Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Minutes – August 18, 2014

Minutes of the Special Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
August 18, 2014
Room 416, City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

I. Call to order and roll call.

Vice-Chairperson Renne called the meeting to order at 10:16 AM.

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: Benedict Y. Hur, Chairperson [arrived at 11:42 AM]; Paul Renne, Vice-Chairperson [excused at 12:56 PM]; Brett Andrews, Commissioner; Beverly Hayon, Commissioner; Peter Keane, Commissioner.

STAFF PRESENT: John St. Croix, Executive Director; Jesse Mainardi, Deputy Executive Director; Steven Massey, Information Technology Officer; Catherine Argumedo, Investigator/Legal Analyst.

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

OTHERS PRESENT: Ray Hartz; Bob Planthold; Elena Schmid, Foreperson, San Francisco Civil Grand Jury; Robert van Ravenswaay, San Francisco Civil Grand Jury; Quentin Kopp; Thomas Picarello; Richard Knee; Larry Bush, San Francisco Civil Grand Jury; Charles Head, San Francisco Civil Grand Jury; and other unidentified members of the public.

MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED:
– 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, “Ethics in the City: Promise, Practice or Pretense;”
– Draft Commission Responses to Civil Grand Jury Report;
– Memorandum from Executive Director to Commission re: August 18 Meeting, Civil Grand Jury Report, dated August 7, 2014.
– Proposed draft cover letter and draft responses to the Civil Grand Jury Report, “Ethics in the City: Promise, Practice or Pretense.”

II. Discussion and possible action regarding possible Commission responses to the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, “Ethics in the City: Promise, Practice or Pretense.”

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz stated that the previous Civil Grand Jury called the Ethics Commission a sleeping watchdog and nothing has changed. He stated that the Commission members protect the people who appointed them and that the Commission will ultimately do nothing.

Bob Planthold suggested that the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and the Ethics Commission share a Commission Secretary, for budgetary reasons. He stated that the Commission should take a stronger stance regarding its budget.

Elena Schmid, 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury Foreperson, appreciated that the Commission scheduled a special meeting for this discussion. She stated that the Civil Grand Jury looked at the Ethics Commission after receiving a citizen’s complaint. She stated that everyone in the City needs to understand their accountability and coordinate with each other. She suggested that the Commission meet in committees to keep track of bigger issues.

Quentin Kopp stated that the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report was well-written and well analyzed. He stated that he opposed the creation of the Ethics Commission and that it is an unnecessary commission as the City Attorney and District Attorney Offices could police unethical behavior of local public officials. He stated that he agreed with the recommendation to transfer enforcement matters to the FPPC and urged the Commission to accept that recommendation.

Thomas Picarello urged the Commission to follow the recommendations of the Civil Grand Jury report. He asked the Commission to modify its responses.

Robert van Ravenswaay, Deputy Foreperson of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury, stated that, he was the primary author of the Civil Grand Jury report. He stated that, in the analysis of enforcement, the Civil Grand Jury found the best available tools lie with other entities, such as the District Attorney’s office or the FPPC. He stated that the Commission, both at the staff and Commission level, should be more engaged in encouraging transparency in government. He stated that the Civil Grand Jury sees different roles for the Commission and its Director and suggested that the Commission obtain a Commission Secretary. He suggested that it does not make sense to have the people setting the budget for the Commission to be the people against whom the Commission is trying to enforce laws.

Commissioner Hayon stated that the report was well-written and thanked the Civil Grand Jury members for their time and effort. Commissioner Keane agreed and stated that the responses from the Commission should not be defensive.

Richard Knee, former member of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, commented on the proposed response to Recommendation 12. He questioned what would happen if the department heads do not post sources of outside funding. He also commented on the response to Recommendation 20b. He stated that there is nothing in the Sunshine Ordinance that would prohibit the use of hearing officers in Sunshine Ordinance matters. He also commented on the response to Finding 1f regarding enforcement. He stated that the Commission members are appointed by elected City officials.

Findings and Recommendation 1
Commissioner Keane recommended not using the response language as drafted. Commissioner Andrews agreed, as later in the document, the response includes a reference to an unfunded investigator.

