San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Monday swore in Matt Dorsey as the newest member of the city's Board of Supervisors, filling the District 6 seat left vacant after Matt Haney was elected to the state Assembly last month.
Dorsey has worked for years as director of strategic communications for the San Francisco Police Department and, before that, served as press secretary for then-City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
In choosing Dorsey, who is considered a relative moderate, Breed will likely get a more reliable ally on the board than she had in Haney, who often criticized her management of the city. But she also risks alienating some of her constituents who are likely to consider Dorsey's police affiliation a liability.
The location of the swearing-in ceremony — the Delancey Street Foundation, a nonprofit that provides rehabilitation services and vocational training programs for formerly incarcerated people and those recovering from substance use disorder — was chosen to acknowledge Dorsey's own recovery experience, and as a symbol of his intent to address the city's overdose crisis.
Breed's appointment of Dorsey also sets the stage for a battle over the seat in November, when Haney's preferred choice, and his former chief of staff, Honey Mahogany, is expected to run for the seat.
KQED's Natalia Navarro sat down with KQED Politics and Government Editor Scott Shafer, who attended Monday’s swearing-in ceremony, to discuss what Dorsey's appointment means for San Francisco's District 6.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
NATALIA NAVARRO: Scott, the swearing-in took place at Delancey Street on the Embarcadero, which is well known as a substance abuse recovery program for people who leave prison. Why did Mayor London Breed choose that location?
SCOTT SHAFER: Delancey Street has very strong ties to the Democratic establishment in the city. Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, John Burton — you could go on and on about all the people who have held press conferences there on Election Night. And it's also very symbolic. Matt Dorsey, who is the new supervisor, has struggled with addiction. He calls himself a three-time graduate of recovery programs, and he's had lapses as recently as a couple of years ago. And he talked about that. One other thing about Dorsey is he's openly gay, he's HIV-positive. And I think those are kind of real-life experiences that may have appealed to the mayor.
I mentioned that Dorsey is transitioning now from director of strategic communications for the Police Department to becoming a city supervisor, which is bringing a lot of criticism from progressives. Is that right?