In response, City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Dennis Herrera
Dennis Herrera is City Attorney of San Francisco, best known for his court action in favor of gay marriage, including against Proposition 8. He was re-elected as City Attorney in 2009 with 96 percent of the vote...

, appealed that decision and overturned her victory, forcing her out of the 2010 election for District 2 Supervisor.

Candidate for Mayor in 2011


On February 7, 2011, Michela Alioto-Pier filed as a candidate for mayor of San Francisco.

External links