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tv   [untitled]    January 29, 2014 3:00am-3:31am PST

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>> all right. >> do solemnly swear. that i will support and defend the constitution of the united states and the constitution of the state of california against all enemies foreign and domestic that i will bear true faith and alliance to the constitution of the united states and the constitution of the state of california that i take this obligation freely without any mental restoration or purpose of evaluation and i will well, and faithfully discharge the duties about which i'm about to enter
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and during the time as i hold the office of for the city and county of san francisco. congratulations and thank you very much >> happy new year everyone. thank you (clapping)
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>> the title is up, go ahead. >> okay. >> the january, meeting of the san francisco ethics commission will now come to order. first thing that i would like to wish all of my fellow commissionerers a happy new year, it is kind of the end of january, but it is still the beginning of the year and we have not seen each other for quite some time and i hope that you had a great holiday and it is good to see you again, and happy new year to all of you in the audience as well and we are glad that you could join us today. roll call? commissioner renne? >> present. >> commissioner andrews? >> here. >> commissioner hur?
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>> here. >> commissioner keen, n >> here. >> are there matters that we are going to be discussing or do not appear on the agenda at this time? >> good evening commissioners my name is dr. derek kur a whistle blower, please note bill 496 that took effect this month has expanded protections for whistle blowers and it prohibits anticipation retaliation, whereby the employers retaliate because they believe that an employee may disclose information to authorities. it reminds us that retaliation sometimes proceeds the actual whiesle blowing, the employee finds information, collects it, and then gets a layoff before they can file the complaint. i would also like to acknowledge your unprecedented finding of a conflict of interest by a city official,
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even though she happens to be a good person. previously, such complaints were routinely dismissed and complainants were thrown under the bus, it took you over two years to adjudicate our complaint former health director dr. mitch cats, for two years he collected over $10,000 annually from health management associates, a for profit corporation, working for his department, with his approval. you dismissed that complaint and our retaliation complaint, it took a lawsuit to get vindiation and 150,000 settlement which cost the city an additional $450,000 in city attorney fees. your inadequate investigation and habitual dismissal of whistle blower complaints is a
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type of official misconduct, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> commissioners, my name is fransico dacosta and i have appeared before you before, and i too want to state to you very clearly that when a ballot (inaudible) was put to create this commission san franciscans, and we are still here wanted the right thing to be done. and so in adjudication given to
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you, we some of us whistle blowers, some of our advocates, some of us who have experience are retrained and work for the department of defense, serve three generals, so we know from experience the good, the bad, and the ugly. we saw this with the hearing, linked to the sheriff which in the end, was adjudicated in his favor. but i am here to state to you categorily that there is corruption in some city
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governments rampant corruption, the empirical data and you and others who can do the right thing do the wrong thing. you and others instead of looking at it and setting a standard, you let down the constituents of san francisco. so today, we will hear about a case, it is a very clear-cut case. and this case is so convaluted that some people are so arrogant that defying ethics that defying morals and defying standards, what we are saying is, it will be working until we get our benefits, until we get
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our pension. this type of arrogance is uncalled for. and this type of arrogance commissioners, is something that cries to heaven for justice. thank you very much. >> any other comments from the audience? >> good afternoon president and commissioners, i'm dr. sandra mendis and i am currently the president of the california healthcare foundation but served many years in the city and county of san francisco in the department of public health culminating in the director of being in the direct of the public health and i left there and went to the san francisco foundation, where the foundation runs a program that is really focused on cultivating multicultural leadership for public service. and you going to hear a case
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this afternoon on item three. about an employee of the puc who i have known for more than 15 years, miss elli, and she was a very successful candidate through the multicultural follow ship where i worked with her. and i watched her send in her work, really on behalf of the very disenfranchised community running the community development program and she then left the foundation and went to work for a not for profit where again she was quite successful in her leadership work and i watched passionately and i feel like the violations of ethics that were committed were ones that were in fact done not out of malic and really not fundamentally out of self-interest, but out of a passion and a drive to serve a very under serviced community.
