Mayor London Breed Swears In David Chiu as San Francisco City Attorney
David Chiu, who previously represented the 17th Assembly District and served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, replaces Dennis Herrera, who served as City Attorney since 2001
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today swore in David Chiu as San Francisco’s new City Attorney. Chiu succeeds Dennis Herrera, who served in that role since 2001 and now serves as General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
“I am proud to swear in David Chiu as San Francisco City Attorney. He has dedicated his career to serving our City and has consistently demonstrated strong leadership from his time at the Board of Supervisors through his work as an Assemblymember,” said Mayor Breed. “David’s experience fighting for San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities and advocating for equitable and just policies makes him the right person for this position.”
Chiu represented the 17th Assembly District from 2014 up until his swearing-in, during which time he authored a wide range of bills on issues relating to housing, homelessness, transportation, education, environment, health, public safety, and civil rights. Before entering public office, Chiu served as a civil rights attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, a criminal prosecutor with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Democratic Counsel to the United States Senate Constitution Subcommittee, and a law clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“Serving as San Francisco’s City Attorney is an incredible honor,” said City Attorney David Chiu. “I am excited and inspired to lead such a reputable office with an impressive group of legal minds. Together, we will use the power of the law to stand up for San Franciscans and confront our city’s greatest challenges. I salute outgoing City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who accomplished so much over 20 years while leading with integrity, independence, and boldness.”
In the State Legislature, Chiu authored significant legislation to expand and strengthen the civil rights of women, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ Californians. As chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, he worked to protect tenants from evictions during COVID, and passed the largest expansion of tenants’ rights in California in decades. Chiu often fought to protect consumers through the regulation of entrenched interests like pharmaceutical companies, Wall Street banks, lead paint companies, for-profit colleges, and gun manufacturers.
Chiu received his undergraduate, master’s, and law degrees from Harvard University. The son of immigrant parents, he grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and moved to San Francisco in 1996. Chiu is the first Asian American City Attorney of San Francisco.
The City Attorney’s Office is tasked with providing legal services for the City and County of San Francisco. This includes representing the City in all legal proceedings, providing advice and written opinions, making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors regarding settlements or dismissal of legal proceedings, investigating claims made against the City, and pursuing allegations of unfair and unlawful competition in the City.
“The City Attorney’s Office is something very special to me, but I know I’m leaving it in good hands,” said former City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. “David Chiu has shown he has the integrity, skill, and clarity of vision to use the power of the law to help those in need. In my view, this office is the premier public law office in the country. We have attorneys and staff who are not only highly skilled, they have the utmost integrity and a passion to help others. I’m confident David is going to build on that legacy. He is going to be a great City Attorney.”
Chiu replaces Dennis Herrera, who was first elected as City Attorney in 2001, and now serves as General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The Governor will now call for a special election to be held within the next 140 days for the Assembly District 17 seat.
"David's tireless work to protect and expand tenant rights in California as an Assemblymember has prevented evictions and homelessness, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lupe Arreola, Executive Director of Tenants Together. “As City Attorney for San Francisco, he will continue to advocate for tenants in enforcing state and local laws, holding slumlords and evictors accountable."
“I am thrilled by David Chiu's appointment as San Francisco City Attorney,” said Brett Andrews, CEO of Positive Resource Center & Co-Chair of the Black Leadership Council. “David has been a stalwart supporter and advocate of effective HIV/AIDS and behavioral health programs that help those most in need in our beautiful city. He is a champion of racial equity, and looks at innovative ways to help end homelessness. PRC and the Black Leadership Council have been working alongside David to create policy to get those most vulnerable the help they desperately need. The City of San Francisco will benefit from his boundless energy and integrity, and we salute Mayor London Breed for making a great choice.”
“During his time in Sacramento, David Chiu has stood by workers 100 percent of the time,” said Rudy Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO. “While we will miss his leadership there, we are looking forward to having him home. San Francisco faces many challenges, and the people expect clean government and progressive action from the Office of the City Attorney. David will restore the sacred trust of the citizens and help move our City forward.”
“David’s interfaith upbringing profoundly influenced his ethical, civil and human rights formation,” said Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council. “Throughout his public service, David has constantly and diligently collaborated with our City’s interfaith leaders on the critical social justice causes he’s championed. This consciousness and these relationships he brings to his new call as City Attorney will serve him well as he seeks to advance right in San Francisco.”
“David Chiu’s appointment comes on the heels of a historic time for API communities, not just in San Francisco, but across the nation,” said Cally Wong, Director of API Council of San Francisco. “He’s been one of our city’s biggest champions in the Capitol. From his work fighting for affordable housing to small businesses, David has never let up, and he’s never forgotten where he comes from. From his early years as a civil rights attorney to serving as President of the Board of Supervisors, David has amassed a unique skill set to serve in this new post. API Council stands behind our new City Attorney and offers him support and congratulations.”