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tv   [untitled]    September 27, 2013 1:00pm-1:31pm PDT

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the ethics commission. now my reading of that is that it is unequivical there are no if, ands or butt and if you know anybody in that position or this position you are not going to do it. and it was suggested to ask whether the commission has read this section. and i hope that you have and i would like to know how you justify cutting a piece of jurisdiction out when the law as it is written here appears to be unequivocal. thank you. >> shall, is... (inaudible) >> commissioners, ray hartz, director of san francisco open government. a couple of points, before i get to the main one. on the previous matter which you did not take public comment, the withdraw of the complaint. and as previously speaker has already mentioned many of us did not get any of this
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information until friday afternoon, i sometimes don't get it until the day of the hearing. and as a result, i may get an opinion see the opinion for the first time of the staff, recommending to you a dismissal which they always do i have never seen anything where they said we recommend that you find a violation not one single time and they also throw in things that there never has been discussed before and i made choose to withdraw my complaint, so that i can later resubmit it and then include my rationale as to why that argument makes no sense. i should not be put in a position as a complainant and of having to get a last minute, surprise that i have to spend my time dealing with when i probably spent weeks if not months preparing for the hearing. the good government guide states stalling, we must afford a fair hearing before the parties before then and central to the fair hearing is that the
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decision makers come to the hearing with an open mind prepared to hear both sides and to decide the case on the merits of the evidence presented and the governing law. and i see this as nothing but an end run by the staff to attempt to exempt themselves from the sunshine ordinance, findings, and against them. and simply saying, well, we don't want to hear the cases against us, and so we will just send it back to the task force and let the complainant and let the citizens of san francisco, figure it out themselves. and even though we know the history and you have all mentioned the history, the da won't take it and the attorney general considers it a local matter and will not take it and so you are saying, let's send it to them. and why? because you know that they will not take it. the bottom line is that the
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task force is a separate body and this body has disrespected it to the ultimate degree by dismissing every single complaint referred to this body. and you know the hearings and the staff does not do an investigation and they simply say that everything that the sunshine ordinance decided or the task force decided was wrong. and this has been the history of this body. and for years, you dismissed them out of hand, by the executive director. and then, for two years, you pretended to come up with the instructions, and then, finalized the instructions without any input from the task force and now what you want to do is exempt your own staff, from the sunshine ordinance, altogether. and by simply removing the due process. >> thank you. >> >> good evening, commissioners, i'm dr. derek (inaudible) and
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good evening mr. st. croix. the proposal to botch the sunshine complaints against them would make sense, if those complaints were very common. and but they are rare. and as far as i know there has only been three in the last 13 years since the sunshine ordinance was passed. and one was in 2004, and when the oakland ethics commission handled a complaint by oliver nuby and kevin (inaudible) against the directors (inaudible) and maple (inaudible). and last year, the san jose election's commission had a city attorney, handling the patrick shaw claim against mr. st. croix. and now, we have allegrossman filing a complaint against mr. st. croix. you know that the attorney general rejects all of your sunshine referrals because they are local matters. and but the district attorney
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has not acted and even has not responded in writing as he supposed to, to your referrals. also, it is much, much harder for a citizen to retain a sunshine competent attorney, than it is for your staff to retain an outside ethics agency. and you also know that the board of supervisors and the mayor's office have also ignored the sunshine complaints referred to them. on the other hand, referring sunshine complaints against your staff, to outside agencies, makes sense, for four reasons. number one, such cases are relevant to those agencies and even intriguing to them. and number two, those agencies have a track record of handling
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these cases diligently. >> you can reduce conflicts of interest, by having a commissioner rather than a staff person or the executive director approach those outside agencies. and you could reduce the imposition by offering reciprocity. so, the objections raised are that it is challenging for you, it is an imposition on other agencies, and it creates a conflict of interest, but all of those can be mitigated, thank you. >> any further public comment? >> commissioners? >> in view of the public comment, and so it might be interested to hear from the city attorney, i mean, to me,
