Going…going…gone

Pier 23 is one of the remaining funky cafes along San Francisco’s northern waterfront, a place with hot jazz, cool breezes, a history that goes back to Sally Rand’s naked ladies and a future that may belong to Larry Ellison instead of San Francisco.

That’s not what the cafe’s owners apparently have anticipated when the news was announced that San Francisco would host the America’s Cup.

“Pier 23 Café has the unique privilege of not only being the WATERFRONT HOT SPOT during this international nautical event, but also of being located directly across from the START/FINISH line.  We are planning big, fun daytime and nighttime events to coincide with the “greatest show on H2O”! proudly boasts the Pier 23 blog on March 3, 2011.

A hot spot indeed. According to a December 22, 2010 letter by Board President David Chiu, Pier 23 is one of three piers that might be added to the four piers and a seawall that make up San Francisco’s commitment to Larry Ellison as the price for winning the America’s Cup hosting honors.

Chiu explains in his letter to Russell Coutts, Executive Director of Oracle Racing, that he is aware that Mayor Newsom has made “necessary adjustments” to the publicized agreement that opens the door to leases for Piers 29, 23 and 19 in addition to Piers 30-32, Pier 26 and Pier 28 and Seawall Lot 330.

“I am aware of these changes and support them,” Chiu writes on his letterhead as President of the Board of Supervisors. “We have exciting work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”

Over at the America’s Cup, the use of Piers 23, 29 and 19 are now part of their plan. Pier 23 will become the center for regatta operations, Pier 19 will be for media, and Pier 29 will be part of the public village. Their intentions are highlighted in a January 5, 2011 news release.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Planning Department has lifted the veil to show that San Francisco’s public waterfront will be cordoned off all the way to Crissy Field, including portions of the Marina Green, for private and corporate viewing stands and parties.

In a February 9, 2011 EIR planning document, the city’s Planning Department outlines what is included from AT&T Park to Crissy Field. The Marina Green, for example, is slated for a hospitality area for corporate and private functions hosting up to 2,000 people. Aquatic Park may house “corporate identity” sites. Crissy Field, Cavallo Point and Fort Mason will be made available for corporate hospitality areas, public and corporate entertainment areas for up to 100,000 people, with bleachers for up to 10,000 members of the public. From AT&T Park to Fisherman’s Wharf along Herb Caen Way there would be licensed retail outlets with security to ensure that unlicensed businesses would not have access.

For San Francisco, it will mean the eviction of an unknown number of small businesses, although the Port of San Francisco already has identified up to 19 that likely will be evicted. Chiu, a former member of the city’s Small Business Commission, is on board to help the America’s Cup “facilitate” the relationship between the America’s Cup organizers and the affected local community and businesses.

The “adjustments” negotiated by Newsom still have not been made public, although CitiReport is told that they number in the dozens. The Board gave Newsom authority so long as the changes don’t “materially” affect San Francisco’s costs. There is no language that states it may not materially affect the city’s waterfront businesses or public access, or that would inhibit the America’s Cup organizers from converting public access areas into private, fee-related revenue centers.

Board Budget Analyst, at the request of Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, will provide a break-down of the final negotiated agreement and its costs by the end of March.

Meanwhile, Gavin Newsom, having signed the document committing San Francisco to terms not yet made public, has accepted a designation as “America’s Cup Ambassador” to promote the event for the coming two years. The details of Newsom’s assignment, including whether the America’s Cup will pay him a stipend, travel costs, staffing assistants or other elements often associated with such duties, also has not been made public.

Sally Rand’s naked ladies smile from over the bar at the Pier 23 cafe. It may well be Larry Ellison who will be the one standing at that site smiling back.

Advertisements

Will campaign donors be secret?

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Federal Election Commission is deadlocked on whether donors who contribute through an organization like the Chamber of Commerce will be disclosed or kept secret. The issue was brought to the FEC after conservative groups argued that they are not covered by federal disclosure laws requiring that donors of $1,000 or more be identified because the donors don’t know which specific candidate will receive the contribution. In a three-three split between Republicans and Democrats, the prediction is that hundreds of millions in contributions in next year’s federal elections will be kept secret, following an earlier U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited contributions but which the judges claimed would not taint the process because the donors would be disclosed.


FPPC Selects Audit Targets

FPPC selects entities for audit by the Franchise Tax Board, as part of a regular system of audits. Entities are selected by lottery.