Public Comment:
Larry Bush, member of the Civil Grand Jury, stated that the report cites resources and not specifically financial resources. He gave an example of legal resources that the Commission did not have was enforcement power over a Library Commissioner, which was noted during a prior Commission hearing. He stated that the Director has sent out letters for two years stating that the Ethics Commission would not bring enforcement actions against officials who fail to file Statement of Economic Interests due to lack of resources. He also stated that the Commission’s own records state that it lacks sufficient resources.

Bob Planthold stated that he has previously filed a complaint with the Commission and never received a response.

Commissioner Keane recommended amending the response to agree with Finding 1 and for the response to Finding 1a to state the following: “While the Ethics Commission acknowledges that, like many agencies, it does not have the full resources it could use in carrying out its mission, it is productive in resolving its enforcement cases.”

Motion 14-08-18-01 (Hayon/Keane) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Hur absent) that the Ethics Commission adopt the response to Finding 1a of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
A member of the public stated that she requested records and no one responded. She referenced the Civil Grand Jury of Alameda and a complaint she made to a transportation agency.

Ray Hartz thanked Commissioners Andrews and Keane for their comments. He stated that no agency has as much as they would like.

Thomas Picarello stated that he was troubled that the Chairperson was absent. He stated that his absence sends a message and he supported the motion.

Commissioner Keane proposed striking the last sentence in the response to Finding 1c.

Motion 14-08-18-02 (Keane/Andrews) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Hur absent) that the Ethics Commission adopt the response to Findings 1b-1f and Recommendation 1 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
Larry Bush commented on Finding 1f. He stated that the FPPC is prepared to accept a contract with San Francisco to enforce both local and state laws. He stated that San Bernardino is not the only county with an agreement with the FPPC.

Finding and Recommendation 2
Commissioner Keane asked Mr. Van Ravenswaay about the improper campaign contributions referenced in Finding 2. Mr. Van Ravenswaay stated that money laundering cases had been brought by other agencies. Commissioner Keane disagreed with the response as drafted and moved to strike the response.

Motion 14-08-18-03 (Andrews/Keane) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Hur absent) that the Ethics Commission strike the proposed response to Finding and Recommendation 2 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report and adopt the following language: “While the Commission does not have knowledge of any improper campaign contributions, it does recommend that the Board of Supervisors request an independent audit by the City Attorney.”

Public Comment:
Bob Planthold agreed with the newly proposed response. He suggested that the Commission consider its August 2008 policy memorandum regarding forfeiture of contributions.

Larry Bush suggested that the Commission revisit its policy as it has not been reviewed since 2008.

Ray Hartz agreed with the other speakers and stated that waivers should be granted in public. He stated that there should be a penalty for not following the law.

Thomas Picarello asked the Commissioners to speak into their microphones and urged the Commission to adopt the newly proposed response to Recommendation 2.

Commissioner Keane requested that the Commission revisit the 2008 policy at the Commission’s next meeting.

Commissioner Hur arrived at 11:42 AM and apologized to everyone for his late arrival. He stated that he would be present for the remainder of the meeting.

The Commission recessed at 11:44 AM. The Commission returned from its recess at 11:51 AM.

Finding and Recommendation 3
Commissioner Keane disagreed with the response. The Commissioners briefly discussed Proposition J. Vice-Chairperson Renne suggested language for the Commission’s response.

Motion 14-08-18-04 (Renne/Keane) Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Ethics Commission agree with Finding 3 and adopt the following response to Recommendation 3 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report: “Will be implemented. The Ethics Commission will investigate to determine whether an enhancement to a Citizens Right of Action would accomplish the further assurance to the public that the laws would be enforced.”

Public Comment:
Bob Planthold suggested making the existing rules more visible, as he had not been clear that members of the public could bypass the Commission or the FPPC.

Robert van Ravenswaay stated that the law provides for a private right of action, but no attorneys’ fees. He stated that the judicial history of Proposition J is convoluted.

Larry Bush stated that the FPPC and Los Angeles provide a private right of action and that Proposition J had been approved by the voters.

A member of the public stated that she had recently attempted to correct something in a senior citizens center. She stated that she wanted to see what food was being served and did not want to sit down immediately. She stated that she had been given a 30-day denial of service.

Ray Hartz agreed with the recommended change. He stated that the City Librarian had lied under oath.

