Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – October 27, 2014

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Regular Meeting of October 27, 2014  

1. Budget/Staffing.

The Mayor has expressed concerns about the costs of some November ballot measures, should they pass.  As a result, all departments have been directed to prepare a contingency plan cutting budgets by 1.5%.  In the event that this contingency is actually required, it would reduce the Ethics Commission budget for FY 14/15 by $39,608.  All of these funds would come out of the salary/fringe line items.

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of October 14, 2014, there were 17 pending formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction. 

Category# of Complaints
Campaign Finance11
Conflict of Interest3
Governmental Ethics0
Lobbyist Ordinance0
Campaign Consultant Ordinance2
Sunshine Ordinance1
TOTAL17

Enforcement Summaries

  1. On September 22, 2014, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Leslie Katz.  Ms. Katz admitted committing one violation of California Government Code section 84200, subdivision (a), and agreed to pay a penalty of $500.  A copy of the agreement is available on the Commission’s website.
  2. On September 22, 2014, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Christina Olague.  Ms. Olague admitted committing three violations of San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, section 1.161, subdivision (a)(1), and agreed to pay a penalty of $1,500.  A copy of the agreement is available on the Commission’s website.
  3. On September 22, 2014, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Wendy Aragon.  Ms. Aragon admitted committing one violation of California Government Code section 84200, subdivision (a), and agreed to pay a penalty of $500.  A copy of the agreement is available on the Commission’s website.

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.   The most recent filing deadline fell on October 23, 2014 for the Second Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period ending October 18, 2014.  Two filers were added to the Non-Responsive Filers List on October 17, 2014 for failing to file the First Pre-Election statement, period ending September 30, 2014. Since then, one filer has filed their required Pre-Election Statement.

In the interim, staff receives and processes campaign statements for this and other filing deadlines.  Staff continues to answer questions from and conduct outreach to candidates and other committee representatives about campaign finance filing obligations.

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  In fiscal year 2014-2015, as of September 30, 2014, the Commission collected a total of $4,289 in campaign finance late fees and forfeitures.  Outstanding late fees and forfeitures total $13,985, of which $13,260 is pending at the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR). 

c. Status of accounts to San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR).  The following chart provides details on active accounts referred to BDR as of June 30, 2014:

#Committee/
Filer
ID #Treasurer or Responsible OfficerDate referral effectiveOriginal amount referredLast month’s balanceCurrent balance (Changes are in bold)
1Johnny K. Wang
JKW Political Consulting
100716Johnny K. Wang4/19/11$4,000$4,000$4,000
2Coalition to Elect  Chris Jackson to Community College Board1302351Chris Jackson6/17/11$2,658.90$2,658.902,658.90
3Chris Jackson For Community College Board1347066Chris Jackson7/12/13$6,600.94$6,600.94$6,600.94
TOTAL$13,260

4. Revenues report. 

For fiscal year 2014-2015, the Commission was budgeted to generate $70,000 in revenues.  As of October 15, 2014, the Commission received $35,075 or 50% of anticipated revenues for the year. 

SourceBudgeted Amount FY 14-15Receipts
Lobbyist Fees$37,000         $11,000
Other Ethics General$1,000                $6
Campaign Finance Fines$23,000         $4,289
Campaign Consultant Fees$5,000         $7,350
Lobbyist Fines$1,000              $0
Statements of Economic Interests Fines$1,000         $1,320
Other Ethics Fines$1,000           $9,500
Campaign Consultant Fines$1,000           $1,610
Unallocated$0                $0
Total                       $70,000$35,075

5. Lobbyist program. 

As of October 14, 2014, 118 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  Total revenues collected to date for the 2014-2015 fiscal year amount to $11,000 in lobbyist registration fees.  The filing deadline for the next lobbyist disclosure statement is November 17, 2014.

Amendments to the City’s Lobbyist Ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors took effect on July 25, 2014.  On September 26, 2014, Ethics Commission regulations implementing the ordinance became effective and, that same day, a revised Lobbyist Manual was posted to the Commission’s website.  An updated training video is in the final stages of development and will be posted to the website by the end of 2014.

6. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of October 17, 2014, 36 campaign consultants were registered with the Commission.  $7,350 in registration fees and $1,610 in fines have been collected so far during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. 

The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline is Monday, December 15, 2014, covering the reporting period from September 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.  Staff will send reminders to all active campaign consultants before the deadline.

7. Statements of Economic Interests.

On September 30, 2014, the Executive Director and staff attended the filing officers’ quarterly brown bag lunch.  Discussion topics included procedural issues regarding the Sunshine Ordinance, and effective communication between the Commission and departments.

A new guide for filing the Statement of Economic Interests Form 700 electronically has been developed, and is available on the Commission’s website.  The guide is directed at individuals who are required to file their Form 700 with the Ethics Commission, and includes instructions with screenshots to help the filer navigate the e-filing system.

8. Outreach and Education.

On October 8, 2014, staff published the Democracy Facts Label and Ballot Measure Dashboards web visualizations that were demonstrated at the September 22, 2014 Commission meeting.  Staff received considerable positive feedback. 

Tableau Software, the company that produces the software staff used to develop the visualizations, selected the Ballot Measure Dashboards as its “Viz of the Day” on October 14, 2014.  The “Viz of the Day” is a data visualization selected from visualizations developed worldwide and is featured on a web site where Tableau Software showcases innovative work produced with Tableau that meets various quality characteristics in the areas of the design, analysis and visual best practices.  The Ballot Measure Dashboards will remain in a gallery on Tableau Software’s web site as an example of quality visualizations from which users can learn to better use the software.

Staff received additional positive feedback from members of the public, regulated community, and other Ethics Commissions, some of which requested the source file for the Democracy Facts Label so that it could be reproduced in other Cities.  A sampling of comments from social media regarding the Democracy Facts Label and the Ballot Measure Dashboards is attached.

On October 15, I was a featured speaker at a non-partisan “Get Out the Youth Vote” event at Larkin Street Youth Services.

On October 16, 2014, the Committee on Information Technology approved a metadata standard for City data published on the DataSF open data web site.  Commission staff was part of a working group that developed and drafted the standard.

Additionally, the Commission continues to offer trainings on Statements of Incompatible Activities to City departments via web trainings.  The following are web video trainings available on the Commission website:

  • Department of Building Inspection SIA Training
  • Controller’s Office SIA Training
  • Department on the Environment SIA Training
  • Governmental Ethics Ordinance Training for City Employees
  • Medical Examiner’s Office SIA Training
  • Non-Candidate Recipient Committee Training
  • Public Utilities Commission SIA Training
  • SIA Template Language Training

Respectfully submitted,

 

_________________________
John St. Croix
Executive Director

S:\ED Report\2014\9.22.2014.docx

Comments from Social Media Regarding Democracy Facts label and Ballot Measure Dashboards for the November 4, 2014 Election

(Print Copy)

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