Skip to main content

tv   BOS Government Audit and Oversight Committeee  SFGTV  October 15, 2022 7:30pm-10:01pm PDT

7:30 pm
them. >> >> good morning welcome to the october 11, 2022 special meeting of the government audit and oversight committee of the san francisco board of supervisors i'm dean preston chair joined by vice chair connie chan and supervisor ronen. our clerk today is stephanie cabrera we want to thank sfgovtv for staffing our meeting today. >> do you have announcements? >> thank you. >> board of supervisors are now
7:31 pm
convening hybrid meetings. providing remote access and comment via telephone. public access is essential and take public comment as follows:first on each item on the agenda. those in person allowed speak first and those who are waiting on the phone line. for those watching 26, 28, 78 or 99 and the comment number is streaming across the stream this number is 415-655-0001. again, 415-655-0001. >> enter meeting id access code: 2483 746 1550 ##. once connected you will hear the meeting but muted and in listening mode only. when your item come up and comment is called, those join nothing person should lineup to
7:32 pm
speak and those on the phone dial star 3 to be added to the speaker line if you are on your phone turn down your tv and all listening device. as indicated, we'll take public comment from those in person first then go to the comment phone line. you may submit public comment in writing. e mail them to myself the government audit and oversight clerk @stephanie, c, arera at if you submit via e mail tell be included part of the official file. you may send comments via u.s. postal service in city hall 1 dr. carlton b. goodlet place. items acted upon will be on the board agenda of october 18th unless otherwise stated. that concludes. >> before we get to our first
7:33 pm
and own fwnld item i like to make a motion to excuse supervisor mandelman who is unable to join us today. >> on the motion to excuse member mandelman. >> member ronen. >> aye. >> chair preston. >> aye. >> motion passes i like to thank supervisor ronen for serving today. appreciate your time and participation here today. madam clerk call item one. >> the policy practice to request a require appointise nominees to sign undated resignation letters and any thetten of use of letters and office to report. member who is wish to provide comment call 415-655-0001. meeting id access code: 2483 746 1550 ##. if have not done so. dial star 3 to lineup to speak.
7:34 pm
the system will indicate you have raised your hand wait until you are unmuted and you may begin comments. >> thank you. madam clerk. i have some opening remarks then we will hear from the mayor's office. and i should start by thanking again supervisor ronen for not just being here but cosponsoring the hearing today. and colleagues. colleagues, let's just start i want to thank the and recognize the courage of police commissioner max carter overstone. and also the reporting of vet republican journalist michael barba. and thanks to them, we learned that the mayor has been having
7:35 pm
her nominees to important commissions in san francisco sign undated resignation letters. letters the mayor's office holds while commissioners are serving the city. this practice that was kept secret for years is inconsistent with city law and specifically our city charter. the charter gives the mayor the power to appoint certain charter commissioners, once they are appointed they are protected from unilateral removal by the mayor. commissioners on bodies like our planning commission, police commission, the mta and others. once they are appointed, the commissioners do not, repeat, do not sit at the pleasure of the mayor nor do they work for the mayor. commissioners providing oversight to the mayor's departments are expected to exercise independent judgment
7:36 pm
once appointed and the charter lays out specifically the process for removal of commissioners general low requires for most charter commissioners finding of official isconduct and approval of the board of supervisors and ethic's commission for removal. requiring an appointee or nominee to provide an undated resignation letter at the time of appointment, under mines charter protections for commissioners against removal bier apointing authority, here the mayor, and the practice called in question and creates appearance of lack of independence of commissioners and raises significant concerns about the level of control the mayor has over commissioners. the issue as i mentioned came to light when commissioner carter overstone revealed that when seeking mayoral reappointment to
7:37 pm
the police commission, he was required to sign an undated letter of resignation as a condition of reappointment on april 26th, commissioner carter overstone returned the requested signed letter of resignation on may third, overstone was reappointed to the police commission for a second term. and we learned that overstone was not the own commissioner to be asked to sign such a letter. the mayor's office obtained undated resignation letters from many other sitting commissioners. as an oversight committee, we are committed to transparency of our government and compliance with the laws of the city including the city's charterer. we called for this hearing to get to the bottom of this and issued letters of inquiry to the mayor's office and to every
7:38 pm
