Mark Farrell (politician)

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Mark Farrell
44th Mayor of San Francisco
In office
January 23, 2018 – July 11, 2018
Preceded byLondon Breed (Acting)
Succeeded byLondon Breed
Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from the 2nd district
In office
January 8, 2011 – January 23, 2018
Preceded byMichela Alioto-Pier
Succeeded byCatherine Stefani
Personal details
Born1974 (age 48–49)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationLoyola Marymount University (BA)
University College Dublin (MA)
University of Pennsylvania (JD)
WebsiteGovernment website

Mark E. Farrell (born 1974) is an American politician and lawyer who served as the 44th Mayor of San Francisco from January 23 to July 11, 2018. Before his appointment as mayor, he served on the Board of Supervisors for nearly two terms, representing District 2 (the Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Seacliff, Lake District, Presidio Heights, Jordan Park, Laurel Heights, Presidio, and part of Russian Hill).

Early life and education[edit]

Farrell was born in 1974, the only child of Lena (née Ewoldt), a former flight attendant[1] from Probstei, Germany near Kiel and John Farrell, a former Air Force pilot, and attorney, who grew up near the Palace of Fine Arts on Broderick Street.[2] Farrell spent his summers at his cousin's family farm in Probstei.[3][4]

Farrell attended both Stuart Hall for Boys and Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, and subsequently received a B.A. in 1996 from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, an M.A. from University College Dublin in Ireland, and a J.D. in 2001 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia.[5][non-primary source needed]


Prior to being elected to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, Farrell practiced law as a corporate and securities attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Silicon Valley, then joined Thomas Weisel Partners as an investment banker. He subsequently co-founded Quest Hospitality Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focused on the hospitality and travel sector.[5] Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, he served as a mid-level director of Quest Hospitality Ventures,[6][7][8] now Thayer Ventures[9][10][11][12][13] a venture capital firm.[2][5]

San Francisco Board of Supervisors[edit]

Farrell was first elected in November 2010 by the voters of District 2, and subsequently reelected in November 2014 for his second term. Farrell served as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, a founding member of the 2016–17 Super Bowl Bid Committee, and on eight other local and state boards and committees.[14][15][16][17]

After his election to the Board of Supervisors, Farrell ushered through a two-year city budget that reformed the way San Francisco paid for retiree health care benefits and passed small business tax credit legislation so the city's small businesses could hire more employees and create more local jobs. In addition, Farrell created a public-private partnership between the San Francisco non-profit and San Francisco's Office of Small Business. He also became the first elected official in California to endorse Kiva borrowers on the platform personally.[18]

Farrell introduced an ordinance in 2015 that required gun store owners to video record all transactions and give weekly updates on ammunition sales to the police department. High Bridge Arms, the only firearm retailer in the city, closed after the ordinance was passed. Farrell told the San Francisco Chronicle, "From my perspective, if the last gun store in San Francisco wants to close its doors because of my legislation, so be it."[19]

To address homelessness in San Francisco, Farrell led the effort to double San Francisco's Homeless Outreach Team, authored and passed Laura's Law, a state law that allows for community-based compelled mental health treatment for the severely mentally ill, and has hosted hearings on services and solutions to reduce homelessness in San Francisco.[citation needed]

Farrell created the Schoolyards Project, which opens public schoolyards on the weekends and annually sponsors the Marina Family Festival in District 2.[citation needed]

Farrell led a coalition to create "Free Wi-Fi" in city parks, plazas, and open spaces. Farrell also authored and passed the city's landmark open data legislation that continued San Francisco's national leadership in the open data movement and will promote further local economic development and government efficiency.[citation needed]

San Francisco Ethics Commission 2014 decision[edit]

In June 2016, Farrell was ordered to repay $191,000[20] in unlawful campaign funding after the City ethics panel voted, 5-0, to uphold the original 2014 decision of the San Francisco Ethics Commission that he should have to forfeit back to the City the amount raised from just two donors and used late in the 2010 election by Common Sense Voters,[21][22][23][24] an independent expenditure committee, with improper communications from a campaign consultant. Farrell was exonerated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, although the campaign consultant Chris Lee and Common Sense Voters were found to be in violation of federal campaign finance laws, but a further complaint was filed with the City commission by Janet Reilly, who lost to Farrell by 256 votes. City law, stricter than state law, holds candidates personally responsible for staff as well as themselves, whether they knew about the illegal communication or not. In an unusual move, Farrell responded with a lawsuit against the City in May to prevent further collection efforts from the Treasurer's office, and settled with the City for $25,000 in Oct. 2016.[22][25][26][27][28][20]

Mayor of San Francisco[edit]

Farrell was appointed as mayor by the Board of Supervisors on January 23, 2018, succeeding acting mayor London Breed. In her capacity as President of the Board of Supervisors, Breed had been serving as acting mayor since the death of Mayor Ed Lee on December 12, 2017. Farrell's appointment expired on July 11, 2018, following a citywide special election held on June 5, 2018. Farrell did not seek election. Breed won that election[29] and served out the remainder of Lee's uncompleted term into January 8, 2020.[30] She was elected on November 5, 2019 to a full term as mayor beginning January 8, 2020.

