Yesterday, Steve Francis formally announced his candidacy for mayor. Today, he made it clear that the campaign had begun in earnest.

Seizing on a line in today’s local newspaper (in which a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders said betting with the Boston mayor over the Chargers/Patriots football game wasn’t a priority), Francis said he’d extended a bet to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Skip Frye catches a wave.

And, in another little touch of symbolism, the wager: a Skip Frye surfboard. (Skip’s the husband of Councilwoman Donna Frye.)

A quote from a Francis press release:

Since I couldn’t ask LaDainian Tomlinson to be my running mate, I figured why not show San Diego pride leading up to the game and what better way than a Skip Frye surfboard?

Sanders spokesman Fred Sainz said rules on gift-giving and receiving are so stringent that these sorts of bets can take up a “tremendous amount of time.” Last time, he said, the bet had to be conducted through a nonprofit organization to avoid those restrictions.

Plus, he said, the mayor just doesn’t have the personal finances to make such a bet.

“I guess when your paycheck last year was $53 million, I’m shocked he didn’t wager the entire Pacific Ocean as a bet,” Sainz said.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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