Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
November 14, 2011
Room 408, City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
I. Call to order and roll call.
Chairperson Hur called the meeting to order at 5:33 PM.
COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: Benedict Y. Hur, Chairperson; Jamienne Studley, Vice-Chairperson; Beverly Hayon, Commissioner; Dorothy S. Liu, Commissioner; and Charles L. Ward, Commissioner.
STAFF PRESENT: John St. Croix, Executive Director; Mabel Ng, Deputy Executive Director; Catherine Argumedo, Investigator/Legal Analyst; Garrett Chatfield, Investigator/Legal Analyst.
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY: Jon Givner, Deputy City Attorney; Mollie Lee, Deputy City Attorney.
OTHERS PRESENT: Ray Hartz; Patrick Monette-Shaw; Dr. Derek Kerr; Dr. Maria Rivero; Kimo Crossman; Allen Grossman; Hope Johnson; Bruce Wolfe; Richard Knee; Allyson Washburn, Suzanne Manneh; Tiffany Bohee; David Pilpel; Anita Mayo; and other unidentified members of the public.
– Staff memorandum re: draft regulations regarding the Commission's enforcement of the Sunshine Ordinance, dated November 10, 2011.
– Draft regulations regarding the Commission's enforcement of the Sunshine Ordinance.
– Draft Ethics Commission Regulations for Investigations and Enforcement Proceedings.
– Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Recommendations re: Proposed Regulations for Enforcement of Sunshine Complaints and Referrals, dated August 1, 2011.
– Article XV of the San Francisco Charter.
– Appendix C, Ethics Provisions, San Francisco Charter.
– Chapter 67, San Francisco Administrative Code, San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance.
– Staff memorandum re: request for waivers from post-employment restrictions, dated November 7, 2011.
– Memorandum from the Executive Director re: approved changes to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, dated October 27, 2011.
– Memorandum from the Executive Director re: Proposed Amendments to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, dated September 8, 2011.
– Staff memorandum re: draft legislation to delay certification of 2012 Supervisorial candidates seeking public funds, dated November 1, 2011.
– Minutes of the Special Meeting of the San Francisco Ethics Commission on October 19, 2010.
– Executive Director's Report to the Ethics Commission for the Meeting of November 14, 2011.
II. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission
Ray Hartz stated that his public comment was regarding Task Force Order #10054, which was the basis of an Ethics complaint. He stated that the Order was sent for enforcement and that the complaint was dismissed without a hearing. He stated that at issue in the complaint was dissenting political free speech, which is protected by the United States and California Constitutions. He stated that the written summary he submitted during the January 2011 meeting did not appear on the page of the Commission's website with the approved minutes for that meeting. He stated that his statement was included as a link and his critical comments were out of the minutes. [Mr. Hartz submitted a written statement, which has been included at the end of these minutes.]
Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that his Sunshine complaints, numbers 013 and 014, have not yet been taken up by the Commission and asked when they would be placed on the agenda. He stated that there has been no mention of the Jewelle Gomez case and suggested that the Commission agendize the matter and ask the Mayor to attend the meeting. He stated that the Mayor should be ashamed of himself that he did not address this matter prior to the election.
Dr. Derek Kerr stated that he came to appeal to the Commission to review a complaint that he and Dr. Rivero had submitted over two years ago, involving Health Director Mitch Katz and HMA. He stated that they were available to answer questions.
Kimo Crossman stated that he was disappointed that the Ethics Commission is televising Commission meetings only after the Board of Supervisors told them to do it. He stated that Prop. F failed miserably and that it was disappointing that it was even proposed. He stated he was sorry that the Ethics Commission has been reluctant to hold a joint meeting with the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. He was also disappointed that the Task Force was given no notice regarding the proposed regulations and requested that the item be postponed so that the Task Force could respond to the 123-page document as a body.
III. Consideration of draft regulations regarding the Commission's enforcement of the Sunshine Ordinance.
Executive Director St. Croix stated that staff had proposed changes to the regulations in 2010. He stated that the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force reviewed and discussed proposals and sent a response to the Commission in August 2011. He stated that staff reviewed the Task Force's proposals and presented new draft regulations.
Chairperson Hur stated that the Commission would address each decision point separately and take public comment on each number.