commissioner and as a result, learned that the scope of the practice was broader than originally understood. since we called for the hearing the city attorney weigh in the issuing a public memo finding that the use of undated resignation letters for ash pointee system inconsistent with the chart and warned the practice could threaten the independence of appoints officials from undue influence by the mayor. we asked the mayor's office to report and requested some of the major's staff that were in text message exchanges with commissioners to be here as well as commissioners max carty overstone to be available for questions. my understanding the mayor's chief of staff is here on behalf of the mayor and behalf of staff of the mayor's office. wanted to start out by welcome
7:39 pm
him and give you the floor for remarks. >> thank you. surprise. i'm here to respond to your questions. >> great. >> thank you. >> and as mentioned, commissioner -- carty overstone is present as well. colleagues, why don't we begin with any questions. let me may be start with an open ended question for mr. elseburn you heard my opening remarks to the extent you think i mischaracterized anything or misstated anything i wanted to give you an opportunity to speak to that or present any clarifications. or not if you think i have
7:40 pm
accurately framed. >> none, supervisor. i have nothing more to add. >> thank you. >> so mr. elseburn who's idea was it to require undated resignation letters from commissioners? >> this was an idea that came from the mayor and within the mayor's office and discussion at the beginning of her tenure of mayor >> thank you. was it recommended to her by anyone, to your knowledge? >> not to my knowledge. >> and then once the mayor started to decided to require or seek undated resignation letters how was that -- communicated to others in the mayor's office. was there a memo meeting? how was that -- that decision communicated to others. >> there was no memo. discussion. .
7:41 pm
amongst staff. >> what is an complained to staff the purpose of requiring undated resignation letters was. >> yes. >> what was complained. >> as the mayor's office responded to you in the letter of inquire and he the mayor said public low a number of times the last 2 weeks the purpose of these letters of resignation to address situations somewhere to that of former port director memurphy. he faced a number of ethical charges while a commissioner. then mayor lee publicly asked him to resign and port commissioner memerfee refused that request and refuse the to attends port meetings and the port commission was blocked up with a small are number of commissioners and -- after
7:42 pm
months of pressure. of merfee resigned the idea behind the letters to address such ethical situations. >> going back to the meeting starch was advised that explained at this time to staff that was the purpose of requiring resignation letter. >> 2 address such situations, yes >> when did this meeting occur. >> i don't know the exact date this would have been earlier in the mayor's tenure. >> within the first 6 months? >> could be, i don't know. >> who was present at that meeting. >> i don't recall the mayor has been there for over 4 years i don't remember that. >> was the meeting called for this purpose or a general staff meeting in which this came up. >> it was in the called for this purpose.
7:43 pm
>> did anyone question instituting this practice or requesting the letters? >> i don't recall. >> du at any time question whether it was a good idea to require undated resignation letters. jot mayor gave her direction and as staff we implement her direction i will not get in conversations privately with me and the mayor. or with staff and the mir. >> well, i will ask general low distinct from your conversations did anyone push back on the idea of engaging in this practice? >> as we do with all conversations and do with all issues we had a full and robust discussion. and may be deputy city attorney
7:44 pm
pierson we are all used to some levels of things that may or may not be off limits can you explain to us if there is any limit on you know in the conversations between the mayor and senior staff and the mayor. anything that would preclude sharing more detail around those discussions. >> ann pierson, this committee is free to ask the question its wishes to ask and those who answer may fro to answer as they like. and to if there are things they feel are inappropriate or privileged they can say so. it is in the a court of law. >> i understand understood. that's what i'm asking is there a privilege. if you don't a the question and that's that. but that's one thing if you thank you is a reason you can't answer or prohibited to that is another i'm trying to had i ask
7:45 pm
if you challenged the decision or the directive from the mayor at any point it is your preference not to speak to that. you don't think there is prohibition on doing that? right? as we do with all discussions we had a robust discussion and many pregnancy were shared and the mayor gave her direction. >> du get advise from the city attorney's office on instituting this requirement? >> in that regard i would say there is definitely a privilege in terms of the conversations i had with the city attorney or mayor's office had with city attorney's office >> without getting to that the city attorney advised the question is whether city attorney advise was obtained once the mayor gave this directorive to start. >> sorry. ir think even that question is privileged.