A member of the public disagreed with the modified language as proposed. He suggested adopting the language of the Civil Grand Jury report.

Findings and Recommendations 4 & 5
Commissioner Keane suggested striking the language of “the Director also notes” from the second full paragraph of the response to Recommendation 4 from the end of page 3. He also suggested striking “and the Director” in the second sentence of the response to Recommendation 5.

Commissioner Hur asked how the forms could be searched. Information Technology Officer Steven Massey stated that the form referenced by the Civil Grand Jury is the Form 700, Statement of Economic Interests. He stated that the state has recently passed regulations that allow for electronic filings, but that the regulations did not address the actual format. He stated that the Commission’s data should be in the same format as the data in other jurisdictions and cities. He stated that the state is currently working on their specifications. Mr. Massey explained that there are two current formats now and that the Commission should wait until the state creates the specifications so that the Commission could follow. Mr. Massey stated that the new features would not be very expensive as every jurisdiction would want the features and stated that the estimate on the common schema is the end of the year. Chairperson Hur suggested revisiting the issue in February 2015 as it is a critical component and the Commission should provide as much information as possible.

Public Comment:
A member of the public discussed people in homeless shelters, the First 5 program, and tax laws against tobacco. She stated that a member of a board went to someone who lives in Berkeley.

Ray Hartz supported the change to the response and commended Chairperson Hur on suggesting a deadline. He stated that there are many advantages to making public records more accessible to the public. He stated that the City Librarian perjured himself for three years.

Robert van Ravenswaay agreed with the proposed change and stated that Mr. Massey’s comments were helpful.

A member of the public appreciated the Commission’s patience, but asked that public comment be directed to the specific motion. He also asked for clarification on the motion regarding Findings and Recommendations 4 and 5.

Charles Head, from the Civil Grand Jury, stated that there is a requirement for a response and that more forms should be filed directly with the Ethics Commission.

Motion 14-08-18-05 (Keane/Renne) Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Ethics Commission revisit this issue by February 2015 to address issues raised by Mr. Massey and adopt the responses to Findings and Recommendations 4 and 5 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended by Commissioner Keane.

Finding & Recommendation 6
No discussion.

Finding & Recommendation 7
Commissioner Keane stated that it is hard to believe that there is no demand for information in other languages. Executive Director St. Croix explained the formula that led to the zero percent demand calculation. He stated that the Commission currently has staff that represents seven languages, but that, in terms of demand, there has yet to be any presented to the office. Chairperson Hur asked the cost for making the information available in other languages. Executive Director St. Croix stated that the information would need to be in four languages, as the Ethics Commission is a Tier 2 department. Commissioner Andrews suggested making the materials available in those languages. Chairperson Hur stated that he would like to know the cost of making some of the guides available in additional languages, in particular the contributor guide. He also recommended changing the response to analyze the cost and pick out specific guides that would most affect the public. Commissioner Keane opposed inquiring about the potential costs. He stated that the Commission should just provide the guides.

Motion 14-08-18-06 (Keane/Andrews) Moved, seconded and passed (4-1; Hur dissented) that the Ethics Commission adopt the proposed response to Finding 7 and amend the response to Recommendation 7 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report as follows: “Will be implemented. The Commission will make guides in education materials as is done in other departments.”

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz agreed with providing documents that people are interested in so that everyone has an idea of the requirements.

Richard Knee suggested identifying what the major languages are and set up criteria for population changes.

A member of the public supported the motion as all other departments provide translated materials. He stated that making the documents available in other languages should be a priority.

Another member of the public agreed that a study of the cost would be worthwhile.

Chairperson Hur voiced concerns about the cost of the production of the documents. Executive Director St. Croix stated that the documents would be provided in Spanish, Mandarin, and Tagalog. He also stated that, if another department assisted with the translations, the Ethics Commission would be required to pay that department for their services. He stated that if the Commission did not have the funds, the Commission would have to request a supplemental appropriation from the Mayor’s Office, which would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Finding & Recommendation 8
No discussion.

Finding & Recommendation 9
Larry Bush stated that the Commission is able to put matters on the ballot directly and stated that each time it has done so, it has prevailed with the voters.