Decision Point 1
Mr. St. Croix stated that the proposal is that the Commission handle only willful violations by elected officials, department heads, and managerial City employees. He stated that the section in the Ordinance only refers to elected officials and department heads, but that staff was attempting to capture those responsible for document requests.
Allen Grossman stated that he was truly appalled by the Commission's decision to proceed on something that has taken the Task Force almost two years to put together. He stated that the Task Force did not receive staff's report in advance and was unable to provide comment on it. He also stated that the request for a joint meeting was ignored. He also stated that the most disturbing part of the proposal was that the Commission has retracted its decision to hear enforcements of simple violations. He stated that he had created a memorandum listing four important legal principles that are not referenced in the proposed regulations.
Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that the Commission displayed mind-boggling hubris on how it will or will not decide Sunshine complaints. He stated that the Commission is wrongly exempting other City employees and wrongly determining that it is not tasked with the enforcement of Task Force orders. He stated that the Commission cannot adopt regulations that will overturn what the voters have decided. He stated there was too much hubris on that side of the table. [Mr. Monette-Shaw submitted a written statement, which has been included at the end of these minutes.]
Kimo Crossman elaborated on Mr. Grossman's comment. He discussed Proposition 59, a provision adopted with 83 percent of the vote. He stated that a regulation cannot overrule a law. He stated that a new ruling that limits the right of access shall be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest. He stated that the Commission could not adopt any rules without those findings.
Ray Hartz stated that if the Commission adopts staff's recommendation, it will result in any person making a public records request to direct that request specifically to elected officials, department heads, or managerial City employees. He stated that the other possibility would be that the person making the request would have to appeal to the Supervisor of Records, whose office has proven hostile to records requests. He stated that failing to do so would leave the requestor dissatisfied with the response and without the possibility of enforcement from the Ethics Commission. He stated that he filed a complaint against Luis Herrera in order to eliminate the excuse for not hearing the complaint. He stated that everyone will only make requests to elected officials or department heads or managerial City employees. He stated that these individuals will still maintain responsibility. [Mr. Hartz also submitted a written statement which has been included at the end of these minutes.]
Hope Johnson, Chair of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, encouraged the Commission to schedule a joint meeting with the Task Force. Ms. Johnson disagreed that the Commission cannot hear non-willful violations of the Sunshine Ordinance.
Chairperson Hur stated that he appreciated her invitation to meet with the Task Force. He stated that staff provided a lengthy analysis and that he devoted a lot of time reviewing the materials. He stated that he proposed to discuss each decision point, but reserve motions until the end or a later date, if the Commission decides to hold another meeting or to meet with the Task Force.
Commissioner Studley noted that the Ordinance has serious gaps and ambiguities. She stated that, even if there is not agreement, there could be some value in discussing whether the Commission and Task Force should have a joint meeting.
Chairperson Hur stated that he did not think managerial City employees should be added. He suggested possibly changing the definition of "department head." He also stated that the Commission should not hear non-willful violations at all.
Commissioner Studley stated that she found it frustrating, citing the Jewelle Gomez case as an example, that the Commission does not have jurisdiction over those who are supposed to provide information to the public. She suggested exploring whether the department head could be held responsible through someone else. Commissioner Hayon stated that ultimately the department head is responsible for what goes on in the department.
Chairperson Hur stated that the Ordinance itself lists elected officials and department heads and that the Commission should stay within the bounds of the Ordinance. Commissioner Liu asked about the Commission's authority for drafting regulations.
Chairperson Hur recommended that the Commission move to the next decision point without a vote. He stated that he was in favor of staff's view, except for managerial City employees. He stated that it would be helpful to have a sense of what the Commissioners think the issues are and address them.
Hope Johnson stated that specific exemptions exist within the California Public Records Act. She stated that in state law documents are all public and it is the City's burden to show an exemption to keep them from being disclosed. She stated that the Task Force's experience could help the Commission.
Chairperson Hur stated that one of the reasons the Commission is hearing the item was to prevent a delay in implementing the regulations to improve the Commission's response. Ms. Johnson stated that a joint meeting would be beneficial. She stated that, even if you do not hold a joint meeting, Supervisor Campos may call both groups in front of the Government Audit and Oversight committee.
