By Lee Hubbard
A day after being sworn in as Mayor of San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee appointed Christina Olague as the replacement Supervisor for District 5, a seat vacated by Ross Mirkarimi, when he was elected Sheriff.
“When I was sworn in as Mayor, I talked about uniting the city,” said Lee, speaking to people assembled in the rotunda at City Hall. “That was going on in my mind when I considered this appointment of Christina Olague to supervisor of District 5.”
Lee said he had wanted to appoint someone who could win re-election in November. Olague is a favorite of the progressive political left, and District 5 leans in that direction.
Olague, who was San Francisco Planning Commission Board president, said she was surprised by her appointment, learning about it Sunday night when the mayor called her.
She said she wants to build unity in the city.
“We are a city where everyone is included,” she said. “We need to focus on jobs and smart economic development for various communities.”
As supervisor, Olague will represent an area that includes Lower Pacific Heights, Haight Ashbury, Fillmore, Western Addition and Japan Town. Born and raised in Merced, Olague, 50, moved to San Francisco in the early 1980s to attend San Francisco State.
She later worked as a community organizer for tenant rights with the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition. She was appointed to the Planning Commission by former District 5 Supervisor Matt Gonzalez in 2004 and was reappointed by Supervisor Aaron Peskin.
Olague will be the third Latina to serve as supervisor. Her term will last until November, when she will have to run for re-election.
Besides economic development, her concerns include public safety and building more low- and middle-income housing in District 5.
Many Black activists in San Francisco wanted Lee to appoint someone Black as supervisor for the traditionally African American district that has changed drastically over the years due to displacement and gentrification.
The San Francisco branch of the NAACP, as well as the San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce, advocated for London Breed, director of the African American Cultural Center, who was born and raised in the community.
“London has helped to bring back the Black Western Addition, and she is an up can coming young leader,” said Zula Jones, a District 5 resident and community activist. “But Christina Olague is a good choice as well for supervisor for District 5. She has been around and has been one of the leading residents and activists when it comes to fighting for community issues. “