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and she has melt a extraordinary meeting at puc and i think that the staff has done an extraordinary job of trying to be fair and assess this i come here in support of her and staff. this is a dedicated and dedicated public service who made a number of violations for which she has tried to enumerate for the best of her ability and i hope that you take the recommendation of staff and understand that you have a committed and talented employee. and she will learn from these missteps,ty. >> thank you. >> good afternoon and, happy new year, i was not going to speak. i was going to wait on your decision. until she started talking about
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julia, and you know, it is sad that we in bay view hunter's point and that is what i represent, and the problems that and i am talking about julia ellis and in the 70s we had the expansion of the sewage plant and there was mitigation because of the expansion of the sewage plant where we were able to get the city to build a community college and it is called south east community college. now, when this commission was set up, it was set up with the fact and my understanding is that was to take care of the pipes that is breaking and the funds that we the voters voted for and the first time it went on the ballot, i told, the director that i was not going to support it because the city
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had been lying to my community. and there is no sewage plant in any other community. the community benefits. i felt it was a conflict of interest but i supported it because of the fact that she supported local hiring. i thought that she was going to be a good individual for the community and then it all started and she tried to take control and still trying to take control of the south east college and the areas that we came together and did a mitigation about and i am tired, and i am 80 years of age
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and i have been coming to these meetings at city hall for 50 years and i will be going to the puc commission meeting tomorrow morning at 11:00. and where i was not going to say a word because i just want to see where you all are going to do your job, that you were supposed to do and so i just came here and to just to see, what you were going to say, about this case, and you have to deal with the case, whether she commit it or not. and that is your responsibility. and not mine. and not any of us in the audience and talking about how good, someone is. and if you did wrong, you paid the penalty. and if it was me, i would have gone to jail, thank you. >> any further comments from the public? >> if not, we will proceed to our first item, which is in
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fact, the juliet ellis and >> and you have the settlement gret before you and the stipulation document and a couple of notes about this, this is a joint settlement and so there were three negotiating parties and the respondent and the two enforcement agency and because the fppc has heard and accepted the settlement agreement in a public session, we are in an unusual situation, because our regulations require that this is things be debated in closed session and however since it has been debated publicly, the city attorney has advised us to do the same. and so the staff and the city attorney will represent any questions that you have about the document in the settlement. and anything that is in this department, and if we go. off of the document, and into some details about the investigation, we may have to pull back from there. the bottom line in the settlement is that altogether there are several findings of
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violation of state and local law. for the purposes of simplification they have settled with the respondent for $3500 for a violation of section 8986 of the government code and the ethics commission has four counts of finding a violation in here. the first two counts reflect that the same section of the code that has been adopted for the local code and so for the purposes of the settlement, the state portion of the settlement covers the two and for the other two countses, two and three and four where we proposed and the respondent accepted 2500 each for those two and a total of $5,000 local for a grand total of the settlement for $8500 from the respondent and additionally, the respondent has repaid in the figure 17? >> approximately.
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>> approximately $17,000 in salary that she received as the acting president of the board of directors green for all during the terms of the violations at least having incurred in the settlement agreement. and so that again, the staff and the city attorney can answer any questions that you might have about this document. >> commissioners? >> yes, thank you, madam chair. i have a number of questions about this. and first, in regard to the way in which this comes before this commission, each of us received a packet, with the information relating to this complaint which are going to go in a minute be considered
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adopted by us, at this meeting tonight, unless one of us asked for us to be pulled or to be calendared for discussion. i don't understand that procedure, and maybe someone can explain this to me. i see, a series of rather serious allegations against the high level official in the public utilities commission saying that she violated several aspects of conflict of
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interest, working at a paid commission at another job and lobbied the public utilities commission to give contracts that she worked for which would have aamounted to $250,000 that she would have been a beneficiary of that and i wind up agreeing with the stipulation and i have no problem with it and obviously underlying it, our staff must have done a fine job of working on it with the fppc. and in bringing about this stimulation. but, why is it that something like this comes to us, and
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without telling the public and i think that the education of the public, and on this, a high level public utilities officials lobbying her own agency for $200,000 for lobbying for a company that she works for and that is fairly significant in terms of conflict of interest and we should be delving into it and the staff must have to come up with this and we should be talking about it and discussing it more and analyzing it and we should be telling the members of the public about it, and educating the public about it, and if nothing else, just to blow our own horn, i mean that we have people who are coming here, and saying, that, the three meetings that i have been at saying and that you guys don't do your job and this is an indication to me that the staff did do their job. and terms of the findings and the woman is admitting that she committed these offense and she
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is going to have to pay a fine, and you could argue about whether or not that is enough or not. but she is, it is in effect to finding a guilt and a plea of guilty, or that is fine, but can someone please explain to me, why the procedure is, as it comes to us, it would have been considered that we accepted it, and agreed to it, and the public never would have known, what our thoughts were about it. and why don't, what is this procedure in could someone tell me what this is about? >> how to do the regulations of the commission, regarding the results of the investigations, there are several types of documents settlement agrees, dismissed, proposals for dismissal of complaints that the staff creates a document for and sends to the commission. and if the commission agrees with those documents, and does not calendar it, then the staff