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this is doable in part to the extent that there is a conflict or a commissioner deems he has a conflict, and he could recuse himself from adjudicating the matter. >> absolutely. >> so in the instance where we all have a conflict, it seems that at least theoretically we could all recuse ourselves in which case, the matter could not be adjudicated by the ethics commission. >> i think that is right, if you feel okay with that conclusion. >> that would be acceptable. >> okay >> so then to me the question is, as a matter of course, are we always going to be in a motion on to adjudicate against the commissioner and given that we have done it in the sxaft we have not recused ourselves we
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can do it without recusal. >> so if that is the case, then, maybe we leave it as is. and although, the procedure is clearly imperfect, and i agree with what mr. st. croix has said about the burdens, maybe it is the least objectionable of many bad options. >> >> i would agree with that. commissioner hur, i don't think that we are trying to avoid our responsibility in any way, whatsoever. i think that the issue as i have or was concerned about it is the perceived conflict of interest. >> correct. >> and in passing judgment on our own, if you will, whether it is the staff or whether it is other commissioners. but, perhaps, the best solution
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is to leave it as it is. >> okay. >> okay, so moving on to decision point 4, >> there is month motion is necessary on that. >> okay. >> and the decision 0.4 is more a grammatical correction than anything else. >> and changing the title will be the ethics, handling of regulations for violations? >> it was adding. >> is that what you procedure posing just adding the word handling. >> it will read like this. >> for handling violations of the sunshine. >> yeah, i certainly have no objection to that. >> i don't either. >> it seems techically correct. >> it seems grammatically correct. >> where are you inserting the
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word handling? >> where it is under lined. >> the commission regulations for handling violations of the sunshine ordinance. >> do we need a motion for that? >> yes. >> okay. >> do i have a motion? >> so moved. >> i move that we amend the title to read ethics commission regulations for handling violations of the sunshine ordinance. i will second. >> thank you. >> and question, commissioners. >> any comments. >> public comment? >> >> commissioners, ray hartz, director of san francisco open government. and the actions of this chising and the staff constitute a pattern that i have no trouble labeling it a conspiracy.
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>> for years the commission allowed the staff to deduce materials from the task force with any bs, excuse provided and then the commission spent more than two years pretending to confer with, the task force, and only to completely exclude them when it cames to finalizing these rules. once the regulations were in place, this commission not only found in favor of the city in every single hearing, and against the citizens in every single hearing, but found it necessary to actually vote the sunshine task force findings were wrong. >> you did not just say, we don't intend to do anything with this referral. you voted to find that their finding of violation was not correct and that you no found no violation and you did so without any hearing and they at least held the hearing when they found the violation and
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you just decided to ignore the facts and as i read from the good government guide you are supposed to listen to the facts and make a decision based on it is facts and the law, you don't. you simply say, task force, you got it wrong. talk about adding insult to injury. and the members of the ethics commission have shown themself to be in the pocket of those who appoint them and i would think that they would be embarrassed to show their faces. and that quotation i read from the good government guide, i think that any citizen of this city would use common sense and any member of a jury of your peers will use the common sense to say that anybody that 100 percent of the time finds in favor of the city and against, the citizen who brings the complaint, is biased. 100 percent of the time, you never find in favor of the complaint. you have never filed, i would
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bet you, one complaint before the sunshine task force and realize what the deal it is to go through the hearings and get a find and then for god sakes, to get it enforced. in fact, with this body, you can't get it enforced. so what is the point? >> and well the point is, we can come here and beat you over the head, by the fact that every single time you find against a citizen, you are saying that citizens bring specious complaints and complaints that are not valid or worth while and you do so without the hearings and in many cases without actually investigating them and you simply make it up as you go along out of whole cloth and you dismiss, dismiss, dismiss, dismiss and you not only dismiss the cases, you dismiss the citizens of this city. >> mr. hartz. are you before or against adding the word handling? >> i think that it is... >> whether you add it or not.
