Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Minutes – February 16, 2018 – Draft

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
February 16, 2018
Room 416 – City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
(Approved ____ __, _____)

Note: SFGovTV provides a continuous archive of selected Commission, council and board meetings that allows viewers to watch those meetings online in full at the viewer’s convenience. Video and audio archives of Ethics Commission meetings may be accessed here.

1. Call to order and roll call.

Chairman Keane called the meeting to order at 2:05 PM.
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; Jeffrey Pierce, Senior Investigative Analyst.
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY: Andrew Shen, Deputy City Attorney (DCA).
OTHERS PRESENT: Ellen Lee Zhou, Ray Hartz, Charlie Marsteller, Lee Hepner, Larry Bush, Bob Planthold, David Pilpel, Debbie Lehrman, Toren Lewis, Marc Bruno, and other unidentified members of the public.
MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED:

  • Draft minutes from the January 19, 2018 regular meeting.
  • February 14, 2018 Staff report (revised) and attachments regarding proposed Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance (“ACAO”).
  • February 13, 2018 Staff report and attachments regarding Whistleblower Protection Ordinance (SF Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code Sec. 4.100 et seq.).
  • February 13, 2018 Staff report and attachments regarding online paid political communications, including legal and policy considerations for the Commission’s review.
  • February 13, 2018 Staff report and attachments on monthly Policy Report, including possible updates to Annual Policy Plan.
  • February 13, 2018 Staff’s monthly Enforcement Report and attachments.
  • February 14, 2018 Executive Director’s Report (revised) and attachments.

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

Ellen Lee Zhou, a City and County San Francisco employee, stated that she brought five public workers from April to June 2017 alleging retaliation, and the Commission lost the records. Ms. Zhou hopes the Commission will update her regarding the investigations. Chair Keane advised Ms. Zhou to resubmit her documentation and speak with Senior Investigator Jeff Pierce. Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, stated the Ethics Commission has never disciplined an employee for failing to comply with the Sunshine Ordinance. Charlie Marsteller congratulated Executive Director Pelham on her second-year anniversary with the Commission.

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:

The Civil Grand Jury, C&C of San Francisco 2010 to 2011, issued a
report entitled “San Francisco’s Ethics Commission: The Sleeping
Watchdog.” The report includes the following: “Because of the Ethics
Commission’s lack of enforcement, no city employee has been disciplined
for failing to adhere to the Sunshine Ordinance. The commission has
allowed some city officials to ignore the rulings of the Sunshine
Ordinance Task Force.” As the Civil Grand Jury reported in 2010, so it is
now and so it shall continue! Here are the three dozen Orders of
Determination I personally have! None of these have been enforced, as
that is your responsibility and you simply refuse to do it! Why would you?
You don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you. These people appoint you!
The author Frank Herbert wrote: “Politics is the art of appearing candid
and completely open, while concealing as much as possible. “

3. Discussion and possible action on draft minutes for the Commission’s January 19, 2018 meeting.

Motion 180216-01 (Renne/Kopp): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission approve the minutes for the January 19, 2018 meeting.

Public Comment:

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, stated that the Ethics Commission has failed. Commissioners confuse government activity with shuffling paperwork.

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:

These minutes are the official public record of the proceedings of this
body. Unfortunately they give a very slanted view of what goes on in the
San Francisco Ethics Commission. The minions of the Ethics
Commission, for the most part, put in what the commission members
want in the official record and exclude anything they don’t! If you
praise them, the very best of that will appear. If you are critical,
however, that just doesn’t make the cut! So what you get in these
minutes is a completely skewed presentation of what these
commissioners do and whether it has any effect whatsoever on the
ethical conduct of governmental business!
These commissioners wholly
confuse activity for accomplishment! They confuse governmental paper
shuffling with any meaningful result! My name is Ray Hartz and I am
the Director of San Francisco Open Government. Members of the
public may contact me at sfopengovernmentbs@comcast.net.

4. Discussion and possible action on proposed Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance (“ACAO”).

Policy Analyst Pat Ford summarized the Staff report. Mr. Ford began by explaining Staff’s efforts to work with members of the Board of Supervisors and their staff to analyze and amend the ACAO as appropriate. He then described the procedural posture of the ACAO at the Board of Supervisors as of February 15; essentially, the Board is considering two versions of the ACAO on parallel tracks. The first version includes the changes proposed by Staff in Attachment 1. The second contains multiple amendments added by the Board of Supervisors. Staff provides a “common ground ordinance,” which takes into consideration the Board’s concerns and makes certain amendments accordingly, for the Commission to consider placing on the ballot in June 2018. Chair Keane asked that the Commission consider each amendment in turn and then take public comment before voting to approve each amendment.