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recommendations are adopted and some of those documents are very simple and some like these are more come complex and it is incumbent on the commissioner to determine which of these documents deserves discussion by the commission and which one are simple and cut and dry enough to accept the staff's recommendation. and for most of the time that the commission had this procedure, it required two commissioners to calendar such a document. but, a little over, maybe a year, year and a half ago, the commission determined that that standard was too high of a, or too high for the commission to use and it was lowered instead to a single commissioner and can calendar any of these such documents. >> and commissioner, keen and, let me further that point and the change made in response to the grand jury investigation and you know we took many of those recommendations seriously
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and i think that was really a good one of theirs. and the idea of reducing it, made it such that if any commission had a problem, it would be calendared or any commission had a question. to mr. st. croix's point, we are also trying to balance efficiency, with adjudicating matters with the group, that we find to have significant complexity or for which there are lingering concerns. and this would have been calendared even if you had not done it. you are not the only one to request this one to be calendared. and i think that the commission by and large does a good job of recognizing when a matter should be brought before the commission and as, mr. st. croix said, the matter would otherwise have been heard in closed session, but for the fact that the fppc had already issued a determination, and so, these are typically not, even when discussed among the
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commissioners, done so in, or with the public present and now if we want to discuss a change to that prior, whereby they are automatically calendar and we discuss one at every meeting we can do that. but, i think that that, that decision is for a separate time. and i think that today, we should focus on adjudicating the actual matter. >> madam chair? >> we will indeed, focus on adjudicating it and in fact, as i said, i intend to vote for the stimulation. but, i think that in regard to the procedures themselves, where we have a matter of such public significance, that shows a conflict of interest to this extent, that it should be something that routinely this commission will take up and that it will be calendared for discussion and that we do discuss it and we have the staff talk about it and we get into the background of the
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investigation and we have and let the public know what it is that we have done in relation to a matter of significant public interest, relating to a conflict of interest by a high official. and benefiting by working for another company and voting and lobbying her department. i think that we, and at some point in the future, picking up on what commissioner hur said, we should change our procedures we should talk about it and analyze it with the members of the public, and in addition to that, get some sort of report from the staff about how this, how this out come came about, what were the negotiation? s what was, what were the
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investigations? to give some sort of background, the kind of thing that a judge would want in regard to see that there was a substantial basis for accepting a stimulation or accepting a resolution of a case. >> i just think to do it in this, to have a procedure whereby, something like this can just not be discussed, and we voted, we have accepted it, and the public never hears us talk about it, it is not a good idea. and it feeds into the stuff that i have been hearing now, and i am a new member and this is my third meeting and it is easy to say i know because i have not been around like the rest of you have and i mean no disrespect to anyone here in regard to the sincerety to which you all do your jobs, but
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here, if nothing else, the staff is hiding its light under a bushel basket. if it comes up with an out come like this, which, is a good out come, and it shows that they did their job. and we just have it as a matter of procedure go through and we would say nothing, and it is passed and it sounds like they are very, foolish thing for me and for us to do, and at a minimum for the public relations standpoint. >> commissioner keen i certainly do not disagree with your point of view on this. you may want to bring it up again at the end of the meeting and perhaps it should be calendared at a future meeting where we can discuss it further and make a decision about whether or not we want to change the procedure as
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commissioner hur indicated. so, it might make a note about that. i have a different view and i am not sure that i understand commissioner's keane's concerns, because this stimulation lays out the factses and it is a public document. and the public can read it and all that we are being asked is to say that we concur with the findings that have been set forth here, and if we were to, if we, if there is a question about accepting the facts, as i understand it, that would have to be done under california law, under a private hearing, not in a public hearing. this is so that the newspapers can read this and laid out what she did and why it is a
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violation of the law and we can discuss it and say that we agree it, but i don't really understand how you feel that we are not making the public aware of, and it has been calendared as an item, on the calendar. and any member of the public can read this document. and we have heard from two members of the public, giving us the differing views, necessarily, and apparently on the seriousness of the conduct. but, if we are going to, if we are going to challenge the staff if we think that the staff was wrong, and then that we need something else, and as i understand it, that has got to be done in private, initially. and then, when you make your, and we make our final conclusions, and it becomes public. >> madam chair? i have not challenged the staff and i am complimenting the staff and in regard to one
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thing that i don't understand that commissioner renne said is that if we wanted to discuss this, and we go into it, and it would have to be done in the private session and i am looking here at the letter that i got from mr. st. croix, relating to this matter, and when i first got it. and in the final paragraph, he says, due to the fppc public deliberation adecember macing of the attached exhibit they have advised the staff that the ethic's commission should be conducted in open session, not in private. okay. >> you said that it has to be done in a private session, that is not what mr. st. croix is saying here, that is not what the city attorney is saying. >> but we do it in open session and, that is what we are doing now. because it was requested that we put it on the calendar. >> and i am sorry, could i just quickly interject? i think that the discussion is getting too far afield from the
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agenda item. and so, i think for purposes of public notice, i think that this is a discussion that if it is going to be had, should be had once this issue is ago ahead agendaized. >> right. but, just one thing, if i may say this, my understanding is that what makes it possible for us to discuss this here today, is that we do already have a stipulation where all parties have agreed to the facts as presented here. if that were not the case, then that would be a private closed hearing,; is that correct?? >> no. >> no. >> if we were debating the permits of the case, it would be prior to a settlement or as a stipulation, and that would be a closed case? >> or a session,