Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Minutes – March 28, 2016

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
March 28, 2016
Room 400 City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA  94102

1. Call to order and roll call.

Chairperson Renne called the meeting to order at 5:32 PM.

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: Paul Renne, Chairperson; Brett Andrews, Vice-Chairperson; Beverly Hayon, Commissioner; Ben Hur, Commissioner; and Peter Keane, Commissioner.

STAFF PRESENT: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director; Catherine Argumedo, Investigator/Legal Analyst; Garrett Chatfield, Investigator/Legal Analyst; Eric Willett, Auditor; Luke Ryan, Staff Assistant.

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

OTHERS PRESENT: Assessor Carmen Chu; Patrick Monette-Shaw; Ray Hartz, SF Open Government; David Pilpel; Charles Marsteller; Dr. Derek Kerr; Itala Portal; Elena Schmid; Hulda Garfolo; and other unidentified members of the public.

MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED:

  • March 23, 2016 staff memorandum re: Election of Commission Officers;
  • March 22, 2016 staff memorandum re: Complaint Disposition Recommendation for Ethics Commission – Proposed Stipulation “In the Matter of Ethics Complaint No. 19-131115,” Lynette Sweet, Respondent;
  • Proposed Draft Stipulation, Decision and Order re: Ethics Complaint No. 19-131115;
  • March 23, 2016 staff memorandum re: Random Audit Selection of Campaign Committees and Lobbyists for 2016 Audits;
  • March 23, 2016 staff memorandum re: Whistleblower Protection Ordinance Recommendations;
  • Proposed draft regulations and proposed draft statutory amendments and attachments for Agenda Item 6;
  • Executive Director’s Report for the March 28, 2016 Commission Meeting;
  • Draft minutes of the January 25, 2016 Ethics Commission Regular Meeting;
  • Draft minutes of the February 29, 2016 Ethics Commission Special Meeting.

2. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda.

Assessor Carmen Chu stated that she came to the meeting as it was Commissioner Hur’s last meeting. She expressed her personal gratitude and presented him with a certificate of honor for his service of people of the City and County of San Francisco.  She stated that Commissioner Hur has served with distinction and provided thoughtful leadership.

Patrick Monette-Shaw thanked Commissioner Hur for his vote during the Mirkarimi matter.  He stated that he agreed with staff’s recommendation for annual whistleblower training for all City employees.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Patrick Monette-Shaw, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

I want to repeat thanking Commissioner Hur for his seminal vote in L’Affaire Mirkarimi, when he cast the Ethics Commission’s sole vote that Ross Mirkarimi’s behavior had not risen to the definition of “official misconduct.”

As I noted previously, a once-anonymous analysis at http://rjemirkarimi.blogspot.com/2012/09/ethics-commission-proceeding-against.html — which turned out to have been authored by San Francisco private-practice attorney Steven Brill —had been distributed to the full Board of Supervisors and I believe to this Ethics Commission before the two respective hearings, clearly demonstrating the Mayor’s trumped up charges against Mirkarimi didn’t meet the definition of “official misconduct.”

Thankfully, along with Hur, Supervisors David Campos and Jane Kim reached the same correct conclusion.  It’s a pity that other Ethics Commissioners sill appointed to this Body didn’t understand the significance of Brill’s legal analysis in the face of the Mayor’s bald attempt to strip all City employees of protection against false “official misconduct” allegations.

Ray Hartz stated that he met with Garrett Chatfield and Catherine Argumedo and they tried to dissuade him from filing any complaints.  He stated that he contacted the new Executive Director and still has not received a response from anyone.  He stated it was immoral and unethical.  He stated that the new Executive Director is just a continuation of John St. Croix.  He stated he was happy that Commissioner Hur was leaving.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

In November 2014, following advice posted on the EC website, I contacted Ethics Investigator Garrett Chatfield.  After he was unable to dissuade me from filing the complaint he suggested a meeting the following week.  At that meeting, both he and Ethics Investigator Catherine Argumedo tried for almost an hour to dissuade me from filing a complaint.  They did promise to “look into it” and get back to me.  In January I contacted the new ED LeeAnn Pelham, who assured me I must have misunderstood the EC investigators.  She committed to “look into it” and promised to contact me.  Here we are, more than four months later, with absolutely no response!  I believe I have reasonable ground to question whether or not any investigation would be impartial. Starting with your next meeting, I will be filing complaints directly with the EC, in full view of the public.  Try hiding these complaints!

David Pilpel stated his appreciation to Commissioner Hur for his work.