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it does not make a... bit of difference because it is not going to change, it is not a subnative change. >> peter war field, the director of the library users association, i oppose, adding the word handling and i have a different word that i propose would be much more realistic. and given the record and the direction of the ethics commission. i think that it should say, ethics commission regulations for dismissing violations of the sunshine ordinance. and i think that that would be much more realistic and give the public a better sense for what actually happens at ethics commission hearings. >> he also would like to propose that you put off the change so that the public might
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the broader public might weigh in and i am tempted to announce a contest that library users association would like to have or hold for the best title for these regulations and i would propose to bring the results and for you to solicit the results and bring them to the subsequent hearing. it could be very perfectly clear, commissioner hur, i'm speaking against this. all right? >> i appreciate it. >> >> the rationale that mr. st. croix included on 3 b is that he was concerned about wanting to avoid imposing more or other ethics agencies. and how noble of him. and you know what?
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it is not his job. and your job is not to worry about imposing work on another agency. your job is to enforce, orders of a determination, that are sent over here for enforcement. so the handling part is... we are not dogs, we are not horses. we are people, we don't need to be handled. what you should do, is introduce a motion to change the title of this regulation to the ethic commission's regulation, for enforcement of sunshine ordinance violations. your job is enforcement. and your job is not
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adjudication, it is not just to simply dismiss the cases at all, i mean, routinely and all 39 of them, xh is mitigated. and crossed out. your job is enforcement and the title of the document needs to reflect what it is that you are supposed to be doing. >> given my three minute limitation on my earlier remarks i want to annotate them a bit for the regulations as a whole. and i commented earlier that i couldn't, or i was not provided with any record that indicated that you saw, these proposed regulations before i did. which was on friday.
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they were incubated for months and as i mentioned you really needed a serious legal, analysis before the so-called one l. it was proposed. and the facts are pretty clear, that this is an attempt to exclude mr. st. croix from the type of lawsuit that i filed three years ago, four year ago that cost the city 25,000 dollars. and that may cost the city and as i had to file my lawsuit involving the failure to produce and disclose the public records notwithstanding the orders issued by the task force. and so, you know, it is important that you understand
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how the sunshine ordinance works. and i think that if you depend on the staff to inform you that you are going to miss quite a bit and even though you have all taken the exam or promised to take it, i'm not sure that it resonates or registered. that the section of the constitution that i read to you, is pretty serious, is if you check a recent case here in the sierra club and you can see that the supreme court of this state has use ited very dramatically in order to find for a party seeking a set of public records. and i will hope that if you do anything like this again, that there will be a serious legal approach to it because that is what it really requires.
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>> don't give money to the friends of the library or accept money from the friends of the library. >> truthfully it does not matter whether you have handling violations or enforcement violations i do have a proposal though, and i suggest that they put the violations of the sunshine ordinance and, now what is the point, the point should be obvious. and are you going to come back in october propose, didling the violation and not take the public comment because it is not as subnative change? no. it is a substantial change, goodness knows that you should take the public comment.
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thank you. >> all of those in favor of changing the title, including the word handling of violations? >> aye. >> aye. >> the motion passes. >> thank you. >> the contest is a creative idea. >> still could be done. >> next item is the annual report, the draft that you have in front of me, these language and the italics is last year's report and the leg is this year's report. and so, where the staff is here to entertain any additions, changes or deletions that the commissioners are interested in conducting. >> could you say that one more
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time? >> the italic is last year's report and the regular is this year's draft report. so again, that staff of is hear to take any suggestions for the additions or changes that the commissioners have. >> and what is the deadline, on this. there is not a statutory deadline and we are required to do this every year. >> it seems to me that we need to read this carefully and give you our comments. and i don't know if the comments have to be given during our public hearing, or can we forward those comments to you? >> you can do that. >> via e-mail?
