The San Francisco city attorney’s office has begun a probe into the residency status of Supervisor Chris Daly, who announced last week that while he still lives in San Francisco, his family has moved to Fairfield.
San Francisco’s charter requires that members of the Board of Supervisors live in the district they represent. Daly’s 6th District includes parts of the Financial District, and South of Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods.
Daly wrote in the online news site Fog City Journal on Wednesday that he and his wife, who have two young children, bought a house two doors down from his wife’s childhood home, where her parents still live. The home will allow their children to grow up closer to his wife’s family, he wrote.
“I try really hard to be a good dad, but honestly, with this job, I’m not available all the time for my family,” Daly said today.
“My wife is very close to her family, we had an opportunity to get a really good deal,” he said.
Daly said he still lives at his home at 1346 Stevenson St. in San Francisco.
Daly, one of the most liberal members of the board, labeled some recent media accounts of the residency issue a “witch hunt.”
“If it was anybody other than me, it would be a non-issue,” he said.
At Daly’s request, City Attorney Dennis Herrera made the decision over the weekend to begin an investigation, city attorney’s office spokesman Matt Dorsey said today.
“We are looking at the question of legal domicile,” Dorsey said.
He declined to comment further until the investigation is concluded.
Former Supervisor Ed Jew was convicted of perjury in November for lying on election papers about residing in San Francisco’s Sunset District, which he was elected to represent in 2006.
Jew was sentenced to one year in county jail and three years’ probation for perjury, in addition to more than five years in federal prison for a federal conviction for extortion, mail fraud and bribery.
Though city law doesn’t define “resident,” Dorsey said the city attorney’s office investigation uses the California Elections Code definition of residence as a person’s “domicile.” The code defines it as “that place in which his or her habitation is fixed, wherein the person has the intention of remaining, and to which, whenever he or she is absent, the person has the intention of returning.”
The investigation will look at factors such as where a person is registered to vote, receives mail, files tax returns, registers their automobile, and where a homeowner’s exemption or renter’s credit is taken, Dorsey said.
Daly said each of those apply to his home at 1346 Stevenson St., except automobile registration, because he doesn’t own a car and bikes to work, he said.
“The law is clear, I have nothing to hide, and today I’ll be providing all of the documents that Ed Jew couldn’t,” Daly said.
“I’m looking for a speedy resolution to the matter, and the facts speak to that San Francisco is my home, and 1346 Stevenson St. is my domicile,” he said.
Daly’s term as supervisor ends in January 2011. He said today he has not made a decision on his next step after that.
“I have no plans yet,” Daly said. “I committed to this city, and I committed to progressive politics.”
“If I am doing something involving San Francisco politics, it’s likely that I’ll stay,” he said.