3. Election of Officers.

Motion 160328-01 (Keane/Hayon): Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commissioner Renne serve as the Ethics Commission’s Chairperson.

Public Comment:
David Pilpel did not object to Commissioner Renne continuing as Chairperson for another year.  He suggested the Commission continue the vote until the new appointment is made.

Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that, if the Commission is violating its own by-laws, then it needs fresh blood.  He urged Commissioner Andrews to nominate Commissioner Keane.

Ray Hartz stated that Commissioner Renne has displayed how far he will go to hide the machinations of the Commission.  He stated that the citizens are tired and Supervisors Keane and Sullivan [sic] tried to take it off the agenda.  He stated that it is clear that the public is not being served.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

During the January 25, 2016 hearing relating to the $193,000 fine levied against Supervisor Mark Farrell, Chairperson Renne publicly displayed how far he will go to hide from the public the machinations of this EC.  First, even your own members had no idea why it was on the agenda.  Second, even now the public has no idea why it was on the agenda or what Commissioner Renne has been “authorized” to do regarding the matter.  Commissioner Hayon simply doesn’t seem to understand much of what goes on here during EC meetings and contributes little or nothing meaningful to the discussions. That leaves only two suitable candidates for leading this Commission:  Brett Andrews and Peter Keane! With these members in leadership positions, I believe there is at least a possibility that the will of the citizens of San Francisco for ethical government will stand any chance.  Give ethical government a chance!

Motion 160328-02 (Keane/Hayon): Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that Commissioner Andrews serve as the Ethics Commission’s Vice-Chairperson.

Public Comment:
Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that he spoke with Vice-Chairperson Andrews and he stated he is too busy for the position.  He stated Commissioner Andrews should state that for the record and then he should nominate Commissioner Keane.

Ray Hartz supported the nomination.   He stated that the Commission needs new leadership.

David Pilpel, speaking as individual, stated that he supported the nomination.

DCA Shen leaves 5:57 PM and DCA White arrived at 5:57 PM.                                                                                                                                                    

4. Discussion and possible action on proposed stipulation, decision and order regarding Ethics Complaint No. 19-131115 Lynette Sweet, Respondent.

Commissioner Renne asked whether the Respondent was present.  Investigator Garrett Chatfield stated she was notified, but not required to be present for the discussion.  Mr. Chatfield introduced the item and presented the proposed agreement and penalty amount.  He stated that the Respondent still has about $20,000 unaccounted expenses.

Motion 160328-03 (Keane/Andrews): Moved and seconded that the Commission approve staff’s recommendation.

Public Comment:
David Pilpel stated that the audit report was not included and stated that the proposed penalty amount was low.  He suggested rejecting the agreement and seeking a higher amount.

Ray Hartz stated that it sounds like Chairperson Renne did not read the proposal. He stated that Respondent’s actions were akin to robbing a bank and being asked to return $9,250.  He stated that the public has the right to know the rationale for the recommendation.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

I have to ask whether this agreement is a joke? According to your own numbers Lynette Sweet can’t account for 45% of the contributions and/or public funds received by her campaign.  Either this EC was asleep at the switch and failed to demand of the candidate the required filings, or she knowingly and willfully failed to follow the law! This would be somewhat akin to my robbing a bank for $62,000 and when caught being asked to return $9250.  I believe the public has a right to know, here and now, the rationale for the Executive Directors recommendation.  Public money was accepted and expended for the purpose of the political campaign.  What 45% of that money was spent on the public will never know! Why shouldn’t the public believe that this find is being paid with the very money that has disappeared? This agreement is in fact a joke!

Patrick Monette-Shaw agreed with Mr. Hartz.  He stated that the Commission should send back to the drawing board and finish the audit.  He stated it needed further investigation.

Charles Marsteller stated that it was important to explain what happened to the missing funds.  He stated that the fine was on the low side.

Chairperson Renne stated he shared some of the concerns raised by the public.  He stated that the penalty should be to pay whatever is missing, but that may not be doable for a number of reasons.

Mr. Chatfield stated that staff proposed a higher penalty than one in a prior stipulation that the Commission recently approved due to Respondent’s unresponsiveness.  He stated that, in that matter, the Commission approved a $2,500 fine.  He stated that the Commission may go back to her if it feels the penalty amount is too low.  He stated that, as the Commission already found probable cause and issued an accusation, it could not add any more counts.

Motion 160328-03 (Keane/Andrews): Moved, seconded, and failed (2-3; Andrews, Renne, and Hur dissented) that the Commission approve staff’s recommendation.