Requested Amendment to Section 1.114.5(a) – Contributor Card Requirement: Proposed change would make the contributor card voluntary instead of required.

Commissioner Renne is persuaded that the average voter would not understand what they were signing if they were asked to certify they complied with CFRO. Commissioner Kopp doesn’t think this is a burden, but he’d like to see information regarding its use in other jurisdictions and requested research from Staff.

Motion 180216-02 (Renne/Chiu): Moved, second and passed (4-1) to adopt the amendment.

Presentation: Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s Legislative Aide, Lee Hepner, advised that the Board of Supervisors is working expeditiously to review and improve the ACAO. The Board is moving so quickly that Staff could not include all of the amendments the Budget and Finance Committee considered yesterday. The Commission is independent, but it should not conduct a parallel legislative process. Supervisor Peskin requests that the Commission not place the ACAO on the June ballot but instead hold a joint meeting with the Board to develop a joint proposal in public. Vice Chair Chiu asked whether the Board envisions moving forward with Supervisor Peskin’s proposal for major donor disclosures in the context of the ACAO. Mr. Hepner said yes, for the sake of efficiency. Vice Chair Chiu asked what the Board’s timeline is for the ACAO. Mr. Hepner responded that it could take a long time unless we convene a joint meeting of the Board and Commission to serially debate and vote on various amendments. Commissioner Kopp asked when the joint meeting would occur. Mr. Hepner said the meeting is hypothetical right now because Supervisor Peskin does not have approval from his fellow supervisors, yet.

Public Comment:

Larry Bush, Friends of Ethics, does not support this change. Making the contributor card voluntary will render this provision meaningless. Bob Planthold noted that Supervisor Tang made some requests for changes orally during the committee hearing that aren’t considered. Policy Analyst Pat Ford advised that Supervisor Tang’s amendments are contained in the version before the Board, not the Staff recommendation before the Commission today. Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, advised that Lee Hepner needs to identify himself as a representative from Supervisor Peskin’s office, and this Commission needs to make sure it’s not speaking about issues and topics raised at yesterday’s hearing because those issues weren’t included in the agenda packet, which went out Tuesday. Substantively, Mr. Hartz agrees with this requested change. Lee Hepner advised that Supervisor Peskin believes a required attestation under penalty of perjury would deter small donors. Charlie Marsteller, Friends of Ethics, commented that the average voter does not know which section of the law applies to certain prohibited conduct; to require attestation would be unfair.

Requested Amendment to Section 1.125 – Disclosure of Bundling: Proposed change would strike “attempt to influence” from the bundling disclosure requirement.

Commissioner Kopp moved to amend the amendment, Commissioner Renne seconded. This would consist of reinserting Section 1.125(b)(4) on page 55, lines 4-8 but strike “attempt to influence” and change to “practiced legislative and administrative advocacy and sought to influence.”

Motion 180216-03 (Kopp/Renne): Moved, seconded and failed (2-3) to amend the amendment proposed by Staff by reinserting Section 1.125(b)(4) with some changes.

Motion 180216-04 (Renne/Chiu): Voted (4-1) to adopt the amendment proposed by Staff to Section 1.125.

Public Comment:

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, stated that no provision should hold contributors liable for the bundler’s attempt to influence. Larry Bush, Friends of Ethics, said the public is not requesting to tweak this language; we are asking for the language the Commission passed in November be adopted. Charlie Marsteller, Friends of Ethics, suggested that the Commission should add “administrative” to the legislative advocacy change.
Requested Amendment to Section 1.127 – Contributions by Persons with a Financial Interest in a Land Use Matter: Proposed change would strike this provision and table it for future consideration after the issues can be thoroughly analyzed.
Commissioner Kopp asked Lee Hepner what “real world developer” means for the purpose of the Board’s criticism. Mr. Hepner responded by explaining that the land use issue was first introduced by Supervisor Peskin, and Peskin is encouraging the Commission to adopt or incorporate the original ordinance instead of this version with all of Staff’s revisions.

Motion 180216-05 (Renne/Chiu): Moved, seconded and passed (4-1) to accept Staff amendment.

