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Politics & Policy

Supervisor Aaron Peskin to enter alcohol treatment

A bearded, bespectacled man with salt-and-pepper hair, wearing a dark suit, is captured mid-conversation.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who is currently serving his fifth non-consecutive term representing District 3, announced on Thursday that he plans to enter alcohol treatment. 

In a statement on Twitter, Peskin said that he will enter treatment “under the guidance of professionals” and issued an apology, alluding to past public conduct. 

“I stand by my long legislative and civic record but must also take full responsibility for the tenor that I have struck in my public relationships - for that, I am truly sorry,” Peskin wrote. “I’m extremely grateful to my family, colleagues, staff and constituents for their understanding and support as I work through difficult issues that I’m finally confronting.”

Peskin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he plans to take a leave of absence, but said in the statement that he “[remains] committed to the issues and legislative agenda that I have pursued on behalf of the people of San Francisco for two decades.”

Peskin was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2000 and served two full terms representing District 3, which includes North Beach, Chinatown, Russian Hill and adjacent neighborhoods. He was re-elected in 2015 in an off-year election triggered by David Chiu, now a California State Assemblymember representing the 17th District, vacating the seat to run for Assembly.

Following that partial term, Peskin was re-elected to the seat twice; his current term expires in January 2025. San Francisco's city charter limits elected officials to two consecutive full terms but does not limit non-consecutive terms.

Peskin has served in several influential positions during his tenure on the Board of Supervisors, including as Board President from 2001 to 2009. He currently sits on the Board of Supervisors' Rules Committee, the Land Use and Transportation Committee and on the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, among other duties.

His conduct has also sparked complaints during his career, at one time earning Peskin the nickname “Napoleon of North Beach.

In 2008, Monique Moyer, then an executive director at the Port of San Francisco, filed a human resources complaint against Peskin alleging "outlandish harassment." Moyer alleged that Peskin threatened her job and those of her staff over a dispute around building height limits along the waterfront in a series of phone calls.

Although Peskin didn't cite any specifics in his apology on Thursday, his conduct at more recent public meetings has raised eyebrows and even sparked reproach from fellow policymakers. 

At a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Peskin aggressively grilled Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco’s recreation and parks department, over a motion to appropriate funds from a bond measure. 

“Wipe that smirk off your face,” said Peskin, accusing Ginsburg of lying about his knowledge of a letter sent from Drew Becher, CEO of the nonprofit Parks Alliance, to members of the Board in March. Board President Shamann Walton repeatedly asked Peskin to stop interrupting and to follow meeting protocol, admonishing the Supervisor to “be a little bit more civil.”

Angela Calvillo, clerk of the Board of Supervisors, told the San Francisco Chronicle that individuals had expressed “concern” about Peskin’s conduct over the past year, and said it was “apparent that the supervisor had been drinking” before Tuesday’s meeting. 

“It just appeared as though he might have had one too many before the meeting,” Calvillo told the Chronicle.