tv [untitled] July 15, 2010 12:00pm-12:30pm PST
transparent and fair. by prohibiting elected officials from holding political party office will help foster stronger government. supervisor campos: with clear requirements under the law an official has to take seriously, i'm trying to proposal, what the mayor is trying to do is not only address the issue of conflict of interest but even the appearance of a conflict of interest. i mean, isn't there an inconsistency here because you have a mayor who is introducing
this measure as he himself is about to hold a seat on the very same body that he is trying to keep members of the board of supervisors from serving on. does that mean that for purposes of consistency that mayor newsom will not accept the seat that is given to him as the democratic party nominee for lieutenant governor so that he as a local elected official doesn't also fall in the same predicament that his measure is trying to avoid, where you have a situation where the mayor of san francisco, an elected local official would have a seat on the party committee? does that mean that he will not accept that seat? >> thank you for the question. the short answer is that the city family decides to forgo those seats that he would be willing to forgo his seat as well. supervisor campos: so that means that -- well, presumably, this will be on the ballot in
november, right? >> yes. supervisor campos: so while this item goes to ballot, will he take a seat on the democratic county central committee? >> i don't know the process by which he is seated on the democratic, if that has occurred or not. supervisor campos: my understanding is that automatically gets a seat and he will be able to take a seat at the first meeting of the democratic county central committee which i think is happening in a matter of days. so will he be sitting at that meeting? will he himself or a proxy be sitting at that meeting? >> supervisor, the mayor has made clear that if other elected officials that are currently elected officials in the city and county of san francisco, chose to honor the spirit of this mohammed, he would hold himself to the same standard. supervisor campos: i reason i ask you ask -- the reason i ask you sir, the others aren't
proposing dual service by local elected officials. if i were proposing something that says that no elected local official shall have a seat on the central committee along the lines that the mayor is doing and i, myself, were given a seat on that county central committee while remaining a local elected official so that i'm not inconsent, i would not accept that seat because here i am proposing a policy change, if i really believe in that poll, i'm going to be consent with that policy. so that's why i ask you, because the other local elected officials are not making this policy change proposal. the mayor is. so i want to make sure that on the record we are clear about whether or not mayor newsom having proposed this measure that probets officials on a county central committee, will he take that seat in the matter
of a few days? >> i will repeat my answer which will probably frustrate you simply because i am a member of the mayor's staff here at city hall. i am not part of his campaign for lieutenant governor, which is the vehicle by which he has is afforded a seat. i simply will say that if the rest of the city family decides, those people that will be impacted by the spirit of law, the mayor as well. i apologize. supervisor campos: i understand. do you think it's consent for the mayor to say local elected officials should not serve on a county central committee and then to at the same time turn around as a locality elected official, which he remains, then at that same time take a seat on the county central committee? do you think that's consistent? >> i certainly hea you are implying that you don't think that it's not appropriate one way or another for me to judge that or make a statement about that. i represent the mayor here and i am conveying that message.