The lottery selections on February 1, 2011, included the following entities:

  • Equality California
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company and its affiliates
  • Sierra Club

Full list available at: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/index.php?id=585


San Francisco Lobbyist Political Contributions 2010

This table is developed from information filed with the San Francisco Ethics Commission and sorted by the name of the candidate or ballot measure for easier access. The base information is located here.

 

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Date Amount Committee Source of Funds Details

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4/16/10 1000 Aaron Peskin For Dccc 2010 Gladstone, Brett Details

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4/15/10 500 Aaron Peskin For Dccc 2010 Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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4/14/10 700 Alex Volberding For Dccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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4/13/10 40 Alex Volberding For Dccc, 2010 Smiley, Libby Details

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4/15/10 5000 Alice B. Toklas Sfaa-Pac Details

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4/14/10 5000 Alice B. Toklas Lgbt Democratic Vote Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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4/14/10 700 Andrew Clark For Dccc 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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4/9/10 250 Angelique Mahan For Dccc Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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4/14/10 250 Arlo Smith For Sfdccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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10/25/10 100 Bevan Dufty For Mayor 2011 Goodyear, Charles Details

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7/19/10 100 Bevan Dufty For Mayor 2011 Peterson, Rich Details

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6/14/10 24990 Boma Sf Ie Pac Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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6/1/10 5000 Boma Sf Ie Pac Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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4/14/10 300 Calvin Louiefor Dccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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2/22/10 150 Carmen Chu 2010 Gregg, Andrew Details

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8/8/10 250 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Rodman, Caroline Details

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4/13/10 200 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Hirsch, Susan Details

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3/31/10 500 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Platinum Advisors Details

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3/9/10 250 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Kennedy, Patrick Details

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2/22/10 150 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Gregg, Andrew Details

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2/5/10 200 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Herr, Robert Details

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2/4/10 250 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Reilly, James Details

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2/4/10 125 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Boss, Joseph Details

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2/4/10 250 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Riter, Steve Details

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2/4/10 500 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Gensler, M. Arthur Details

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2/4/10 300 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Bailey, Spencer Details

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2/4/10 500 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Mcnerney, Patrick Details

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2/4/10 250 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Lahey, John Details

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2/4/10 250 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Casalou, Allan Details

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2/4/10 500 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Vettel, Steven Details

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2/4/10 250 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Juarez, Richard Details

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2/4/10 500 Carmen Chu For Supervisor 2010 Podell, Nick Details

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4/16/10 500 Carole Migden For Dccc 2010 Gladstone, Brett Details

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4/15/10 250 Catherine Stefani For Dccc Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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4/13/10 300 Catherine Stephanie For Dccc 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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9/29/10 100 Chris Jackson For Supervisor Rossi, Jaime Details

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9/29/10 100 Chris Jackson For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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10/19/10 7500 Civil Sidewalks Committee On Jobs Government Reform Fund Details

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10/5/10 12500 Civil Sidewalks Committee On Jobs Government Reform Fund Details

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10/21/10 500 Committee To Retain Judge Ulmer 2010 Sfaa-Pac Details

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9/30/10 1000 Committee To Retain Judge Ulmer 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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5/12/10 100 David Campos For Dccc 2010 Loeven, Lewis Details

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4/10/10 500 David Campos For Dccc 2010 Gladstone, Brett Details

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5/14/10 300 David Chiu For Dccc 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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4/16/10 500 David Chiu For Dccc 2010 Gladstone, Brett Details

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4/15/10 500 David Chiu For Dccc 2010 Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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5/19/10 500 David Chiu For Democratic County Central Committee 2010 Loeven, Lewis Details

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4/16/10 500 Debra Walker For Dccc 2010 Gladstone, Brett Details

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10/28/10 500 Debra Walker For Supervisor Klein, David Details

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5/27/10 250 Debra Walker For Supervisor – 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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5/27/10 500 Debra Walker For Supervisor – 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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9/28/10 178.63 Debra Walker For Supervisor 2010 Platinum Advisors Details

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4/6/10 500 Debra Walker For Supervisor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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12/10/10 500 Dennis Herrera For Mayor Gladstone, Brett Details

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10/25/10 350 Dewitt Lacy For Supervisor Rodman, Caroline Details

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9/29/10 250 Dewitt Lacy For Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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9/29/10 250 Dewitt Lacy For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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4/6/10 3500 Dudum For Dccc – 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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10/5/10 25000 Economic Recovery Sf Committee On Jobs Government Reform Fund Details

