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Minutes – September 25, 2017


Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
September 25, 2017
Room 400 – City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
(Approved: October 23, 2017)

1. Call to order and roll call.

Chairperson Keane called the meeting to order at 5:31PM.

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: Peter Keane, Chairperson; Daina Chiu, Vice-Chairperson; Paul Renne, Commissioner; Quentin L. Kopp, Commissioner; Yvonne Lee, Commissioner.

STAFF PRESENT: Jessica Blome, Deputy Director; Kyle Kundert, Senior Policy Analyst; Patrick Ford, Policy Analyst.

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

OTHERS PRESENT: Nancy Nielsen; Ben Becker from SF Berniecrats; Jeff Schindler from Advancement Heath Right 360; Stephanie Spilker from Progress Foundation; Toren Lewis from Alliance for Justice; Debbi Lerman from San Francisco Human Services Network; Kathie Lowry from Larkin Street; and other unidentified members of the public.


  • September 20, 2017, draft minutes;
  • September 20, 2017, Continued discussion and possible action on proposed 2017 San Francisco Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance;
  • September 20, 2017, Discussion of Staff Policy Report and monthly update of the Commission’s Annual Policy Plan and attachments;
  • September 20, 2017, Discussion of Enforcement Report and attachments;
  • September 20, 2017, Discussion of Executive Director’s Report and attachments.

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

Douglas Yep spoke regarding the work of Joe Lynn.  He also made other comments.

3. Discussion and possible action on draft minutes for the Commission’s August 28, 2017 meeting.

Commission Kopp proposed two items for addition to minutes.

Public Comment:

Motion 170925-01 (Kopp/Renne): Moved, seconded, and passed unanimously (5-0) that the Commission approve the minutes for the August 28, 2017, regular meeting, as amended by Commissioner Kopp. 

4. Continued discussion and possible action on proposed 2017 San Francisco Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance that builds on the initial Proposition J Revision proposal and amends City campaign and government conduct laws (SF Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Articles I and III).

Senior Policy Analyst Kyle Kundert spoke regarding the Staff report. Vice Chair Chiu, Commissioner Renne, Commissioner Lee, Commissioner Kopp, and Mr. Kundert continued discussion on this agenda item, with some clarification from Jessica Blome, Deputy Directory.  Vice Chair Chiu thanked members of the public who attended the Interested Persons meetings; Chair Keane concurred.

Public Comment:
Jennifer Fieber from the San Francisco Tenants Union, Ian Lewis from Hotel and Restaurant Workers, Elaina Schmidt from Friends of Ethics, Toren Lewis from Alliance for Justice, Debbi Lerman from the San Francisco Human Services Network, Ben Becker, Paul Melbostad former Ethics Commissioner, Joe Kelly, Bruce Wolfe from San Francisco Community Land Trust and the Haight Asbury Neighborhood Council, Vinay Patel from Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, Anita Mayo from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Peter Cohen from the Council of Community Housing Organizations, Larry Bush from the Friends of Ethics, Charles Marsteller, Calvin Welch from San Francisco Information Clearinghouse, and Douglas Yap all spoke regarding this agenda item.

Commissioner Chiu expressed her reservations on this agenda item.  Commissioner Renne remarked on Commissioner Lee’s comments, and reiterated the facts of the proposed ordinance.  Commissioner Kopp spoke regarding the history of non-profits and his views on this agenda item.  Commissioner Kopp proposed a deletion to the ordinance.  Commissioner Chiu and Mr. Kundert discussed the private right of action proposal; discussion ensued with Commissioners and Staff. Mr. Bush commented again regarding the private right of action.

Andrew Shen, DCA, advised that this motion would need to be approved by at least four of the five Commissioners, and elaborated on why this motion would need a super majority.  DCA Shen advised that if the Commission does not reach the super majority, the Commission can revisit this item at the next meeting.