Finding & Recommendation 10
Chairperson Hur asked for clarification on the recommendation. Executive Director St. Croix stated that it was unclear who “strategic advisors” are and it may be beyond the scope of what the Commission can regulate. Deputy Executive Director Jesse Mainardi stated that it appears that the people referenced are not triggering current lobbying laws.

Robert van Ravenswaay stated that there are a number of former public officials who hold themselves out as strategic advisors for corporate clients. He also gave an example of someone assisting with the early stages of attempting to qualify a ballot measure. He gave an example of a strategic advisor to a corporate client. He stated that the laws should be evaluated as the public relations industry has grown. He stated that the public deserves a better picture of what is going on.

Charles Head stated that it is unclear whether certain people should be registered as lobbyists. Deputy Executive Director Mainardi stated that the Lobbyist Ordinance has recently been amended to cast a wider net.

Finding & Recommendation 11
DCA Shen stated that the response referenced an upcoming California Supreme Court case regarding the City of San Jose. He stated that that case involved e-mails concerning City business sent through private accounts. He stated that under the Court of Appeal’s ruling, an official could use private lines of communications and claim that it is not on the public system and therefore not subject to the Public Records Act. Chairperson Hur suggested that the Commission revisit this matter once the Supreme Court issue its decision.

Vice-Chairperson Renne stated that he had a commitment and requested to be excused for the afternoon session.

The Commission recessed for lunch at 12:56 PM. The Commission returned from lunch at 1:45 PM. Vice-Chairperson Renne was excused for the remainder of the afternoon.

Finding & Recommendation 12
Chairperson Hur stated that this item is better addressed by the Director and proposed removing the response. Commissioner Keane questioned why the item was addressed to the Director and stated that responses should be between the Commission and the Grand Jury and not an employee of the Commission and the Grand Jury. He stated that the response should be from the Commission only.

Executive Director St. Croix stated that the Civil Grand Jury asked for a specific response from him and he must respond. Commissioner Keane disagreed. He stated it was improper of the Civil Grand Jury to make an inquiry from an employee of a department. He suggested that the Commission instruct the Director not to respond. Commissioner Andrews agreed. Deputy Executive Director Mainardi stated that the governing provision regarding the response to the Civil Grand Jury report is in the Penal Code. DCA Shen stated that he had never seen a report from a Civil Grand Jury where it separately sought a response from a department head and the Commission itself.

Motion 14-08-18-07 (Keane/Andrews) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission strike the second sentence from the response to Finding 12 and adopt the remainder of the response to Finding and Recommendation 12 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz stated that the laws have been in place for over a decade and that City departments are aware of the law. He stated that department heads are responsible for those within their departments.

Finding & Recommendation 13:
Commissioner Keane suggested changing the proposed response to Recommendation 13 on page 9, with the following changes: strike “and Director” from the second sentence of the response and replace with “The Commission’s position is that this cannot be implemented when it violates employee privacy rights;” and strike the last sentence.

Motion 14-08-18-08 (Keane/Hayon) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adopt the response to Finding and Recommendation 13 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended by Commissioner Keane.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz agreed with Commissioner Keane’s proposed language. He stated that the City Librarian perjured himself and broke the law.

A man from the Grand Jury stated that the Good Government Guide was an advisory document and not a source of law.

Chairperson Hur stated that the challenge with asking departments to self-report would be that the Commission would still be required to analyze their responses separately. He stated that the Commission would not know whether ones that are disclosable are being shared. Executive Director St. Croix commented that it was unclear how often the Ethics Commission would ask for reporting and what would happen if the responses are incomplete.

Commissioner Andrews recommended that the Commission provide a consequence if departments fail to report. Chairperson Hur suggested that the public disclosure would be the consequence.

Findings & Recommendations 14 & 15
Commissioner Keane disagreed with the proposed language in 14b. He stated that the issue is not an enforcement matter, but whenever someone has failed to file within 90 days, the Commission should recommend that they be dismissed. He stated that the recommendation may be ignored, but he thought it was a good idea. He suggested that the Commission adopt Recommendation 14b. Chairperson Hur stated that he was uncertain that every case would deserve dismissal from office. He proposed amending the language so that the Commission would notify the officer’s appointing authority. Commissioner Andrews proposed that the Commission send a letter to the officer’s appointing authority to inform them that the officer failed to file and, if nothing is filed within an additional 30 days, then the Commission would recommend removal. Commissioner Keane accepted that proposal. The Commissioners discussed alternate proposals, including a press release with a list of non-filers. Chairperson Hur stated that he was uncomfortable with a blanket recommendation of dismissal.