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8/17/10 100000 Economic Recovery Sf Hotel Council Of San Francisco Details

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12/3/10 300 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Reilly, James Details

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12/3/10 300 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Juarez, Richard Details

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12/3/10 500 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Vettel, Steven Details

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12/3/10 100 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Reilly, Domenic Details

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12/3/10 100 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Davis, Evette Details

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12/3/10 250 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Kennedy, Patrick Details

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12/3/10 500 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Block, Sharmin Details

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11/16/10 500 Elect Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Lauter, Sam Details

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9/7/10 1000 Fix Muni Now Barbary Coast Consulting Details

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10/27/10 7000 Friends Supporting Debra Walker For Supervisor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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10/25/10 10000 Friends Supporting Debra Walker For Supervisor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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10/15/10 7000 Friends Supporting Debra Walker For Supervisor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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10/1/10 2628 Friends Supporting Debra Walker For Supervisor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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11/5/10 500 Herrera For Mayor 2011 Lauter, Sam Details

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12/16/10 500 Jane Kim For Supervisor 2010 Goodyear, Charles Details

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12/15/10 500 Jane Kim For Supervisor 2010 Peterson, Rich Details

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10/29/10 500 Jane Kim For Supervisor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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5/27/10 100 Jane Kim For Supervisor, 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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5/27/10 100 Jane Kim For Supervisor, 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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10/26/10 250 Janet Reilly D-2 Supervisor New, Janan Details

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10/19/10 500 Janet Reilly D-2 Supervisor Sfaa-Pac Details

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10/21/10 500 Janet Reilly For District 2 Supervisor California Nurses Association Pac Details

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10/18/10 250 Janet Reilly For Supervisor Ares Commercial Properties Details

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10/18/10 500 Janet Reilly For Supervisor Khoshnevisan, Reza Details

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10/18/10 500 Janet Reilly For Supervisor Iantorno, Sergio Details

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3/25/10 500 Janet Reilly For Supervisor 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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5/27/10 100 Jim Meko For District 6 Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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5/27/10 100 Jim Meko For District 6 Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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4/16/10 500 John Avalos For Dccc 2010 Gladstone, Brett Details

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11/2/10 150 John Rizzo For College Board Rodman, Caroline Details

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9/12/10 889 Kamala Harris For Ag 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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9/11/10 2500 Kamala Harris For Ag 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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5/24/10 750 Kamala Harris For Ag 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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9/24/10 12900 Kamala Harris For Attorney General 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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9/12/10 1000 Kamala Harris For Attorney General 2010 T. Y. Lin International Details

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4/29/10 250 Kamala Harris For Attorney General 2010 Hirsch, Susan Details

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5/13/10 500 Keith Baraka Dcc 2010 Sfaa-Pac Details

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4/13/10 500 Keith Baraka For Dccc 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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10/12/10 400 Kim-Shree Maufas For Sf School Board Gladstone, Brett Details

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5/18/10 100 Leslie Katz For Sfdcc Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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5/3/10 1500 Levitan For Dcc Sfaa-Pac Details

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4/13/10 1500 Levitan For Dccc 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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4/13/10 500 Linda Richardson For Dccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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1/25/11 500 Malia Cohen For Supervisor Gladstone & Associates Details

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12/1/10 500 Malia Cohen For Supervisor New, Janan Details

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12/1/10 500 Malia Cohen For Supervisor Sfaa-Pac Details

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12/10/10 500 Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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11/18/10 500 Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Peterson, Rich Details

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11/17/10 500 Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Goodyear, Charles Details

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10/29/10 500 Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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9/29/10 250 Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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9/29/10 250 Malia Cohen For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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5/27/10 150 Mandelman For Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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5/27/10 500 Mandelman For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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5/14/10 150 Mar For Dccc 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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12/13/10 500 Mark Farrell For Supervisor New, Janan Details

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12/1/10 500 Mark Farrell For Supervisor Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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10/25/10 500 Mark Farrell For Supervisor Sfaa-Pac Details

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4/13/10 300 Melissa Apuya For Dccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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5/12/10 750 Mike Sullivan Dcc Sfaa-Pac Details

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2/26/10 1500 Mike Sullivan For Dccc 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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5/25/10 250 Moss For District 10 Supervisor Gladstone, Brett Details

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3/17/10 500 Newsom For California Vettel, Steven Details

