We don't have Chris Daly to kick around anymore (again). The bombastic former city supervisor whom everybody loved to hate has severed his ties with San Francisco's most-visible union, the purple-shirted army of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, for whom he had been working for the past three years.
Daly, the former Supe legendary for, among other things, proudly dropping F-bombs at public meetings, suggesting that Gavin Newsom used cocaine, and referencing classic video games at key moments — had been serving as SEIU 1021's political director until abruptly resigning Friday. What gives? The normally-loquacious Fairfield resident is mostly mum.
The longtime friend-of-Daly SF Bay Guardian noted yesterday that Daly parted ways with the union at the same time as it endorsed Proposition L, which has backing from Republicans as well as tech maven Sean Parker. The measure would steer city transit funding towards motorists and make it tougher for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to stick parking meters wherever it damn pleases.
That's poison to progressives, which Daly still most certainly is. In a Facebook comment today addressed to Guardian editor Steve Jones, Daly dismissed the notion that his exit was hastened by a "pro-car" stance by the union— many of whose members do drive, and like war, driving "is hell" in San Francisco, new political director Alysabeth Alexander said — but still didn't say exactly why he left the union after three years as its political director.
He might not know himself. "What's next?" Daly posted, on his own Facebook post.
The loudmouthed advocate for the poor's other post-political gig was even shorter lived. After exiting City Hall following the ascension of Mayor Ed Lee, Daly tried his hand at the bar industry, operating Buck Tavern across the street from Zuni Cafe in Lee's much-touted Mid-Market area. San Francisco's "political watering hole" poured drinks for just shy of two years before closing in 2012.
Daly for hire, y'all.
Update: With his newly-found freedom, Daly found the time to answer some questions for SFist (as posed by Eve Batey). Here we go!
SFist: If you didn't leave SEIU over Prop L issues (as you told Steve Jones) what was the reason behind your departure?
Daly: Even though I disagree with the decision 1021 made on Proposition L, it had no bearing on my departure. In fact, internal discussions about me leaving my post as Political Director started about 6 months ago -- long before Prop L was even a glimmer in Sean Parker's eye.
I am quite proud of the work we were able to do during my time at 1021, from helping to pass the millionaires tax, to standing up to an anti-union barrage at BART, to launching a region-wide campaign to raise the minimum wage. Despite this upside, the organization had increasing expectations of me on the management side, and frankly, I didn't really want to be a manager.
What is next? I know you asked that on your FB post, but you seem like a guy who's always got his next step mapped out. What is it?
I don't know. Seriously. I've been up to my elbows in alligators for at least 15 consecutive years. It's nice to have a bit of a reprieve.
Do you see yourself spending more time in SF?
I actually was in San Francisco quite a bit during my last job, with about 1/3 of 1021's membership working in SF. And there were some worthwhile campaigns during this time. We pushed the City to adopt a more aggressive business tax, led the effort to adopt a higher minimum wage, and took on the increasing bravado of the tech sector by challenging the Twitter tax break and suing to stop the Google Bus.
So, the answer to your question depends on what ends up being next for me. Hopefully in the meantime, I get to spend more time in SF socially.
Will you politically haunt Supe Chiu, as you once promised?
I really have nothing against David Chiu personally. Politics is a bit of a different story. David Chiu thought he could increasingly sell progressives out on a myriad of issues while maintaining the progressive banner for himself. I have made sure that he hasn't been able to do that. In his run for Mayor, John Avalos carried the progressive mantle and finished in second place. David Chiu finished in 4th place, with only 14.5% of the ranked choice votes. Now David Chiu thinks that he can walk a similar line into the State Assembly. On the surface, most of what Chiu says sounds good, but he doesn't really stand for anything meaningful. San Franciscans increasingly get it. So David Campos, the clear progressive in the race, should go on to victory in the progressive district. If Chiu, backed by hundreds of thousands of tech dollars fails to find a path to victory, he will won't just be any loser -- he'll be a two-time loser.