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>> any comments that you want to share with us about the annual report that you have put together? >> i think that it is self-explanatory. >> mr. st. croix, so i was looking at the work chart. and that is his, so we have come up one fte. right? and i think that i saw that there was a special project assistant, is that right? >> yeah, that is not, here, but not there. >> and there is, was there a... >> restructuring of the existing staff? >> no, we have 18 statutory positions, the special project assistant is a temporary position. >> i see. >> i had a suggestion. and i think that it will be helpful to include to the extent that we have records of
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them, the vote for each thing that we passed, whether it was 4-0 or 5-0 or 4-1 or three to two. >> okay. >> unless that is not in an inordinate about of work. >> we will let you know. >> if there are no questions or comments on the annual report at this point, perhaps we can move on to the next agenda item. >> i had one comment. that i want to thank the staff, i think, that you guys it has accomplished a lot this year and i think that we have made a lot progress in several areas and i appreciate the hard work and effort that went into it. >> i concur.
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>> yes. >> absolutely. >> public comment on the proposed annual report? >> commissioners ray hartz, director of san francisco open government and to make sure that it is fair that commissioner hur is not upset, i will suggest modifications in the first grabing, strike the words the citizens of san francisco end quote and i would suggest that the same change be made throughout the report wherever the citizens of san francisco and in any form may appear. and the same paragraph, insert the word not, before the word enforcing. and in the second paragraph, on the fourth line, insert the word, fails to, before the words raises public awareness of ethic laws and i have yet to see anything you do to raise the awareness of ethics laws. on page 16 under advise and
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opinions change answers public inquiries to read, evades public inquiries as is supported by mr. well the last lawsuit that has been filed against you for withholding public records. everything else in this report amount to nothing more than rearranging deck chairs on a titanic, the ethics commission and the staff expend all of the resources amounting to millions of dollars each year only to finally fail an enforcement and even provide exemptions from the regulations and every time that i see something come before you, where you make a rule, and somebody says, well i need to have an exception to this, and you grant it. and so you get these people who were in the city of government making contracts with outside agencies who knew then and do simply ignore the law and allow to go to work for that same agency. what is the point of having a
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law if you are not going to enforce it? and this commission serves the exclusively, city employees, and elected officials and appointed officials. and there is really nobody, that i know, and all that you had to do was look at all of the people who spoke tonight, there is not one single person who spoke in anything that you plan to do. everybody that looks at this commission, studies its action and reads its document and looks in the procedures, and comes to the conclusion that it is either a, not worth the effort because you will not change or b, something that has to be said, simply to get it on the public record. and which is why, again, i fought so hard for my 150-word summaries. for years, what you managed to do is play this hide and seek little game, and keep the public from getting anything in the official record to denounce
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it. >> ask yourselves what have you actually done to make this city more ethical? >> i dare you. to open that up to the public. >> good evening commissioners, dr. derek kurr, this annual report is much better than recent ones, particularly the section on investigations and enforcement. and you have provided the numbers that are required under the campaign and governmental conduct code that had not been provided since 2005 and so this is a big improvement and i very much appreciate the work that went into it. thank you. >> >> peter warfield, i unfortunately have not had an opportunity to review the
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21-page report prior to the meeting, so i certainly agree with the direction that you are taking which is to hold off a decision on this. or that is what i understood you to be doing. so, i agree with that. and think that you should go right ahead and do that. and in practical terms, i think that a 21-page report or one much shorter, would usefully have a table of contents. the previous speaker mentioned a section that he appreciated and the only way that i have of knowing that it even exists, or where to find it is to try and go through 21 pages or wherever it is that i will run into that section. >> so i think that it will actually be helpful to have a table of contents and i don't think that will be a lot of work and i think that it will add one page or your last page is blank. so, i don't think that it will add any sheets of paper. when i picked up my copy of the report or i tried to on the
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table, i noticed if we could go to the display, i noticed there seems to be a hair on the top copy, which i tried to brush off, and was unable to do. so, i went to the second copy, hoping that what looks like a hair would be not there. but, i found as you can see from this copy and this several others, that what looked like a hair on the cover, was present at all of the copies that i could see. and so i asked myself, is there some significance to what looks like the hair or maybe the nose of an airplane, it seems to are lacking windows for the pilot to see out of. so i would like to inquire whether that is a part of the report and what if any significance