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9/14/10 2000 Newsom For California – Lieutenant Governor 2010 Peterson, Rich Details

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8/3/10 5000 Newsom For California – Lt. Gov. 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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5/17/10 2500 Newsom For California – Lt. Gov. 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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8/17/10 12900 Newsom For California – Lt. Governor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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3/17/10 12900 Newsom For California – Lt. Governor 2010 California Nurses Association Pac Details

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11/3/10 1000 Newsom For California — Lieutenant Governor – 2010 Lauter, Sam Details

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10/8/10 50 Newsom For California Lieutenant Govenor Meyers, Robert Details

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5/25/10 250 Newsom For California Lieutenant Govenor Gladstone, Brett Details

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7/29/10 200 Newsom For California– Lieutenant Governor-2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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10/20/10 100 Onek For District Attorney 2011 Smiley, Libby Details

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7/21/10 500 Onek For District Attorney 2011 Rossi, Jaime Details

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10/27/10 200 Phil Ting For Assessor 2010 Noto, Frank Details

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6/28/10 100 Phil Ting For Assessor 2010 Vettel, Steven Details

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12/27/10 250 Phil Ting For Mayor Gladstone, Brett Details

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5/25/10 500 Police & Firefighters For Yes On B Kendrick, Stephen Details

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5/25/10 500 Police & Firefighters For Yes On B Clemens, Alex Details

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5/25/10 500 Police & Firefighters For Yes On B Vettel, Steven Details

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5/25/10 1500 Police & Firefighters For Yes On B Casalou, Allan Details

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9/15/10 500 Prozan For Supervisor Sfaa-Pac Details

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4/13/10 300 Re-Elect Leslie Katz To Sfdccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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4/13/10 1500 Re-Elect Mary Jung For Dccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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5/18/10 100 Re-Elect Melanie Nutter To The San Francisco Dccc Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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8/3/10 500 Re-Elect Michela Alioto Pier Sfaa-Pac Details

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11/1/10 250 Rebecca Prozan For Supervisor Lauter, Sam Details

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10/13/10 500 Rebecca Prozan For Supervisor Rodman, Caroline Details

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10/6/10 250 Rebecca Prozan For Supervisor 2010 Lauter, Samuel Details

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5/27/10 150 Rebecca Prozan For Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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5/27/10 250 Rebecca Prozan For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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9/15/10 3500 S.F. For Better Muni Sfaa-Pac Details

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10/19/10 10000 San Franciscans For A Better Muni Committee On Jobs Government Reform Fund Details

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10/5/10 25000 San Franciscans For A Better Muni Committee On Jobs Government Reform Fund Details

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6/15/10 15000 San Franciscans For A Better Muni Committee On Jobs Government Reform Fund Details

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6/2/10 100 San Franciscans For A Better Muni Vettel, Steven Details

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5/7/10 30000 San Franciscans For A Better Muni Committee On Jobs Government Reform Fund Details

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10/28/10 2500 San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Barbary Coast Consulting Details

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4/26/10 500 Scott Weiner Dcc Sfaa-Pac Details

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11/24/10 150 Scott Weiner For Board Of Supervisors Blumberg, David Details

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10/18/10 500 Scott Weiner For Board Of Supervisors Klein, David Details

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10/10/10 100 Scott Weiner For Board Of Supervisors Holland, Richard Details

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10/9/10 200 Scott Weiner For Board Of Supervisors Wunderlich, Jo Details

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10/7/10 125 Scott Weiner For Board Of Supervisors Linder, Alan Details

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10/2/10 250 Scott Weiner For Board Of Supervisors Meier, Anthony Details

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10/1/10 350 Scott Weiner For Sup New, Janan Details

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9/21/10 500 Scott Weiner For Sup Sfaa-Pac Details

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9/21/10 250 Scott Weiner For Sup New, Janan Details

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4/13/10 1000 Scott Wiener For Dccc 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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12/16/10 500 Scott Wiener For Supervisor Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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10/1/10 500 Scott Wiener For Supervisor 2010 Vettel, Steven Details

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5/27/10 250 Scott Wiener For Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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5/27/10 250 Scott Wiener For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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3/10/10 250 Scott Wiener For Supervisor 2010 Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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5/5/10 2500 Sf Dccc Lapointe, Denise Details

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5/7/10 500 Sfyd June Slate Card Ground Floor Public Affairs Details

