The Daly files

Our top 10 memorable moments from one of the city's most memorable officials

Oh, you irascible kid

City Hall won't be the same in the new year — and not just because Gavin Newsom will be off in Sacramento being lieutenant governor. Sup. Chris Daly, who has represented low-income constituents from the Tenderloin, SoMa, and adjoining District 6 neighborhoods for a decade and has long been framed as Newsom's nemesis, has been termed out.

True to his spitfire reputation, Daly agreed to go out with a Jan. 5 roast. So we thought we'd do our part by recalling our favorite moments from a supervisor who served as the progressive conscience of the board — but not always politely.

"How can you have decorum when at the same time you are allowing children to go hungry and homeless?" he asked us recently. "The most gracious or grateful or proper thing should be to work for justice. To me, that's good manners."

Here are 10 things we will never forget about Daly. (And attend his roast: Wed/5, 8pm, $20. The Independent, 647 Divisadero, SF. Facebook info)

1. He shares a birthday with Fidel Castro.

Daly was born Aug. 13, 1972, characterized as the Day of Long Odds, according to Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elfers' Secret Language of Birthdays. Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro was also born on Aug. 13, in 1926. Further compounding suspicions that Daly is a pinko commie-lover: he met his wife Sarah Low at the World Youth Festival in Havana.

2. He painted with dark colors as a child.

"My mom tells the story about going to the teacher-parent conference when I was four or five and the teacher wasn't exactly sure which kid I was," Daly said. "Then she figured it out: I was the incredibly quiet, somewhat shy, well-behaved one. But she had one concern: when I finger-painted, I always picked really dark colors like black, brown, and dark green. So she called me over and asked why. I told her, "Those are the colors left when all the other kids take all the other colors." Hmmm.

3. He got into fisticuffs with Mayor Willie Brown in 2001.

"Unbeknownst to Brown, Chris brought some homeless activists to a meeting that was supposed to be private," recalled Sup. John Avalos, who was Daly's legislative aide at the time. "Brown stood up and started going after Chris and somehow the story morphed into a fist-fight." Daly claims the mayor started the confrontation.

"He got up and actually got out of his chair and came after me," he said. "And I said, 'You want some of this? You want some of this? Bring it on.' "

4. He developed a whole new meaning for "acting mayor."

In October 2003, Willie Brown went to Tibet and, as was his practice, allowed the supervisors to rotate into the "acting mayor" position, typically a ceremonial job. Daly promptly appointed two progressives to the Public Utilities Commission. "Brown interrupted his visit to announce that there had been a 'coup d'état' in San Francisco and that he had got to get on a plane to deal with it," former Supervisor Jake McGoldrick told us.

5. He screamed at the cops during an arrest in a protest over a proposed parking garage at Hastings Law School in 2002.

Many versions of what really happened here. "I was screaming 'Ouch!' — I was in a pain compliance hold," Daly said. "The cops said he was screaming at them about having them fired," former Sup. Aaron Peskin recalled. "Chris said he was saying 'Ow!' and the police said he was saying, 'Do you know who I am?" Avalos said.

Either way, the photo was used against him by downtown interests in the 2006 election.

6. At an MTA budget meeting in May 2005, Daly stepped out of his role as board member and into the persona of outraged member of public.


Best part ever? Saying goodbye to the fauxleteriat king. Peace out BD and good luck in Fairfield.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 05, 2011 @ 9:56 am

Friday January 7th, 2011 3pm City Hall Board of Supervisors Meeting.

Posted by Guest 3PM Board of Supervisors Meeting City Hall Friday Janu on Jan. 05, 2011 @ 10:40 am

Who will remember most of San Francisco's supervisors?

And who knows? Maybe Chris will be our next elected mayor-- a "pinko commie-lover" one?

I wouldn't be opposed if that were true.

I'd love to twist the tights on the tea-party crowd.

"Oh! My gosh! San Francisco has gone communist!" (I can hear them saying.)

Daly's birthday says a lot: He is a Leo which is a fire sign. I would like to read more about this "day of long odds."

It is heart warming to know whatever that we won't be hearing the last of him.

Posted by Robert B. Livingston on Jan. 05, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

Daly threatens an old man like Brown and your not ashamed of him?

He does his appointment thing when Brown is out of town and you crying losers want Newsom to follow the rules?

Posted by matlock on Jan. 05, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

Since you asked, Robert, according to the Secret Language of Birthdays, which characterizes August 13 as the Day of Long Odds, "Normally 13 is not an unlucky number per se, but those born on August 13 at various times in their lives have to face seemingly insurmountable odds in their fight to come out on top and stay there. Securing a desired position, struggling to reach personal goals, or searching for a fulfilling relationship are lifelong challenges for them. Whether born unusual or made unusual through circumstance, August 13 people have a highly unique personality and outlook on life."

The book also claims that the strengths of August 13 people are that they are "indomitable, spirited and courageous." Their weaknesses are that they are "quirky, oversensitive and insecure."

Posted by sarah on Jan. 05, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

There just may be something to that.

I'm August 13 too. ;)

Posted by Robert B. Livingston on Jan. 06, 2011 @ 12:04 am

Ha ha, now you tell us, Robert, that you, too, are an August 13er!
So, just for you, here's a little more about the Day of Long Odds:
"Many August 13 people have an attraction to danger that is not so much about risk, death or injury, but triumphing over great odds. Achieving the impossible is what they are after, and even the timid born on this day generally reject a life without challenge where safety and security is assured. Indeed, those August 13 people who have somehow managed to remain protected from accident or misfortune are quite capable one day of amazing those around them by taking great risks."

Posted by sarah on Jan. 06, 2011 @ 1:01 pm