Decision Point 2
Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that Commissioner Ward's response regarding the Commission's jurisdiction and some of the questions from Commissioner Studley prove that the Commission does not know what it is doing. He stated that the Commission should continue this item. He suggested that the Commission meet with the Task Force and Supervisor Campos.
Allen Grossman stated that he recognized that the Commission has a need to adopt regulations, but that the cost to the community would be unimaginable. He stated that the District Attorney has declined to enforce the Sunshine Ordinance and the Attorney General has as well. He stated that the Ethics Commission is the only other body that has that capability. He stated that the real question is whether the Commission is going to take its responsibility and enforce the orders of the Task Force. He stated that limiting jurisdiction to willful violations only will eliminate the individual requester's ability to access public records or be heard at a public meeting.
Kimo Crossman stated that if there is ambiguity in the Ordinance, then the Commission should interpret it broadly, not narrowly. He asked why the Commission is continuing considering these points. He stated that if there is a question of interpretation, then the Commission should contact the Task Force as they are the experts. He stated that the Task Force knows the relevant provisions of the law even though the Commission's staff and DCA do not.
Bruce Wolfe, Vice-Chair of the Task Force, stated that he hoped the two groups would meet again and discuss these matters. He suggested that the Commission take no action.
Richard Knee, Task Force member, thanked the Commission for its patience. He stated that the Task Force had trouble maintaining a quorum and the Task Force's response took longer than expected. He asked that the Commission consider the intent of all Sunshine laws. He suggested that the Commission consult Terry Francke, general counsel of Californians Aware, who wrote the original language of the 1993 Ordinance. He also stated that he was able to provide contact information for the co-drafters of Prop. G, Thomas Burke and Stephen LeBlanc.
Allyson Washburn stated that she was the Chair of the Compliance and Amendments Committee of the Task Force. She suggested a joint meeting to review and discuss the complex issues. She also suggested inviting the people Mr. Knee mentioned as well as the Task Force's and Ethics Commission's DCAs.
Ray Hartz stated that if the Commission adopts staff's recommendation, it will result in all boards or commissions being exempted from the Ordinance. He stated that there would be no available avenue to the Ethics Commission for enforcement. He stated that the Commission has moral and ethical responsibilities and should place pressure on members of boards or commissions to comply with the law. He stated that this issue arose during his Sunshine complaint with the Library Commission. He suggested that the Commission meet with the Task Force, instead of leaving work to staff. [Mr. Hartz submitted a written statement which exceeded the 150-word limit in section 67.16 of the Sunshine Ordinance.]
Suzanne Manneh, Task Force member, stated that it has been unfortunate that the Task Force has not had the most ideal form of cooperation and communication. She suggested a joint meeting.
A member of the public stated that Chairperson Hur insulted Allen Grossman. He told Commissioners Hur and Studley not to insult elders in the presence of other elders.
Chairperson Hur stated that he had reconsidered his earlier proposal and suggested tabling the issue for further discussion with the Task Force or perhaps others. The other Commissioners agreed.
Motion 11-11-14-01 (Ward/Studley): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission table the discussion of this item.
A member of the public suggested that the Commissioners read the Sunshine Ordinance closely. He stated that most people who file complaints choose not to come to the Ethics Commission directly as the Commission does not support open government. He suggested that, after the Commissioners meet with Supervisor Campos, the Commission amend the Ordinance and take it to the voters.
Ray Hartz stated that the Commission seemed to be spending more time discussing what it could not do rather than what it can do. He suggested a joint meeting with the Task Force. He stated that people have the right to make public comment before a policy body.
Richard Knee suggested that any joint meeting the Commission may consider scheduling with the Compliance and Amendments Committee should be held after the New Year.
Commissioner Studley stated that she did not want to leave the implication that Chairperson Hur was disrespectful because he never is that. Commissioner Liu agreed.
Commissioner Studley wanted to thank the members of the Task Force who were present as they presented constructive comments. She stated that there seemed to be a genuine invitation to work through the issues. Commissioner Hayon stated that a meeting was essential and only this item should be on the agenda. Commissioner Ward agreed.
IV. Consideration of request for waivers from the post-employment bans under Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code sections 3.234(a)(1) and (a)(2).
Commissioner Ward stated that he had never met Ms. Bohee, but that his employer, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, is a San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) project and receives a substantial portion of its annual budget from SFRA. For that reason, he asked to be recused from consideration of this matter.
