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Chris Daly

Chris Daly speaking at a Free Tibet rally in San Francisco.

Assumed office 
Preceded by district created

Born August 13, 1972 (1972-08-13) (age 37)
Silver Spring, Maryland[1]
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sarah Low Daly[2]
Children Jack, Grace[3]
Website Supervisor Chris Daly

Chris Daly (born August 13, 1972) is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He represents District 6, encompassing the Civic Center, Tenderloin and South of Market districts, as well as Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island and the northern half of the Mission District (known as Inner Mission). At age 28, he was elected to the Board in 2000, and re-elected in 2002 and 2006. In addition to being a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he represents San Francisco County on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors.




Daly grew up in Bowie, Maryland and Gaithersburg, Maryland, suburbs north of Washington, DC. His father was a federal employee and consultant, and his mother an accountant.[1] On July 23, 2009, Daly's wife Sarah Low and two children moved to suburban Fairfield, California. Critics accused Daly of hypocrisy, as Daly had advocated for affordable housing for working-class San Franciscans. Daly maintains his condominium on Stevenson Street in San Francisco, and his wife and children often visit him there.[4]

Early political activity

Daly was valedictorian of his high school class and was drawn to service as a teenager through the 4-H club.[5] He attended Duke University, and although he was part of an effort to prevent the school from razing apartment buildings to build a parking lot,[6] he never finished college and does not have a degree.[5] He moved to San Francisco in 1993, where he became involved in local politics through an advocacy group for the homeless called Mission Agenda. At one point he worked as a bartender in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. He was also a co-founder of the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition, a community group dedicated to fighting displacement caused by gentrification.

Political career

Daly was first elected to office in 2000 in a near sweep for progressive candidates in supervisorial races. He ran on his credentials as a housing advocate in the Mission District. Like other progressives, he rode a backlash against the patronage politics of then-Mayor Willie Brown. Daly was re-elected in 2002 and 2006. In the three contested elections, Daly received 8,472, 6,642 and 8,968 votes respectively.[7][8][9] Daly was arrested in 2002 during a sit-in protest over a proposed parking garage at Hastings Law School. The arresting officer told the San Francisco Chronicle that Daly threatened to have him fired stating, "I will have your job." Daly denied making any threats. [10][5]

Housing and homelessness

Daly's legislative record has been focused primarily on housing and homelessness. He has sponsored legislation to help low-income tenants of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) residential hotels, many of whom are located in his district. Specifically, Daly instituted a Sprinkler Ordinance that requires all SRO hotels to have a sprinkler system installed in each room to prevent fires. He also helped pass policies making it illegal for hotel desk clerks to charge visitor fees and another that gave tenants the right to have private mailboxes for their units.

In 2005, Daly negotiated a planned development on Rincon Hill, where the property was rezoned to allow for highrise development in exchange for a higher percentage of affordable housing units and "community benefits" to non-profits in the area.[11] Daly received unanimous support for a plan to demolish and rebuild an apartment complex at Trinity Plaza - in exchange for 590 affordable units. This was the first time in California history that a housing developer voluntarily allowed new construction to be covered by rent control.[12]

Critics of Daly's housing policies point to his attempt to ban tenancy-in-common apartment conversions, which they believe allow middle-income people to buy property in San Francisco.[13]

In June 2006, Daly sponsored the Eviction Disclosure Ordinance, which required real estate agents to inform buyers whether a tenant was evicted from a property they wish to purchase.[14] The ballot proposition won with 52 percent of the vote.