Motion 170925-02 (Renne/Kopp): Moved, seconded, to the approve the ordinance as amended by Commissioner Kopp, and submit to the Board of Supervisors. Motion failed (3-2).

Public Comment:
Mr. Bush wanted to clarify if this was going back to the Commission on the issue that Vice Chair Chiu raised or if it was going back on other issues as well.  Chair Keane advised the ordinance is going back to Staff, Vice Chair Chiu, and Commissioner Lee to work through issues as they need to discuss.  Mr. Bush requested another Interested Persons meeting, and discussion ensued with Staff.  Chair Keane advised there will be no IP meetings.  Mr. Cohen requested a response from Staff on other issues submitted to Staff; discussion ensued with Commissioner Renne.

Motion 170925-03 (Renne/Chiu): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (5-0) to send the ordinance back to Staff and work with Commissioners Chiu and Lee.

5.Discussion of Staff Policy Report and monthly update of the Commission’s Annual Policy Plan. Attachments: September 20, 2017 Staff report and attachments.

Senior Policy Analyst Kyle Kundert spoke regarding the Staff report.  Discussion ensued with Commissioner Kopp, Chair Keane, Mr. Kundert, Deputy Director Blome and DCA Shen.  Commissioner Kopp requested the inclusion of a legislative tracker in future policy reports, so he can keep up with what is happening in the state legislature and provide comment if appropriate.

Public Comment:

6. Discussion of Enforcement Report. An update on various programmatic and operational highlights of the Enforcement Program’s activities since the last monthly meeting.

Deputy Director Blome spoke regarding the Staff report.  Commissioner Chiu commented on the number of open complaints; she also requested a revision of the format of the report which Deputy Director Blome accepted.  Commissioner Lee had a question regarding the policy of installment plans for payment of penalties; Deputy Director Blome responded.

Public Comment:
Hulda Garfolo commented on an error in the report:  the Ethics Commission telephone number is incorrect.  Deputy Director Blome stated she will correct the error.

7. Discussion of Executive Director’s Report.  An update of various programmatic and operational highlights of Ethics Commission Staff activities since the Commission’s last monthly meeting.  The written report, which is available at the Commission office and on its website, covers a range of topics such as the Commission’s budget, outreach activities, campaign finance disclosure and public financing programs, audit program, lobbyist program, campaign consultant program, permit consultant program, major developer program, and future Staff projects.  Any of these subjects may potentially be part of the Director’s presentation or discussed by the Commission.

Deputy Director Blome spoke on behalf of Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham, citing highlights of Director Pelham’s report.  Commissioner Chiu asked when Staff expects to fill all the positions.  Deputy Director Blome remarked Staff anticipates filling all positions by the end of the calendar year.

Public Comment:

8. Discussion and possible action regarding status of complaints received or initiated by the Ethics Commission.

Commission did not go into closed session.

Public Comment:

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

Commissioner Lee requested the Commission consider moving the regular meeting day and/or time to accommodate a personal issue with her schedule.  Discussion ensued with DCA Chen, Deputy Director Blome and the Commissioners.  Deputy Director Blome stated Staff will do some research and will agendize this item for the October meeting.  Commissioner Kopp requested the status of Supervisor Farrell’s and Supervisor Safai’s proposed legislation.  Staff replied they were waiting for direction from the Commission to pursue these additional ordinance requests.  Commissioners decided they would like information on the prospective legislation from these two Supervisors at the next regular commission meeting.

Public Comment:

10. Additional opportunity for public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda pursuant to Ethics Commission Bylaws Article VII Section 2.

Public Comment:
Mr. Bush wanted to bring to the attention to the Commission the Op Ed piece by Ann Ravel, former FEC Commissioner, in the Chronicle that week.

11. Adjournment.

Motion 170925-03 (Kopp/Chiu): Moved, seconded, passed unanimously (5-0) to adjourn.

The Commission adjourned at 9:08PM.

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