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10/7/10 1000 Sierra Club Sf Bay Chapter Campaigns Slate Mailer Organization Barbary Coast Consulting Details

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5/27/10 250 Sparks For District 6 Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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1/21/10 250 Sparks For Six Crowley, Colleen Details

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10/21/10 5074.2 Stand Up For San Francisco – No On Measures B & K / Yes On Measures J & N California Nurses Association Details

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10/16/10 2537.1 Stand Up For San Francisco – No On Measures B & K / Yes On Measures J & N California Nurses Association Details

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8/13/10 10000 Stand Up For San Francisco – No On Measures B And K/Yes On Measures J And N California Nurses Association Initiative Committee Details

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9/29/10 250 Steven Moss For District 10 Supervisor In 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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9/29/10 250 Steven Moss For District 10 Supervisor In 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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10/25/10 500 Sweet For Supervisor 2010 Sfaa-Pac Details

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9/29/10 250 Sweet For Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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9/29/10 250 Sweet For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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4/20/10 500 Sweet For Supervisor 2010 Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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7/28/10 500 Theresa Sparks D-6 Sfaa-Pac Details

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5/24/10 500 Tom Hsieh For Dcc Sfaa-Pac Details

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4/13/10 250 Tom Hsieh For Sfdccc Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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9/29/10 250 Tony Kelly For Supervisor 2010 Rossi, Jaime Details

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9/29/10 250 Tony Kelly For Supervisor 2010 Clemens, Alex Details

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5/12/10 250 Tuchow Dcc 2010 Sfaa-Pac Details

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4/13/10 2000 Tuchow For Dccc 2010 Boma Sf Ie Pac Details

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10/29/10 950 Yes On Prop G Smolens, H. Marcia Details

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10/22/10 1000 Yes On Prop. D Barbary Coast Consulting Details

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Build Number: 585

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2/11/11 17:07

PAPER TRAILS

Follow the city’s parking contract controversy here:

MTA Director Nat Ford’s personal attorney, Steven Kay, who is also the attorney for Willie Brown and the attorney who helped negotiate Phil Matier’s gigs, is at the center of charges of contract interference on the city’s parking garages, in a fight that puts Matt Gonzalez on the other side of the legal bar. KGO’s Dan Noyes broadcasts the story. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/iteam&id=7954334

See earlier SF Weekly story by Matt Smith with additional details here:

http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-04-21/news/dispute-over-who-gets-to-run-city-parking-garages-leads-to-allegations-of-a-shakedown/

See San Jose Elections Commission record of Pacific Park Management fined $5,000 for contributions exceeding the limit in the San Jose Mayor’s election,  2006, at:

http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/CommissionBoard/Election/2007/EC080907m.pdf

See also Matt Gonzalez account of the controversy and allegations of influence peddling:

http://themattgonzalezreader.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/public-contracting/

See SF Ethics Commission report of Pacific Park $500 contribution to City Attorney Dennis Herrera on September 29, 2009: http://nf4.netfile.com/pub2/TransactionSearch.aspx

Lobbyists Controversies, Reporting Updated

San Francisco Lobbyist law now allows more lobbyists, including the Chamber of Commerce, to avoid public disclosure of their lobbying . See update in Bay Guardian story on Willie Brown and Rose Pak:

http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/02/02/why-arent-brown-and-pak-registered-lobbyists

Lobbyist for Waste Management’s interest in San Francisco garbage contract questioned on lobbyist registration, Competitor Recology expresses its doubts about it all. http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=107856

San Francisco launches web-based data on registered lobbyists in a system much improved over the past, but which is faulted for failing to link lobbyists and campaign contributions for easy access. ““Everything is always a work in progress,” St. Croix is quoted as telling SF Public Press. “This is all we have for now. If it turns out there is a demand for something, we can come up with ways to provide it.”

http://sfpublicpress.org/news/2010-04/san-francisco-gives-web-users-a-peek-at-lobbyists-work

Ethics Not Following The Money

San Francisco Ethics claims no harm, no foul with expense paid travel for city officials, including from entities receiving city funds. “It’s not really a loophole,” says Ethics’ John St. Croix. Story in SF Chronicle, following full report in San Franciscans for Clean Government.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/cityinsider/detail?entry_id=81238

Firefighters and police officers are among those not filing disclosures of moonlighting jobs, despite a city law that requires the reports. The law is intended to thwart conflicts of interest. A fire department spokesperson says, “We don’t really track secondary employment.” San Francisco Examiner story.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/02/san-francisco-city-workers-flout-moonlighting-rules

Is Ethics Ethical?