In March 2007, Daly, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, introduced a proposal that would appropriate $28 million for affordable housing. In April 2007, Daly introduced another proposal that would appropriate an additional $15 million in services for seniors and families. Eight members of the Board of Supervisors passed the affordable housing measure, but Mayor Gavin Newsom refused to spend the monies.[15]

Progressive convention

In June 2007, Daly organized a "Progressive Convention" to find a candidate to run against popular Mayor Gavin Newsom.[16] Daly stated that if the convention could not choose a candidate, he himself would run. But when the Progressive Convention did not nominate anyone, Daly declined to run himself, stating that he wanted to spend time with his family and that his wife was due to give birth shortly before the mayoral election.[17][18]

Elimination of Police Chief post

Daly has suggested putting a charter amendment before voters in the November 2007 municipal election calling for elimination of the police chief post. Instead, the elected sheriff would oversee all law enforcement in the city and county of San Francisco. The suggestion arose from Daly's disagreements with Police Chief Heather Fong about the placement and use of police patrols. "If they keep the attacks on me, I’ll keep moving forward what I think is good public policy," Daly said. "What they fear is the end of their reign of terror in San Francisco."[19]

Removal from Budget Committee chairmanship

On June 15, 2007, Board President Aaron Peskin removed Daly as chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee shortly before it was to finalize the $6.06 billion budget proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom. Citing Daly's bitter public conflict with the Mayor over budget priorities, Peskin stated that "Fundamentally the budget process is about public policy and not about personality and it is important that we stay committed to having an outcome that ensures we have a budget that reflects the values of the people of San Francisco."[20]

Proposition to ban firearms

Daly was the chief sponsor[21] of Proposition H which passed with a 58 percent majority in November 2006, and would have outlawed possession of handguns by city residents and forbidden the manufacture, sale and distribution of guns and ammunition in San Francisco. However, the proposition was challenged by the NRA, which sued on behalf of gun owners and sellers. San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren ruled that the ban intruded on an area regulated by the state, thus invalidating the law.[22] Judge Warren's decision was affirmed on appeal.[23] In October 2008, San Francisco was forced to pay a $380,000 settlement to the National Rifle Association and other plaintiffs to cover the costs of litigatng Proposition H. Daly voted "No" on a Board of Supervisors Rules Committee resolution authorizing the payment.[24]

Canceling of the San Francisco Grand Prix

Daly, along with Aaron Peskin, was instrumental in the canceling of the San Francisco Grand Prix, a world-class bicycle race held from 2001 to 2005, because of disagreements over the amount to be paid for traffic and crowd control and because the race's backers owed the city $89,924. In 2001 Mayor Willie Brown, who supported the race, allowed its organizers to incur a $350,000 debt and later ordered city officials to forgive that debt. Critics alleged that the race was canceled for political reasons including pressure from Peskin's constituents over parking issues. In Daly's personal blog, he referred to one of the chief backers of the race, S.F. banker Thom Weisel, as a "multi-millionaire Republican politico". The race, which was organized as a 1.HC event and in 2005 was part of the UCI America Tour attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators as well as world-class athletes such as seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and was regarded as one of the country's most challenging, particularly for its famously difficult 18% grade Fillmore and Taylor street climbs. Mayor Gavin Newsom, who also supported the race, said it provided cultural, social, and economic benefit to San Francisco. A 2005 study commissioned by the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau found the Labor Day weekend race generated $10.2 million for city businesses that year.[25][26]

Olympic torch resolution

On 20 March 2008 Daly introduced a resolution which criticized the human rights record of China and urged officials representing San Francisco during the upcoming Olympic torch ceremonies (scheduled for 9 April 2008) to "make publicly known that the 2008 Summer Games torch is received with alarm and protest."[27] Daly's resolution was covered extensively by the local media and elevated the issues of treatment of protests in relation to the Olympics being held in China, the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay and the torch ceremonies being held in San Francisco, the only North American stop. The torch relay will be the first time in Olympics history that protests will accompany the torch as it passes through a U.S. city.[27] Daly stated, "[T]he magnitude of attention paid to the Olympic Games and the torch relay makes the event the appropriate platform to discuss human rights. If someone can look you in the face and tell you the Olympics are limited to the individual competitions that take place, well, that's a good poker player."[27] Daly also criticized the rare decision to set up designated "free-speech zones" stating, "I don't see why we should break from our pattern of how we handle mass protests or demonstrations for China."[27] San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, said he has "very serious concerns" about the situation in Tibet but added San Francisco is "privileged" to be the torch's only stop in North America and that the event should rise above political concerns and that the Games should be a time "to focus on the things that unite us and not divide us."[27] In a later committee meeting supervisors Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd amended the resolution to welcome the Global Human Rights Torch Relay on April 5 and the Tibetan Freedom Torch on April 8 and commend "their efforts to raise awareness regarding human rights violations in China and urging the San Francisco City Representatives ... to welcome the Torch in the explicit spirit of Olympism, consistent with the United Nations Charter ... and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights."[28][29]

