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tv   [untitled]    January 29, 2012 4:18pm-4:48pm PST

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piece of a lot over here, and do they or do they not match up, but there were very significant consequences in the real world that hurts library users. thank you. >> commissioners, the director of san francisco open government. as documented in a recent civil grand jury report, this ethics commission has failed to carry out and responsibilities related to the sunshine ordinance. through this, the ethics committee has sided with the city and against citizens in every case where public records were withheld. not only has this ethics commission failed in its duties, in as woefully and knowingly avoided the efforts of the sunshine ordinance task force. it has done this for years while representing its efforts as trying to work with the task force. it has been derelict in its duties by allowing every case to
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be dismissed by staff without a hearing. after taking an oath to support and defend the california and united states constitutions, the committee has acted in ways that knowingly and willfully violate the constitutional and civil rights of the citizens of san francisco. some may feel that i am being too harsh in this, but i think prior speakers and myself have to really look at the records, and for the first time, we are now on the public record so that the citizens of this city can actually see what this ethics commission has done up until now in the dark. and i will quote senator barry goldwater in his 1964 presidential acceptance speech of the republican nomination, where he said extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. you have not done your job as far as sunshine and the citizens of this city.
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you took an oath to support and defend the constitution, and yet when citizens come to you and say "we were denied an opportunity at a public meeting to meaningfully comment and participate," you ignore it. you side with the city 100% of the time. now, it is kind of hard to argue with that record as being one that is totally unjustified. >> hi, commission lovers. -- here. first of all, i wanted to congratulate you on having a televised version of this meeting. it is long overdue. i am glad that he's found money in the budget for it. or -- sorry. i want to say that i am sad to see the poor record you have to date on the enforcement of the sunshine referrals. almost every one that has been
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sent to you has been dismissed without a public hearing, and without even regulations in place to dismiss it. i would strongly encourage you to have a joint meeting with the sunshine task force to work with them on the regulations that are needed to be designed to handle sunshine matters, and i would advocate that you do significant work in protecting the public right to speech as well as right to documents. >> good evening. hal smith. i wanted congratulate you on starting the televised meetings. it is a great thing, and i congratulate you again. it is good for the citizens of
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san francisco, democracy, citizenship, good for open government, but it is also good for you because it gives you the chance to tell the story of the ethics commission. it gives you an opportunity to be out front, strong, noble people. working for the benefit of the citizens of san francisco. today, it is my understanding, i have lots of chinese friends, it is the year of the dragon. dragons are strong. dragons are wonderful people who believe end strength and character. i consider this your beginning, since you are televising tonight. i guess it is your birthday. it is the beginning of something. be strong like dragons. do the right thing. protect the citizens of san francisco. protect their rights. project open government. thank you. >> good evening, commissioners.
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my name is hope johnson. i am the chair of the sunshine ordinance task force. i am here to reiterate what dr. washburn said, the chair of the compliance and amendments committee, to request that you consider having a joint open meeting about the ethics commission regulations on sunshine. i think that even though the ethics staff clearly disagrees with us that there are a number of things that you might want to take into consideration. there are a number of things that happen within the city that demonstrate that the ethics staff opinion that is only willful violations is elegant misleading and perhaps incorrect because, first of all, the ethics commission is tasked with collecting all of the signatures stating that the required employee's and elected officials and public officials have taken
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sunshine training, so you are clearly involved, and in section -- one section, it refers specifically to the ethics commission. it says, in addition, the commission adopt rules and regulations related to carrying out the purposes and provisions of ordinances regarding open meetings and public records. the individual clauses of the sunshine ordinance do not work outside of a law, the of the laws. big public records act and the brown act, and you are also tasked with upholding those. it is not just individual provisions that you can argue to untangle them or untangle them, depending on what you do or do not want to do. none of the ethics commissioners as commissioners want to rely fully on staff without really investigating it, the people hear them all of the time. in addition, in a one area under
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duties, the appendix to section 15-100, it says that one of your duties is to advocate understanding of the charter and city ordinances related to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying, governmental ethics, and open meetings and public records, and the roles of public and other elected officials, city institutions, and the city electoral process, and i think the idea that they put public meetings and public records and there is really demonstrating that your responsibilities are more than just willful violations, so we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss that with you with the commissioners themselves rather than going through memoranda with ethics staff. thank you. >> good evening, ethics commissioners. my name is thomas.
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i am also a victim of your staff dismissals with orders of determination. i will not go into the merits of the case. you have the records. but the statistics cited by mr. grossman and the doctor are very troubling in terms of the dismissals of all sunshine ordinance orders of determination. from the members of the public or watching the proceedings, they should be advised that the sunshine ordinance task force makes a determination when there is a violation of a request for public records or not being able to participate in public meetings. the sunshine ordinance then gives you the responsibility to review the orders of determination by the sunshine ordinance task force.