Motion 11-11-14-02 (Liu/Hayon): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward abstained) that Commissioner Ward recuse himself from this matter for the reasons stated.
Executive Director St. Croix stated that the redevelopment agency is a state agency and not a competing interest with the City. He stated that the agency's work dovetails with the City's work. He stated that Ms. Bohee will be doing a similar job to what she was doing in her previous position with the City.
Tiffany Bohee, Executive Director of SF Redevelopment Agency, stated that she had previously been a project director for the Mayor's Office of Workforce and Economic Development (OEWD). She stated that the OEWD projects and the redevelopment agency are closely aligned and have the same goals. She stated that she would like to continue that goal and continue cooperating with her former employer.
Commissioner Liu asked whether Ms. Bohee sought a waiver for the legislative package only. Ms. Bohee stated that there is a current court challenge regarding the legislative package and, should there be an opportunity for redevelopment to continue, she would continue work on the legislative package. She stated that the court should make a decision in January 2012.
Commissioners Studley and Liu stated that the Commission should take waiver requests seriously and review them carefully.
Motion 11-11-14-03 (Studley/Hayon): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward recused) that the Commission grant waivers from two post-employment restrictions to Tiffany Bohee, as set forth in staff's memorandum.
V. Closed session.
Motion 11-11-14-04 (Studley/Liu): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission move into closed session.
The Ethics Commission entered into closed session at 7:04 PM. In attendance in closed session until 8:04 PM were all five members of the Ethics Commission, Executive Director St. Croix, Deputy Executive Director Ng, Deputy City Attorney Givner, Investigator Chatfield, Investigator Argumedo, and Respondent.
[Break at 8:04 PM.]
[Return from break at 8:12 PM.]
Upon return to closed session, in attendance until 8:24 PM were all five members of the Ethics Commission, Executive Director St. Croix, Deputy Executive Director Ng, Deputy City Attorney Mollie Lee, Investigator Chatfield, and Investigator Argumedo.
From 8:24 PM to 8:27 PM, in attendance in closed session were all five members of the Ethics Commission, Executive Director St. Croix, Deputy Executive Director Ng, Deputy City Attorney Givner, Investigator Chatfield, and Investigator Argumedo.
The Ethics Commission returned to open session at 8:27 PM.
VI. Discussion and vote regarding closed session action and deliberations.
Motion 11-11-14-05 (Hayon/Studley): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission finds that it is in the best interests of the public not to disclose its closed session deliberations regarding the matters discussed in closed session.
Executive Director St. Croix announced that the Commission had reached a settlement agreement regarding the following two complaints: Complaint No. 28-101026 and Complaint No. 03-061016. The Commission approved a settlement in Complaint No. 28-101026 related to the Common Sense Voters, SF 2010, Vote for Mark Farrell for District 2 Supervisor Committee ("Respondent"), whereby Respondent will pay $500 to the Commission. The Commission also approved a settlement in Complaint No. 03-061016 related to the Mak '06 Committee (ID No. 1287595), Jaynry Mak, and Frances Hsieh, Treasurer ("Respondents"), whereby Respondents will pay $18,000 to the Commission.
David Pilpel asked whether the documents relating to the complaints were available or whether the material terms could be disclosed. Chairperson Hur stated that the information would be posted on the Commission's website the following day. Mr. Pilpel also questioned the presence of a non-City employee during closed session. Chairperson Hur stated that it was appropriate for that individual to be present during closed session.
VII. Continuation of consideration of possible amendments to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.
Deputy Director Ng recommended that the Commission continue Decision Points 7c-1, 7c-2, and 7d.
Decision Point 7a
Ms. Ng stated that these changes would eliminate the requirement that candidates file a statement declaring that they will seek funds.
Motion 11-11-14-06 (Ward/Liu): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt Decision Point 7a.
Decision Point 7b
David Pilpel stated that he had no objections, but suggested that those receiving public funds be required to follow a local hiring rule in order to keep jobs in the City. He also suggested that the Commission place other types of restrictions on public funds.
Larry Bush stated that the Commission should ensure that any restrictions it sought to place on those receiving public funds be consistent with state laws. He suggested a requirement that at least one communication should go to every San Francisco voter, in order to encourage voter participation.
Motion 11-11-14-07 (Ward/Hayon): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt Decision Point 7b.