7:46 pm
>> the responses to the loi state that no appointee was required to sign a letter of resignation, can you explain that? no appointee was required sign a letter of resignation to be confirmed or nominated. >> so, was it optional for nap neils or appointees to sign undated letters. >> since no nominee was required to -- yes, i would say it was optional >> was it explained to enemy nominees it was optional. >> i can't explain to every circumstance to which it was explained to every nominee, i can't answer that question. >> you looked over the documents
7:47 pm
produced. there has been media coverage is there reserve in those from the mayor's office from the mayor, staff in the communications in writing, with nominees that submitting or returning the signed resignation letter was optional. >> had i reviewed i don't remember seeing the word, optional >> whether the word or not voluntary, optional. i did not i. to be clear i'm not missing something that to the extent it was optional that was not communicated in writing to the nominees from whom the mayor's office was seeking undated letters. >> i did not see the word optional nor mandz torrey or a mandate this must be done for your enemyination to go forward >> do you think a reasonable nominee receiving a written
7:48 pm
communication returning often dated resignation letter in the process of being nap nayed i reasonable enemy neil would assume it was optional. >> i can't speak to that. >> is there any memo or writing that you are aware of that lays out the -- the details around the practice. of requiring resignation letters in the mayor's directorive on that. not that i'm aware of. >> not that i'm aware of >>. the response in the loi's was the resignations letters were --
7:49 pm
reserve said for the most dire situations of inappropriate behavior in capastation or derelict of duty. is that the entire reason resignation letters were requested from some. >> there was one other situation to site -- the second piece of your response. we did have a nominee or commissioner on a citizen's advisory committee that went absent after calls and well being check at her resident. no one could find the individual. there was that -- rational as well. that if someone want a wall we want to have something available to remove the commissioner. >> that would fall within the dereliction of duty idea.
7:50 pm
>> sure. >> is there a reason that letters were requested from some nominees but not others? >> no. >> and our understanding from the presentation from -- mr. paulino at the board of supervisor's meeting the last one the decision on whether to require undated resignation letter if a nominee was a decision made by the mayor at her discretion on a case by case basis, is that accurate? >> yes. >> why did the resignation letters not state the reasons. you know the response of the loi state the purposes of them were for inappropriate behavior dereliction of duty why was that
7:51 pm
not in the resignation letter? the letter is open ended. it is a straight up. i e sign, undated. >> not able to predict why -- such a letter might be used i think would be the reason that's why it was left open ended. >> it would not preclude being used in the case of a policy sdreement with the pair and commissioner? >> that was never, ever the intention of the mayor's office to use it for that reason. >> who drafted the resignation letters this were sent to commissioners? >> i don't know there has been a model that was used in many of these that would have started a number of years ago. i don't know. was there concern that using these resignation letters could create legal risks for the city?
7:52 pm
>> no. >> doesn't the charter already provide for a method for removing commissioners who engage the conduct you described the dereliction of daoism incapastation? d u t y is there a process. that process was not used or effective jam process was not used with mr. murphy. >> that process took 7 it 9
7:53 pm
months >> in an intensely contested situation different from the purpose of these which was for the person who does not guess a wall or is not dereliction of duty. >> could be. >> so the purpose of the letters was to remove commissioners or have the option to remove commissioners without going through the charter press for removal? >> correct. >> you agree that under mines the protections of the charter that are designed to protect commissioners from removal. >> that was the city attorney's opinion. >> yours as well. jot mayor recognized that is the city attorney's opinion and the mayor ended the practice. >> of the hundreds of appointed
7:54 pm
commissioners, from the information that you provided in response to the letter of inquiry, appears that 48 were required to sign. >> include the one last one we gave you on friday. >> good question. >> i'm sorry we did find one last one on friday. >> thank you. >> and so, i think can you shed any light on the i think the totals about 400 appointed commissioners when you include everything, we are look at over 10% required to sign these. can you shed light beyond saying the mayor's discretion case by case, as to why a certain commissioner was required sign and another was not. >> mayor had a subjective standard here. sometimes she directed it, sometimes she did not. gi understand you don't want to get in your conversations with the mayor i want to know if you
7:55 pm
hahn those reasons are for choosing the one case and shared with you and you don't feel at liberty to share them with us or whether you as you are here today, truly don't know why one commissioner required sign a resignation letter and the other is not. >> i cannot speak to the mayor's thought process and her direction on this, no. >> we have some commissioners where same commission appointments to the same commission, we had that with the planning commission. other instances on the same body mayoral appointments some are required to sign and not others and you cannot provide insight to why that is the case? >> no.
