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Eleven Vie For San Francisco Mayor’s Office

October 22, 1987

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Eleven people, from career politicians to a stand-up comic and a newspaper columnist, are vying in a heated race to succeed Dianne Feinstein in the mayor’s office.

Front-runners for the Nov. 3 election include city Supervisor John Molinari, 52; Democratic state Assemblyman Art Agnos, 49; and car dealer Roger Boas, 66, who left his job as city administrator to enter the campaign.

Also looking for votes are comedian Will Durst, restaurateur and repeat candidate Cesar Ascarrunz and San Francisco Examiner columnist Warren Hinckle.

The three leaders - who together spent approximately $2 million - emerged from the pack in the waning weeks of an increasingly heated and confrontational race to replace Feinstein on Jan. 8. She has served the legal limit of two consecutive terms.

The new mayor will inherit the usual nagging big-city problems - budget shortfalls, taxes, traffic, parking, crime and unemployment.

But here there are others, chief among them AIDS, which is taking a toll on the city’s health care system, social services and finances.

Almost 2,200 San Franciscans have died of the illness which destroys the body’s immune system. Homosexuals, one of the major risk groups, make up an estimated 15 percent to 20 percent of the city’s population.

Estimates are that 15,000 San Franciscans will have been diagnosed with AIDS by 1991 out of a population of about 700,000.

Political factions also have faced off on issues such as becoming a home port for the battleship USS Missouri, how to handle the city’s thousands of homeless, affordable housing, asbestos in public schools, whether to build a new sports stadium to replace Candlestick Park and whether the city is too pro-business or too anti-business.

Depending on the poll, either Agnos or Molinari is leading the pack, with a range of 21 percent to 35 percent of voter support. Boas was a distant third. If no candidate gains a majority, the two leaders will go into a runoff Dec. 8.

The campaign heated up when Molinari dipped into his war chest to finance mail attacking Agnos, charging he profited from land deals while writing legislation in 1981 that make it virtually impossible to oppose the deals.

″I’m accused of being corrupt,″ Agnos responded angrily. ″If the allegations are true, I should be in jail.″

″No one is accusing him (Agnos) of a felony. We’re accusing him of a lack of integrity,″ said Molinari spokesman Ace Smith.

Agnos insisted he and Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos didn’t profit from the legislation, which requires groups opposed to housing developments to post a $500,000 bond. The legislation was designed to halt frivolous lawsuits against low- and moderate-income housing projects, he said.

The Molinari mailers also criticized Agnos for failing to disclose $65,000 in income from land deals on state and federal tax forms, although he later paid the taxes and penalties. Agnos called it an oversight.

Molinari drew the ire of police officers with the suggestion that Police Chief Frank Jordan might have lost control of the department, resulting in lawsuits against the city.

Agnos opposes Proposition W, a ballot measure to endorse construction of an $80 million stadium to replace Candlestick Park. Molinari supports it.

Molinari said he would keep funding for AIDS education, research and health services a top priority. Agnos said he would try, but ″with the spectre of a budget deficit that is going to cut through everything, I don’t know how we can increase that (funding).″

Both have indicated a reluctance to increase taxes and favor a homeless program that would emphasize job-finding for the unemployed.

Other candidates are Peter Anestos, an electronics assembler; Melissa Ehman, a socialist activist; Ellis Keyes, who describes his occupation as Party of Life; Scott Redmond, a community program administrator; and Joseph Ryan, socialist activist.