Post-budget, supervisor wins medal, proving domestic mettle



City leaders settled their differences with a bake-off. Photo by Patricia Decker/The Public Press.

Life in City Hall — excruciatingly bitter for months — just got a little bit sweeter.

Weeks of debate and political wrangling to pass the $6.7 billion budget, one that brought the worst deficit the city has seen since the Great Depression, left relationships between two of the supervisors strained.

Chris Daly and budget chair John Avalos clashed over how much faith could be placed in the Newsom administration, escalating at one point to “an emotional and divisive exchange” at the July 1 meeting at which they were attempting to restore $43 million to their favorite programs, Avalos said.

“Chris and I have since talked about our differences in our approach and our tactics, and our expectations of each other as colleagues,” Avalos wrote in an article in the Fog City Journal on Thursday.  “It will certainly be an ongoing process for me to sort out the politics of friendship and politics with Chris.”

To release some of the tension built up by the budget process, their respective offices agreed to settle things the gentlemanly way — with a bake-off.


The domestic debate played on the Chronicle’s recent visit to Daly’s South of Market apartment, during which Daly served brownies on “a first date nobody wanted,” and attempted to quell accusations that his purchase of two homes in suburban Fairfield interfered with his obligations as a supervisor.

On Thursday afternoon the conference table was filled not with thick stacks of paperwork, but trays of cookies, cakes and pies, baked by interns, aides, family members and even the supervisors themselves.

Advertised on Avalos’ Web site as “the next great Battle at the Board,” the “Baking Throwdown!” drew a crowd of about 40, including a mix of City Hall staff, journalists and others.

A pair of judges — board clerk Angela Calvillo and the executive pastry chef at the Slanted Door — circulated the room with clipboards and scorecards, cleansing their palates with water as they chomped their way through the entries.

When the sugar settled, Daly came out the victor in the individual category, with a perfect score of 20 points for his chocolate pound cake. The prize? A sparkly tiara and a black velour Cake Cape.   

“I feel like this might have been staged,” Daly said, as he stood dressed in his winnings.

His office also won the team prize, which considered the five highest-scored entries from each team. When he suggested that everyone in his office share in the glory by taking turns wearing the tiara, it apparently wasn’t modesty that prevented his staff from a coronation celebration.

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