Decision Point 7f
The Commission continued discussion of this decision point.
Decision Point 7e
Ms. Ng stated that this decision point clarifies the audit situation. She stated that the Commission currently has two auditors and they have been engaged in monitoring the public finance system. She stated that audits of public finance candidates could begin, but the other audits could begin at a later time.
The Commissioners expressed concern at having no set start date for audits. Chairperson Hur suggested a year.
David Pilpel agreed that the audits should begin as soon as possible. He suggested that the losing candidates should be audited first.
Larry Bush recommended language to allow this issue to be revisited when technology improves.
The Commissioners recommended a time limit and differentiating between random and targeted audits. Ms. Ng recommended removing Decision Point 7e from consideration. The Commission agreed.
Decision Point 8
Motion 11-11-14-08 (Ward/Hayon): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt Decision Point 8.
Decision Point 9
David Pilpel asked what would happen if someone requested to receive mail notice. Ms. Ng stated that staff would make that arrangement. Mr. Pilpel suggested informing the media and creating a media list.
Mr. St. Croix stated that the Commission already had a media list. He stated that the media receives all press releases that the Commission issues.
Motion 11-11-14-09 (Hayon/Liu): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt Decision Point 9.
Decision Point 10
Motion 11-11-14-10 (Hayon/Liu): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt Decision Point 10.
Decision Point 11
Ms. Ng stated that staff proposed to expand the current prohibition to communications and not just campaign ads.
David Pilpel asked for an example of what is not currently prohibited. Ms. Ng stated that information on a campaign's website is not currently encompassed by the law. Mr. Pilpel also questioned whether there were any First Amendment issues with applying this to third party expenditures.
Larry Bush asked whether door hangers had been included. DCA Givner stated they had not.
David Pilpel asked whether the intent was to delete campaign advertisement or add communications. DCA Givner stated that the new definition of "communications" would include campaign advertisement. The Commissioners then discussed a numerical threshold with an advertisement that is publicly displayed. Ms. Ng suggested creating a financial limit (ex., $1,000 or more) instead of the advertisement reaching a certain number of people.
Anita Mayo stated that the $1,000 or more limit exists elsewhere in CFRO. She also suggested creating a presumption in the statute regarding billboards or radio or television advertisements. Commissioner Studley expressed concerns that the internet cost to a committee may be marginal and may not be limited by this amendment.
Larry Bush stated that he did internet ads with the SF Bay Guardian that had 80,000 impressions for $900.
Commissioner Hur suggested continuing this item.
Decision Point 12
Ms. Ng stated that this decision point covered clean up of the proposed ordinance based upon what the Commission adopted at its last meeting.
David Pilpel referenced a chart from staff's September 8, 2011 memorandum. He asked whether staff could update the chart.
Motion 11-11-14-11 (Hur/Ward): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt Decision Point 12.
Decision Point 13
David Pilpel suggested that the operative date be amended. He noted a typographical error on line 17, page 1.
DCA Givner stated that staff's intent was to adopt these amendments in September, so that they would be effective in January 2012. He stated that effective dates should always be included. He offered to amend the language.
Motion 11-11-14-12 (Ward/Hayon): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt Decision Point 13, as amended.
Chairperson Hur thanked staff and the public.
VIII. Consideration of legislation to delay certification of Supervisorial candidates as eligible to receive public funds in the November 2012 election until the supervisorial district lines have been finally revised by the Redistricting Task Force.
Executive Director St. Croix stated that the Redistricting Commission may not finish its work until March or April 2012. He stated that candidates for Supervisor could still apply for funds and staff could review applications, but that checks would not be distributed until the lines are finalized.
David Pilpel asked whether staff determines whether a candidate lives in the district.
Motion 11-11-14-13 (Studley/Hayon): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission approve staff's recommendations to delay certification.
IX. Minutes of the Commission's special meeting of October 19, 2011.
Motion 11-11-14-14 (Ward/Studley): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt the minutes of the Commission's special meeting of October 19, 2011, as amended.
David Pilpel noted that Anita Mayo was misspelled on page 7.