Appointments to Public Utilities Commission

On October 22, 2003, during his one-day shift as Acting Mayor, while Mayor Willie Brown traveled to Tibet, Daly appointed two members to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission without Brown's consent, having consulted with the City Attorney who had advised him that as acting mayor he had the legal authority to make appointments in Mayor Brown's absence.[30] Brown, who had his own people in mind for the assignments, had a different opinion, stating that "[The appointments] were made by a person who was supposed to be operating in a ceremonial capacity... [It was] a conspiracy to... move away from the traditions, the rules, the customs and the conduct that has been the hallmark of this city, long before I became mayor of this city."[31] Brown also compared Daly to a stalker and suicide bomber, stating that, "When you conspire and calculate what you intend to do several days before you're designated as the acting mayor, you really are venal, you really are violative of all the protocols. It's like stalking. You knew exactly what you were intending to do. You concealed all your steps. You carefully plotted, then you did it behind closed doors, and then you laughed about it." Brown said he found out about Daly's actions when his chief of staff called him in Tibet. Brown was sleeping at the time but with the assistance of Chinese officials, was on a plane home within hours, cutting short his trade and promotion trip to China--reportedly explaining the matter to his hosts simply as a "coup."[32] Nonetheless, the City Attorney stood behind its legal opinion and environmentalist and former Sierra Club president Adam Werbach was later sworn in. The second appointee, architect Robin Chiang, was rescinded because Brown had already made one appointment, Andrew Lee, son of one of Brown's fund-raiser Julie Lee,[31] who was convicted of mail fraud and witness tampering on July 12, 2008.[33] Daly and his allies on the board said Andrew Lee represented political patronage at its worst. [34] According to John Rizzo, vice chairman of the Bay chapter of the Sierra Club, Daly's appointments would add "expertise to the SFPUC that was greatly lacking and is a great improvement"[31] Brown said that Daly's action went beyond betrayal and that he considers his relationship with Daly, who he had praised in recent months, over. The custom of assigning the acting mayor position to supervisors on a round-robin basis was discontinued as a result of Daly's appointments. Daly said by way of explanation for his actions, "I'm an activist. I had an opportunity, and I took it. I stand by what I did. It was the right thing." [35]

Controversial demeanor

Known around City Hall for his frequent use of the word fuck,[36] Daly has a reputation for having a fiery demeanor. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Daly is "either a hothead or a passionate advocate—depending on whose side you are on."[37] Former Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein and other media outlets have referred to him as a "loose cannon".[38][39]

Susan King, a leader of San Francisco's Green Party, said about Daly, "At the end of the day, I totally appreciate the fact that he is out there in the trenches. It's not 100 percent that I agree with him, but you know where his heart is and where his values are." Nathan Nayman, executive director of the Committee on Jobs (a pro-business, PAC that receives substantial funds from corporate donors and promotes economic development[40] [41] [42]), said, "Chris Daly has given the Board of Supervisors a black eye that refuses to heal. He's maniacal and he's been given to outbursts on a regular basis."[6] The San Francisco Bay Guardian says that "Daly's a hard worker, has a solid record, popular in his district, more than a good supervisor.... He's part of the class of 2000, one of a crew of activists who swept into power in the first district elections as a rebellion against the developer-driven politics of then-mayor Willie Brown." [43] The Berkeley Planet said "Chris Daly [has] a strong progressive record in [his] legislative bod[y],... first elected because [he] engaged [his] district’s most disenfranchised population."[44]

In 2001, Daly nearly came to blows with Mayor Willie Brown after Daly brought homeless activists to a meeting that was supposed to be "private." Asked to apologize, Daly replied, "I will apologize that I was lured into the mayor's finger-pointing politics."[45] In November 2004, fellow supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier lodged a petition for censure against Daly after he told a landlord advocate to "fuck off" at a tenants' rights hearing (the petition failed by a vote of 8-2).[46]

