Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, 2370 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Jo Daly (1946 – October 3, 1997) was San Francisco’s first lesbian Police Commissioner. President of the SF Board of Supervisors Diane Feinstein officiated Daly's wedding to her partner in her garden. The two had a political falling-out and when Feinstein removed Daly from the police commission in 1986, Daly complained that the reason was that she once publicly praised a Mitchell Brothers porno film. Daly’s short life spanned a rich and turbulent history of San Francisco politics. In 1975, she was appointed as a staff member on the city’s Human Rights Commission and noted as the first government official anywhere whose salaried job was to serve the gay community. During her decade long battle with cancer, Daly actively campaigned for legalization of the medical use of marijuana. Jo Daly died from cancer in 1997 at the age of 51. Her longtime friend, Jill Ramsey, was at her side when she died.
A native of Washington, D.C., Daly moved to San Francisco shortly after she announced her lesbianism in 1972, after what she described as a period of reflection in a log cabin near Manassas, Va., with only her St. Bernard, Michelle, to keep her company. She immediately became involved in The City's emerging gay political circles.
In 1975, she was named a staff member on the Human Rights Commission, where she was believed to be the first government official in the nation whose salaried job was to serve the gay community.
When she was named to the Police Commission by then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1980, she was the first lesbian on that body. She also was a member of the Human Rights Commission and the Board of Permit Appeals.
As a police commissioner, she was a nemesis of Police Chief Con Murphy, demanding, and getting, more police responsiveness to the public. She was a longtime ally of Feinstein, but the two fell out when Feinstein canned Daly and two others from the police commission in 1986.
As she battled cancer, Daly also battled for legalized marijuana for medical use. "I can't explain to anyone how violently ill you can become after chemotherapy," she said. "You lose control. It's like a nuclear implosion inside your body. The word nausea doesn't even come close. But with the marijuana -- just a tiny bit -- it went away almost instantly." She referred to cops who raided the San Francisco Cannabis Club as terrorists and storm troopers and was a major force behind Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative.
Daly was a member of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club and once ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic County Central Committee.
She once told The Chronicle, "People have fears that we're always trying to convert others into a gay lifestyle. There's no need to worry. I grew up in a heterosexual environment, and it didn't rub off on me."