X. Executive Director's Report.
Mr. St. Croix stated that staff would update numbers in the revenues report in next month's report. He stated that the Oversight Committee adopted legislation to require that Commission meetings be televised. He stated that Supervisor Campos wanted to include the Task Force as well, but could not, so it will be introduced in separate legislation. He stated that televised meetings will begin on the fourth Monday of January 2012. He also reminded the Commissioners that they needed to complete anti-harassment training and that they could do so through a tutorial online.
Chairperson Hur thanked staff for getting the Commission through a busy election season.
David Pilpel stated that Proposition F failed and suggested that the Commission discuss the status at a future meeting.
Larry Bush stated that he was a member of the group that worked to oppose Proposition F. He stated that the Campaign Consultant Ordinance needed to be amended, but that there are still a number of issues that need to be addressed. He stated that he is happy to meet with the Commissioners.
Commissioner Ward stated that this meeting was likely to be his last with the Commission. He stated that he had been on the Commission for six years and it was time to step aside and let someone else do their public service. He stated that he appreciated working with the current and past Commissioners and especially appreciated the work staff has done.
Chairperson Hur stated that the Commission has greatly appreciated his service and that he has learned a great deal from Commissioner Ward and cherished his comments and guidance on these issues. Mr. St. Croix stated that Commissioner Ward's insights have been great and that he and the staff have appreciated his intellect and comments. Commissioner Ward stated he would return and make public comment.
XI. Items for future meetings.
Commissioner Studley stated that there had been commentary about the public financing system. She asked what limitations there were on Commissioners conversing about that issue. Mr. St. Croix stated that the limitations on Commissioners and staff are on political activity. He stated that dissemination on factual information is permitted.
Chairperson Hur stated that he was looking forward to the results of the upcoming Interested Persons' meetings.
Larry Bush suggested that the Commission discuss contributions from contractors with the City.
David Pilpel agreed with Mr. Bush. He suggested that the Commission ensure compliance by campaigns and treasurers.
XII. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission.
Motion 11-11-14-15 (Ward/Liu): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adjourn.
Meeting adjourned at 9:55 PM.
This summary statement was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz. The content is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission.
This public comment is in reference to the SOTF OD #10054, which was the basis of EC complaint #06-110816. This OD was sent to this commission for enforcement and summarily dismissed by the staff without a hearing. Let me be perfectly clear; this is an issue of free speech! Not only is it free speech, but, political free speech! Not only is it political free speech, but, dissenting political free speech which is protected by both the United States and California Constitutions! The ONLY reason for the position taken by the Library Commission is to ensure that dissenting political free speech, and the political thought that the speech represents, does not find its way into the official record of the Library Commission meetings. As opined by the Attorney General of California: "Any attempt to restrict the content of such speech must be narrowly tailored to effectuate a compelling state interest."
This summary statement was provided by the speaker, Patrick Monette-Shaw. The content is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission.
The Ethics Commission is again displaying mindboggling hubris, proposing regulations stipulating how it will handle Sunshine complaints referred for enforcement.
Decision Point #1 asserts Ethics will "enforce or review only allegations of willful Sunshine violations by elected officials, department heads and managerial City employees," wrongly exempting other employees who may violate the Sunshine Ordinance.
Ethics wrongly believes it isn't tasked anywhere in the Sunshine Ordinance with enforcing orders of determination from the Task Force; instead Ethics believes only the District Attorney or the Attorney General are tasked with enforcement of public records requests.
Decision Point 3(a) permits Ethics director John St. Croix to conduct his own investigation of Sunshine complaints, in effect permitting him to re-adjudicate initial Task Force hearings.
None of the proposed decision points and none of these proposed regulations were approved by voters. Ethics may not adopt mere "regulations" that overturn Sunshine open government laws voters passed.
This summary statement was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz. The content is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission.
These comments reference Decision Point 1. If the Ethics Commission decides to adopt this staff recommendation as is, common sense says it will result in any person making a public records request directing that request specifically to "elected officials, department heads, and managerial City employees." If they do not, they will be in the position of working their way through a bureaucratic thicket, until they reach "elected officials, department heads, and managerial City employees." Or, worse yet, having to appeal to the Supervisor of Records (read City Attorney), whose Office has repeatedly provide to be hostile to records requests, representing everything in terms to which Attorney/Client privilege applies. In the alternative, failing to do so would place the requestor, dissatisfied with a response, in the position of appealing the matter to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, without the possibility of any enforcement from the Ethics Commission.