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Chief Attorney Matt Gonzales remembers the friendly and fiery sides of Jeff Adachi

San Francisco's late public defender Jeff Adachi died unexpectedly after suffering an apparent heart attack in North Beach. 

Through his profession, and his gregarious personality, Adachi met people from all walks of life. One of those who knew him best was Matt Gonzalez. Aside from being one of the city’s most respected lawyers, Gonzalez served as president of the board of supervisors, came very close to beating Gavin Newsom in the mayor’s race in 2003, and ran for Vice President of the United States alongside Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in 2008. He spent the past eight years working alongside Jeff Adachi as the public defender’s chief attorney.

"He was the most popular guy walking down the street. He was like a celebrity, basically. And even in my old supervisorial district, more people know Jeff Adachi than they do me, which always made me laugh, you know."

Matt Gonzalez is now temporarily running the public defender's office, and he spoke to us about the life and death of Jeff Adachi. Mayor London Breed will appoint a permanent public defender to serve until the next election in November.

Past KALW interviews with Jeff Adachi:

A vigil and march honoring Jeff will begin tonight at 7 p.m., outside the public defender’s office, near the corner of Bryant and 7th Street in San Francisco. A public memorial will be held on March 4.



Crosscurrents San Francisco
Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.