Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Draft Minutes – July 10, 2020

Draft Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
Friday, July 10, 2020
Remote Meeting Held Online via Webex and aired live on SFGovTV
(Approved __, 2020)

Note: SFGovTV provides a continuous archive of audio, video, and Caption Notes recordings of Ethics Commission meetings that allows viewers to watch those meetings online in full at the viewer’s convenience. These archives of Ethics Commission meetings may be accessed at SFGovTV here.

Item 1. Call to order and roll call.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 00:6:04 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Chair Noreen Ambrose called the meeting to order at 9:30 am.

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: With Chair Ambrose, Vice Chair Yvonne Lee, and Commissioners Daina Chiu, Fern Smith, and Larry Bush attending, a quorum was present.

STAFF PRESENTING: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director; Steven Massey, Director of Technology Services; Patrick Ford, Senior Policy and Legislative Affairs Counsel; Jeffrey Pierce, Director of Enforcement and Legal Affairs; Jarrod Flores, Information Systems Analyst/Online Meeting Moderator.

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY PRESENT: Jenica Maldonado and Andrew Shen, Deputy City Attorneys.

MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED:

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

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 00:14:19 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Ali Altaha, Marc Solomon, and an unidentified caller gave public comment.

Chair Ambrose asked whether the meeting was live on SFGovTV and Flores clarified that it is on channel 78.

No other public comment was provided.

Item 3. Discussion of Executive Director’s Report.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 00:23:55 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Executive Director Pelham discussed the contents of the Executive Director’s report. The report highlighted operational developments at the Commission since the emergence of the COVID-19 public health emergency and addressed key programmatic and organizational developments since the Commission’s last meeting in February 2020.

Mark de la Rosa of the Controller’s Office provided an overview of his office’s report on contracts at the Department of Public Works.

Ali Altaha, Marc Salomon, and Francisco de Costa gave public comment.

No action was taken as the item was for informational purposes only.

Item 4. Discussion and possible action on FY21 Revised Budget submitted by the Ethics Commission on June 12, 2020 as required by Mayoral instruction for all City Departments in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 02:07:34 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Director Pelham stated that the Commission had submitted a revised budget proposal to the Mayor’s Office on June 12, 2020, as required by all City departments in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Pelham also spoke about the impacts that the Mayor’s targeted budget cuts would have on Commission operations and noted that staff are still in conversation with the Mayor’s office regarding the budget.

Chair Ambrose spoke about the difficulty of funding via the general fund. Commissioner Chiu expressed concern that cuts to the Commission’s budget during a significant corruption scandal would send a bad message. Commissioner Bush spoke about the ability of ethics programs to save government funds overall and expressed a desire to see more reporting about how budget constraints impact the Commission’s achievement of its mandate and how matters are prioritized. Commissioner Lee proposed that money the Commission raises be retained for its budget.

Ali Altaha, Francisco de Costa, Marc Salomon, and an unidentified caller gave public comment.

Vice-Chair Lee moved and Commissioner Chiu seconded a motion to request that Commissioners Ambrose and Lee transmit a letter on behalf of the Commission regarding the Commission’s budget to the Board of Supervisors.

Motion 200710-01 (Lee/Chiu): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (5-0) a motion that Commissioners Ambrose and Lee transmit a letter regarding the Commission’s budget to the Board of Supervisors.

CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

Chair Ambrose called the consent calendar items.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 04:08:55 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Item 5. Draft Minutes for the Ethics Commission’s January 17, 2020 regular meeting

Item 6. Draft Minutes for the Ethics Commission’s February 21, 2020 regular meeting.

Item 7. Proposed Stipulation, Decision, and Order In the Matter of Aaron Peskin for Supervisor 2016, Aaron Peskin, and Stacy Owens (SFEC Complaint No. 1516-37A).

Item 8. Proposed Stipulation, Decision, and Order In the Matter of Keep San Francisco Affordable, Support by Tenant and Housing Advocates, and Jennifer Fieber (SFEC Complaint No. 1516-43, 1718-24).

Item 9. Proposed Stipulation, Decision, and Order In the Matter of Marjan Philhour for Supervisor 2016, Marjan Philhour, and Stacy Owens (SFEC Complaint No. 1617-082).

Commissioner Smith moved and Vice-Chair Lee seconded a motion to approve the Consent Calendar, Items 5 through 9.

No public comment was received.

Motion 200710-02 (Smith/Lee): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (5-0) a motion to approve the Consent Calendar, Items 5 through 9.                                          

NON-CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

Item 10.  Discussion and possible action regarding request for waiver of compensated advocacy restriction for Yakuh Askew.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 04:25:21 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Pat Ford explained that the agenda item consists of a waiver request by the Mayor’s office that a potential Mayoral appointee to the Arts Commission be granted a limited waiver to the rule against compensated advocacy by City officers.

Yakuh Askew, the subject of the waiver request, spoke about his qualifications and his need for a waiver. Hank Heckel, Legal Compliance Officer with the Mayor’s office, spoke about the reasons for the waiver application.

Ali Altaha, Rod Henny, and Marc Solomon gave public comment.

Chair Ambrose stated that the Arts Commission would benefit from Mr. Askew’s perspective and that the type of waiver requested was appropriate.

Chair Ambrose moved and Commissioner Smith seconded a motion to grant a limited compensated advocacy waiver to Yakuh Askew as recommended in the Staff report.                                          

Motion 200710-03 (Ambrose/Smith): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (5-0) a motion to grant a limited compensated advocacy waiver to Yakuh Askew as recommended in the Staff report.                                          

The Commission took a recess at 2:35pm and resumed at 2:44pm.

Item 11. Discussion of monthly Staff Policy Report.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 05:13:30 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Pat Ford discussed the contents of the Staff Policy Report.

Chair Ambrose stated that the Policy Prioritization Plan should be agendized for the Commission’s September meeting. Commissioner Bush expressed his desire to approve legislation to be in effect for the November 2020 election. Ford explained that there is not enough time left before the election for legislation. Ford described a potential conflict of interest project to strengthen local ethics rules.

Francisco de Costa gave public comment.

No action was taken as this item was provided for informational purposes only.

Item 12.  Discussion of monthly Staff Enforcement Report.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 05:55:11 mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Enforcement Director Jeff Pierce described the contents of the Staff Enforcement Report.

Commissioner Chiu asked about the Lynette Sweet matter. Commissioner Bush provided suggestions that he believed would increase the public’s engagement with the Enforcement Division.

No public comment was received.

No action was taken as it was provided for informational purposes only.

Item 13.  Discussion and possible action on items for future meetings.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 06:21:00 minute mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Chair Ambrose requested that Staff prepare an annual report. Commissioner Lee requested that Staff produce a report on internet communications. Commissioner Bush expressed interest in internet communications.

No public comment was received.

No action was taken.

Item 14. Additional opportunity for public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda pursuant to Ethics Commission Bylaws Article VII Section 2.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 06:30:35 minute mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

No public comment was received.

No action was taken.

Item 15. Adjournment.

(Note: This item appears beginning at the 06:31:45 minute mark in the video recording at SFGovTv.)

Motion 200710-04 (Unanimous): Moved, seconded and passed unanimously (5-0) to adjourn the meeting.

The Commission adjourned at 4:03 p.m.

 

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