Public Comment:
Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, said the public is confused about what the Commission is voting on today because it seems like the Commission is only considering what Supervisor Peskin wants. Larry Bush, Friends of Ethics, said the agenda says the Commission will discuss the ACAO broadly. Friends of Ethics wants to discuss Section 1.126 regarding contractors, but now the Commission is saying we can only discuss what is in the Staff memo, which is wrong. Charlie Marsteller, Friends of Ethics, commented that land use decisions are the most important political issues; deleting this provision is wrong. Chair Keane advised Mr. Marsteller that the Commission is not striking the land use issue forever; the Commission is only tabling it for further consideration. This was Supervisor Peskin’s proposal, and it’s a live issue at the Board of Supervisors.

Requested Amendment to Section 3.207 – Conflict of Interest Provisions: No change proposed.

Commissioner Lee expressed her ongoing concern that the “anything of value” language would stifle non-profit advocacy work in the City because City officers would be afraid to engage with them, and members of boards would be deterred from serving as City commissioners.

Motion 180216-06 (Lee/No 2nd): Moved to amend the ACAO to strike Section 3.207(a)(1). Motion failed.

Requested Amendment to 3.209 – Repeated Recusals: Proposed change would narrow circumstances of recusal that could initiate review by the Ethics Commission.

Motion 180216-07 (Renne/Kopp): Moved, seconded and passed (4-1) to adopt Staff’s proposed amendment.

Motion 180216-08 (Kopp/Renne): Moved, seconded and passed (4-1) to amend 3.209 to specify timeframe in which an official would be required to divest certain assets before the Ethics Commission would recommend that the official be removed.

Motion 180216-09 (Lee/No 2nd): Moved to remove section 3.209. Motion failed.

Public Comment:

Lee Hepner stated that Supervisor Peskin believes the repeated recusal provision would disincentivize recusals and punish commissioners for recusing when we want them to do so. Supervisor Peskin would delete all of subsection (b). Supervisor Peskin has also proposed a new definition of “anything of value.” Commissioner Kopp asked Mr. Hepner to explain why this ordinance was before the Board’s budget committee. Commissioner Renne replied that it is because of the amount of increased costs estimated by Staff. Vice Chair Chiu advised that the Commission is very concerned about repeated recusals and believe they need to be addressed. Mr. Hepner responded that a commissioner with need to repeatedly recuse should not be on the commission, which is why his/her appointing authority would remove him/her. Commissioner Kopp asked wouldn’t the reverse be true? The appointing authority would be deterred from appointing an interested advocate to, say, the Planning Commission? Vice Chair Chiu commented that waiting on the reappointment process could take years; the public deserves immediate action. David Pilpel stated this repeated recusal law appears to be trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist. Debbie Lehrman said non-profit board members serve as commissioners all across the City, and the non-profit’s contract comes before their commission “over and over.” This provision would deter those board members from serving as commissioners. Alliance for Justice stated they share Mr. Hepner and Ms. Lehrman’s concerns and also are concerned that commissioners are required to recuse themselves for issues involving their private residence, which could become an issue. Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, stated this section is impracticable for several reasons, but mostly because the appointing authorities won’t remove commissioners right now for failure to serve. Larry Bush, Friends of Ethics, clarified that Section 3.209 only applies if the commissioner has a financial interest.

Requested Amendment to Section 3.610 – Behested Payment Disclosure: Proposed change would limit disclosure to circumstances where the payor has a financial interest in the outcome of a decision before the City officer.

Motion 180216-10 (Renne/Chiu): Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) to adopt Staff’s amendment.

Public Comment:

Debbie Lehrman supports the Staff’s amendment but expressed concern with “interested parties,” including people who support or oppose, being too broad. Toren Lewis, Alliance for Justice, stated Staff listened to our requests for amendments and made key changes, so thank you; we support the financial interest component. Larry Bush, Friends of Ethics, believes the behested payment provisions have been watered down so much that they will be ineffective. Charlie Marsteller, Friends of Ethics, is disappointed in this amendment and does not support it. Marc Bruno stated most people would consider a behested payment to be a bribe, so we should not limit the bribe to situations where the payor has a financial interest in a matter before the City. Commissioner Kopp asked where the definition of interested parties can be found, Policy Analyst Pat Ford pointed him to page 76 of the packet for Agenda Item 4.

