New San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang Looks Like a Safe Choice
Mayor Ed Lee’s choice of Katy Tang looks like a safe bet.
On Tuesday Lee appointed the 29-year-old aide to Supervisor Carmen Chu as the new supervisor for District 4.
Tang takes over from Chu, who was appointed by Lee earlier this month to be the city’s assessor-recorder. Phil Ting vacated that position when he was elected to the state Assembly in November.
District 4 spans the Sunset and Parkside neighborhoods on the western side of the city.
Tang has not been in the public eye and was not available for interviews after the press conference announcing her selection.
The future of a supervisor is never guaranteed. Lee’s last appointment to the Board of Supervisors, Christina Olague, lost her first election, as did Rodrigo Santo, Lee’s appointment to the Community College Board of Trustees.
But this appointment isn’t likely to stir controversy, says University of San Francisco research associate David Latterman, who tracks San Francisco politics. “There has been no real opposition,” he told KQED. “This was the logical pick. It made perfect sense.”
Tang has worked for years in the district, getting to know constituents and their needs.
Tang speaks Mandarin and is Chinese American, an ethnic identity shared by about 40 percent the voters in the district. Past elections have suggested that San Francisco Chinese prefer to elect someone from their own ethnicity, Latterman said.
She also grew up in San Francisco, attending Lowell High School before getting her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis.
Later she worked in the office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom focusing on a community justice center.
Tang is likely to follow Chu’s lead and focus on practical needs. “It’s a district that cares about quality of life: schools, economic development, potholes,” Latterman said.
The press release announcing her appointment lists her work on a storefront improvement project on Noriega and Taraval streets and efforts to help small businesses comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Chu herself was appointed to the supervisor seat in 2007 after working in the mayor’s office of budget and finance.
Chu replaced former Supervisor Ed Jew, who was suspended and later convicted of several state and federal charges including mail fraud and bribery.
Chu has been categorized as a moderate on the board, but the traditional division between moderates and progressives is losing its meaning, along with the city’s bohemian tradition, Latterman said.
“This has been an expensive boutique city for a long while.”