Jump to content

Connie Chan (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Connie Chan
Chan in 2022
Member of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from District 1
Assumed office
January 8, 2021
Preceded bySandra Lee Fewer
Personal details
BornHong Kong
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of California, Davis
WebsiteBoard of Supervisors District 1 website

Connie Chan (Chinese: 陳詩敏) is an American politician serving as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for District 1 since January 8, 2021,[1] after defeating Marjan Philhour, who ran for the seat in 2016, in a narrow race.[2] Chan is a progressive.[3][4] District 1 includes the Richmond, Lone Mountain, Sea Cliff, and Presidio Terrace neighborhoods, and parts of Golden Gate Park.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Chan was born in Hong Kong and migrated to San Francisco at the age of thirteen with her family, who settled in Chinatown.[5] She attended high school at the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology and earned her bachelor's degree at the University of California, Davis.[5]

Chan was a spokesperson for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and City College of San Francisco.[6] She also worked for the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens.[7] At various points, Chan was an aide to Supervisor Sophie Maxwell,[5] San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris,[5] and Supervisor Aaron Peskin.[7]

San Francisco Board of Supervisors[edit]

2020 election[edit]

Two days after incumbent Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer announced she would not seek re-election in 2020, Chan (a resident of the Richmond District) announced her candidacy for the open District 1 seat.[6] Fewer endorsed Chan to be her successor.[8] She also received the endorsement of two former supervisors who held the seat, Eric Mar and Jake McGoldrick.[6]

In the November 2020 general election, Chan won by 134 votes against challenger Marjan Philhour,[7] a senior adviser to Mayor London Breed.[6] Philhour, a centrist candidate,[9] had previously run for the seat in 2016, but was defeated by Fewer.[6]


Chan was sworn into office on January 8, 2021.[1]

Chan supported legislation by Supervisor Dean Preston to create a city-run public bank.[10] In February 2021, Chan supported a plan to provide free Summer Activities for San Francisco's elementary school students.[11][12]

In February 2021, Chan and Peskin called upon the city controller and Budget Analyst's Office to investigate the San Francisco Parks Alliance, amid a debate on whether to renew the city's contract with the Alliance to operate the SkyStar Wheel, a Ferris wheel at Golden Gate Park.[13] Chan and fellow Supervisor Aaron Peskin blocked a decision by the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission to extend the wheel's stay through 2025, referring it to a vote in the Board of Supervisors.[14] Instead of the Commission's proposal for a four-year extension, Chan and Peskin proposed a one-year extension, citing complaints from Ferris wheel opponents regarding the wheel's bright lights and electric generator, which they said might injure wildlife, as well as the San Francisco Parks Alliance's linkage to a corruption investigation. The Board of Supervisors rejected the Chan/Peskin proposal on a 6–5 vote.[15][16]

Peskin, as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, appointed Chan as chair of the Budget Committee,[17][18] whose other members were Supervisors Myrna Melgar and Joel Engardio.[19] As Budget Committee chair, Chan supported extension of the COVID-19 pandemic-era CalFresh emergency benefits and called for eventually making the Muni system fare-free.[17]

Chan disagreed with several of Mayor Breed's key priorities.[19] Chan and other supervisors, along with the mayor, ultimately negotiated a $14.6 billion budget, which ended a $780 million deficit that had emerged in the two years of the pandemic,[20] and largely preserved Breed's major proposals on public safety and economic policy.[19] The budget included close to $63 million in additional funding for San Francisco Police Department, representing an 8.5% increase in the department's budget.[20] Chan opposed Breed's separate proposal for an additional $27 million supplemental appropriation to SFPD.[17] The budget also adopted a compromise negotiated between Breed and supervisors regarding funding of the San Francisco emergency homeless shelter network.[20] The budget adopted a limited version of Breed's proposal to offer tax incentives to firms opening new offices in downtown San Francisco.[20]

Positions on housing and transit[edit]

In 2020, while running for the Board of Supervisors, Chan expressed support for building more denser housing along Geary Boulevard and other major thoroughfares, but only if the new developments were affordable housing; Chan also argued that building more market-rate housing does not increase housing affordability.[8]

In 2021, Chan voted to block the development of 495-unit apartment complex (one-quarter of which were designated as affordable housing) on a Nordstrom's valet parking lot next to a BART station. The 8–3 vote in the Board of Supervisors was highly controversial.[21]

In 2021, Chan supported the reopening of the Great Highway (a two-mile stretch of road bypassing the Outer Sunset) to cars. Auto access to the Great Highway had been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and turned into a walkway.[22]

In a 2022 vote in the Board of Supervisors' Rules Committee, Chan and Peskin voted down a proposal (supported by Supervisor Ahsha Safaí and Mayor London Breed) to place a referendum on the city ballot to streamline the permitting process for certain housing developments; San Francisco takes substantially longer to approve housing permits than other California municipalities.[23][24] Breed described the vote as "obstructionism."[24]

In 2022, Chan authored a bill that would have streamlined the development of 100% affordable housing that met the requirements laid out in the bill.[25][26][27][28] Chan and the owners of the long vacant Alexandria Theatre announced the City and the building owner were exploring a development agreement to convert the former movie theatre into 76 housing units, with affordable housing units on-site.[29]