5. Discussion and possible action to select audits of campaign committees and lobbyists.

Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham introduced the item.  The Ethics Commission randomly selected 11 campaign committees and four lobbyist firms to be audited in connection with their activities in 2015, pursuant to the Commission’s authority under San Francisco Charter Section C3.699-11(4) and San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 2.135.

Campaign Committee Audits
The 11 campaign committees were selected from a pool of 53 committees that were active in elections during the calendar year 2015.  The audit pool of 53 committees was categorized into three levels of financial activity with six committees selected from Financial Activity Level 1 (Above $100,000), three committees selected from Financial Activity Level 2 (above $50,000 to $100,000) and two committees selected from Financial Activity Level 3 (above $10,000 to $50,000).

Commissioner Hur stated that he had concerns about not auditing any committees spending $10,000 or less.  Executive Director Pelham suggested that the Commission look at the policy recommendations from 2008 to see how staff and the Commission will approach audits in the future.

Eric Willett, Auditor, assisted by Luke Ryan, Staff Assistant, and various members of the public conducted the random selection of audits.

The 11 committees randomly selected are as follows:

No.Committee NameFPPC ID Number
1Hennessy for Sheriff 20151374817
2Tom Temprano for College Board 20151377227
3Committee to Save the Mission, Yes on Prop. I, Sponsored by A Coalition of Mission Neighborhood Organizations1378138
4San Franciscans for Clean Power, Yes on H, No on G, supported by London Breed1380208
5SAN FRANCISCO ALLIANCE FOR JOBS AND SUSTAINABLE GROWTH PAC1341796
6COMMITTEE FOR A PROGRESSIVE AND AFFORDABLE SAN FRANCISCO OPPOSING PESKIN FOR SUPERVISOR 20151378731
7UNITE HERE LOCAL 2 PAC1243324
8BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF SAN FRANCISCO POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE – INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES AKA BOMA-SF-PAC-IE870449
9Alice B. Toklas Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club PAC842018
10SF Moderates1245538
11GOLDEN GATE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION PAC932123

Lobbyists Audits 

The four lobbyists firms were selected from a pool of 40 lobbyists active during the period covering the calendar year 2015.  The audit pool of 40 lobbyists was categorized into three levels of activity based on the higher of payments or contacts reported.  Two lobbyists firms were selected from Activity Level 1 (above $100,000 or above 100 contacts), one from Activity Level 2 (above $50,000 to $100,000 or above 50 to 100 contacts), and one from Activity Level 3 (above $10,000 to $50,000 or above 10 to 50 contacts).  The four lobbyists firms selected are as follows:

No.LobbyistNo.Lobbyist
1Pacific Gas & Electric Company3Philip Lesser
2Karin Flood4SGC Strategic Communications

Public Comment:
Charles Marsteller suggested that staff perform more than a facial audit when filings are received.  He stated that the audit process needs to move faster, especially involving committees that receive public financing.

Ray Hartz stated that committees are under almost no scrutiny whatsoever.  He stated that the Commission is confusing activity with accomplishment.  He stated that the Commission does not do anything to improve ethics in the City.  He stated that these audits are a joke.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

I’m going to make prediction: I think when we get done with the selection process for audits an extremely small percentage of the $26 million under discussion will be subject to audit.  I also predict that the largest campaign committees and cycle lobbyists will receive no scrutiny whatsoever.  I don’t believe “Ed Lee for Mayor 2015” will be audited. Neither will most or perhaps any of the groups set up to confuse and deceive the public regarding our current housing crisis.  This EC is confusing activity with accomplishment! The only reason we now know that persons connected with Ed Lees reelection as Mayor engaged in illegal activities is due to a federal investigation! I am going to be requesting public records relating to the last such audit to determine whether they serve a legitimate purpose or are simply “scams” designed to fool the public and let wrongdoers “off the hook!”

David Pilpel suggested that the audit list have the complete names.  He stated that sometimes losing candidates will move on and terminate campaigns and auditors should finish that work first.  He stated that those elected are unlikely to disappear and would most likely still have their records.

Commissioner Hur asked whether staff could start all of the audits at the same time.  Executive Director Pelham stated that it is difficult for the auditors to juggle three different audits at the same time.

After the conclusion of the audit selection, the Commission heard public comment again.

Public Comment:
David Pilpel asked that the list of selected audits be included in the summary of actions.

Ray Hartz stated that Mayor Lee’s committee was not selected for audit.  He stated that people were being sentenced for illegal campaign contributions.  He stated that City politics are for sale.

