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tv   [untitled]    August 5, 2014 9:00am-9:31am PDT

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>> [gavel] good afternoon and welcome to the july 28 meeting of the san francisco ethics commission. i will take attendance. chairperson mr. hur has been excused for personal reasons and calling the other commissioners. renne. >> here. >> commissioner andrews. >> here. >> commissioner keane. >> here. >> before taking public comment on item number 2 i just want to call everybody's attention to the fact that the regular meeting for august has been canceled, and there will be a special meeting on august 18 at 10:00 a.m. in room four one six to consider the report of the civil grand jury and the
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commission's response thereto. at this time i will take public comment on matters of not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the ethics commission. >> members of the ethics commission. ray hart director of san francisco open open government. in 1964 and here in san francisco barry goldwater accepted the nomination for president and his brief acceptance speech included items that were boiled down to the following. i would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and let me remind you moderation and the pursuit of justice is no virtue and i want to make it clear that any citizen including myself has the right to come here and tell you stuff that you don't want to hear and talk about your
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performance as members of this commission and this commission as a whole. and yet the pattern here seems to be that you joke about it and you act when members of the public come to talk to you that they're being species or anarchistic or whatever and the perfect case when we were talking not too long ago and you were joking "well, you think we're trying to hide stuff." i don't think you're trying to hide stuff. you do it all the time. that's what you do. you're here to hide stuff that you do and other city agencies do. this ethics commission is a waste of the resources used for the operation. it's nothing that the citizens of san francisco could have imagined when voting for the establishment of open government. anyone that wishes to put a minimal effort can
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examine the record and see that this body has absolutely nothing over the course of its existence to open government and as done everything possible to hide its secrets including illegal actions from the public. three commissioners -- commissioner hur, renne and commissioner hayon are political flacks answerable own to those that appoint them. that is not a personal attack. it is my personal opinion and i base it on years of watching you. you do nothing but protect the people and in my case that was heard without my presence commissioner hayon participated defended the person that was on the opposite side of the case. talked all about the reasons why they were right and why i was wrong and then at the end recused herself to avoid the
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appearance of a conflict when she actively was in a conflict during the entire proceeding. i had sincere hopes for the new commissioners and although they talk a good game there is nothing that will indicate that they will just follow the lead of the other members. i challenged you before. come here before the public and gave examples how you improved city government. you never do for the simple reason you can't. you don't do a damn thing to make government in this city better, nothing. in fact you are the antithesis of what the citizens of this city intended when they passed this law. >> good afternoon commissioners. i'm going to hand the deputy city attorney a document they want distributed to each of the five commissioners and my written testimony which i have already
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submitted to mr. mr. st. croix and mr. chatfield. i am here on my own time as a private citizen. i am distributing to ethics commissioners a new complaint that david pilpel has failed over for 130 days to file the annual required form 700 statement of economic interest sei by the required april 1, 2014 due date. on june 23 i provided you commissioners copies of a different complaint regarding mr. pilpel's violation of the statement of incompatible activities, that is applicable to task force members. during the commission commission meeting on november 25. >> >> commissioner keane thankfully raised a question
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regarding having a discussion about the ethics commission's executive director's power to dismiss complaints unless a commissioner pulls it off of the consent calendar. for both sea and sei complaints against mr. pilpel i strongly urge this commission to require that a hearing be held on each complaint and that both complaints be addressed by the full ethics commission as expeditiously as possible. state and local law of which pilpel must be surely aware provides that filers that are more than 30 days late filing are subject up to $500,000 per violation and willful failure
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maybe a misdemeanor offense and there is is no exemption to let him off the hook and minimum fine should be as listed and based on calendar days it should be 170 days for the 117 calendar days that passed since april 1. however given the severity of his violation of the public trust he should be fined the $500,000 per violation -- $5,000 per violation penalty. given his conduct i request that the commission fine to determine that pilpel's discipline should include a recommendation to his a appointing authority he removed from the sunshine task
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force and failing to file a form 700 it is only appropriate that a remedy including a recommendation to the appointing authority that you recommend that he be removed from sotf at once. >> any other public comment? turning to agenda item three, discussion and possible action on a matter submitted under chapter three of the ethics commission regulation for violation of the sunshine ordinance attachments memorandum to commission hearing notices report and recommendation and appendices a to c thigzs number hearing regarding willful violation of the sunshine ordinance by department head referred from the sunshine
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ordinance task force on february 28, 2014. complainant -- task force complaint 13024. complainant mica ringel and john rahaim and i call for any public comment -- >> not yet. >> okay. >> [inaudible] >> do you have -- there is a report i think of the staff and a recommendation. >> [inaudible] >> is mr. ringel here? is there someone from planning here ? >> all right. want to be heard? >> [inaudible]
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>> five minutes please. >> [inaudible] >> 10 minutes, yes. >> sorry. >> there was no communication from mr. ringel as to his appearance? >> my understanding was that he was going to be here. >> he was going to be here? >> yes. >> commissioners, i am with the planning department. i am the director of commission affairs and custodian of record on the planning department. i am here on behalf of john rahaim. i won't need the 10 minutes afforded but i am here to respond to any questions you have. we conquer with the recommendation and respectfully find that john ion didn't will