Motion 180216-11 (Renne/Lee): Moved, seconded and failed (2-3) to delete the language “or an organization with which he or she is associated” in Section 3.207 as well as the definition of “associated” in 3.203.

Public Comment:

Lee Hepner stated that Supervisor Peskin has proposed an amendment to the definition of “anything of value” that strikes the word “favor” and replace with “private financial advantage.” Toren Lewis, Alliance for Justice, commented that Existing law already prohibits City officers from directing money to an organization for whom a relative works. Larry Bush, Friends of Ethics, stated that if you have an exemption that applies to 501(c)(3) that are providing human services at no cost that you would be well within the grounds. Debbie Lehrman, Human Services Network, commented that the word “organization” is unclear. Marc Bruno said he law should do what it can do best, which is separate all of the different financial interests so people have more access to diverse representatives. It is not bad to have someone other than a non-profit board member on the commission that regulates the non-profit’s work. Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, supported Mr. Bruno’s comment and expressed his belief that the City is “incestuous” and there is a need for new people with new experiences and viewpoints.

Motion 180216-12 (Renne/Keane): Moved, seconded and failed (3-2) to approve changes in Attachment 1 and place on the ballot for June 2018.

Public Comment:

Lee Hepner stated the June 2018 ballot is not the best path forward. The Board could get the ACAO passed and implemented for the November 2018 election. Commissioner Renne asked whether Mr. Hepner is guaranteeing that the Board will pass this, and Mr. Hepner said he couldn’t make that guarantee. Larry Bush, Friends of Ethics, stated that as an individual, he was recommending that you give the Board of Supervisors time and not place the ACAO on the ballot for June. Charlie Marsteller said, on behalf of Friends of Ethics, he has been counting votes at the Board; Supervisor Peskin’s major donor proposal has four votes so far and a likely fifth, and the Board is generally optimistic and enthusiastic about the proposal. Debbie Lehrman stated that she agrees with Friends of Ethics. We should not place the ACAO on the ballot today, predominantly because the Board of Supervisors has some good amendments that need to be considered, and because any future changes to a ballot measure must be made by ballot measure. Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, stated San Francisco needs a leader who will get other politicians to refrain from accepting contributions from undisclosed donors. Marc Bruno stated that as a member of the public he would like to see this go before the Board of Supervisors to hear what they have to say.

Chair Keane expressed his belief that this has been legislation in the works for two and one-half years, and over the past year, many people have weakened the measure to the point that it isn’t as effective as it could be. But, it is an anti-corruption measure, and it’s more than the City has now. The Board can continue to work through its process, but the Commission owes it to the people of San Francisco to attempt to restore Proposition J. Vice Chair Chiu commented that she has struggled with her decision but ultimately believes the democratic process would be best served by allowing the Board of Supervisors to continue with its legislative process. Commissioner Renne expressed his concern that the joint meeting with the Board could not happen before he went out of the country on February 23 because that only leaves three days next week for the meeting. Mr. Hepner responded that Supervisor Peskin hoped for the meeting to happen the first week of March. Commissioner Kopp expressed his concern that March would be too late for the June ballot.

Chair Keane stated that he resigned after the vote, and the commissioners engaged in conversation with DCA Shen regarding how to proceed.

Motion 180216-13 (Renne/Kopp): Moved, seconded and passed (3-1) to request a joint meeting with the Commission and the Board to consider the ACAO as amended at such meeting.

Motion 180216-14 (Kopp/Renne): Moved, Seconded and passed (3-1) compiles amendments proposed by staff, the major donor proposal proposed by Sup. Peskin, but for 3.209 (repeated recusal) and sends to Board.

Public Comment:

Lee Hepner requested that the Commission vote to amend the ACAO to include Supervisor Peskin’s major donor proposal. Charlie Marsteller, Friends of Ethics, explained again that Friends of Ethics and Supervisor Peskin want the Commission to add in the major donor disclosure proposal to the ACAO so that it can be considered at the joint meeting of the Board and Commission. Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, stated the public doesn’t understand Supervisor Peskin’s proposal; this Commission should not arbitrarily accept his proposal, which subverts the public process. Commissioner Renne asked Mr. Hepner why the Commission had to approve the major donor legislation before the joint session with the Board. DCA Shen told Mr. Hepner that his office and Staff will need time to analyze the major donor proposal. Commissioner Kopp asked DCA Shen if he could change his vote on the amendments to the ACAO and move to send the major donor proposal to the Board in its current form; he then clarified he did not want to rescind his vote on the prior amendments to the ACAO. DCA Shen stated that the major donor proposal is not in a form that the Commission can vote to approve because it hasn’t been “approved as to form” by the City Attorney’s Office.

