Police and politicians filled St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco today to send off Mike Nevin, a former San Mateo County supervisor, Daly City councilman and San Francisco police officer. Nevin, 69, died Sunday after a fight with esophageal cancer, according to family and friends.
He left behind a legacy of public service dedicated to helping those who needed it most, according to those who knew him.
"This tough Irish cop was a compassionate social worker at heart," said Ed McGovern, a political consultant and good friend of Nevin's who spoke at today's funeral.
Nevin is known for his work to establish a program that now provides health insurance for more than 100,000 uninsured children in San Mateo County, as well as his advocacy for public transportation projects including extending BART to San Francisco International Airport.
He also fought for housing for the mentally ill in Daly City despite fierce opposition from local residents, because he felt it was the right thing to do, McGovern noted. Perhaps more unusually, he lent his credibility as a former police officer to support of legalizing medical marijuana for the seriously ill. Nevin, a San Francisco native who attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory School and the University of San Francisco, served 27 years on the San Francisco police force before entering politics.
He guarded two San Francisco mayors, Jack Shelley and Joseph Alioto, and worked to improve relations between the department and the community, including the gay community, McGovern said.
He was part of a three-generation family tradition of police service. His father, Edward J. Nevin Jr., 98, is the former head of the San Francisco Police Department's Chinatown Squad and chief of airport police, and his son, Michael Nevin Jr., is a San Francisco police lieutenant.
"He was larger than life for us, so to emulate him was the ultimate sign of respect," the younger Nevin said today.
The elder Nevin served on the Daly City Planning Commission from 1979 to 1982, then in 1982 he joined the City Council in Daly City, where he served for a decade. He was elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 1992 and served a full three terms. He was expected to enter an state assembly race in 2000, but due to redistricting found his home outside the seat's boundaries. He chose to drop out of the race rather than uproot his family, McGovern noted.
After he was beaten in a state Senate primary race by then-Assemblyman Leland Yee, Nevin stepped out of the political spotlight. In his last years he worked as executive director for the Service League of San Mateo County, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing and support for offenders moving back into society. His funeral, which closed off several blocks of Fulton Street for several hours this morning, featured a full police guard and bagpiper.
The services were attended by public officials including San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and former Assemblyman Gene Mullin, San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, state Sen. Mark Leno, San Mateo County supervisors Adrienne Tissier, Rose Jacobs Gibson, Dave Pine and Carole Groom, San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks and many others. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee attended services Thursday night, according to McGovern.