Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Meeting Summary – Summary of Actions Taken and Matters Discussed at Ethics Commission’s May 7, 2018 Meeting

Contact: Kyle Kundert (415) 252-3100

  • Chair Chiu called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. and the roll was called.
  • With Commissioners Ambrose, Chiu, Lee, and Renne in attendance, a quorum of members was present. Commissioner Kopp was not yet present at the meeting.
  • Chair Chiu noted that Commissioner Kevin V. Ryan resigned from the Commission on May 4 and she thanked him for his service to the Commission. She welcomed Commissioner Noreen Ambrose, who was appointed to the seat by the City Attorney and sworn in on May 7 to the term ending February 1, 2020.
  • Provided the opportunity for public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda under Agenda Item 2 and received no public comment.
  • Provided the opportunity for public comment on its Consent Calendar and received no public comment. Consent Calendar Item 3, a Stipulation, Decision, and Order in the Matter of Alice B. Toklas Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club PAC (Ethics Commission Case No. 1617-110, 1617-112), was thereby approved without discussion.
  • After providing the opportunity for public comment on Item 4 and noting a grammatical correction in the draft Minutes for the April 18 Ethics Commission special meeting, the Commission adopted 4-0 a motion (Renne/Lee) to approve draft Minutes for the Commission’s following meetings: February 16, 2018, regular meeting; March 16, 2018, regular meeting; April 18, 2018 special meeting; and April 20, 2018 regular meeting. Executive Director Pelham stated that the Commission’s draft Minutes for the April 3, 2018 Special Joint Meeting with the Board of Supervisors were not completed in sufficient time to be posted for action at this meeting and instead will appear for action on the Commission’s June meeting agenda.
  • Commissioner Chiu noted that a proposed Stipulation, Decision, and Order appearing as Agenda Item 5 would be continued to the June meeting at the request of the Respondent.
  • Commissioner Kopp joined the meeting at the end of Item 5.
  • After presentation by Staff and the Angela Alioto for Mayor 2018 committee, discussed and received public comment on Agenda Item 6. The Commission then took the following actions:
  • Voted on a Motion (Kopp/Renne) to allow the Angela Alioto for Mayor 2018 committee until noon on May 8, 2018 to provide supporting documentation in support of its qualifying request for public financing in the June 2018 election. The motion failed on a 2-3 vote, with Commissioners Chiu, Lee and Ambrose voting no.
  • Voted on a motion (Chiu/Lee) to affirm the Executive Director’s May 2, 2018 final determination that the Angela Alioto for Mayor 2018 committee was ineligible to receive public financing in the June 2018 election. The motion was adopted on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Kopp and Renne voting no.
  • Provided the opportunity for public comment and continued its discussion and possible action Agenda Items 7 (Policy Prioritization Plan) and 9 (Staff Policy Report) to its June meeting.
  • Considered and discussed proposed amendments to the San Francisco Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, Article I, Chapter 1 of the San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, Board File No. 170868 (Kim Ordinance), as proposed in Agenda Item 8. After receiving public comment, the Commission voted unanimously to adopt a motion (Renne/Lee) to approve the proposed Ordinance as shown in the Staff memo dated May 3, 2018.
  • Discussed and received public comment on Agenda Item 10, the May 3, 2018, Enforcement Report.
  • Discussed and received public comment on Agenda Item 11, the May 3, 2018, Executive Director’s Report.
  • Provided the opportunity for public comment on Agenda Items 12 (regarding the status of complaints received or initiated by the Ethics Commission) and 13 (regarding a probable cause determination for complaint alleging violations of the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, Article I, Chapter 1 of the San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code. The Commission then voted unanimously on a motion (Renne/Lee) to go into closed session for discussion and possible action on both items.
  • Entered closed session, and upon resuming its meeting in open session:
    • Chair Chiu announced that the Commission had taken no action on Agenda Item 12.
    • Chair Chiu also announced that as to Item 13, the Commission had made a finding of probable cause that Respondent John Avalos and the John Avalos for Mayor 2011 Committee violated Sections 1.106 and 1.109 of the City’s Campaign Finance Ordinance, and she read the following statement into the record:
      “Based on the entire record of the proceedings, the Commission announces that it has found probable cause to believe that a violation of law has occurred. The Respondent is presumed innocent unless and until such time that the allegations are proved in a subsequent hearing on the merits. Because the Respondent cannot properly document more than $2,000 in non-monetary contributions, the Commission found probable cause to believe the Respondent failed to maintain complete records for contributions received in two counts in violation of San Francisco Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code (SF C&GCC) sections 1.106 and 1.109. Because the Respondent cannot properly document more than $100,000 in expenditures (amounting to 16% of total campaign expenditures) the Commission found probable cause to believe the Respondent failed to maintain complete records for expenditures in four counts in violation of SF C&GCC sections 1.106 and 1.109. Because the Respondent did not timely report nearly $140,000 in expenditures (amounting to 21% of total expenditures) the Commission found probable cause to believe the Respondent failed to disclose expenditures in four counts in violation of SF C&GCC sections 1.106 and 1.109. The Commission will schedule a hearing on the merits.”
    • By a 5-0 vote, unanimously adopted a motion (Ambrose/Renne) not to disclose other items discussed during closed session.
  • Discussed and provided the opportunity for public comment on possible items for future meetings.
  • Provided the opportunity for public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda pursuant to Ethics Commission Bylaws Article VII, Section 2, and received no public comment.
  • Unanimously approved a motion (Chiu/Lee) to adjourn the meeting and adjourned at 4:57 pm.

Draft Minutes for the May 7, 2018, special meeting will be available upon their completion and will be included on the Agenda for the Commission’s next Regular Meeting. The next meeting of the Ethics Commission is scheduled for Friday, June 15, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. in City Hall Room 416. For further information, please feel free to contact the Ethics Commission at ethics.commission@sfgov.org or (415) 252-3100.

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