San Francisco Ethics Commission appointment raises questions on ethics. Two commissioners from the same law firm, and with a past record of one supervising the other. See San Francisco Weekly article here:

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/03/was_this_ethics_commission_app.php

SF Ethics Commission oust crusading staff member in charge of fines collection, rewrites jobs to end requirement of 12 months experience with campaign finance.

http://www.sfbayguardian.com/politics/2010/06/04/ethics-boss-finally-ousts-luby-crusading-public-advocate

 

 


Paper Trails

Public Comment by Larry Bush Regarding the June 2008 Civil Grand Jury Report
“Accountability in San Francisco Government”
September 15, 2008
Government Audit and Oversight Committee
San Francisco Board of Supervisors

 

Chair, Members of the Committee:

I respectfully add my public testimony in support of the findings and recommendations of the Civil Grand Jury’s June 26, 2008 report “Accountability in San Francisco Government.”

The Civil Grand Jury found that “City commissions and departments they oversee are required to prepare annual reports and other reports for the Mayor and Board” (page 2-3).

The Civil Grand Jury noted serious deficiencies in the implementation of this Charter requirement, and that the result has been costly to the City and the citizens.

“This lack of oversight is not simply a mechanical error in the tracking of bureaucratic paperwork. Without scrutiny of their annual reports, the Mayor, the Board, and the public have lost what could be an effective means to measure the successes and challenges of the City’s various commissions and departments.” (page 3).

For the purposes of the Committee’s review of the Civil Grand Jury report, I respectfully submit in support of the Civil Grand Jury’s overall findings and recommendations a review of an additional Department’s annual reporting responsibilities.

The San Francisco Ethics Commission is required by the charter to submit an Annual Report under the same provision as all other city departments.

However, in addition to that requirement, the Ethics Commission also is mandated in the Charter establishing the Commission to meet a deadline and to provide specific information in its Annual Report that is not required of other city departments.

Most important, the Charter states that in the case of the Ethics Commission, there must be an annual report on the “effectiveness” of the city’s ethics laws on lobbying, campaign finance, conflict of interest, and other ordinances.

It is also required by ordinance to submit independent annual reports each July on the city’s lobbyist ordinance and a separate report each July on the city’s whistleblower ordinance.

For ten years, it has failed to meet any of these three requirements in the Charter and in law.

The consequences to the public can be clearly discerned.

The failure of the Ethics Commission, year after year, to submit the report required by the Charter, meant that it is not being disclosed that:

 

* City lobbyists are not being required to report that they lobby, although that was certainly the intent of the Board when it passed the lobby reporting requirements.

* City lobbyists are not being required to report what decisions they seek to influence, although that also was certainly the intent of the Board when it passed the lobby reporting requirements.

* Significant lobbying efforts, such as the ones undertaken this year by the Zoo, are totally hidden from public disclosure, despite the law’s clear purpose that such lobbying activity be reported and disclosed

* The city’s own Sacramento lobbyist costs and activities are not being reported to the public and the Board by Ethics, despite the fact that the Ethics Commission’s own web page provides a special section for those reports – and then leaves out all information on who is hired, how much they are paid, and what they seek to influence on the city’s behalf. In the current legislative year, Sacramento records report that the San Francisco Office of the Mayor has paid a lobbyist more than $426,000 to lobby State officials, but this information is nowhere to be found in the reports required in the city’s Ethics Commission.

* The city’s whistleblower program has been seriously handicapped for over ten years to the detriment of addressing waste and fraud, because until the recent introduction of a confidentiality provision, any employee who blew the whistle on workplace waste and fraud immediately had their name turned over to their Department by the Ethics Commission

* The city’s electronic filing of campaign reports creates barriers, rather than reducing barriers, to public understanding of political contributions as well as fails to provide adequate information on the political campaign industry, making it difficult and in some cases impossible to review the true source of funds

* In many cases, the Ethics Commission’s officials claim that their hands are tied so that these defects can only be remedied by the Board’s action, and then they fail to inform the Board. As recently as September 10, the Ethics Commission’s Executive Director explained in a San Francisco Weekly article on the city lobbyist law that his hands are tied in requiring lobbyists to report what the law requires of their activities, and that this will continue unless the law is amended. (“Law Requires Lobbyists to Disclose Little,” by Joe Eskenazi) http://www.sfweekly.com/2008-09-10/news/the-fuzzy-lobby/

 

Yet the Board, the mayor, and the public have not been informed, as the charter and the city’s ordinances require, of any of these defects so that they could be corrected.