In 2001, Daly famously told his colleagues at a Supervisors' meeting, "I'm not feeling the love," when they rejected his proposals for balancing the budget, as he stormed out of the room.[46] In 2002, Daly was arrested after a confrontation with police over a land use dispute concerning Hastings Law School, and reportedly told the arresting officer that he would have him fired; no charges were filed.[47][6]

In June 2007, after learning that an attempted budget maneuver would be unsuccessful, Daly, according to San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, "went ballistic — singling out fellow progressive leader Ross Mirkarimi for a tongue lashing so heated that fellow supervisors joked about calling in the SWAT team to cool things down".[48]

On June 19, 2007, during a Board of Supervisors meeting, Daly suggested that Mayor Gavin Newsom uses cocaine and is a hypocrite for proposing public health cuts for substance abuse treatment for the poor. Daly stated that it was ironic of Newsom to propose cuts to a drug treatment program, "while the mayor of San Francisco artfully dodges every question about allegations of his own cocaine use." The mayor's press secretary said Daly's remarks were "sleazy politics of personal destruction." The Board of Supervisors President stated that "Supervisor Daly's comments were conduct unbecoming and do not represent the position of the Board of Supervisors or its president."[49] The editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle recommended censuring Daly.[50]

During an August 7, 2008, Rules Committee hearing after Daly had presented his resolution to turn the San Francisco Zoo into a rescue facility and when he was out of the room, a student from Lowell High School who had waited two hours for her chance to speak in support of the zoo, began to cry at the podium, because she, like the other speakers, was only allowed one minute to speak. Normally at Board of Supervisors hearings, speakers have 2–3 minutes to speak, but time is limited by the discretion of the chair often to shorter periods of time, especially if there are a large number of speakers. This was the second time the item had been heard in committee, and Chris Daly chose to limit public comment to one minute, so that another item regarding black flight from the City could be heard at that same hearing.[51][52][53] Carl Friedman, the Director of the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control, said, "There were a lot of young people there who have never been to a government meeting. For this to be their first experience was embarrassing." When asked about the situation, the student responded, "I didn't mean to cry, I just kind of lost it. I thought they were supposed to listen to us."[54]

On January 8, 2010, Daly announced to the Board of Supervisors' Rules Committee, "I vow to use the word fuck in each of my remaining Board of Supervisors meetings."[55]


