Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Minutes – October 23, 2017

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
October 23, 2017
Room 400 – City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Approved: November 27, 2017

1. Call to order and roll call.

Chair Keane called the meeting to order at 5:41PM.

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

STAFF PRESENT: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director; Jessica Blome, Deputy Director; Kyle Kundert, Senior Policy Analyst; Pat Ford, Policy Analyst.

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

OTHERS PRESENT: Unidentified members of the public.

MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED:

  • September 25, 2017, draft minutes.
  • October 18, 2017, Staff report and attachments regarding proposed amendment to the Ethics Commission’s by-laws to change the date and start time of the Commission’s Regular Monthly meeting.
  • October 16, 2017, Staff report and SOTF Order of Determination discussion and possible action on Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Referral of File No. 17048, Ray Hartz v. Angela Calvillo, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.
  • October 19, 2017, Staff report and attachments regarding the 2017 San Francisco Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance.
  • October 19, 2017, Staff report and attachments regarding on proposed change to Ethics Commission Regulations 67.33-1 and 15.102-1 (Sunshine and Ethics Trainings).
  • October 18, 2017, Staff report and attachments regarding Staff’s Proposed Draft Enforcement Regulations with Staff Responses to Written Public Comment.
  • October 18, 2017, Staff report and attachments regarding legislative items of interest to Commissioner Kopp.
  • October 19, 2017, Staff report and attachments regarding Staff Policy Report and monthly update of the Commission’s Annual Policy Plan.
  • October 18, 2017, Enforcement Report and attachments.
  • October 19, 2017, Executive Director’s Report and attachments.

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

Charlie Marsteller read a comment from Larry Bush.  Phyllis Bowie, representing Midtown Park Apartments, spoke regarding issues with their lease and requested an investigation.  Audrey Leong, an employee of the City and County of San Francisco, spoke regarding a harassment issue in the workplace.  Ellen Lee Zhou, an employee of the City and County of San Francisco, speaking on behalf of Audrey Leong and others regarding corruption across City departments, asked the Ethics Commission to investigate.  Debbi Lerman, the San Francisco Human Services Network, commented on the San Francisco Chronicle article regarding behested payments.  Ray Hartz spoke regarding the lack of notification he received from the Ethics Commission for his agenda item; he also spoke about Colin Kaepernick.  Trevor Martin, treasurer for the San Francisco Bernicrats and San Francisco for Democracy, spoke in favor of Prop J.

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

Colin Kaepernick has earned and will one day be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom! Kneeling during the National Anthem is not disrespectful to the flag, the anthem, or the country. It is the exercise of a right enshrined in the First Amendment! It is signf respect for the Constitution which is the foundation upon which our country is built. Some of his loudest critics, who wish to infringe upon his right to free speech, should remember, that same short paragraph also protects their right to worship. Others should remember: the next short paragraph protects their right to bear arms. The final words of that anthem are: “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Colin Kaepernick is free to express his beliefs and brave in doing so! Think of what he has sacrificed and acknowledge his act as a sign of respect, belief, trust, and hope!

3. Discussion and possible action on draft minutes for the Commission’s September 25, 2017, regular meeting.

Commissioner Kopp proposed a correction to the minutes.

Motion 171023-1 (Kopp/      ): Moved and passed unanimously (5-0) that the Commission approve the minutes as amended for the September 25, 2017 regular meeting.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel requested several edits to the minutes.

4. Discussion and possible action regarding proposed amendment to the Ethics Commission’s by-laws to change the date and start time of the Commission’s Regular Monthly meeting.

Executive Director Pelham spoke regarding this agenda item.  Chair Keane and Commissioner Renne commented that they are in favor of changing the meeting date and time.

Motion 171023-2 (Kopp/Chiu): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (5-0) that the Commission carry this motion on to the November Commission meeting.

Public Comment:

Ray Hartz from San Francisco Open Government, David Mihai from RepresentUs, and David Pilpel all spoke on this agenda item.

5.Discussion and possible action on Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Referral of File No. 17048, Ray Hartz v. Angela Calvillo, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Hartz commented that five minutes is not enough time to present his case.  Mr. Hartz proceeded to present his case, and when he ran out of time, the Commission moved to allow Mr. Hartz as much reasonable time needed to present his case.  Chair Keane asked if Staff had any communication with Ms. Calvillo.  Deputy Director Bloome stated that due to the late courtesy notice Staff gave to Mr. Hartz and Ms. Calvillo, she was unable to attend.  Commissioner Kopp, Commissioner Renne and Vice Chair Chiu spoke regarding this item.  Chair Keane asked Mr. Hartz if he had a response to the Commissioners’ discussion.  Mr. Hartz spoke in response to the Commissioners discussion.

Public Comment:

Dr. Derek Kerr, Charlie Marsteller from Friends of Ethics, and David Pilpel spoke regarding this agenda item.

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:

Ms. Calvillo buries written public comments as “addendums” to government meeting minutes. Her officious response to Ray Hartz’s complaint devalues public engagement, marginalizing those who labor to share their views in writing. The message: we are unworthy. She worries about “researchers” who supposedly must “cull through various 150-word statement”.  First, 150-word comments are too rare to need culling. Secondly, she wrongly assumes researchers are disinterested in the public sentiments conveyed therein. She laments she cannot “vouch for the accuracy” of these comments. She doesn’t have to. Everybody knows they’re not official pronouncements. Though unofficial, they’re officially considered core components of open meetings. She frets she cannot “attest to the accuracy and relevance” of said comments. More important, written comments typically challenge the accuracy and relevance of government actions. They belong within the agenda items they address – in the body of the minutes. Otherwise, it’s subtle censorship – protest cleansing.

