The Chris Daly show

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By Tim Redmond

Oh, it's so easy to make fun of Chris Daly. You can even make fun of his beard.

Or you can watch his much-derided speech at the Board of Supervisors, and recognize that: 1. He's not a crazed nut; his points are cogent, well argued and entirely credible, and; 2. He's right.

Daly is right: We should spend more money on affordable housing than on new roads. We should delay hiring more cops so we can save public health nurses. (Actually, we should raise taxes hire both cops and nurses, but that's not in the cards right now.) The fact it, the mayor's budget priorities are all screwed up.

Yes, budgets are always a compromise, and this district-elected board has done better, consistently, than any at-large board at keeping the mayor's budgets relatively humane. I agree that Daly does himself no favors -- and more than that, I fear that he does some harm to the cause of district elections. He says he cares nothing about his own political career, that he's not a politician (which is one of the most charming and wonderful things about him), but he's also part of a movement, and district elections is absolutely, utterly critical to the future of progressive politics in this city, and his fits of temper make the whole board look bad, and that helps the mayor's candidates for supervisor and the people who would like to get rid of district elections altogether.

I think Daly needs to stop giving his enemies so much ammunition. There's a lot more at stake here than one budget or one person's future.

Still, I keep watching that speech, and I keep saying:

Shit, on the issues, the guy is right.