by JIM MEKO
Word is spreading that Board of Supervisors President David Chiu may nominate Michael Theriault to one of the two seats on the Planning Commission currently occupied by either Commissioners Kathrin Moore or Bill Sugaya.
Under the charter amendment that reformed the current structure of the commission, the Board President nominates three commissioners, two of whom are up for reappointment this year. The Rules Committee may vote them up or down but has no say in who is nominated.
Theriault heads the influential San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council and he often testifies before the Commission in support of numerous projects. His argument is almost always that the city needs the jobs generated by new construction even as more and more of his members are priced out of the city by those very same projects.
In other news, Planning Commissioner Gwyneth Borden was recently named executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, San Francisco’s pre-eminent lobbyists representing the restaurant industry. The GGRA is also frequently before the Commission whenever any measure that threatens the alleged profitability of their member businesses comes up.
There are currently no clear conflict of interest rules that apply to Planning Commissioners. Those judgement calls are left up to the Mayor and the President of the Board. But with the recent scandal involving influence peddling by State Senator Leland Yee, Chiu’s ties to the Building and Construction Trades Council are sure to come under much more scrutiny as his run for the State Assembly heads towards November.