San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera was at the forefront of the legal battle for marriage equality in California for nearly a decade. He filed the first government-initiated challenge to marriage laws that discriminate against same-sex couples in American history, and his office holds the unique distinction of being the only legal team involved as a party in aspect of the legal fight in California — in every case, in every court, before every judge — from early 2004 to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark rulings in June 2013. From defending Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to issue same-sex marriage licenses in February 2004, Herrera’s office went on to successfully sue to strike down the anti-gay marriage exclusion in state courts, and continued to represent the public sector interest in striking down Proposition 8 in the successful federal challenge alongside the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
[Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, December 19, 2003]
Far from the wild-eyed, socialistic power-grab routinely portrayed by well-funded political campaigns over the years, public power in San Francisco is a civic principle firmly enshrined by City Charter. As section 16. 101 states: “It is the declared purpose and intention of the people of the city and county, when public interest and necessity demand, that public utilities shall be gradually acquired and ultimately owned by the city and county.”
[Originally published by the San Francicso Bay Guardian, November 19, 2003]
When then acting mayor Chris Daly made two controversial appointments to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Oct. 22 while Mayor Willie Brown was traveling in Tibet, it marked the beginning of a media frenzy that has even now scarcely begun to subside.
By John Russo, Dennis Herrera & Rocky Delgadillo
[Originally published in the Alameda Times-Star, Oakland Tribune and Daily Journals, July 5, 2003]
Consider this: a young, single man living in Oakland’s upscale Montclair district pays $3,400 per year for car insurance. But if that same driver, with the same driving record and number of years behind the wheel, moved five miles down the hill to the predominantly Latino Fruitvale neighborhood, he would pay $1,000 more for the same insurance.
by Dennis Herrera
[Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2003]
I was re-reading “The Mayor of Castro Street” last winter when the theme was announced for the 2003 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration this weekend. It was a signature line from Harvey Milk’s political career: “You’ve gotta give them hope.”
By Dennis Herrera
[Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, May 9, 2003]
When San Francisco filed suit against gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers four years ago, there was no guarantee our case would prevail. We were fortunate, however, to be joined by 11 other local governments in California in what has been one of the most important cases to face the gun industry.