Chris Desser

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Chris Desser, aka Christina Desser, is a lawyer currently on the board of the David Brower Center, the Rockwood Leadership Program and the Marin Media Institute[1].

Christian Desser has a long history as a philanthropist and liberal activist in the San Francisco Bay area. She is a fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute, co-founder of Women's Voices, Women Vote, co-founder and Vice President for Marketing and Social Research of Muir Investment Trust. [2] She has previously served on board including the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Constellation Fund of the Tides Foundation, Ploughshares Fund, Rainforest Action Network, the Pacific Institute and the Pesticide Action Network. Chris was the director of the Funder's Working Group on New Technology. Chris has served on the boards of WDN, Patagonia, and Mother Jones Magazine.[3]

Public Agencies

Chris served on the City and County of San Francisco Commission on the Environment in 2006. [6] As a member of the commission she dealt occasionally with the toxic sewage sludge (aka biosolids) disposal issue. [7] She also served on the California Coastal Commission[8].

Chez Sludge

Chris Desser is attorney for Francesca Vietor and in that capacity is deeply involved in the "Chez Sludge" controversy. Vietor threatened the (UK) Guardian with libel on April 1, 2010, and cc: her attorney Desser. The Food Rights Network released a major investigative report on July 9, 2010 titled: Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters. [9] It examines the conflicts of interest and collusion between the Chez Panisse Foundation and the SFPUC based on an extensive open records investigation of the SFPUC internal files. (To view the internal documents see: SFPUC Sludge Controversy Timeline.)

Threatening the (UK) Guardian with Libel for Reporting on Vietor's Conflicts of Interest

  • The Guardian stood by its reporting and the following week places this statement in bold on the Guardian website: "This article is the subject of a legal complaint made by Francesca Vietor."
  • April 1, 2010: A search of the CA Bar Association website reveals that the California law license of Vietor's attorney, Chris Desser is "inactive" and so cannot legally be held out or act as her attorney.[11]
  • July 12, 2010: Food Rights Network files a letter of complaint with the California Bar Association asking them to investigate Desser's apparent practicing of law with an expired license.[12]

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. > MMI website accessed July 4, 2010.
  2. [ Bio On Pacific Institute website, accessed July 3, 2010.}
  3. Women's Voices Women Vote Website, Bio of Desser, Accessed July 3, 2010.
  4. About, Integral Institute, accessed November 1, 2011.
  5. Mesa Refuge About, organizational web page, accessed June 1, 2013.
  6. Directors, Rockwood Leadership Program, accessed October 16, 2009.
  7. [ March 13, 2006 Meeting Minutes],
  8. Women's Voices Women Vote Website, Bio of Desser, Accessed July 3, 2010.
  9. John Stauber, Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters,, July 9, 2010
  10. Suzanne Goldenberg, US chef Alice Waters criticised over sewage fertiliser: Top US healthy-eating chef Alice Waters attacked for supporting fertiliser made of sewage that activists say contains toxins, UK Guardian, April 1, 2010
  11. Search of California Bar Association Website, July 7, 2010
  12. Chez Sludge: Complaint Filed...,, July 12, 2010]