Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Minutes – December 14, 2009

(Approved March 8, 2010)
Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
December 14, 2009
Room 408, City Hall

I. Call to order and roll call.

Chairperson Studley called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m.

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT:  Jamienne Studley, Chairperson; Susan Harriman, Vice-Chairperson; Emi Gusukuma (present at 5:38 p.m.), Commissioner; Eileen Hansen (present at 5:45 p.m.), Commissioner; Charles Ward, Commissioner. 

STAFF PRESENT:  John St. Croix, Executive Director (present at 5:42 p.m.); Mabel Ng, Deputy Executive Director; Steven Massey, Information Technology Officer; Garrett Chatfield, Investigator/Legal Analyst.

OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY:  Andrew Shen, Deputy City Attorney.

OTHERS PRESENT:  Charley Marsteller, and other unidentified members of the public.

MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED: 
– Memorandum from Executive Director to Ethics Commission re: Contracting for the Electronic Filing System, dated December 8, 2009
– Memorandum from Executive Director to Ethics Commission re: Regulations Implementing Lobbyist Ordinance, dated December 9, 2009
– Lobbyist Ordinance, amendments operative January 1, 2010
– Memorandum from Executive Director to Ethics Commission re: Proposed amendments to CFRO regulations, dated December 9, 2009
– San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, amendments operative January 1, 2010
– Proposed Changes to Regulations to Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance
– Draft Minutes of the November 9, 2009 Regular Meeting of The San Francisco Ethics Commission
– Executive Director’s Report to the Ethics Commission for the Meeting of December 14, 2009
– Memorandum from Executive Director to Ethics Commission re: Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2010/2011, dated December 9, 2009

II. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that is within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission

None. 

III. Consideration of the renewal of the Netfile contract to be extended for an additional three-year term.   

Chairperson Studley made remarks commemorating the life of former Commissioner Joe Lynn.

Motion 09-12-14-1 (Harriman/Ward) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Hansen absent) that the Commission finds that renewing the Netfile contract for an additional three-year term is the most efficient way for the Commission to provide electronic filing services related to the Commission’s campaign finance, financial disclosure, and lobbyist reports.

Public Comment
None.

IV. Consideration of possible regulations to implement the Lobbyist Ordinance.

Decision Point 1 and 3

Deputy City Attorney Shen notified the Commissioners that a typographical error occurred in the memo citing the incorrect section of the code.

Motion 09-12-14-2 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Hansen
absent) that Commission adopt decision points 1 and 3, with decision point 1
amended to reflect the correct code section.

Public Comment
None.

Decision Point 2

Motion 09-12-14-3 (Harriman/Ward) Moved, seconded, and passed (4-0, Hansen absent)
that the Commission adopt decision point 2 as proposed by staff.

Public Comment
None.

Decision Point 4

Commissioner Gusukuma stated that some contacts to City officials made by union members falls outside the exception of contract negotiations, and that the proposed regulation should be clear regarding what is and is not considered a contact.

DCA Shen stated that contacts by union members regarding anything not related to contract negotiations would be considered a contact for the purposes of the Ordinance.

Commissioner Studley stated that other contacts by union members are not prohibited; they are just considered as a contact under the Ordinance.

Motion 09-12-14-4 (Harriman/Ward) Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt decision point 4 as proposed by staff.

Public Comment
None.

Decision Point 5

Information Technology Officer Massey stated in response to questions from Chairperson Studley and Commissioners Harriman and Ward, that the State of California also requires photos be published for lobbyists; the only difference is the State requires that the photos be in black and white. 

Commissioner Studley stated that she wanted the regulation to be clear that a professionally-taken photograph is not required.

Commissioner Harriman stated that the language should be changed to “professional-like” quality photograph to clarify that the photo does not need to taken by a professional photographer.

Motion 09-12-14-5 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt decision point 5 with the amended language of “professional-like” quality.

Public Comment
Charley Marsteller also inquired as to what the State’s standards were regarding lobbyist photographs.

V. Consideration of possible regulations to implement the Campaign Finance reform Ordinance  (CFRO).

Commissioner Hansen stated that regulation 1.104-7 omits the definition of “member communication.”  Commissioner Harriman stated that the term is defined in another section.

Commissioner Hansen stated that in regulation 1.108-3 there is no definition of “campaign contingency.”  DCA Shen stated that the term is described in the code at section 1.108.

Chairperson Studley stated that there is no definition of “campaign trust account.”  DCA Shen stated that the term is also described in the Ordinance.

Deputy Director Ng responded to Commissioner Hansen that there has never been an instance in which a campaign purchased equipment with public funds.

DCA Shen clarified for the Commissioners that regarding regulation 1.143-2, the individual expenditure ceiling is raised only when the sum of both supportive and opposition spending exceeds $143,000. 

