Taylor, Barbara: Moscone's power as mayor


Barbara Taylor


Barbara Taylor: I felt that he was a pretty strong mayor. He did stand up to the Board of Supervisors on a lot of issues and that was why he had so much conflict with the Board of Supervisors. Now he also came from Sacramento, so he came from a very different environment. And I think it's difficult for someone whose history has been as a legislator, even if originally they began their career at the Board of Supervisors, if they went to Sacramento and then they came back and they had to run a city that it would be kind of a rude awakening. It's not the same being an executive and running a city than it is just introducing legislation and working it through committees and try to round up your votes. That is not, most of the time, at least what running a city is about. I mean ultimately, you have to have six votes on board supervisors if you're going to do business. Eight votes if you're going to pass a budget. Most of the time it's just nuts and bolts of running a city and he seemed to be pretty competent at doing that. You know, he wasn't in office that long, so I think, in that respect, the verdict is still out. He didn't really have time to leave behind a legacy like the one that I think Willie Brown left behind, Dianne Feinstein left behind, by just certain things that they did. Also, and I think this is an important point, when he was mayor, the mayor was much stronger. There have been major charter changes since then that have deluded the power of the mayor's office significantly. When he was mayor, there was no, for example, health commission. He and the chief administrative officer basically made decisions about the health department. Government has been entirely reorganized. Today on a lot of the big city commissions, half of the members are appointed by the mayor, the other half by the Board of Supervisors. That was simply unheard of when George Moscone was mayor. He was very, very powerful.


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The Moscone oral history interviews are part of the George Moscone Collection, MSS 328.

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives, University of the Pacific Library

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