Commissioner Keane moved to amend the response to Recommendation 14b to the following language: “if someone has failed to file within 90 days, the Ethics Commission will recommend to the appropriate authority, that the individual should be suspended from City employment.”

Motion 14-08-18-09 (Keane/Andrews) Moved, seconded and passed (3-1; Renne excused and Hur dissented) that the Ethics Commission adopt the responses to Finding and Recommendations 14 and 15 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz stated that he taught at the University of Hawaii for 14 years. He stated that, if the threat of suspension or removal exists, people will file within a week. He stated that the Ethics Commission should get people to file the form and public shaming is sometimes appropriate.

Larry Bush stated that this proposal would only affect people who file directly with the Commission and not those who file within their department.

DCA Shen stated that the Commission is not prohibited from making recommendations of suspension. He also stated that the Commission has no authority to discipline employees of other agencies or departments. Commissioner Keane stated that the proposal will include filers who file with the Ethics Commission or within their own department.

Finding & Recommendation 16
No discussion.

Larry Bush stated that some City officials have very expensive travel and that the Ethics Commission could add provisions regarding City officials’ travel.

Findings & Recommendations 17
Commissioner Keane agreed with the recommended response. He suggested changing the second sentence in Recommendation 17a so that the Ethics Commission would recommend to all City departments that they should collect official calendars prepared under the Sunshine Ordinance monthly, convert them to electronic format, and post them online on their own websites.

Motion 14-08-18-10 (Keane/Hayon) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adopt the response to Findings and Recommendations 17 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz stated that this proposal would not be a great burden on any department and that calendars are public records. He stated that he should know who has access to public officials and employees. He agreed that departments should make what they have available on their websites so the public can see it.

Finding & Recommendations 18&19
Robert van Ravenswaay stated that a City employee requested a waiver of post-employment restrictions so that she could work for the America’s Cup on the grounds that it was an important career move for her.

Finding & Recommendations 20
Commissioner Andrews asked whether the last sentence of the response to Recommendation 20 was necessary.

Findings & Recommendation 21
Commissioner Keane suggested striking “the Director notes that” from the response to Recommendation 21. Chairperson Hur stated that the second sentence in the response to Finding 21b is too broad and suggested striking it from the response.

Motion 14-08-18-11 (Keane/Andrews) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adopt the response to Findings and Recommendation 21 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
Robert van Ravenswaay stated that the Recommendations in 20 and 21 were designed to clarify the workload of the Commission and he stated that he was surprised that the Commission was not willing to entertain using an independent hearing officer for Sunshine Ordinance matters. He stated there is flexibility in the Sunshine Ordinance.

Ray Hartz stated that having a Commission Secretary would be appropriate. He stated that a hearing was held in his absence intentionally since he told the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force he was going to be out of town.

Findings & Recommendations 22&23
Chairperson Hur suggested moving the last sentence in the response to Recommendation 22 to the second sentence. Commissioner Keane suggested striking “and the Director” from the response to Recommendation 23 on page 15. Chairperson Hur suggested striking the second sentence of the proposed response to Finding 23 and amending the response to Recommendation 22 to “may be implemented” instead of “will not normally be implemented.” Commissioner Andrews asked if the Civil Grand Jury had found that the Commission had obtained outside counsel three times.

Robert van Ravenswaay stated that the City Attorney had removed himself quite a few times during the last election. He stated that the Commission would need to explore its options.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz stated that it would be appropriate for the Commission to have temporary committees or a hearing officer, as other Commissions do. He agreed with Chairperson Hur.

Findings & Recommendations 24-26
Commissioner Keane suggested amending the language from “the Director notes” to “the Commission notes” in the fourth sentence of the response to Recommendation 25 on page 16. Chairperson Hur proposed amending the response to Recommendation 24 that the Commission will provide a report. He also proposed the following language as the second sentence to the response to Recommendation 25: “Provided more resources, more work in the area will be accomplished.”

Motion 14-08-18-12 (Keane/Hayon) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adopt the responses to Findings and Recommendations 24 and 25 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
Elena Schmid stated that the Grand Jury made a recommendation that the Commission should do an annual report regarding the effectiveness of the laws, as it would be helpful to the public.