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the statistics by mr. grossman and dr. kerr -- at least in the past, it has been biased against individuals who have shown that their rights have been violated at either open meetings are public records, so my suggestion to you is that you put the matter of enforcement or the lack of enforcement of orders of determination back on your agenda. thank you. commissioner hur: think you for your comments. speaker, sir. proceed. >> well, i think the thing is i
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have been assaulted by some of the staff of the city and county of san francisco. i have been kicked out of meetings just for showing up. i have been not given many documents. i do not know why. i just feel i should not have to call david or any of those people to get the documents that i need. i think it is definitely outlandish. i am hoping that you all decide to hold somebody accountable. i mean, i definitely believe that you are making the city and county of san francisco's spread eagle for whatever lawsuit comes by, and the citizens need to start filing. we need to start filing immediately. the statistics that you are presenting, it is in a plea unacceptable.
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commissioner hur: thank you all for your comments. we do want to meet with you. i think when we last addressed the issue, it was suggested that we try to do it in the coming year, not sort of at the end of 2011 to assure greater participation, and we look forward to having such meetings so we can get the sort of regulations that we can hopefully agree are effective and efficient. the next item on the agenda is proposed amendments to the sia for the san francisco public library. would you like to introduce this issue? >> .net yes. we started this last may. there were some questions, commissioners, about the appropriateness of a language as it applied to not just staff but
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-- excuse me -- officers, so we have gone back and forth with the library staff, and commission, and have determined that there is sufficient grounds to reintroduce this proposal to the commissioners, including officers in the language, and there is marion from the library who is here to answer questions. commissioner hur: would you like to make some remarks? >> donna from the library, human resources director. the library still feels that, yes, we would like me -- the sia
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approved as is. we already have things in place for the collection and plant policy as well as our exit policies. we have already established guidelines that address your concerns that have been established for quite some time within the library, so we were hoping that you would move forward and approve the sia. commissioner hur: thank you. any questions or hurt? commissioner liu: thank you for coming today. -- any questions or her? how that is done and if it is separated? >> yes, it is separated. the commission has no involvement in improving library contracts. commissioner liu: so someone who wants to have their work published, they would be in a
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position to influence to contract with that vendor or the publisher? >> not at all. commissioner liu: a ok, thank you. commissioner hur: any other questions for ms. marion? thank you. i would like to take public comment on this matter. >> yes, thank you very much, commissioners, and of course, do not accept money for the friends of the library. this is more complicated as it seems or as it is being represented or kind of masked as a potential author might want to write something, its publisher might be involved. it is also actually a wide spectrum of vendors, not just somebody who might want to
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publish a book. there are digital vendors, and digitalization projects, all kinds of exhibition projects, copier vendors. there is a wide number of people who do business with the library, and they not only do business with the library, they do business with people who have another level of influence, which is the public-private partnership they have with the private nonprofit. and, in fact, if you looked at what is being proposed here as an exemption that can always be exempted on a case by case basis by seeking a prior determination, so you are actually stepping back from a level of review that ought to apply to every department. in fact, and library or library
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commissioner is no less likely to write a book than a nurse and a hospital or a gardener working in golden gate park. and as i say, the provision is that they can get a prior determination on the case-by- case basis that there is no actual conflict when that comes up. i expressed some concerns before because the incompatible activity statement that had been in place since 1995 or whenever it was was completely ignored in this process and still has not been rescinded. i guess you are considering it rescinded as a de facto fact, but i wish this had been originated through the library commission rather than refer to them as a fait accomplit, and as
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i say, this is not a bunch of little offers getting their exemptions for one little book. this is a big business with big players involved, and we need the kind of oversight that this whole idea of an incompatible activity statement envisions. but you very much. -- thank you very much. >> commissioners, the director of san francisco open government. unfortunately, when i reviewed these things for a meeting, i always have the tendency to read the entire thing, not just the part that is under revision, and having attended the library commission meetings for a number of years, i had to read something in here and came to the conclusion that what you are doing is rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.