Personal life[edit]

Farrell's wife, Liz, was raised in Danville. She was formerly a morning TV news producer. The couple has two children.[2]


  1. ^ "Neue Partner: Kiel und San Francisco". Lübecker Nachrichten. September 22, 2017. Archived from the original on August 15, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Knight, Heather (December 29, 2010). "Mark Farrell, District 2 supervisor, a novice". San Francisco Chronicle.
  3. ^ "Austausch und Türöffner: Ungleiche Schwestern: Kiel und San Francisco werden Partnerstädte". Schleswig-Holsteinischer Zeitung. September 17, 2017. Archived from the original on May 26, 2022.
  4. ^ Schwenke, Karen (October 5, 2017). "Wie Kiel und San Francisco zusammenkamen". Kieler Nachrichten. Archived from the original on December 20, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "District 2 - Board of Supervisors". January 25, 2018. Archived from the original on January 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Our Firm - Thayer Ventures".
  7. ^ "Quest Hospitality Ventures I, L.P.: Private Company Information - Bloomberg".
  8. ^ "Thayer Ventures to Raise New Funds to Finance Hospitality Technology Startups".
  9. ^ Schaal, Dennis (June 11, 2012). "Venture capital funds bulk up for hospitality technology disruption". Phocuswire.
  10. ^ Douglas, Danielle (June 10, 2012). "Thayer Lodging forms new venture fund". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Skift Q&A: Hospitality Investor Lee Pillsbury on 100 Years of Industry Disruption". Skift. December 4, 2013.
  12. ^ "Leland Pillsbury '82, Founder, Co-Chairman, and CEO, Thayer Lodging Group, Inc. - Kellogg School of Management - Northwestern University".
  13. ^ "Thayer Ventures Launches $100M Travel Technology VC Fund; Announces Leland Pillsbury as MD". January 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "City and County of San Francisco - Mark Farrell". July 5, 2016. Archived from the original on July 5, 2016.
  15. ^ "Board of Supervisors : District Information". July 5, 2016. Archived from the original on July 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "Board of Supervisors : Newsletter". July 5, 2016. Archived from the original on July 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "Board of Supervisors : Staff". July 5, 2016. Archived from the original on July 5, 2016.
  18. ^ "New, costly 'Peskin Commission' is not the answer to the housing crisis". The San Francisco Examiner. 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  19. ^ Johnson, Lizzie (October 30, 2015). "San Francisco's last gun shop gives up the fight". San Francisco Chronicle.
  20. ^ a b Knight, Heather (May 4, 2016). "Mark Farrell sues SF over $191,000 election-law fine". SFGate.
  21. ^ Sabatini, Joshua. "SF Ethics Commission united behind fining SF supervisor $191K". The San Francisco Examiner.
  22. ^ a b Lybarger, Jeremy. "Supervisor Farrell Won't Pay His Ethics Fine — Or Talk About It". SF Weekly.
  24. ^ "ITEM-7-Farrell-Referral-and-Response-Letter-FINAL" (PDF).
  25. ^ Knight, Heather; Green, Emily (May 4, 2016). "Mark Farrell sues SF over $191,000 election-law fine". San Francisco Chronicle.
  26. ^ Green, Emily (October 18, 2016). "SF Ethics Commission slashes fine for Farrell campaign violations". San Francisco Chronicle.
  27. ^ "Mark Farrell". San Francisco Citizen.
  28. ^ "City considering suing Supervisor Farrell for campaign violation".
  29. ^ Fracassa, Dominic (June 13, 2018). "London Breed wins SF mayor's race as Mark Leno concedes". San Francisco Chronicle.
  30. ^ "Rules dictate how SF's next mayor may be chosen and how long they may serve". San Francisco Chronicle. December 12, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.

 This article incorporates text from [1], a public domain work of the Government of California.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from the 2nd district

Succeeded by
Preceded by
London Breed (Acting)
Mayor of San Francisco
Succeeded by