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 previously referred to the activities of the Ethics Commission as
“rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.” Commission President Peter
Keane, in a matter previously heard against our current Mayor, is
quoted as saying: “Mr. Farrell, an elected supervisor of the City and
County of San Francisco, has never had the political will or courage or
integrity to come before this commission and look us in the face.” He
went on to blame the results on former Executive Director John St.
Croix, saying he “was clearly totally incompetent in allowing the statute
of limitations to run out, or marginally corrupt for going along with the
idea of not pursuing Farrell.” Throughout the history of this
commission, when they can’t enforce the laws already on the books, they
find a scapegoat and claim they need to rewrite the law! And here we
are again, once more rearranging the deck chairs!

5. Discussion and possible action on proposed Whistleblower Protection Ordinance (SF Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code Sec. 4.100 et seq.).

Director Pelham advised the Whistleblower Protection Ordinance has been presented in three formats in the attachments to this agenda item: ballot measure version, redline version, revised Whistleblower Protection Ordinance version if it were to go to the Board of Supervisors. Staff has received word from Supervisor London Breed’s office (who was the sponsor of the 2016 legislation) that she is interested in reintroducing the Ordinance. Commissioner Renne made a motion to adopt the Ordinance identified as the 2017 WPO Ballot Measure, Attachment 1, and have it placed on the June ballot. Acting Chair Chiu asked for Staff for clarification on differences presented in the ballot measure and the Ordinance. DCA Shen described which provisions were removed because the Commission lacks authority to place whistleblower matters that do not involve government ethics, conflict of interest, campaign finance, or lobbying rules on the ballot. Commissioner Kopp stated he would prefer an Ordinance especially when Supervisor Breed is committed to it. Commissioner Kopp asked why the Controller’s Office is involved in whistleblower complaints. Discussion ensued between Commissioner Kopp, DCA Shen, Deputy Directory Blome and Commissioner Renne.

Public Comment:

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, stated that Whistleblowers are brave to come forward with their complaints since, to his knowledge, the Ethics Commission has never done anything to protect a single Whistleblower. If the Ethics Commission will not enforce the laws they pass, they shouldn’t pass any laws? Charles Marsteller presented a letter from Dr. Kerr, urged the Commission to take the comments into account, and put the Whistleblower Ordinance on the ballot.

Commissioner Kopp asked for Staff comment on Dr. Kerr’s first point. Staff advised it has not done any analysis on Dr. Kerr’s public comment that was received yesterday. Commissioner Kopp asked for a comparison between language used in AB403 with what is in the Commission’s proposed ballot measure. Commissioner Renne withdrew his motion in light of questions from Commissioner Kopp. Acting Chair Chiu advised this agenda item will continue to the March Commission meeting.

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:

Whistleblowers in the City and County of San Francisco are very
courageous people! They come forward, trying to write a wrong,
knowing that historically they will receive nothing for their trouble but
abuse. To my knowledge this Ethics Commission has never done
anything to protect a single whistleblower! They just keep rewriting the
law, hoping the public doesn’t notice the complete lack of law
enforcement. Why would they, in the name of all that is holy, enforce
this law? This law, along with others like the Sunshine Ordinance, are
approved by the public to control city government, particularly elected
officials. In other words, the very people who appoint these
commissioners! From studying the historical record, no reasonable
person would expect these political appointees to side with a
whistleblower against their political masters. How many times will the
public allow them to repeat this farce? When will the public demand
results?

6. Discussion of Staff update on research about online paid political communications, including legal and policy considerations for the Commission’s review.

Senior Policy Analyst Kyle Kundert reviewed the history of the agenda item. Mr. Kundert highlighted the main legal concern, noted in attachment 1 (legal analysis by Professor Abby Wood, and her two research assistants Justin Mellow and Rachael Grant, from the USC Gould School of Law) regarding federal and state preemption as it relates to creating this filing system. The research concluded that were would likely not be preemption at the federal or state level. In addition, Staff continues to monitor the City of Seattle which has a similar law on its books but is just now enforcing them. Mr. Kundert pointed out items in Section C that Staff would like to continue to explore moving forward. A tentative schedule is proposed for the next two months with continued research to see whether Staff can put forward legislation that could potentially address this election meddling and online political communication issue. Commissioner Lee requested a meeting before the Spring public forum meeting scheduled with subject matter experts, that staff put together stakeholders’ meetings to iron out some of the other issue and would like it close to the June 2018 election. Acting Chair Chiu thanked Professor Wood and her two law students for their stellar work on the analysis.