In December 2023, Chan and Peskin asked the city attorney to sue the State of California to challenge the implementation of SB 423, a new California law (sponsored by state Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco) that allowed streamlined approval for housing development projects. In their letter, Chan and Peskin asserted that the law unfairly discriminated against San Francisco, and that San Francisco had sufficiently produced market-rate housing. Weiner criticized Chan's and Peskin's letter as an attempt to encourage the filing of a "frivolous lawsuit" and criticized city authorities for creating "extreme impediments" to resolving the San Francisco housing shortage.[30]

2024 election[edit]

Chan is seeking reelection in 2024, running again against Philhour in a rematch of the 2020 race. The race is hotly contested.[31][32] As was the case in the campaign four years earlier, Chan ran as a progressive while Philhour has run as a centrist/moderate.[9][32]

Personal life[edit]

Chan's long time partner, Ed, is a member of the San Francisco Fire Department. The couple has a son.[33] Like many Asian women of her generation, she is named after American news anchor Connie Chung.[34]


  1. ^ a b "District 1 | Board of Supervisors". sfbos.org. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  2. ^ Dineen, J. K. (November 9, 2020). "Chan wins San Francisco's District One race as Philhour concedes". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  3. ^ "Connie Chan's lead widens in the D1 contest". The San Francisco Examiner. November 7, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  4. ^ "Progressive Democrat Connie Chan Pulls Ahead in SF Supervisor Race". www.khsu.org. November 8, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Dan Gentile (November 16, 2020). "What District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan learned from Kamala Harris". SFGATE.
  6. ^ a b c d e Fracassa, Dominic (January 20, 2020). "Longtime local political aide to run for SF Richmond District's supervisor seat". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "Chan Declares Victory in Tight San Francisco District 1 Supervisor Race". NBC Bay Area. November 10, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Thadani, Trisha (September 23, 2020). "S.F. still faces a housing crisis. Where do the Board of Supervisors candidates stand on fixing it?". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  9. ^ a b St. John Barned-Smith, Tempers flare when S.F. candidate's campaign sign is removed, San Francisco Chronicle (February 5, 2024).
  10. ^ "SF supe introduces legislation to create first city-run 'public bank'". Mission Local. January 27, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  11. ^ Thadani, Trisha (February 28, 2021). "Free summer camp for all young S.F. public school students? Costly city proposal could help families". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  12. ^ "SF Supervisors propose free summer programs for SFUSD students amid prolonged school closures". Bay City News. March 1, 2021. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  13. ^ "SF Supes call for investigation into SF Parks Alliance contracts stemming from Ferris wheel debate". Bay City News. February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  14. ^ "SkyStar Observation Wheel in SF's Golden Gate Park reopens". ABC7 San Francisco. Bay City News. March 4, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  15. ^ "Ferris Wheel Stays In San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Through 2025". Bay City News/CBS News Bay Area. March 16, 2021.
  16. ^ "Ferris wheel will spin in Golden Gate Park for 4 more years after all". KTVU FOX 2. March 16, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c Redmond, Tim (March 3, 2023). "Budget Chair Chan prepares for serious challenges to mayor's budget priorities". 48 Hills. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  18. ^ Wenus, Laura (May 23, 2023). "Listen: Supervisor Connie Chan digs into the budget and a bread bowl". Chronicle Podcasts. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  19. ^ a b c Mike Ege, San Francisco lawmakers hash out $14.6B budget deal, San Francisco Standard (June 29, 2023).
  20. ^ a b c d Shanks, Adam (July 19, 2023). "SF supervisors adopt $14.6B budget, close deficit". San Francisco Examiner.
  21. ^ Knight, Heather (October 30, 2021). "S.F.'s real housing crisis: Supervisors who took a wrecking ball to plans for 800 units". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  22. ^ "Politicians Talk of Climate Change, Revert to Status Quo". Streetsblog San Francisco. August 30, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  23. ^ "Long permitting process makes S.F.'s housing crisis even worse". The San Francisco Examiner. 2022. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  24. ^ a b Morris, J. D. (January 27, 2022). "Mayor Breed's push to streamline housing production killed by supervisors". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  25. ^ Alvarado, Madison (October 13, 2022). "Proposition E — Affordable Housing – Board of Supervisors". San Francisco Public Press. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  26. ^ Hom, Annika (May 24, 2022). "Affordable-housing charter amendments compete. What's the difference?". Mission Local. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  27. ^ Chan, Connie (June 7, 2022). "City Hall: Connie Chan". Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  28. ^ Staff (May 24, 2022). "Supervisor Chan to Introduce Affordable Housing". SF Gate. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  29. ^ Salazar, James (September 19, 2023). "When a movie house becomes homes: Alexandria Theater unveils new plan". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved February 19, 2024.
  30. ^ Aldo Toledo, Two S.F. leaders want to sue California over its housing mandate, San Francisco Chronicle (January 2, 2024).
  31. ^ Danielle Echeverria, SF Supe Connie Chan, facing tough challenge, kicks off reelection bid, San Francisco Chronicle (March 16, 2024).
  32. ^ a b Aldo Toledo, This wealthy SF area could be deciding factor in key supervisor race, San Francisco Chronicle (March 10, 2024).
  33. ^ "District 1 | Board of Supervisors". sfbos.org. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  34. ^ Knight, Heather (February 18, 2024). "No, Your Honor, You Can't Call Yourself 'High Justice' on the Ballot in Chinese". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2024.