Larry Bush stated that this report regarding the laws’ effectiveness differs from the regular annual report. He stated that the March 2008 memorandum with changes of enforcement polices of the department was never reported to the Board of Supervisors or the public.

Robert van Ravenswaay also stated that this report is separate from the annual report. He stated that the Grand Jury found no evidence that it has been prepared at all and it is an important report.

Ray Hartz stated that the Commission should set an example for every other body. He stated that other City departments should follow what the Commission is doing. He stated that the Commission should issue the report on a voluntary basis, not just because it is forced to do so.

Chairperson Hur suggested that the Commission provide the report in Recommendation 24 and Commissioner Keane agreed. The Commissioners also discussed striking “the Director” from the last sentence in the response to Recommendation 26.

Motion 14-08-18-13 (Keane/Andrews) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adopt the responses to Findings and Recommendations 24-26 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
None.

Finding & Recommendation 27
No discussion.

Findings & Recommendation 28
Chairperson Hur suggested deleting the second and last sentences from the response to Recommendation 28. He also suggested deleting “as troubling” in the second to last sentence in the response to Recommendation 28 on page 17. Commissioner Hayon stated that, at any meeting, the public is free to address the Commission and stated that she is hesitant to implement this recommendation.

Motion 14-08-18-14 (Andrews/Keane) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adopt the response to Findings and Recommendation 28 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz stated that the two changes are appropriate and taking the Director out of the response is a good idea.

Robert van Ravenswaay stated that Congress has the type of hearings suggested in Recommendation 28 all the time. He stated that public discussion can clarify a topic and that not everything that is unethical is necessarily a violation of law. He cited examples of travel disclosure and behested payments. He disputed the idea that the recommended hearing is something that could be abused. Regarding Recommendation 27, he stated that the Commission should make an actual finding when an amendment is made to detail how it would further the Act.

Finding & Recommendation 29
Chairperson Hur invited members of the Civil Grand Jury to speak on this item.

Robert van Ravenswaay stated that Civil Grand Jury looked at ethics and campaign finance laws and stated that Proposition J placed certain restrictions on a City official or employee who received a benefit from the City. He commented on the “purpose and findings” from Proposition J and suggested that the Commission adopt all of them. He stated that Proposition E has a complicated history.

Larry Bush cited examples of items missing from Proposition E that were in Proposition J: zoning changes have benefited certain developers, leases, gifts of travel, behested payments, and private right of action with penalties.

Chairperson Hur stated that he understood the recommendation was that the Commission should look at what was not in Proposition E and what should be potentially be added from Proposition J. Executive Director St. Croix stated the Los Angeles Superior Court said that the language in a similar proposition was unconstitutionally broad. Deputy Executive Director Mainardi stated that it is advisable as guidance, but that the laws have changed in 10 years and Supreme Court rulings have changed. He suggested that the Commission not be limited only to examining the language from Proposition J. Commissioner Keane proposed a discussion for a future meeting of an analysis of Propositions J and E and what was lost from J that was not resurrected in E. Chairperson Hur suggested having that analysis as a part of a larger discussion. The Commission agreed to add the following language to its response to Recommendation 29: “The Commission intends to include this issue as part of a larger discussion of the conflict-of-interest and campaign finance rules.”

Motion 14-08-18-15 (Keane/Hayon) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adopt the response to Finding and Recommendation 29 of the 2013-2014 Civil Grand Jury report, as amended.

Public Comment:
None.

Commissioner Andrews thanked the Civil Grand Jury and commended them for their work. He suggested a future discussion to prioritize the work created for staff.

Motion 14-08-18-16 (Keane/Hayon) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission thank the Civil Grand Jury and commend them for their work; that the Civil Grand Jury have helped the Commission enormously and the Commission owed them a great debt.

Public Comment:
None.

Chairperson Hur thanked the members of the public, Civil Grand Jury and staff. He stated that staff will do a great job in implementing these changes.

III. Adjournment.

Motion 14-08-18-17 (Hayon/Keane) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0, Renne excused) that the Ethics Commission adjourn.

Public Comment:
None.

The Ethics Commission adjourned the meeting at 3:46 PM.

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