Motion 171023-3 (Kopp/Chiu): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (5-0) that the Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo did not violate the Sunshine Ordinance as alleged in Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Referral File No. 17048, Ray Hartz v. Angela Calvillo, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.

Commissioner Renne noted there is merit to Mr. Hartz’s argument.  Commissioner Renne stated he thinks it would be good policy that the Ethics Commission recommend to the various governmental agencies that when a 150-word statement is provided, it is placed in the corresponding agenda item.

6.Continued discussion and possible action on revised 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).

Policy Analyst Patrick Ford spoke regarding this agenda item.  Chair Keane turned the item over to Vice Chair Chiu and Commissioner Lee.  Discussion ensued among Commissioners, Staff, and DCA Shen.  Vice-Chair Chiu proposed a motion to accept the ordinance as amended.

Motion 2071023-4 (Chiu/Renne): Moved, seconded and passed (4-1, Commissioners Keane, Chiu, Renne and Lee in favor, Commissioner Kopp opposed) that the 2017 San Francisco Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance be passed as amended. 

Prior to the vote, Commissioner Kopp moved to make friendly amendments to Vice Chair Chiu’s motion.  Vice Chair Chiu declined Commissioner Kopp’s amendments.

Public Comment:

Debbi Lerman from the San Francisco Human Services Network, David Mihai from RepresentUs, Peter Cohen from the Council of Community Housing Organizations, Morgan Aitken-Young from Represent Us San Francisco, Jan Masaoka from California Association of Nonprofits, David Pilpel, Anita Mayo from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and Charlie Marsteller all spoke regarding this agenda item.

7.Discussion and possible action on proposed change to Ethics Commission Regulations 67.33-1 and 15.102-1 (Sunshine and Ethics Trainings).

Senior Policy Analyst Kyle Kundert spoke regarding this agenda item.

Motion 171023-5 (Renne/Kopp): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (4-0, Commissioner Lee absent) that the proposed change to Ethics Commission Regulations 67.33-1 and 15.102-1 (Sunshine and Ethics Trainings) be adopted.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel spoke regarding this agenda item.

8.Continued discussion and possible action on Staff’s Proposed Draft Enforcement Regulations with Staff Responses to Written Public Comment.

Deputy Director Blome spoke regarding this agenda item.  Discussion ensued with Commissioner Renne, Vice Chair Chiu and Deputy Director Blome.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel spoke regarding this agenda item.

9.Discussion and possible action on legislative items of interest to Commissioner Kopp.

Follow up on items of interest Commissioner Kopp mentioned at the June Commission meeting.  There were two Board of Supervisors’ ordinances not adopted by the board.  The first, from Supervisor Farrell, has ordinance language; Commissioner Kopp asked that it be on the calendar next month for action by the Commission.  The second, from Supervisor Safai, is not in ordinance form; Commissioner Kopp requested Staff to put it in ordinance form.  Commissioner Kopp requested this be on the calendar for the November meeting as well.  DCA Shen asked for clarification as to what action Commissioner Kopp would like the Commission to take.  Commissioner Kopp replied he wants the Commission to adopt and have both on the ballot for the June 2018 election.  Chair Keane advised that at its December meeting the Commission will discuss the potential of these items appearing on the ballot for the June 2018 election.

Public Comment:

Peter Cohen from the Council of Community Housing Organizations spoke regarding this item.

10. Discussion of Staff Policy Report and monthly update of the Commission’s Annual Policy Plan.

Senior Policy Analyst Kundert spoke regarding this item.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel spoke regarding this item.

11. 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, in the interest of time, left this item open for questions.  There were no questions from the Commissioners.

Public Comment:

None.

12. 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.

Executive Director Pelham spoke regarding this agenda item.  Commissioner Kopp asked for clarification on a staff position.

Public Comment:

None.

13. Discussion and possible action regarding status of complaints received or initiated by the Ethics Commission. Possible Closed Session.

The Commission did not go into closed session.

Public Comment:

None.

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

Vice Chair Chiu requested that, given the intervention of Russia in the 2016 election and the use of targeted advertisements to influence the outcome of the election, Staff prepare a white paper to present the issues and actions that the Commission might take as a Commission in San Francisco to prevent the hijacking of the electoral process.  Commissioner Kopp requested that 1) a charter amendment be made to empower this Commission to have its own legal counsel independent of the City Attorney; 2) Staff procure preparation, or an ordinance, to abolish the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force; 3) Staff consider methods for keeping track of state legislation which affects the Commission’s responsibilities.  Discussion ensued with DCA Shen, Deputy Director Blome, Chair Keane, and Commissioner Kopp.  Executive Director Pelham clarified that Staff has a legislative tracker on the website and will now be included in the Commissioners agenda packet going forward.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel spoke regarding Commissioner Kopp’s items for future meetings.

15. 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:

None.

16. Adjournment.

Motion 171023-6 (Kopp/Chiu): Moved, seconded, passed unanimously (4-0, Commissioner Lee absent) to adjourn.

Public Comment:

None.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:26PM.

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