Levi Strauss heir Daniel Lurie is positioning himself as an "outsider" candidate for San Francisco mayor as he makes his 2024 candidacy official today. And he's promising, among other things, to compel more mentally ill people into treatment even if it's against their will.
The 2024 mayor's race in SF gained a new power player on Tuesday, with philanthropist and heir to the Levi's fortune Daniel Lurie making his all-but-declared candidacy official. Lurie held a campaign kickoff event Tuesday morning at a Potrero Hill community center, saying in his announcement, "I love this city, and I know that working together we will overcome our most pressing challenges and turn San Francisco around."
With my wife by my side, I just filed the paperwork to launch my campaign for Mayor of San Francisco.— Daniel Lurie 羅瑞德 (@DanielLurie) September 26, 2023
I love this city, and I know that working together we will overcome our most pressing challenges and turn San Francisco around. pic.twitter.com/y6iAbFgIrv
Lurie, 46, tells the New York Times that "he decided to run for mayor when he was walking his 9-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter to school, and they saw a man stumbling down the street, naked and screaming."
"Our kids have come to a place where they’re inured," he says. "It’s almost like they accept it, which is not OK."
In truth, though, Lurie has been working up to a run for the mayor's office since at least 2017, when SFist first wrote about his rumored ambitions. At the time he and the nonprofit he founded, Tipping Point Community, had announced a campaign to raise $100 million to address homelessness in San Francisco.
Lurie's campaign also kicks off with a slick introductory video, seen below. In it, Lurie touts his background as the founder of Tipping Point, the local nonprofit dedicated to lifting people out of poverty; and his work as chair of the Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee.
"I love this city, but what we are seeing on the streets of San Francisco is not progressive," Lurie says in the video. "We have too many people that have been in power for far too long, doing things the same way they've always been done. We need the courage to try to do things differently."
I am running for Mayor of San Francisco to— Daniel Lurie 羅瑞德 (@DanielLurie) September 26, 2023
bring a new era of leadership that this moment demands.
I have a proven track record of building diverse teams, challenging bureaucracy and political obstacles, and delivering results. pic.twitter.com/Vf7Nhu1GYA
Lurie tells the Chronicle in an interview, "There is a hunger for change. There is a hunger for someone from outside this entrenched system to go in and hold people accountable." He also says, "There is a sense of lawlessness and disorder in this city. … I do not believe that anyone so far in this race has the ability to stare down these very real problems, because they are part of this entrenched system."
Whether you consider Lurie an "outsider" is a matter of perspective. As far back as a decade ago, in 2013, he was personally tapped by Mayor Ed Lee to chair the Super Bowl committee, so his links to the City Hall establishment date back a bit.
He is the son of billionaire businesswoman Mimi Haas and stepson of the late Levi’s CEO and president Peter Haas — who was the great-grandnephew of Levi Strauss. And Lurie's father is a rabbi who ran SF's Jewish Community Federation for 17 years, and now runs the New Israel Foundation.
Lurie suggests that he would do more than Mayor London Breed has to address crime and mental illness on the street — though on the latter front, any candidate next year will be helped by another wheel that's been in motion for some time. Starting this fall, San Francisco will be among seven California communities instituting the first Care Courts under a 2022 directive from Governor Gavin Newsom that was signed into law last summer. These non-traditional courts will give those arrested and deemed mentally ill the option of treatment for their illness in lieu of jail, and if they refuse they can be compelled into that treatment.
"We need to go in and rip the Band-Aid off in many different departments," Luries says of his intention to shake things up. "We need commission reform, we need to rethink how we help our small businesses."
As role models, Lurie points to Willie Brown and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, both moderate Democrats who "got stuff done" — with Bloomberg formerly being a Republican.
Lurie enters a race in which many assume Mayor London Breed will be vulnerable, given the general mood of the city in the last two years. But as the Times notes, it's been 28 years since an incumbent mayor was defeated here — when Willie Brown, a well known local politician already, unseated Frank Jordan.
A spokesperson for Breed, Maggie Muir, gave a statement to the Times about Lurie's candidacy saying, "Mayor Breed is working every day to make San Francisco safer and cleaner. Why should we trust a beginner to accomplish these things faster?"