Chairperson Studley stated that she is concerned that the material specified by the regulations that allow an individual to demonstrate San Francisco residency is insufficient.

Commissioner Harriman stated that the presumption is that the material presented demonstrates residency.

Commissioner Hansen stated that regarding the proposed examples in decision point 14, it should have wording the clearly explains the amount of the expenditure ceiling and incremental increases.

Commissioner Hansen stated that there is a concern that candidates who accept public financing will always be behind financially than those that do not accept public financing.  Executive Director St. Croix responded that without a mandatory public financing program, there will always be candidates who outspend publicly financed candidates.

Motion 09-12-14-6 (Harriman/Ward)  Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt all proposed decision points to the regulations implementing CFRO as amended, except decision points 3B and 11B.

Public Comment
Charley Marsteller stated that the public should have a clearer definition of what is considered residency, and that users of the voter pamphlet are different than online users.

Decision Point 3B

Motion 09-12-14-7 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt proposed decision point 3B as proposed by staff.

Public Comment
None.

Decision Point 11B

Commissioner Hansen stated that a word change from “the” to “a” should be made on regulation 1.134-3 addressing the voluntary expenditure ceiling in subsections two and three.

Motion 09-12-14-8 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt decision point 11B with the amended language in subsections 2 and 3.

Public Comment
None.

VI. Budget Discussion

Executive Director St. Croix stated that all City departments have been asked to make a 20% cut with a 10% contingency cut to their respective 2010/2011 budgets.  He stated that the Commission should submit a budget request that neither increases nor decreases the budget from the current 2009/2010 amounts.

Commissioner Hansen stated that is a good strategy, but is concerned that there will not be an opportunity to increase Enforcement staff.  Executive Director St. Croix stated that the 2010/2011 request would include funds for a fourth investigator.

Commissioner Ward stated that it is not realistic to expect an expansion of Commission programs during this time of declining City revenues.

Commissioner Hansen stated that the budget proposal should include funds to televise Commission meetings.

Motion 09-12-14-9  (Harriman/Gusukuma)  Moved, seconded, and passed (4-1, Hansen dissenting) that the Commission approve the budget proposal.

Public Comment

Charley Marsteller stated that Enforcement appears to be able to handle its caseload currently.

VII. Closed Session

Motion 09-12-14-10 (Harriman/Gusukuma)  Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission go into closed session.

Commission went into closed session at 6:47 p.m.
Commissioner Ward was excused at 6:47 p.m.

The Commission discussed action item b before item a.  Present in the room were the Commission members (except Commissioner Ward), Executive Director St. Croix, Deputy Executive Director Ng, Investigator/Legal Analyst Chatfield, and Deputy City Attorney Shen.  At 7:01 p.m., the Commission began its discussion of item a.  All staff except Executive Director St. Croix left the room. 

  1. Closed session held pursuant to the Ralph Brown Act, Government Code section 54957(b) and the Sunshine Ordinance section 67.109b):  Public Employee Performance Evaluation:  Executive Director, Ethics Commission.
  2. Closed session held pursuant to Charter section C3.699-13, Brown Act section 54956.9 (a) and (c)  and Sunshine Ordinance section 67.10(d) to discuss existing litigation as defendant.

    Conference with Legal Counsel:  Existing litigation as defendant

    Number of cases:  2

    Myrna Lim v. City and County of San Francisco Ethics Commission et al., Case No. 08-472073 (S.F. Superior Court)

    Allen Grossman v. San Francisco Ethics Commission et al., Case No. 09-509868 (S.F. Superior Court)

The Commission went back into open session at 7:19 p.m.           

VIII. Discussion and vote regarding closed session action and deliberations. 

Discussion and vote pursuant to Ralph Brown Act, Government Code section 54957.1 and Sunshine Ordinance 67.12 on whether to disclose any action taken of discussions held in closed session regarding public employee performance evaluation.
           
Discussion and vote pursuant to Brown Act section 54957.1 and Sunshine Ordinance section 67.12 on whether to disclose any action taken or discussions held in closed session existing litigation.  
Motion 09-12-14-11 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Ward absent) that the Ethics Commission finds that it is in the best interests of the public not to disclose its closed session deliberations re: public employee performance evaluation and existing litigation.

IX. Minutes of the Commission’s regular meeting of November 9, 2009

Motion 09-12-14-12 (Gusukuma/Hansen) Moved, seconded, and passed (4-0, Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the minutes of the meeting of November 9, 2009.

Public Comment
None.

X. Executive Director’s Report

Commissioner Hansen stated that the Report should notify the public of those individuals with outstanding fines owed to the Commission.

Public Comment
None.

XI. Items for Future Meetings

None.

Public Comment
None.

XII. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission

None.

XIII. Adjournment

Motion 09-12-14-13 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Ward absent) that the Ethics Commission adjourn.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:23 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________
Garrett Chatfield
Investigator/ Legal Analyst

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