Skip to main content

tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  March 4, 2019 1:00am-2:01am PST

1:00 am
there's a short coming to that in that someone named john smith -- or joshua smith and josh smith would show up as different contributors because they're string matched. >> chair chiu: so is there a search field, and maybe this is another way of asking commissioner lee's question. is there a way to search by contributor? >> yes, ma'am. if i go back, and i'll use mr. benioff as an example again.
1:01 am
you can see here contributions to the yes on c, yes on c, and then, a different committee, yes on a, so you can see it's bringing in information from different committees. that was all i wanted to show you today, but i think you can get the most out of these by playing with them yourself. i encourage you all to click around and attempt to find interesting information. i wanted to reemphasize the public and the reporters in san francisco have come to rely on these as a source of information, and the ethics commission has accordingly started updating these -- and that we update these on a daily basis, and it has become a daily part of operations inside
1:02 am
the commission because we want to keep values current and make sure that accurate numbers are always available. we're working on building out the technical infrastructure that makes things like this possible, and so i look forward to bringing more projects like this to your attention in the future. >> chair chiu: mr. field, thank you very much for this. i found that to be a very powerful presentation. i think that the automatetion and the clear and easy interaction of this, it's really stunning to see it laid out there in black and white or full color how many money is being spent in our election. it's shocking that $11 million is coming into our city elections from north carolina. i never would have known that absent your dashboard. and so this goes to a budget question. i think executive director
1:03 am
pelham will address later, but do you have the resources that you need to continue to maintain this work and update its as we -- it as we go forward? >> i will defer that to executive director pelham. hopefully she will let me know beforehand if the answer is no. >> well, certainly budget cuts for the commission budget in the upcoming year, we definitely do not and cannot let anything happen to the resources here. i think this is such a powerful tool for not just for us but certainly for the public and especially for the voters to understand, you know, where is the support coming from. it is significant. so thank you for that. >> thank you. >> chair chiu: any other comments from commissioners? okay. public comment? mr. marstellar. >> yes. for the record, charles
1:04 am
marstellar again. i was wondering if the press in particular, but i guess members of the public have called in and tried to factor what percentage of an individual's contributions would constitute spending in a ballot measure race. so that you take prop c, for example, and if you see mr. benioff, just to pick a name, i should say, mr. smith was a major donor, then, you -- the press is able to quickly ascertain what percentage of total spending or fund raising was donated by that particular individual and constitutes what percentage of the total budget to date of the committee's spending or the committee's contributions, whatever you
1:05 am
choose to look at. that was the question. >> i would say currently, you would -- someone looking to answer that question would have to do a little bit of math on their own, but i appreciate the suggestion and we'll certainly take it into consideration for the next round for the upcoming elections. >> chair chiu: thank you. >> good afternoon, chair chiu, and members of the commission. welcome, judge smith. my name's john gollinger. i'm a public interest lawyer, campaign finance advocate, i teach election law now at golden gate, and i've been coming to the commission and to the department about two decades, also as a campaign manager on many campaigns. i want to comment on the dashboard. i do think this is a vital function that both the public,
1:06 am
the media, campaigns, and posterity will use. a couple of comments on the current system. one is i'm someone who uses the ethics commission website in the disclosure literally every day during the campaign cycle, and sadly almost every day outside of the campaign cycle. i will say in part because i have not found that the dashboard is updated in a timely fashion -- at least to me a timely fashion is effectively immediately. because certainly during campaigns, every day, hour by hour during the heat of the election really does matter. so i'm not sure that i have found that the dashboard is the most current information. so personally, i go to the most current filings on the website and pull them down. benioff, when i was telling campaign reporters about the
1:07 am
money that was being spent on that campaign, i looked them up and pulled them myself. i'm sure that staff is working hard, but i would encourage priority to upload those when they come in. related -- this is related to what commissioner lee asked, the individual donor -- i think the dashboard emphasizes the aggregate and the big picture, which is valuable for policy heads and those of us who care, but for voters and i think reporters in the most part and me personally, it's what the individual donors are buying with their money and what their motivation is that i care about. so i would encourage making that dashboard truly more of a link to the individual donors. for example, you could take the information you have on the campaign finance tab and just simply put -- insert tabs for the pdf on the dashboard, and you could make it easy for
1:08 am
someone to download each of his filings rather than have to shift over to a different part of the website to see what he gave and how. >> choair chiu, commissioners, my name is pat ford. i'm a policy analyst. item eight is the latest view of the public financing program. i think for the benefit of the newest member of the commission, i'd just like to briefly recap what this project entails and now this agenda