Itala Portal stated that she partially agreed with Mr. Hartz.  She asked what happens if committees do not report properly but are not selected for an audit.  She asked whether those committees are held accountable.

Executive Director Pelham stated that the Commission has the ability to initiate a complaint if there are allegations of improper reporting.  She stated that staff has been performing facial reviews of filings to the extent possible.

Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that three people are being investigated by the District Attorney on local charges regarding Ed Lee for Mayor Committee 2015.  He stated that it needs to be investigated.

Commissioner Keane asked whether staff could audit the Mayor’s campaign committee.  Executive Director Pelham stated that the Commission could revisit its audit selection policy if it would like to change how committees are selected.

Motion 160328-04 (Keane): Moved and not seconded that the Commission staff audit Mayor Ed Lee’s 2015 campaign committee.

Chairperson Renne asked DCA Shen whether there was a notification issue with the agenda.   Executive Director Pelham stated that the Commission should have a broader discussion from a policy perspective.  She stated that everyone should be treated fairly.  Commissioner Keane agreed and stated that there has been an indictment and the Commission has the power to conduct an audit.  He stated that the questions that have been raised are substantial.

DCA Shen stated that, according to local law, the Executive Director may initiate an audit.  He also stated that it would be within the scope of the agenda notice for the Commission to consider Commissioner Keane’s motion.

Motion 160328-04 (Keane/Andrews): Moved and seconded that the Commission staff audit Mayor Ed Lee’s 2015 campaign committee.

Public Comment:
Charles Marsteller stated that he was not sure what would be seen in an audit of the Mayor’s committee, but that it would be better to look at IE committees.  He stated that the new Executive Director has different perspectives on processes and may have a better way to approach audits in the future.

Ray Hartz stated that the Mayor needs to be audited and he had no opposition.  He stated that the Commission needs to hold City government accountable.

Patrick Monette-Shaw supported the motion.  He stated that the Commission should conduct the audit.

David Pilpel agreed with DCA Shen in that the motion is within the scope of the agenda.  He stated that he was not sure what an audit would reveal.

Executive Director Pelham stated that her concern was not one of a problem for staff doing an extra audit.  She stated that she had a concern about establishing a process that is not predictable for the candidates or the public.  She stated that if the Commission thinks there is a need to change for future selections, then she can understand that, but that she believes in transparency in the process.  She stated that the Commission could create a new policy going forward that any committee that raises or spends more than $1M will be audited, but she would not want a misperception that the Commission’s actions are based on individual or policy concerns.

Chairperson Renne stated that there is some public perception that there may have been problems with the Mayor’s campaign.  He asked if there is a perception in the public that a campaign committee may have violated the law, would that not be a reason for the Commission to select the committee for an audit.

Vice-Chairperson Andrews stated that the Commission should have a discussion and that he does not support this motion because he is for process and protocol.  He stated that, if the Commission is going to amend its practice or policy, then it needs to have a full discussion.  He suggested that the Commission needs to be more thoughtful about it.  Commissioner Hur agreed with Vice-Chairperson Andrews and the Executive Director.  He stated that the motion should not carry as the Commission should be equitable and fair and not vulnerable to the political process.  Commissioner Hayon agreed and suggested auditing committees that raise or spend over a certain amount.

Motion 160328-04 (Keane/Andrews): Moved, seconded and failed (2-3; Andrews, Hayon, and Hur dissented) that the Commission staff audit Mayor Ed Lee’s 2015 campaign committee.

6. Discussion and possible action on draft regulations interpreting terms used in the City’s Whistleblower Protection Ordinance, Article IV, Chapter 1 of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, and on possible amendments to that Ordinance.

Executive Director Pelham presented the item.  She stated that Attachment 1 addressed proposed regulation changes and Attachment 2 addressed proposed changes to the Ordinance itself and accompanying regulations.  Commissioner Hur thanked the Executive Director, as well as members of the Civil Grand Jury.

Executive Director Pelham explained that if the Commission adopts the proposed changes in Attachment 1, then the regulations would be effective in 60 days after their adoption.  DCA Shen explained that if the ordinance changes in Attachment 2 are adopted as well, there is no requirement that they be sent back to the Commission.  He stated that sponsors at the Board of Supervisors may do so as a courtesy, but there is no legal requirement.  He stated there would likely be various hearings on the proposed changes before the Board and that the Executive Director and Commissioners could participate.