supervisor campos: i would say that it is inconsent. if i had a measure like this on the ballot, the way that mayor newsom is doing, i would be consent with that measure and i would not sit on the county central committee. >> and again, i just reiterate that there is a path where he would choose to forgo that seat if there was consensus among the city family. i'm just saying the same thing over and over again. supervisor campos: i think you can't have it both ways. that's the first question. >> ok. supervisor campos: the second question is, you know, there were a number of comments that the mayor made in the press about the concern with ethics and potential conflicts of interest and specifically the issue of members, elected, local elected officials taking contributions, certain contributions for people who might be doing business before the city, the board, and i
don't know if you're an attorney, but as an attorney, you know that there are specific requirements that govern when you can actually take a political contribution and you started your presentation by making it very clear that those requirements are very strict and they have to be enforced. and to my knowledge, the mayor is not in any way saying that any of the local elected officials who are about -- who are elected to the democratic county central committee have failed to fly with those legal requirements, or is he saying -- >> i appreciate you pointing that out. we in no way impugn the actions of any elected official in the city. we make no accusations explicit or imply sit and i appreciate that you give me the opportunity to say that. supervisor campos: that's good. it's an issue about the potential appearance, is that the -- >> appearance, potential for ability for, all those qualifiers. supervisor campos: given that appearance is a concern with
respect to that, let's talk about appearance. the mayor as you know, as you noted is running for lieutenant governor and there is nothing wrong with a sitting elected official running for lieutenant governor. i have indicated to him my own personal view that he would be a hell of a lot better a choice than the republican opponent. >> i'm sure he appreciates that. supervisor campos: in that election. he is running for lieutenant governor. and to the extent that appearances that concern, as you know, he has taken a number of donations as a candidate for lieutenant governor. so to your knowledge, has he taken any donations as a candidate for lieutenant governor from people who have business before the city and county of san francisco? >> let me preface my answer by saying that i am not an attorney. i have not been to law school.
i have never practiced law. i am not the expert in this city in this room on campaign finance law. i will also say that i have no more knowledge than what is publicly available of the contributions that have come into the mayor's campaign for lieutenant governor. now with that said, on his campaign, he is subject to the same 1.126 requirement that he would be were he running, say, if he was a first term mayor for a second term. as a matter of fact, i believe that the piece in question about not receiving campaign contributions from city contractors was actually something that then supervisor newsom had a hand in creating. obviously, he does hold his campaign to all of the applicable laws under 1.26. >> my understanding, mr. elliott, is that he has in fact, his campaign has in fact taken tens of thousands of dollars from parties that have certain interests before the city including parties that seek approval and permits before the city.
again, not a violation of a law, but if his concern as you noted earlier is not that elected officials who serve on the central committee are violating the law, but the appearance, then how do you justify taking one position with respect to supervisors on the count central committee and at the same time, you yourself in your campaign for another office are taking moneys from interests that have, from parties that have an interest, financial interest in matters before the city? >> right. your choice of pronouns in saying your campaign, i understand you're speaking in shorthand, i think there is something to be said there. i am not the right person to ask about the intricacies of campaign finance law on a statewide race. i am not part in any way of the mayor's lieutenant governor campaign. i support him as you said you
do. beyond that, i gave him a paltry sum of money. maybe i should be a campaign finance lawyer. apparently they make a lot more. i could make a bigger contribution. that's not what i do. i can't answer that question for you. supervisor campos: i am asking you that question, sir, because you're coming here to say the main reason why the mayor is submitting this measure is because of the appearance. >> yes. supervisor campos: in terms of local elected officials taking money for another office from people who might have a matter that is before the board or the city. and i'm saying, well, how do you do that while at the same time the mayor, who is introducing this legs is also doing the same -- legislation, is also doing the same where he is taking money from parties that have an interest in matters before this city? >> so, again, i understand the argument you're making. i would simply say that the