1:09 am
item fits into that larger context. >> commissioner smith: thank you. >> so beginning last summer, staff's direction, we initiated review of the public finance program. it's the process by which the mayor or candidates can apply to receive money to run their campaigns. the project was in response to a series of appeals, concerns, high volume of questions that were coming in from candidates that centered around certain aspects of workability and effectiveness at a kind of more procedural level at the program that candidates were finding certain aspects of it very challenging to understand and comply with, and some instances, candidates were in fact unable to participate because they did not comply with certain aspects of the
1:10 am
qualification requirements sometimes unwitingly. the lens we were looking at is how can we make the program more effective, more workable, impose less of a compliance burden on candidates, improve the program in that way without changing really the basic structure of the program, not getting into matching ratios and not funding the candidates can get, etc., but looking at things that were kind of more procedural in nature. kind of the benefits of that approach, for one, initially, there was a hope that this piece could affect the november 2019 election, and a smaller in scope ordinance was able to get through the election, get it to
1:11 am
the board of supervisors more digestible, and a committee or board be able to review it, understand it, and be able to act on it quickly. so that's kind of one benefit of that. also, last year when staff were working with members of the board on the acao, the anticorruption and accountability ordinance, we heard from their staff that they would appreciate having much smaller in scope ordinances, this a large -- that a large, comprehensive ordinance is difficult for them to understand, so when you do these things, bring them in pieces kind of ti pieces kind of tied together. so the second phase, which staff plans to begin basically when the first phase is done would be looking at these more fundamental features of the program, like what kind of funding can candidates get once
1:12 am
they qualify, so that would include what's the maximum level of funding that a candidate is eligible to receive. how do they receive it? right now, they receive it through an initial grant and subsequent matching funds. another proposal is to use democracy vouchers. it's been used in the city of seattle, so looking at an approach like that. or even if the current approach is capped, what's the current ratio for matching. currently, it's 2:1 for the vast majority of contributions, and then a brief 1:1 following that, so i think we'll be looking at a brief matching ratio, why that would be appropriate, how much it would cost, the effects it would be on campaigns. other things to look at would be qualification requirements. other candidates have to receive a certain total aggregate number of contributions, so they have to
1:13 am
receive a sum total of money that they receive from the residents in total 18 months before the election. looking at that, is that the proper metric for assessing whether a candidate is viable, whether they're a serious candidate that should be receiving funds other the -- under the program . so that brings me to what's before you under agenda item eight. so there are three ordinances attached to the brief memo and chart, and these ordinances reflect staff's recommendations that were originally contained in the report presented in october. the different -- three different ordinances are
1:14 am
similar. they contain the same three changes that are enumerated there in the memo. they different in how they would affect the mechanism for changing the spending limits that apply to candidates. attachment two would maintain the incremental adjustment model but use larger increments in order to bring about a change in how many adjustments there would be. and then, attachment three would not change the incremental adjustment model. it could keep it as is, and that would be an option for the commission to take if you wants to either not make any changes or you wanted to poertentially consider such a change when we're looking at ratios and model of funding, etc.
1:15 am
so that was put there as an option if you don't want to make some of the changes that are recommended elsewhere here. so another option that i wanted to mention that's not mepgsntid in the memo is roll this set of provisions into that second phase of review. essentially, we're planning to initiate this review right now, this second part of the review, and it essentially tabled these provisions, and then, when staff comes back with recommendations from that second phase of the review, you could roll the first phase into it. so there are kind of some pros and cons to that approach. the cons would be going back to the reason initially why we did a narrower in scope ordinance. so there may be issues, again, with the acao of bringing that
1:16 am
to the board in a large package, kind of the problems that go along with that. if it goes a little bit more slowly, sometimes it's hard to take on multiple issues at once, and also, it would be much later in time. for one, staff would need the time to review the second phase changes, bring an ordinance to you. certainly, you'd want to review those, discuss them, bringing it to the commission at a later time, bringing it to the board at a later time, possibly affecting the november 2019 election would be off the table if it were taken. the pros are that you only have one ordinance, so instead of having two, you have one. so if you were to approve an ordinance today, i would be then working with the board on that ordinance while simultaneously working on the phase two review.