How can this be so?

At the most recent discussion of this year’s overdue Annual Report, the Ethics Commission Chair asked the Deputy City Attorney whether the Annual Report itself meets the charter’s requirement.

The Deputy City Attorney and the Ethics Commission’s own Executive Director could not answer the question, but said they would have to research the charter requirements before responding.

I believe there is important significance to the public and to the effective operation of the government in the finding that city departments are not meeting the requirement to provide annual reports of their operation, and in particular, reports required in the law to provide specific information for the benefit of the city’s elected officials and the public.

Those reports are now months late, and it may be a month or more before any report is delivered. The one report that will be provided, an Annual Report, will be incomplete, inadequate, and misleading to the public and the city’s official family.

If it were reports required to be presented to the Ethics Commission itself, there would be fines and likely enforcement action against the filer.

Lobbyist reports arguably are among the most important for citizens. While significant public attention is focused on campaign contributions and political spending, the impact of contributions is more indirect in influencing City Hall decisions. The city voters have determined, in requiring campaign contribution reports, that the influence of money can influence the decisions of those who benefit from the contributions.

The influence of lobbying on city decisions has even more significance because it is the most direct. It exists specifically to influence the outcome of city administrative and legislative decisions. Millions of dollars are spent each year to pay to influence City Hall decisions.

Yet the Ethics Commission’s view is that the public is not entitled to know who was contacted, what issues and decisions were the subject of influence-peddling, and what outcome was sought by the expenditure of those millions of dollars.

In some cases, the Commission’s interpretation has left open the question of whether influencing city permits is even required to be reported, although the largest area of interest in city decisions comes in the permitting process.

In other cases, the Commission has failed to implement the City Attorney’s formal opinion on requirements for disclosure by city unions and nonprofit agencies seeking to influence city budgets, permits and other decisions not part of collective bargaining.

Yet in the draft Annual Report, the Ethics Commission proposes to report to the Mayor, Board and the public that it reviews all lobbyist reports for “completeness.” This misleads the public and city officials.

Similarly, the importance of bringing action to halt waste and fraud cannot be overestimated. The city whistleblower law recognizes that city employees may be in the best position to recognize waste and fraud in city operations, and encourages them to come forward with reports so that claims of waste and fraud can be investigated.

At the same time, the city has determined it will only investigate allegations if specific information, including if possible documentation, is provided in a sworn statement signed by the whistleblower.

This sworn statement containing all the evidence of waste and fraud, and the name of the person swearing to its truthfulness, is then turned over to the Department where the waste and fraud allegedly is taking place.

The result is that an employee who knows that his or her Department is failing to take action on waste and fraud, and so files a formal whistleblower complaint, then has to answer to the Department head who did nothing in the first place, and also now must be alert and prepared to deal with retaliation for filing the complaint.

This is in addition to the reality that all the relevant facts have been turned over to the Department, without any independent investigation, thus allowing the Department to rebut the charges without any independent verification of the accuracy of the charge. While Department heads, one believes, are honorable in discharging their duties, this system is fraught with complications for resolving claims of waste and fraud.

Money laundering and its corrupt influence are at the heart of full disclosure of campaign contributions. To determine the true source of funds, it is necessary to be able to verify the contributor’s name and actual address.

This means that redacting the contributor’s address makes it impossible for a citizen or any city agency not privy to the actual filing at ethics to determine the necessary information.

Further, using a post office address rather than a street address completely voids the information needed to review contributions.

The city’s system for electronic filing of campaign contributions does not include addresses. The result is that there is no way for the public disclosure to result in a true picture of contribution sources.

A full review of the operation and “effectiveness” of city ethics laws likely would be even more revealing than the partial review provided here.

The Civil Grand Jury makes the formal finding that “The handling of required annual reports by the Mayor and the Board does not provide effective oversight of the City Commissions and Departments” (page 18).

It recommends “The Mayor’s Office and the Board should establish a process to track, read, and analyze reports required to be filed by City Commissions and Departments” (page 20).

I respectfully submit my view that the Civil Grand Jury’s finding in this regard be adopted, and its recommendation implemented.

Thank you.