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fully violate the ordinance. >> mr. ringel. >> all right. >> the matter has been called but you haveue want to be heard on it? >> may i ask a question? >> i thought maybe -- because the order we would have gone is let the complainant make his statement and -- you about i agree with you. okay. >> members of the commission hello. i apologize for being a little late. i first began interest in this case because the planning department was building -- they were approving a project across the street from my house so i was hold by a land use attorney to specifically request the
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entire case file, not just the documents that were made available in the public case file, and she specifically said to ask for all communications. she said it's very important including emails, so i made a request, not knowing what the sunshine ordinance was for all documentation that they had for the project including correspondence. don louis formerly employed by the planning department because both planners have been let go. he replied and i went in to see the case file. it contains minimal correspondence and i was surprised to find that correspondence from my own family was missing from the case file so -- >> what did the case file contain? give me an approximation of the volume of paper was? >> sure. it contained maps,
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architectural plans, technical reports like shutter studies. it contained technical reports. it contained like -- [inaudible] and so then i waited 10 days and i hadn't heard back from the other planner and then [inaudible] and i emailed him again said second request to see your case file, and ben fu's response was if you're making request under the sunshine ordinance you need to do so with lou wong. if you would like to see my case file it will be at the front desk tomorrow so i went in the next day to go view that case file thinking that maybe the emails i sent were in his case file. i didn't realize that the planning department segregates their files as a riewlt. that's just how they do it. there is one case file and another case file and stand for
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different parts of the environmental review or project review process so my emails weren't there either and what was stranger his grachics folder was empty, the correspondence folder was empty and i took a picture because i thought it was interesting and not knowing what to do i researched the sunshine ordinance and i made a where with lul you fong and in charge of the sunshine request and what began this ongoing series of emails different how it's stated in the report to you it states that i was eventually given these documents although timely but there are dozens upon dozens of letters and emails
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excluded from the report but i talked to the planning department saying i need the files we're coming to hearing. so i was given limited correspondence and most was given right back to them that i gave them and meanwhile i am waiting for the planning commission hearing. because the sunshine ordinance task force had a delay in hearing cases because there was a bag log because they didn't have enough members to make a quorum when my case finally came to be heard they had already -- the planning department had already pushed forward the project to the planning commission and the planning commission at the first hearing wouldn't approve this project. immediately prior to that i had gone to the planning commission and during public comment requested their help to help me get these case files because since then i learned
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there is an exclamation point file and a kay case file and that is important because it's the shadow case file because i was repeatedly told i was given all of the information related to the project and that was completely not true several times. i was given access to the k case file on june 6. immediately before a hearing was scheduled on june 20 that later had to be postponed for other reasons because the developer didn't give proper notice but when i got access of that file i opened it up and there is a failed shadow study performed by the planning department for this file and they had sent a letter to the developer stating we cannot approve this projected because it will cast shadows on
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franklin square park. this building will be the secondest highest on the avenue and near the hospital and we're talking about a sizable building as it is but the fact that the planning department issued a negative declaration of the compliance with the california environmental quality act and only referencing this shadow study that was given access to, so then an order of determination is issued and out of vote of majority of the sunshine ordinance that was there at the first hearing just immediately prior to issuing a motion of determination that the planning department was to comply -- excuse me, just let me catch my breath for a second. thank you. the project has been approved by the second -- like a week away from the second planning commission hearing where they actually approve the project so there was still time had they given me the
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information i needed at that time but by the time the issue was ordered it went through to the commission so that left me and my neighborhood group no other choice but to appeal to the board of supervisors. the determination at the planning commission and to the board of appeals which we did unsuccessfully. in between that was the second sunshine ordinance task force hearing on the matter with the amendments and compliance committee. at that hearing they were told to -- don louis was there to that hearing. he said -- he was told by a city attorney he didn't need to comply with the sunshine ordinance requests for any materials after -- before i had requested only post, so that's why he was only supplying me
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with mail mails basically of my own because what i was interested in the information up to 2011, 2012 when this file started opening, and so i can kind of cut my story short. i was given several d.v.d.s and each one had different information on it and the planning department performed searches the right way with the department of technology. the closest they got was the d.v.d. i was given 10 days after the board of appeals hearing which was the last possibility for administrative review without seeking judicial review. that's how it is with the california environmental quality act. after the board of appeals makes their determination you have 10 days to file rehearing requests. the planning department complied substantially with the request 12 days after meaning they pushed the project forward while
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holding back the information i needed because the information on that cd i was given at that time and one of the members of the sunshine ordinance task force we have a computer let's stick it in and see what's on there and in the middle of the hearing i am seeing emails that have to do with this study so everything i was saying to the the board of supervisors, the board of appeals the planning department was rooting for the project pushing it forward while saying they didn't have -- so they were pushing it forward while not having the information. why is john rahaim here on charges from the sunshine ordinance? i can sum that up -- he is in charge of the planning department. he knew about this. i have been since given another cd as part of discovery if you will, ceqa's review of the attorney in charge of the case and i have emails here i have never seen before.