1:17 am
we do have another person coming on board soon that director pelham will talk about. so that will be a factor. there would be in a sense kind of two bottles in the air at once. rolling them into one would resolve that issue. another thing to think about is that after the meeting materials for this meeting were published on monday, legislation emerged from supervisor mar on tuesday that you already briefly chatted with mr. wright about, and that ordinance essentially addresses the same topics as our topics of this review, except it looks at both phases. it incorporates the procedural and workability and effectiveness of the changes in the ordinance before you today, but it proposes to make a lot of the more substantial fundamental changes that we're
1:18 am
planning to make in phase two. so spiuffice it to say, we'll hear from supervisor mar's office shortly. but that's moving forward. it plans to move forward to the board. so one provision from the board in terms of what provisions of the code are being changed, to have that lined up, there's value. so when you're kind of evaluating which approach to take, that kind of weighs on the pros side. if you were to send a narrow in scope ordinance to the board while the board has a broader scope ordinance, that could create some confusion, which mean's the right one, etc. so having at least two ordinances that are similar in scope could lend itself better to combining them or choosing which one to move forward with, etc. so i think with that, i would
1:19 am
say, you know, whichever option you choose, we're going to continue to engage with the stakeholders closely as we have been during this whole process, engaging with the board and their staff. so with that, i would invite any questions that you have about the projector abo or abo these ordinances that have been presented as part of the project. >> commissioner smith: i have a question, if i might. i was very interested in the board's action and involvement or apparent involvement. other than supervisor mar, did there seem to be a positive reaction from the board getting into this particular subject? >> so i have not heard from any other members of the board on this particular subject. i've only been in touch with supervisor mar's office. >> commissioner smith: okay. thank you. >> chair chiu: deputy city attorney shen? >> with respect to supervisor
1:20 am
mar's ordinance, i just want to make it clear that it has not yet been introduced at the board of supervisors. supervisor mar had announced on tuesday his intention to introduce it. once it is formally introduced, i believe on the 26th of this month, it will be formally forwarded to for your -- to you for your consideration on the ethics commission. there are special requirements for consideration to this ordinance. four members need to approve for it to go forward potentially to the board today. >> chair chiu: so the -- i have a question for the deputy city attorney shen. so when the ordinance comes over, the board of supervisors will not have voted on it at that point, or they will have approved it. >> that is correct. so in addition to the special procedural vote in addition to the super majority vote
1:21 am
requirements, those vote requirements also need to operate in a certain sequence, that the ethics commission needs to approve it and then, the board considers it and potentially approves it as you'll recall last year from the joint meeting. >> chair chiu: so we would receive the amendment from the board of supervisors and require a four fifths vote to approve it, and then, it would need a super majority vote. >> yes. but that doesn't preclude the staff from making informal sort of connections or making -- initiating communications with the various supervisors' offices about what they'd be interested in supporting, various amendments they'd like to see. we can certainly do that on an informal basis. >> chair chiu: but we can expect an ordinance to come our way from the board of supervisors after the february 26 meeting. >> there is an opportunity for a lot of formal dialogue. >> chair chiu: so if, for
1:22 am
example, we were taking the next step in the procedural analysis, if we were to act to approve today by fourth-fifths vote an ordinance encompassing today? >> yes. >> chair chiu: and on the substantive question, mr. ford, if you could just let us now what there are and how many, if so, points of -- in common that we have in our proposed ordinance in whatever shape or form, being as inclusive as possible when held up against the proposed ordinance from supervisor mar. >> yeah. i nknow there's at least one, maybe two of the provisions of the ordinances that are before you that are in the ordinance from supervisor mar.
1:23 am
>> commissioner smith: is there a history of the two staffs or the two groups working together informally or otherwise to -- when there's an area of joint interest? >> with members of the board generally, yes. with supervisor mar, no, only because he's brand-new to the board of supervisors. >> i know that feeling. >> yeah. >> chair chiu: any other comments or questions from the commissioners? commissioner ambrose? >> commissioner ambrose: deputy city attorney shen, just so i'm clear, if this commission were to forward one of the -- a version of an ordinance to the board at the same time that supervisor mar's ordinance was
1:24 am
forwarded to this commission, i'm assuming at that point, it would be possible sending something back to the board for -- for the issues to also be recon -- reconciled in a public hearing on the various points. i guess what i'm getting at, reading the material from the staff, based on the comments that we had at the last meeting, seeing the e-mails here, there are at least a few of the, let's say -- what are -- there's maybe four different subject matters that you attempt to address. there's a couple more that i saw in supervisor mar's draft that he's adding to the debate. so wouldn't it be helpful if we at least had some feedback to you on where we think we're at on some of those individual items? i mean, i'm also open to just
1:25 am
waiting to react to what they have, but i'm ready to plow through it if you wanted to take them sort of point by point. [please stand by]
1:26 am
1:27 am
1:28 am
1:29 am
1:30 am
1:31 am
1:32 am
1:33 am
1:34 am
1:35 am
1:36 am
1:37 am
1:38 am
1:39 am
1:40 am
1:41 am
1:42 am
1:43 am
1:44 am
1:45 am
1:46 am
1:47 am
1:48 am
1:49 am
1:50 am
1:51 am
1:52 am
1:53 am
1:54 am
1:55 am
1:56 am
1:57 am
1:58 am
1:59 am
2:00 am
impact. i think that staff would advise you not to change it at all. only because for, one, just the general idea of not changing the code unless you are competent it is going to have an impact to address an identified issue. it is best to leave it untouched. also, i think that it might be hard to go back later and do it again because it is like, well, the commission already acted. they did what they thought needed to be done then. why change it so