Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who last year was called up on social media a few times for sounding drunk during SF Board of Supervisors meetings, announced on Thursday that he is entering an alcohol abuse treatment program.
Peskin, who has served on the Board of Supervisors for more years combined than anyone in decades – or possibly ever – posted a brief note on Twitter apologizing for the “content” of his public relations and saying, “I’ve decided to go into alcohol treatment under guidance from professionals.” He also thanked his family, staff and colleagues for understanding the “tough issues I’m finally facing”.
I’m making the following formal announcement and apology today – and sincerely appreciate the support I’ve received so far and that I’ll depend on in the next few days. pic.twitter.com/9ARAN92NJn
– Aaron Peskin (@AaronPeskin) June 10, 2021
It is not clear whether there was a private public or private incident to Peskin’s decision. But the Heather Knight of the Chronicle, who was at odds with Peskin and several of his colleagues on the newspaper’s pages over the past few months suggest that Peskin’s announcement came after “The Chronicle’s investigations over the past two days into complaints from city officials and elected officials about his behavior.”
During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Peskin was notably aggressive with Rec & Park Department general manager Phil Ginsburg on questions about his relationship with the nonprofit Parks Alliance. Like 48 Hills described in an article from Wednesday, Peskin interrupted during a debate about “a usually routine item about expenses of an act of liaison, “to confront Ginsburg for a rather threatening letter Parks Alliance wrote to supervisor Connie Chan in March. All of this harked back to discussions about the Ferris wheel again, which Chan was also bringing up during Tuesday’s meeting, but Peskin’s tone sounded especially hostile.
He claimed that Ginsburg was “deeply involved and inextricably linked to this non-profit organization” and the organization’s behavior in sending this letter (which threatened to withdraw funds for a park renovation in the Chan district) was “misconduct. … is outrageous” and he added “the answer is to take responsibility.”
On Wednesday, according to the Chronicle, the mayor of London Breed reportedly told the city’s department heads “that the inappropriate behavior of supervisors would not be tolerated and that she would work with the city’s prosecutor’s office and the Department of Resources Humans about how they could hold supervisors accountable.” Knight reports that she had official comments from Peskin on Wednesday, in which he admitted to drinking excessively “once or twice, but not very often” and saying: “Elected officials are known to drink. I believe Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, great world leaders, had a drink at work.”
Peskin looked obviously tipsy during a board meeting broadcast live in March 2020, in the early days of the pandemic – something that spawned chat on reddit and a spoof Twitter account called @drunkaaronpeskin.
During the meeting, Peskin intervened during normal business to say, like a drunken cliché, “I just want to tell all my colleagues … and all my staff that I love you guys so much, and hang on.”
The Twitter account also attracted attention. this interview from august 2020 that Peskin seems to have done from home, speaking to San Francisco’s Young Democrats in support of his council re-election campaign, and he looks pretty drunk and tearful there too. No judgment! It was a difficult year.
One of Peskin’s colleagues during his first tenure on the board, David Campos, responded on Twitter: “It’s been years for me, but I know from experience that it’s never easy to admit you have a problem and I’m proud of it my friend @AaronPeskin did just that. Wishing him and his family the best. “
Peskin served on the Board of Supervisors from 2001 to 2009, for two consecutive terms. He then took a few years off before running for election again in 2015, as allowed by the City Charter, and it has been served ever since. He was elected to finish David Chiu’s term starting in December 2015, was re-elected in 2016 and was elected to his final term last November, which will end in 2024. He is 13 years old and counting on behalf of District 3.
Peskin is a long-time champion of progressive legislation and the oldest statesman of SF’s progressives.