San Francisco – Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announced new legislation to ban gun and ammunition sales at the Cow Palace, a state owned-venue located in Daly City. Senate Bill 281 also transfers the entire 68-acre Cow Palace property, which sits on the border of Daly City and San Francisco, from the 1-A District Agricultural Association within the California Department of Food and Agriculture to a locally controlled Joint Powers Authority comprised of Daly City, San Francisco, and San Mateo County. The new locally controlled Cow Palace Joint Powers Authority (CPJA) will have full control of the entire Cow Palace site, with the ability and task of planning for the land’s future. This will include designing a strategy for a more appropriate use of the site, including the construction of housing and/or mixed-use development.
In addition to Assemblymember Ting, SB 281 is also co-authored by the entire two county state delegation including Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), and Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), and Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco). It also has the support of San Mateo County Supervisor David J. Canepa, San Francisco Supervisors Shamann Walton and Ahsha Safai, and Daly City Councilmember Juslyn Manalo, whose districts include and or border the Cow Palace site.
“For decades, the Cow Palace has ignored the needs of our local communities, around gun shows and our desperate need for more housing,” said Senator Wiener. “On uncountable occasions, Daly City, San Francisco, and San Mateo County have asked the Cow Palace to end the gun shows, and the Cow Palace has refused. This legislation will ban these gun shows once and for all. The community has also asked for a plan to turn the vast and largely empty land surrounding the Cow Palace into a more community-centered space, including developing housing and mixed-use development. Yet, once again, the Cow Palace has disregarded the local community’s requests. The Cow Palace is in the heart of the Bay Area, and it rests on land that could include thousands of units of housing and significant retail and other uses. This new Joint Powers Authority will finally listen to community feedback and create a plan to best utilize this valuable land.”
“Whether the issue is gun shows or land use, the Board of Directors overseeing the Cow Palace hasn’t listened to the neighborhood. Input from residents almost always falls on deaf ears,” said Assemblymember Ting. “It’s time to respect local values and pass legislation that empowers our community to make decisions about what type of events and development they want in their own backyard.”
While SB 281 bans the sale of guns and ammunition at the Cow Palace, it creates an exemption for gun buyback programs run by law enforcement, which are essential programs for removing guns from the community. Gun shows are only a small number of events held at the Cow Palace, but the Cow Palace Board has continued to allow them to take place despite local opposition.
Beyond the gun shows, the local community has for years called on the Cow Palace Board to redevelop the site into more useable and community-oriented housing and retail to no avail. A once prominent event center, this property’s sprawling parking lots and general disrepair sit in an area in desperate need of more housing and community development. Given the state’s and particularly the Bay Area’s severe housing shortage, this site presents a unique opportunity to develop new housing in a desperately needed location.
The 68-acres in discussion sit at the border of Daly City and San Francisco.
Both cities would be represented on the CPJA. Daly City’s City Council will appoint three members, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will appoint three members. Additionally, the San Mateo Board of Supervisors will appoint one member, and one member will be appointed by the Governor to represent the state.
The CPJA will have full power to continue operating the Cow Palace itself, but the gun shows will not be allowed to continue. The surrounding acres may still be redeveloped even if the Cow Palace itself continues to operate. Through community input, the CPJA will ensure the voices of the surrounding communities are listened to and prioritized during the development of the site.
SB 281 was officially introduced on February 13 and will be set for committee hearings in the coming months. For full text of the bill, please click here.
“It’s been more than a decade since I first called for a ban of gun shows at the Cow Palace,” said Supervisor Canepa. “With new leadership in the governor’s office, I’m optimistic that with a concerted effort, we can finally eliminate gun shows at this state-owned venue. The state should not profit from the sales of guns. The Cow Palace is also an outdated facility and its campus needs to be reimagined. If we want to tackle the housing crisis, these 68 acres are the perfect place to start. It’s close to transit, close to jobs in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, and the perfect location to build homes for working families.”
“San Francisco, Daly City, and San Mateo County should have the authority to ensure the Cow Palace reflects our community’s values and needs,” said Supervisor Walton. “Gun Shows and the promotion of dangerous weapons should not only be banned, but should be illegal in the entire state. We also need local decision-making about the future of the Cow Palace and its surrounding land. I want to thank State Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Phil Ting for working to take ownership of what happens at the Cow Palace.”
“The creation of a locally-controlled Cow Palace Joint Powers Authority will help to re-envision and revitalize an amazing space that has been underutilized for years while also allowing for the ban of gun and ammunition sales,” said Supervisor Safai. “This is what San Franciscans want and I welcome this solution.”
“Last year the Daly City council supported Senator Weiner’s bill to ban gun shows at the Cow Palace except for gun buybacks for the safety of our communities,” said Daly City Councilmember Manalo. “In the same sentiment, this is for our public safety. Thank you for Senator’s leadership with this legislation in keeping our communities safer.”