Matt Gonzalez, the liberal former president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is coming back to local politics after taking a job as the new chief attorney in the Public Defender's Office, effective today.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced the appointment this morning during a staff meeting. Gonzalez, who famously ran on Ralph Nader's Green Party ticket for president in 2008, replaces Teresa Caffese who left the department at the end of last month.
Adachi said Gonzalez has incredible experience, calling him one of the best trail lawyers that's walked through the Hall of Justice
"I've known Matt Gonzalez for almost 20 years and I'm excited to work with him in an executive capacity," Adachi told SF Weekly.
Gonzalez served as a deputy public defender for 10 years between 1991 and 2001 before being elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He later attempted a run for mayor but was barely beat out by former Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2003. Gonzalez is best known for his liberal legislation, including elections and ethics reform, and a proposal to give immigrants voting rights in local elections.
Is Gonzalez, who supported Adachi's failed pension reform proposition last November, an ideal successor for Adachi?
"We haven't talked about that," Adachi told SF Weekly.
He will be in charge of all internal operations for the Public Defender's Office as well as work on the budget, Adachi says.
Until now, Gonzalez has been in private practice, handling both criminal and civil cases. His firm brought a suit against Yolo County's Superior Court challenging the lack of Latino representation on its Grand Jury.
Gonzalez's move to City Hall comes less than a week after SF Weekly reported that the former politico was considering purchasing DeSoto cab company.
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