Attachment 1

Motion 160328-05 (Keane/Hayon): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission staff approve staff’s proposed amendments in Attachment 1.

Public Comment:
Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that he would like the Commission to adopt both Attachment 1 and 2.  He stated that the Ordinance needs to include protection for First Amendment speech rights.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Patrick Monette-Shaw, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

Almost four years ago, Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in Dr. Derek Kerr’s wrongful termination case that there’s a major flaw in San Francisco’s Campaign and Government Conduct Code, because §4.115(a) provides no retaliation protections for employees who exercise First Amendment free speech rights.  I am distributing again an extract of Judge Wilken’s ruling, because this Commission must provide a long-overdue fix to §4.115(a).

Between the $750,000 settlement to Dr. Kerr and $450,493 in City attorney time and expenses fighting Kerr, the City dished out $1.2 million.  For that $1.2 million, you should incorporate Wilken’s concern in your WPO amendments, even if the Civil Grand Jury hadn’t reported this glaring problem.

Voters passed Proposition “C” 13 years ago in 2003 directing the Board of Supervisors to enact a meaningful WPO.  For over a decade basic First Amendment rights have not been added to the WPO.  It’s time to do so — today.

Dr. Derek Kerr stated that the Commission has never substantiated a retaliation in over 20 years.  He stated that the burden of proof needs to be altered.  He stated that staff lacks resources and courage to get evidence.  He stated that a whistleblower is doomed if a complaint is not written.  He stated that videos taken on mobile phones should be accepted as a complaint.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Dr. Derek Kerr, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

This Commission never sustains whistleblower retaliation complaints, partly because they threaten power structures. There’s no procedural fix for this political impasse.  Nevertheless, consider altering the burden of proof from “preponderance of the evidence” to “probable cause” – as did OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program.  Whistleblowers cannot access 51% of the misconduct evidence.
Wrongdoers have it.  Your staff lack the resources and courage to access evidence, so try a “probable cause” standard.  Don’t define/legitimize complaints solely as “written.”  Unlike retaliation complaints, primary whistleblower complaints are usually made verbally, to supervisors. If supervisors are complicit in wrongdoing, whistleblower are doomed.  It’s after retaliation that they write things down. So, accept primary verbal complaints, video recordings or document dumps – plus “written” complaints. Alongside time limits, set quality standards to prevent worthless but timely investigations.  Because contractors receive millions in taxpayer funds, amend the Ordinance so their employees can safely expose fraud.

David Pilpel stated that the writing is inconsistent in the draft, with some “shall” and others saying “will.”  He stated that there is an incorrect reference on line 24 – it should be 4.115(a) not (b).  He stated that there should be something in the regulation keeping complainants aware of the status.

Ray Hartz stated that whistleblower protection is non-existent.  He stated that re-writing the rules is meaningless and that the Commission has done nothing to support or protect those who have the courage to speak out.  He stated that Commission lacks courage and integrity.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

Attending EC meetings is similar to watching people “rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.”  Whistleblower protection in the city is nonexistent! Any person involved with the San Francisco city government possessing even a modicum of intelligence knows that “they are on their own.” Rewriting the rules is a meaningless effort when this commission lacks either the will or the resources to enforce their own findings.  Each member of this commission is appointed by the very people over whom they are supposed to provide oversight.  And, in the past, the most subservient of these appointees have been placed in charge.  Regardless of any effort to “rewrite the rules,” whistleblowers need to be aware that they are solely and completely on their own! This EC has in the past, as far as I am aware, done absolutely nothing to support and/or protect those who have the courage and integrity to speak out.

Elena Schmid, Friends of Ethics, thanked Commissioner Hur.  She stated that complaints should not be required to be written and the Commission should allow phone video.

Charles Marsteller stated that the State does not require written notice.  He stated that the definition of “complaint” should be amended so it is broader.

Commissioner Hur agreed with the suggestion of adding “or record” to the definition of “complaint” in section 4.110.  He also suggested deleting “written” at the end of the first line.  Commissioner Keane accepted those as friendly amendments to the motion.

Executive Director suggested correcting the reference in line 24, from (b) to (a).

Motion 160328-06 (Keane/Andrews): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Executive Director have the discretion to correct typographical errors.

Public Comment:
Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that the Director could then add First Amendment protections.

Dr. Derek Kerr stated that he supported amending the Ordinance so that contractors are covered.

Ray Hartz stated that the Commission has no intention of enforcing this law.

Attachment 2
Executive Director Pelham stated that staff would need to have discussions with the Controller’s Office and other offices, as changes would most likely be a collaborative process.  She stated that staff was looking for policy direction and presented the proposals in Attachment 2.