mayor in his campaign for lieutenant governor, no matter what office he were running for, whether it was during his campaign for governor or whatever other office may come about, he is bound by the same laws that he would be, were he running for office in san francisco. those are the laws on the books. if you feel that there is a shortcoming in those laws, certainly, the voters of the city and county and the board itself has time and time again reaffirmed and strengthened those laws. if there is work to be done to strengthen campaign finance laws, that's a fully separate discussion. what we're presenting today in this charter-mandated hearing is this because when you're a sitting d.a. or a public defender or member of the board or a mayor and you operate with one set of ethics laws from 9:00 to 5:00. nobody works from 9:00 to 5:00, 8:00 to 7:00. you can change haths and be a different man or woman -- i shouldn't say that, you are governed by a different set of ethics laws, that presents if not actual conflict of interest, the perception of
conflict of interest by the people of the city and county who might not these tiny little distinctions that occupy us so much but maybe are not so obviously to the other 800,000 people who live here. supervisor campos: what i'm saying is i personally think the mayor has every right to put an item on the ballot for voters to decide on. quite frankly, in my family, my partner will end up voting for this because he doesn't want me to serve on any more bodies. >> i'm not going to respond to that one. supervisor campos: i think you have to be consent here. while i don't think that gavin newsom, mayor newsom has done anything wrong, as you indicated nobody has broken any law. >> explicitly. supervisor campos: i think it's a question of consistency here. >> i appreciate that. supervisor campos: supervisor
alioto-pier. supervisor alioto-pier: thank you. perhaps before we begin, we should state this for the record. i think you're right. i don't think that the general public has an understanding of how is works or plays and who is on the dccc. it is important to note that we have a number of members of the board of supervisors who currently sit on the dccc and the board of supervisors. supervisor campos has mentioned himself. supervisor mar and supervisor avalos was just elected. supervisor david chiu, supervisor daly just got off of the dccc. former supervisors peskinin and mcgoldrick were on it, but that would still be ok under this. >> he is not longer on it. >> there are others who may become members of the board. supervisor alioto-pier: that is true. and as a member of the board of supervisors, when we run for
office, it's interesting. what i think has happened is that we have seen a lot of candidates running for supervisor run for dccc, too. they're recall for it and set up their account. they'll set up their website. in some cases their websites will have links to their supervise sites. as a member of the board of supervisors, when you're running for supervisor, you have a $500 limit. you have limits on who you can take money from when you are running for that office you have certain limits. when you're running for the dccc, the limits are much different and much greater because they are unlimited. so there certainly is the possibility that a candidate running for the dccc could take a $25,000 or $50,000 contribution running for the dccc to send out mailers and pamphlets on support of
themselves while at the same time gearing up for running for supervisor a number of months later. so i do think that there is a very good reason why this is on the ballot. it is, in my opinion, clear that it could be used as a way of circumventing the current laws that we have in place for receiving contributions and for running for supervisor, doing both at the same time, and so there are some very valid concerns which is why i am very glad to see this on the ballot. i will certainly be supporting it. the other thing that i do want to mention is that there are other -- and i am not making any accusations because i do realize that we are in this discussion. we don't want to get too upset or nervous about it, but under -- let's take some hypothetical situations. you can have things at the dccc, discussions on upcoming ballot initiatives, upcoming tax measures, all sorts of
different things. you can have open conversations at the dccc about it and if you have a number of members of the board, enough to make quorum in either committees or at the full board, you're running into some potential brown act violations if those same issues discussed there are translated here to the board of supervisors. and because those conversations are taking place at the dccc, people don't necessarily know they're taking place there and they don't know if they're upcoming conversations. in some cases, things will come to the board that have been voted on at the dccc that will be voted on here at the board of supervisors. it is without question, definitely a little gray area and i think that what the mayor is trying to do here is absolutely consent and i think that it is -- i think that he is right to have some concerns about what conversations might be taking place in both places and what types of contributions are going through. i will also say that i had
mentioned earlier the number of people who currently sit on both bodies here at the board. i don't think it is inconsent for him to take a seat on the dccc as the lieutenant governor for the state as the democratic nominee as long as there are members of the board who are still holding both of those positions, i don't think it should preclude him from holding both positions because you are playing under the same game rules. and we may agree with something or disagree with something, but once it becomes the law, then we all abide by it and i think it is only fair that it is applied to everyone equllly, regardless of what their opinion might be. so i don't think that's inconsent and i don't think you should shy away from saying that it isn't inconsent. -- inconsistent.