  1. ^ a b Gordon, Rachel (January 23, 2001) "A Chance to Act: After leading protests at City Hall, S.F.'s junior supervisor gets an inside look." San Francisco Chronicle.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Lagos, Marisa (2009-07-24). "Chris Daly says family's move won't affect job". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-11-14. 
  5. ^ a b c Garofoli, Joe; Gordon, Rachel (July 15, 2002). "Rebel S.F. supervisor fights for re-election". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Buchanan, Wyatt (June 24, 2007) "Supervisor Daly: Conduct unbecoming a progressive?." San Francisco Chronicle
  7. ^ City and County of San Francisco, election results 2000.
  8. ^ City and County of San Francisco, election results 2002.
  9. ^ City and County of San Francisco, election results 2006.
  10. ^ Koopman, John; Van Derbeken, Jaxon (2002-06-08). "Supervisor clashes with S.F. police". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  11. ^ Smith, Matt (2005-08-31). "The Daly Deal: How the sordid extraction of $5 million from Rincon Hill developers helps Chris Daly, city bureaucrats, and Gavin Newsom -- and hurts everyone else in San Francisco". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  12. ^ Buchanan, Wyatt (2007-04-11). "Supervisors Approve Trinity Plaza Renewal". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  13. ^ Smith, Matt (2001-02-28). "A Primer on Housing". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  14. ^ Eviction Disclosure Ordinance: Proposition B.
  15. ^ Phelan, Sarah (2007-06-20). "The budget's opening battle". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  16. ^ Vega, Cecilia (May 15, 2007) "Convention date set, but still no candidate.". San Francisco Chronicle.
  17. ^ Vega, Cecilia (June 5, 2007) "Chris Daly also isn't running for mayor." San Francisco Chronicle.
  18. ^ Hogarth, Paul (June 4, 2007) "If Daly Doesn’t File Today, Convention Paved Way for Gonzalez." "Beyond Chron."
  19. ^ Editors (September 20, 2006) "SF Supes Want to Seize Power from Police Chief." KCBS online.
  20. ^ Buchanan, Wyatt (June 16, 2007). "Daly dumped as budget panel chairman". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  21. ^ Arntz, John, Director of Elections (September 9, 2005) "Voter Information Pamphlet" pp.82-3 (PDF); pp.95-6 (print), San Francisco Public Library, Ballot Propositions Database. Retrieved on 2009-07-25.
  22. ^ Statement of Decision dated June 12, 2006, San Francisco Superior Court Case #CPF-05-505960, Image #01466056 on the Court's website. Retrieved on 2009-07-25.
  23. ^ Fiscal v. City and County of San Francisco, 158 Cal. App. 4th 895, 919 (1st Dist. 2008), cert denied April 9, 2008, S160968.
  24. ^ Matier, Phillip; Andrew Ross (October 27, 2008) "Newsom's city car makes trip to his wedding." San Francisco Chronicle.
  25. ^ Smith, Matt (November 23, 2005) "Pedal Power: Two politicians put their interests before a world-class event and a world of possibilities." SF Weekly.
  26. ^ SAN FRANCISCO / Plans for cycling race grind to halt / Grand Prix founders, city officials disagree over who should pay
  27. ^ a b c d e Olympic torch visit sparks controversy in S.F
  28. ^ Board of Supervisors
  29. ^ Supes Committee Waters Down Resolution Critiquing Human Rights In China - News Story - KTVU San Francisco
  30. ^ Gordon, Rachel (November 13, 2003) "Brown cries political foul: He calls Daly's move to make PUC appointments unethical." "San Francisco Chronicle."
  31. ^ a b c Ibid.
  32. ^ "Brown says Daly acted like stalker PUC scheme compared to coup attempt" by Rachel Gordon, SF Chronicle, [1]
  33. ^ Article: Julie Lee convicted of fraud
  34. ^ Conservationists applaud PUC additions / City Hall power grab installs a Sierra Club son
  35. ^ Gordon, Rachel (November 13, 2003) "Brown cries political foul: He calls Daly's move to make PUC appointments unethical." San Francisco Chronicle."
  36. ^
  37. ^ Gordon, Rachel (November 24, 2004) "Daly scolded -- but not censured: Supervisors reject formal action over his use of profanity. San Francisco Chronicle.
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Williams, Lance; Chuck Finnie (2001-05-02). "Gusher of 'soft money' a bonanza for S.F. mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  41. ^ Schulz, G.W. (2007-08-22). "Monied political interests seek to keep the soft money flowing". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  42. ^ Ethics Committee Report that its advocacy fund is "to support candidates who support economic development."
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ Smith, Matt (February 9, 2005) Cuss and Conquer: A more polite, nuanced approach might prove more effective for Supervisor Chris Daly. Or not. SF Weekly.
  46. ^ a b Smith, Matt. Ibid
  47. ^ Koopman, John (June 8, 2002) "Supervisor clashes with S.F. police." San Francisco Chronicle.
  48. ^ Matier, Philip; Andrew Ross (2007-06-17). "Matier & Ross: Daly's dive". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  49. ^ Knight, Heather (2007-06-20). "Daly blasts mayor for drug rehab cuts". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  50. ^ Editors (2007-06-21). "Beyond the pale". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  51. ^
  52. ^ Fulbright, Leslie (2008-08-10). "Black population deserting S.F., study says". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  53. ^ video of the hearing in question.
  54. ^ Nevius, C.W. (2008-08-10). "Zoo hearing brings out the predator in Daly". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  55. ^ Knight, Heather (2009-01-08). "Chris Daly's profane New Year's resolution". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 

See also

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Election not district-specific
Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
District 6


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