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San Francisco votes against mayor's pro-growth stance

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -- San Francisco voters have delivered a blistering message to hard-driving Mayor Willie Brown, seating a new board of city supervisors dominated by progressives opposed to Brown's pro-development stance.

In results from run-off elections Tuesday for nine of the city's 11 supervisor seats, voters rejected Brown-backed candidates in all but one of the races.

Instead, they put into office a range of independent and progressive candidates who will likely make the Board of Supervisors a much stronger adversary for Brown than it has been for most of his five years in office.

"The verdict from the voters is 'no' to Willie Brown," said Chris Daly, a renters rights advocate who defeated a pro-Brown candidate for one of the contested seats by an 80-to-20 percent margin.

Brown, who narrowly won reelection last year against progressive Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano, was seen as the major issue in this year's campaign, which centered on his often heavy-handed political style and policies encouraging "dot-com" growth.

With spiraling real estate prices putting pressure on the middle class and a number of major development projects pushed through in recent years, a growing number of San Franciscans have decided things are moving too fast and the city's neighborhoods are being strangled.

This year's Nov. 7 board elections were the first in over a decade to elect supervisors district by district rather than city-wide. They gave a much stronger voice to these neighborhood advocates, who prevailed by healthy margins in almost all of their contests against Brown-backed incumbents -- many of whom were backed by downtown and out-of-town business interests.

While the poll results marked a setback for San Francisco's flamboyant mayor, by Wednesday his aides were expressing confidence that their boss -- a legendary political operator in California -- would find a way to work with the new board.

"Mayor Brown has shown through the past several weeks and for throughout the 40 years of his public life that he is ready to work with any and all elected officials," Brown spokesman P.J. Johnston said.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2000


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