i think this is a good thing and i applaud the mayor for putting it on the ballot. i frankly wish that we had done it. supervisor campos: thank you, supervisor. i guess the one point that i would make is simply that i don't have a problem with local elected officials not serving on the democratic county central committee if that is what is decided, but i do think there has to be something where it's applicable to all elected officials and that's irrespective of the technicality whether it's a vote or not. it should not be just limited to the board of supervisors. i think it should be members of the board of education, members of the city college, a number of things. >> if i may respond to that. we don't have jurisdiction. this is something we explored. we don't have jurisdiction to dictate on the community college board, on the school board because we're saying dccc and school districts and none our city and county. what we have is for the 18 elected officials, the list i
gave, that's who we can do prohibitions for. not the other organizations and entities. they would have have to pass their own rules. supervisor campos: we are joined by supervisor elsbernd. supervisor elsbernd: i would like to thank alioto-pier for the debate and i found the debate one-sided and completely ignoring some pretty significant facts about some members of the dccc able to take dollars for their race that would be entirely illegal if they were running for another office, p.a.c. money, money from people who take contracts from the city, entirely illegal contributions. i think what the mayor is putting forward will address that situation and make sure that there is no appearance of i will legality, that we're black and white and not playing in the gray areas as what has happened in the last few years. i would like to thank the mayor for putting this forward and
giving the people a chance to understand what has been happening over the last few years. one of the great benefits of this measure being on the ballot, over the next four months, there is going to be a great voter education opportunity, the members of the voters are going to understand what has been happening and then upon passage, we can clear this up. i would like to thank the mayor for putting this forward. supervisor campos: supervisor alioto-pier. cloip thank you supervisor campos. thank you supervisor elsbernd. the other point i want to make is this as for greater representation. there are more people serving on more bodies. you don't have that duplication. by opening the process up more it's certainly better. we all know as office holders, as members of the boards, as incumbents, it's easier for us at times. it can be easier for us to navigate the system and harder for people who aren't currently holding office. it is good to open up those seats to give opportunities for
other people to step forward into public service. so again, thank you. supervisor campos: thank you, mr. elliott. >> thank you, sir. supervisor campos: you're a brave man coming before the rules committee. >> i appreciate it. supervisor campos: well done. we have here a representative of president chiu's office, would you like to add anything on behalf of president chiu? >> thank you chair campos and supervisors. all morning, i'm an aide to supervisor david chiu. i wanted to put president chiu on behalf of president chiu on the record opposing this measure as we have the opportunity for a public hearing, it truly is i believe a discussion illustrated that supervisor campos led a solution in search of a problem. it has all sorts of inconsent sis relating to other races that elected officials who are among these 18 individuals may be pursuing and it's simply,
even the point supervisor elsbernd made, it remains true that many of the -- that other elected officials running for statewide office are not subject to say $500 limits that elected officials are here. i also wanted to make one additional comment -- >> i didn't understand that. >> i'm saying that to my knowledge, if you're running as an elected official in san francisco running for statewide office, you're not subject to the same contribution limits that you would be if you were running for that local office, therefore, creating i believe arguably the same appearance issues that mr. elliott was referencing in the comments. supervisor alioto-pier: for clarity, when you're running for lieutenant governor, there are limits. no they're not, $3600 i think for individual. when you're running for the dccc, it's completely unlimited. so there is a very big difference between those two. obviously, when you're running for supervisor, it's $500. >> i appreciate your comments, supervisor. i would argue that history and
recent experience shows that the amounts involved in a statewide race that candidates can raise just dwarf beyond all imagining by any raised by dccc candidates. they are completely covered by the city disclosure laws. and it's within 24 hours. i wanted to make those points and put president chiu on the record. we know what is going on here. it really is a solution in search of a problem and obviously it will be put before the voters to decide, thank you. supervisor campos: supervisor alioto-pier, do you want to add anything? supervisor alioto-pier: i disagree that this is a solution, a problem in search of a solution? a solution in search of a problem? i think it's a problem in search of a solution because i think this is one of those issues that could get us in trouble. it hasn't gotten us into trouble yet, but it certainly can. and again for public disclosure, supervisor chiu is also a member of the dccc and
benefited from those when he ran for supervisor as well. i'm sure he'll appreciate me saying that. thank you for your comments. supervisor campos: let me thank you for that. let me say on the point that i think supervisor elsbernd was making which is that one of the concerns is that if you run for central committee, you're not limited to the contribution limits that you were as a candidate for board of supervisors and so you are -- when you're running for central committee, you can accept a contribution that you would not be able to accept as a candidate for supervisor. that is correct. there are two things that i would like to say about that. one, when you're running for office, uruguayed by whatever the limitation of that specific office are. if you're running for central committee, you have to follow different rules. if you're running for lieutenant governor as mayor newsom is, he has to follow different rules.