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i brought copies for you. i don't know if you're interested for them. i didn't know that the sfmta reviewed this project and i was told i was begin of everything there was. there are things from the shadow study where -- long story short the planning department never complied with the request and when they were supposed to before the referral to you, the ethics commission, the senator terms i -- the search terms and from that staff and i found out about it last time and there was minimal files on there. what happened jonah for the fourth time for department of technology and decided to ask for the right search terms but only the deleted emails and not
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everything that i asked for but only the deleted ones and i found that out from the report to you. the planning department has minimally complied with these requests repeatedly and they kept saying you have everything there is. >> what is the volumes of documents you received from them all total? >> the volume of documents? >> yeah, what are we talking about? >> they were all cds. for instance the one i received last time the last file was cut off so i never got anything there. there's only so much room on a cd rom and you can't open up the file so bill wikos and last name started with
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a "w" and they all had a part in the project and the stado consultant i am just getting those emails and a bunch of stuff not related but what i got from the city attorney and there are six of them that clearly say "i need to talk to you about this project" and there is an email "lower the height we're going to have for other plans i put the negative declaration on my supervisor's desk and she's out for the week" and these are the projects we needed. >> i think you exz seeded your time. i don't know if any of the commissioners want to ask a question at this point. >> i don't have any questions but i will want to hear the response from the planning representative.
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>> thank you. >> i will separate them. thank you. you. >> want to -- planning department want to come forward and give any response to the sequence of events that he described? >> johnace [inaudible] for the planning department. our responses are contained in the report. we concur with the chronology and the events as the investigator laid them out before you. what i can say is that over the course of several years now we have tried to comply with every request that mr. ringel has made as a result of attending the sunshine ordinance task force we went to dt, which isn't the common practice and request emails no longer in our possession. we
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did that twice. the first time wasn't satisfactory to mr. ringel and the sunshine ordinance. we did that a second time with specific terms and planners that work with the planning department to search their deleted files and provided him with that information basically transfer cd provided to us from dt. again i'm just really here for any questions. >> [inaudible] >> just a question on the deleted files. how often do you delete files or how quickly do you delete files since there seems to be quite a few deleted files that you both referred to? >> the planning department's practice is to retain substantive correspondence so if it's non substantive they're
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deleted and not retained in the record. >> they're immediately deleted -- >> well, -- >> shortly after. or when the planner gets around to it. there is no standard. >> so there is no standard system to when they're deleted and up to the discretion of the individual planner. is that what you're saying? >> it is but only non substantive correspondence gets deleteed. >> thank you. >> sorry. i didn't get your name sir. >> jonas i ownace. >> what is your passion. . >> >> what is your position? >>i work with the department and my position has been the custodian of records since then. >> have you had any
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supervisory duty of those talked about in the report that the gentleman said he dealt with and had problems getting the various documents he was asked for and they dribbled out documents to him over various points of time? are you the supervisor at the time? >> not at the time he made the official request. that was transferred to me from tom de santo. >> okay. he was a supervisor -- >> he was the custodian of record at that time. >> who did he report to? >> director ram. >> so above him was director john ram. >> that's correct. >> i take it to regard to any things done in violation of any rules or regulation by these
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individuals who were named in the report that at some point mr. ram would have been informed of that if the supervisor knew of it and that he would have taken some disciplinary steps? >> he would have informed if they felt the department wasn't in compliance or the planners weren't responding in a timely fashion and to my understanding there was no knowledge of that of the supervisor at that time so in other words we felt they responded in a timely fashion and responding mr. ringel of all of the emails in possession of the planning department. >> you said you agreed with the report of our staff and in relation to the chronology and how this happened. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> in the report it does mention a number of times the
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gentleman asked for various records he was entitled to under the sunshine ordinance act and under the open records act, and was not given them and was given them later than the period he asked for them. you're aware of that? >> yes. >> okay. so what you're saying when you agree with your report you are agreeing that in regard to your department your department did then violate the particular rules relating to the obligation to turn over these materials at the time they should have been turned over? >> yes. we will contend those will not willfully done in that manner. >> but they were violations and you accept the fact that your department violated those regulations whether willful or
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non willful. the materials that are referenced in the report that should have been turned over weren't turned over in a timely fashion. they may have been turned over later but at the time they were supposed to be. >> that's correct. >> and you're aware that's a violation of the sunshine ordinance and also the public records ordinance in regard to a city department having an obligation to turn those matters over timely. is that correct? >> we are. in fact -- >> so just to sum up then your -- you are stating to us that the planning department violated those sections referenced in the report of our staff? >> we did not provide some of those materials in a timely fashion, yes. >> which was a violation of the ru

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