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Minutes – November 09, 2023

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of 
The San Francisco Ethics Commission 
Thursday, November 9, 2023 

Hybrid meeting conducted in-person in City Hall Room 408, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, and also held online as a Remote Meeting via WebEx and aired live on SFGovTV 

(Approved December 8, 2023)

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 SFGovTVat http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=142. 

(Note: A complete recording of this meeting can be found on SFGovTv.) 

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: With Chair Yvonne Lee, Vice Chair Theis Finlev, and Commissioner Argemira Flórez Feng participating, a quorum was present. Commissioner Yaman Salahi and Commissioner David Tsai had excused absences. 

STAFF PRESENTING: Eric Willett, Online Meeting Moderator; Gayathri Thaikkendiyil, Acting Executive Director, Steven Massey, Acting Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer; Michael Canning, Acting Policy & Legislative Affairs Manager. 

REPRESENTATIVES OF THE OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY PRESENT: Jamie Huling Delaye, Deputy City Attorney. 

MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED: 

Item 1. Call to order and roll call. 

Chair Lee convened the meeting at 9:34am and stated that members of the public may participate in-person or remotely. 

Chair Lee introduced the newest Commissioner, David Tsai. 

Chair Lee stated that Items 3,4,5,7, and 9 would be moved to the next meeting due to time constraints. She also stated that public comment would be limited to 2 minutes. 

Meeting Moderator Eric Willett summarized the procedures for participation by members of the public for the meeting. 

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

Under Item 2, the Commission provided the opportunity for general public comment on matters not appearing on the agenda but within the Ethics Commission’s subject matter jurisdiction.   

Public Comment: 

A speaker stated that they voted yes on Prop K. They are calling for two pieces of legislation, one, to make it so that nonprofits who receive City funding cannot participate in policymaking with the City to determine who gets the funding they compete for, the second, is to ensure these nonprofits cannot come into the community and do political lobbying to pursue their own funding. Nonprofits are engaging in extortion and the government is shouting down San Franciscans. 

No further public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed. 

Consent Calendar  

Chair Lee moved Items 3, 4, and 5 to the next meeting. 

Public Comment:  

No public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed. 

REGULAR CALENDAR 

Item 6. Update, discussion, and possible action regarding the March 2024 Ethics Commission Ballot Measure focused on gifts, training, and other City ethics laws. 

Michael Canning provided an update on the draft ballot argument. 

Vice Chair Finlev appreciated that this is a collaborative effort. 

Commissioner Flórez Feng thanked the team for making this a collaborative process, she votes in favor of what it looks like now in the hopes that it becomes more specific. 

Public Comment: 

A caller stated that they appreciate that the Commission deferred to the Board of Supervisors for part of an early draft of the measure dealing with compensated outside employment. They urge the commission to allow specialists to provide their expertise to nonprofits. They hope the same would be extended to uncompensated nonprofit board members. 

No further public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed. 

Motion 231109-01 (Chair Lee / Finlev): Moved, seconded, and approved unanimously (3-0) to authorize the Chair to submit a ballot argument and potential rebuttal argument. 

Item 8. POTENTIAL CLOSED SESSION ITEM: Executive Director Recruitment 

  1. Public comment on all matters pertaining to Item 8(c), including whether to meet in closed session. 

No public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed. 

  1. Vote on whether to meet in closed session to consider Item 8(c) under California Government Code Section 54957(b)(1) and Administrative Code Section 67.10(b). (Action.) 

Motion 231109-02 (Finlev / Chair Lee): Moved, seconded, and approved unanimously (3-0) to meet in closed session. 

  1. Executive Director Recruitment. (Discussion and possible action.) 

Closed session began at 9:45am. 

  1. If closed session is held, reconvene in open session. 

Open session resumed at 10:14am. 

  1. Disclosure of action taken, if any, that must be disclosed pursuant to Government Code Section 54957.1 and Administrative Code Section 67.12(b). 
  1. If appropriate: Discussion and vote pursuant to Administrative Code Section 67.12(a) whether to disclose closed session discussion of Item 8(c). (Discussion and possible action.) 

Motion 231109-03 (Flórez Feng / Finlev): Moved, seconded, and approved unanimously (3-0) to not disclose closed session discussion. 

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

Public Comment: 

Francisco DeCosta called and stated that the City is in dire straits because of corruption. They have tried their best to represent the citizen of San Francisco. They ask the Commission to represent the taxpayers of San Francisco. 

No further public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed. 

Item 11. Adjournment. 

Chair Lee expressed thanks to former-Ethics Commission employee Ronald Contreras for his work with the Commission. 

The Commission adjourned at 10:18am. 

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