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prohibition on gifts for assistance with city services. no officer or other may receive gifts for performance of a specific service or act of the officer or employee with respect to read or perform in the regular course of his or her or duties for advice about the processes of the city directly related to the officer or employee duties and responsibilities on the processes of the entity they serve. i just recently in december had a finding of a sunshine violation against the city librarian for withholding public records. he was very, very careful to send all of my requests to him to the secretary of the library commission, and then sent me all the information from the friends of this difference is the public library. now, they withheld all of the information which would appear in documents that the city library is required to provide to the mayor's office, the comptroller, and other city
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agencies and simply gave me the numbers that the friends provided, which are not audited. the interesting thing was, when you look at some categories and then you look at this item, mr. herrera its approximately $65,000 per year by the friends for use at his discretion. $35,000.40 -- -- $35,000 for use at his discretion and then another 35,000 or so for his views. office supplies. i guess the library and others do not provide him with office supplies, so the friends have to give him $35,000 a year to buy those, and he takes the step out to lunch, and he has this and that and those two conferences, all of which are related to his duties, but all of which i believe that put him in a situation where he was told a
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situation -- information about the friends and what they actually turn over of the $4 million or $5 million per year that they raise and what makes it into the coffers of the city library. so far in the branch library improvement program, they committed to a contribution. so far, they have given $1.40 million although 88% of the bridges are completed, and every time mr. herrera is asked for an explanation by the library commission, he makes excuses. >> peter warfield, library users association. the previous speaker has certainly touched on some issues that are very problematic and which i certainly think you should keep uppermost in mind. i did not come to a particular comment on this, but i do think i have some observations to
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make for your consideration. first of all, the library typically does not buy books from publishers. they'd buy them essentially from jobbers, like baker and taylor, who provide an all time of books from a whole variety of publishers so that they can deal with one vendor and by and large do not have to deal with many, many publishers that exist. if they have a problem with a particular title, they can easily go to a bookstore or a jobber and get it that way without having a direct connection with a publisher. the elements that you appear to want to cross out from section 3a, restrictions that apply to officers and employees, seem to be problematic, as well, and, in fact, no. d, as in dog, seems to
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be insufficiently restricted even as it stands. it should be much broader. it's as no employee or the city librarian may serve whether compensated or not as a consultant, exhibition designer, or prepare for a company, a nonprofit organization, artist or artist collected whose exhibitions are booked into the library. well, i think the final phrase ought to be stricken altogether, and that should stand. they should not be serving anybody who has a relationship with the library, particularly where there is money involved, as, for example, the friends. it should not just the folks you have an exhibition. -- who have an exhibition. section e, as in edward,
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following that, provide services for compensation as an instructor for any person or entity that provides training at the library. well, there is no reason why an employee should be an instructor for, as an example, and technology vendor at the library. of thing that is a clear potential conflict of interest, so i think that all of these things that you are looking to strike are not really issues, and in specific cases, the library could seek an exemption. i do think that these are conflicts that are problematic and that it should be strengthened rather than weakens. thank you. >> good evening, david. a couple of items on this, and i recall my testimony back in may
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when we last discussed this issue. on page one, there is a proposal to add library policies as references. that is fine. i just think it is important that those policies either be hyperlink and the document if it is available on line or be available on the library website so that they are easily accessible, and one of the items of the library of rights, it is not clear if that is the san francisco library bill of rights or the library association bill of rights. it may help to clarify just who's bill of rights and that is. on pages two and three, the language is proposed to be stricken as it reads now, i think it would just replacea through e as reserved, and then there is an a on another page. is a staff intend to have something hanging there or not?
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and on the substance, it does seem to me, even if the general restrictions are proposed to be eliminated so that author's, so a member of the commission or staff can be a published author, and the library can buy their books to circulate, which was part of the intent here, there may be other examples that are imbedded in this a through e that should remain an codify more specifically with examples things that would appear from the government code 1090 or other prohibitions, such as being involved in a contract with an being compensated by a vendor contracts with the library generally, like the bookbinding example, so i think those are continuing prohibitions that exist
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elsewhere, but this is perhaps the best way to repeat and codify this is because those other documents do not have those kinds of examples here that your staff has ably and nicely crafted to guide the conduct of officers and employees, so i would encourage you to keep some of this as we try to eliminate those problematic prohibitions. thank you. >> i am actually here for the next agenda item, and there is no more paperwork about what we will be take -- talking about. is it possible for staff to get more before that agenda item? commissioner hur: do we have any extras? commissioners, and comments with respect to agenda item two?
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commissioner studley: this is more in the nature of a question, and it may be for others. we know that there are other general conflict policies that apply to all city employees above and beyond the sia, and it would help me to understand something about the scope of those, a more general version of the same kind of things or how they would operate in effect in situations of a kind that are described. >> deputy city attorney andrew shen. they are just different.
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there are broader and narrower. that reflects financial interests, and one significant difference between that statutory scheme and these restrictions is that at least with the political reform act, you need to be part of the decision making chain before you have a conflict not just those people that are in the decision making chain, and i think that is where commissioner liu's questioning was going. you do not have to do that to have these rules affecting. -- affect you. there are many other differences, i think.
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one way that they are different from, say, the political reform act is that to do with the political reform act, to recuse yourself of the process, and here, there is a different process that you are well aware of, a determination, getting that decided on by the appropriate decision maker, is just different in many respects, but i would say in general, they are sort of targeting the same things. the political reform act does try to prohibit them from sort of benefiting themselves at the end of the day, and i think that is what a lot of the restrictions go to themselves. it is hard to say they precisely overlap, but there are ways that these are addressed to other conflict of interest laws, as well. commissioner studley: i have another question. it

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