Public Comment:

None.

7. Discussion and possible action on Staff’s monthly Policy Report, including possible updates to Annual Policy Plan.

Senior Policy Analyst Kyle Kundert highlighted the Form 700 Non-Voting Ordinance, which was taken up by the Rules Committee this week and approved unanimously and forwarded to the entire Board of Supervisors. Acting Chair Chiu asked about Supervisor Kim’s campaign finance legislation. Mr. Kundert advised Staff sent a letter to her office on January 17, 2018 outlining questions and potential concerns, Staff has not heard from the Supervisor’s office. Staff will reach out to her office after this meeting.

Public Comment:

Charles Marsteller, Friends of Ethics, advised that Supervisor Kim has had numerous interested parties and stakeholder meetings, and Friends of Ethics has attended every one of them. Supervisor Kim has commissioned a study by the Office of the Legislative and Budget Analyst to examine different public financing systems in the US.

8. Discussion of Staff’s monthly Enforcement Report.

Deputy Director Blome updated the Commission on current statistics. Commissioner Kopp asked whether an order of examination has been conducted for four specific cases noted by the Bureau of Delinquent revenue.

Public Comment:

None.

9. Discussion of Executive Director’s Report.

Executive Director Pelham reviewed her report, highlighting the Public Financing Program, Statement of Economic Interest Filing, campaign audits, Staffing highlights and the budget package that the Commission will submit to the Mayor’s office next week. Commissioner Renne asked for clarification on the revenue report: Campaign Finance fines are so much higher than anticipated and the opposite is true of the Ethics fines. Deputy Director Blome explained that both are estimates and we can’t really predict what forms people will file late. Executive Director Pelham added that the total amount of Ethics fines may change by the end of the fiscal year because the annual Form 700 statement deadline is in April. Commissioner Kopp clarified the two items he mentioned last month as he doesn’t see them anywhere in this Agenda package. Deputy Director Blome advised that Commissioner Kopp requested these items be on the March Agenda. Commissioner Kopp also requested an update on the hearing at the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. Deputy Director Blome stated that staff was never contacted about the meeting. Acting Chair Chiu commented that it is critical that we communicate to the Mayor and Controller that we have no staff reductions in the upcoming fiscal year as we are still in the staffing up process. Vice Chair Chiu asked if we will have sufficient funds to cover public financing needs for the June and November election. Executive Director Pelham related that based on analysis with the Controller’s office we will be fine for the June election; for the November election we are working with the Controller’s office and the Mayor’s office who are aware that it will require additional, significant infusion of funds to cover that election, as well as the next election in November of 2019. Vice Chair Chiu asked what the next steps may be regarding the ability of the public to call into meetings remotely. Executive Director Pelham replied that technically there is no opportunity for us to have a telephone line for our meeting for many reasons. Commissioner Lee asked if a podcast was a possibility for our meeting. Policy Analyst Pat Ford advised that, based on the information he received in the meeting with SFGov TV, the technology for Voice Over IP (VOIP) is not available to be patched into the television system at City Hall.

Public Comment:

Marc Bruno remarked that he filed a complaint at the Commission and without enough staff other City resources have been used in assistance with his complaint. Charlie Marsteller, Friends of Ethics, asked for an update on the Rules Committee meeting last week regarding Form 700 Non-Voting Ordinance. Senior Policy Analyst Kyle Kundert advised the Rules Committee unanimously voted to forward the Ordinance to the full Board of Supervisors, who will hear it at the next full Board meeting. Mr. Marsteller requested clarification on a few more Staffing questions.

10. 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.

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

For the April Agenda Commissioner Renne asked for a discussion of a proposed amendment to the San Francisco Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance to either limit or end super PACs and to ban foreign corporate spending in City elections. Commissioner Renne will provide staff with some legal research and proposed drafts being prepared by a group that is very interested in trying to get San Francisco to adopt such an ordinance.

Public Comment:

None.

12. 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.

13. Adjournment.

Motion 180216-15 (Renne/Kopp): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0) that the Commission adjourn.

Public Comment:

None.

The Commission adjourned at 8:20 PM.

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