Motion 160328-07 (Keane/Andrews): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission approve staff’s proposed changes in Attachment 2.

Public Comment:
David Pilpel asked whether there would be a meet and confer requirement, as some of the changes affect City employees.  He stated that the language does not cover all contractors and suggested adding “employees thereof” in lines 12-14 on page 2.  He also did not understand the 90-day proposal in section 4.115(b)(1)(A), as the requirement for the Controller is 60 days.  He suggested increasing the penalties and asked whether the Commission had the authority to cancel retaliatory job actions.

Patrick Monette-Shaw stated that he ran away from home at age 23 because of his dysfunctional family.  He stated that the protections for First Amendment rights need to be included and the Commission needs to recommend to the Board that they include them in the proposed changes.

Hulda Garaflo stated that a whistleblower is entitled to know the status of a complaint.  Commissioner Hur stated that this had been addressed in the regulations.

Ray Hartz stated that the Board is not required to respond.  He stated that none of the Commissioners have ever helped a whistleblower and this whole thing is a charade.  He stated that the Commissioners are total slaves to the people who appoint them.

7. Discussion and possible action on items for future meetings.

Commissioner Keane stated that he has a proposed draft of the restoration of Prop J and will submit it to the Chairperson via e-mail within the next few days.  He stated he would also send a copy to the City Attorney and the Executive Director.  He stated that it was unlikely that the Commission could put something on the ballot for 2016.

Public Comment:
Charles Marsteller recommended putting an audit item for staff to develop proposals.

Ray Hartz agreed and stated the Commission should “put up or shut up.”

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

Not too surprising this is the only item on the agenda of which I approve. It gives an opportunity for any member of the commission to place items on the agenda for consideration.  I do wonder whether anyone will choose to exercise the opportunity and if they will actually be allowed to place an item on the agenda? As far as the public is able to understand, these agenda are “formulated in secret” by the EC chair and EC staff. In some cases to hid their purpose of the public! From my experience, the leadership and staff of the EC operate entirely outside public view.  Whether the members of the commission, either individually or collectively, choose to dare “bite the hands that feed them,” only time will tell.  Myself, I see absolutely nothing in the history of this commission to indicate the possibility, let alone the probability, this will happen!

David Pilpel stated that there has not been closed session in the last few months.  He stated that the former Acting Director had been working on a package and he hoped it would come before the Commission in the next few meetings.

8. Discussion of Executive Director’s Report.

Executive Director Pelham stated that the recruitment of the Deputy Director is now open and that three additional as-needed part-time staff would begin in the next week or so.  She also stated that the statements of economic interests were due on April 1, 2016.

Commissioner Keane stated that he has been impressed by the Executive Director and the work she has done.

Public Comment:
David Pilpel asked that the chart of future activities be included in the report.

Ray Hartz stated that the Executive Director could not be taken at her word and that no one should trust staff or the Executive Director.

The following written summary was provided by the speaker, Ray Hartz, the content of which is neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the Ethics Commission:

I’m will comment on two items in the ED report. The first is item number five, Investigation and Enforcement Program which, as it almost always does, shows “zero” Sunshine Ordinance complaints! I intend that that number shall grow! The second is item number seven, Bureau of Delinquent Revenues Accounts, which shows your willingness to take the “small fish” to court for $6000.  And, right at the bottom of the list, is Mark Farrell for Supervisor 2010 owing more than $190,000! Dealing with that item has become a matter of “backroom deals!” This EC has to all appearances authorized Commissioner Renne to “deal with it.” Using the power entrusted to you by San Franciscans, you’ve decided to abuse that power by going after the “little fish,” while placating the “whales!” It’s little surprise that few people attend these public meetings as it become nauseating to watch such an abuse of power!

9. Discussion and possible action on draft minutes for the Commission’s January 25, 2016 regular meeting and February 29, 2016 special meeting.

Motion 160328-08 (Keane/Andrews): Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission adopt the minutes of the Commission’s regular meeting on January 25, 2016 and the Commission’s special meeting on February 29, 2016, as written.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz stated that the January agenda item was not clear to all board members.  He stated that Commissioner Hur was the biggest sneak of all.  He stated that he has at least 1,200 words in the minutes and it gives him more power than any of the Commissioners have.

10. Adjournment.

Motion 160328-09 (Keane/Hur): Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission adjourn.

The Commission adjourned the meeting at 9:26 PM.

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