i would be all for addressing that -- the second point, i would be all for addressing that difference in terms of the limitations because from a public policy standpoint it makes sense that loophole does not exist. i'm all for that. and if there is a way that we can work on that, i think that it's something that is worth doing. i have no problem with the measure in the sense that it should go before the voters, if that's what the mayor wants to do. i do think that the same issues that are identified as problems or potential problems with respect to members of the board of supervisors serving on the central committee, that those same issues could apply to the situation of you have a mayor running for another office. it doesn't mean that any of these officials have done anything wrong or illegal, no one is saying that, but to the extent that the concern here is
appearance, i think that the same concerns apply. and so with that said, i think it's good to have this discussion, very heated and passionate discussion. i think that in the end, what we want is as much transparency and we want a government that is accountable to the people of the city and county of san francisco. so with that, why don't we open it up to public comment. i see mr. washington in the audience. >> supervisors and listen audience, my name is ayes washington. it was quite interesting in the press room. let me just say for clarification how it appears and speaking from a perspective of an african-american black man in and around politics, i was around long before all of y'all. i was on when your aunty was a great supervisor and was once president of the board of supervisors. well, since then, things have
changed tremendously in san francisco. the structure, the political, everything has changed like you turn your head and you see all new faces here. i do understand there are struggles between the progressive power and the old power. back in the day, they used to have a man that looked my color, willie brown, it was back there in those days where those type of politics were my people, african-americans were involved with the dccc. i don't see nobody of african-american decent from the dccc right now. i'm speaking to the politics. we have a mayor who is getting ready to leave here. i know you guys are going to come to some issues. who is the next mayor, the interim mayor? that has to be decided by you supervisors. that is very interesting. i will be really interested to see how that turns out. but i do think the mayor and everyone that is here, transparency is the most important thing, particularly here in san francisco politics,
full of tricks make you turn into a lunatic. i have other things that i am not going to say on the air. right now the politics, i have been here over 27 years. i have never some my life see city hall the way it is now. they call it city hall, it's silly hall. nothing personal against any of you y'all or nobody that is not here. i have never seen city hall, you can walk down city hall. it's a ghost town that nobody really controls nothing around here. we have a mayor that is getting ready to leave and you have the board of supervisors that is going to have to pick our interim mayor and that has never been done in history. that's going to be very interesting. as a press person, i have been here over 20 years. currently people don't recognize me or really appreciate that i am the media, but i am. i represent my community, the african-american press and i'm going to be here and i want to definitely try to document to see how all of these procedures come out because as you said, it has to be transparent.
and our younger generation of the african-american community must know that city hall is open for them, also, because we have less than 4% or% because of the mayor's african-american migration report -- i'm going off schedule here, but i thought i would be remiss if i didn't come up to say that i will be watching the ccc, the may's race and who is going to be the next mayor because it's very interesting. say hello to angela for me, will you? supervisor alioto-pier: i will do that. supervisor campos: is there any other member of the public that would like to speak? seeing none, public comment is closed. colleagues, i need a motion to file. supervisor alioto-pier: motion to file. supervisor campos: ok, we can take those without objection. madam clerk, is there any other business before the committee? >> no, mr. chair. supervisor campos: thank you all for being here. thank you to the members of the public, mayor's office. have a good day.