7:56 pm
>> supervisor ronen you are on the roster i want to invite commissioner overstone if you like. you have questions. >> sure. you asked most of my questions. i'm wondering has there been an instance an appointee refused to sign? >> not that i'm aware of. >> have appointees asked questions why they are required to sign this in order to be appointed and what are they told, if so? >> i would assume there have been i know commissioner carter overstone asked questions and what he and others were told was the commissioner murphy example. that was the purpose of why it was needed. >> and you know inspect reading these, i can imagine being asked to sign one of these letters, have you to act as if you have
7:57 pm
been doing the job the letters say it has been a pleasure serving had you have not yet served the residents. it is an odd odd thing to be asked to do. it -- its -- basically insincere they are asked to write and sign a letter about something they have in the yet done. and that struck me to read this. and it seems odd that there was in the the -- this has not been brought up earlier. >> i will read i pulled up a random one. undated i submit this letter of resignation from my position on the mta commission effectively immediately an honor to serve the residents of san francisco through my participation on the
7:58 pm
mta commission. thank you for your leadership. should you have questions or seek further discussion, please, reach out. sincerely, lee. ask someone to sign something this is false they have not yet done anything. they have not yet served the city of san francisco. it is an odd thing to ask and i can't -- if someone asked me to sign an undated resignation letter that asked me to lie. because i have to say i have done something i have in the yet done. i can't imagine you have not gotten push back. it is such an odd thing to do. so, you know, can you describe haconversations are like when commissioners express skepticism. >> not been a part of the
7:59 pm
conversations directly, no, but i would assume commissioners understood that when staff described the potential use of them only in the extreme circumstances any feelings of concern were mitigated. >> not often but there are times like in the case of mr. overstone that commissioners disagree with the mayor on issues. during any of those times, did the mayor ever or any of her staff ever bring up the undated residence ignition letter with any commissioner? >> not that i'm aware of, no. that was never the intent so, no. not that i'm aware of. >> okay. and then again, i wanted confirm with the city attorney, you know
8:00 pm
i understand that the reasons that the mayor brings up for why she had commissioners sign these letters but there is a process for every appointee who commits malfeesence to remove that person. clearly laid out in the charter. is that correct. >> it is and we described the various ways commissioners can be removed. >> okay. and then um -- the reason you decided that discondition that process is because the city attorney memo suggests this this process is is -- [inaudible] the charter. >> suggests the letters are unenforceable and requesting
8:01 pm
emviolates the spirit of the charter, yes >> if that was not the city attorney's position wouldure continue using these letters. >> asking hypothetical i have to ask the mayor. >> no more questions. >> thank you supervisor ronen. one thing that i'm curious about is do you recognize as the mayor's chief of staff that -- the problem with having that is described as a subject itch approach when the letters are required or not. right. regardless of the intent, it certainly feeds a public perception and prebl perception among commissioners and among people who appear in front of commissioners there was no other than the mayor's exercise of
8:02 pm
discretion, there was no real policy or approach that anyone is aware of other than the mayor as to why -- certain people are required provide these. do you agree that subjective approach on something like this opens that process up for abuse and creates the additional occurrence by the lack of transparency and objectivity in that choice? >> i would not agree it creates an opportunity for abuse because knowing this mayor and why this was done it was never going to be abused. that said, i would agree it create this is perception it could be but factualy it never was and never would be. >> i guess hai'm not understanding is if the concern is someone will the dereliction
8:03 pm
of duty as you spriebed or someone guess awall that concern does in the apply with respect to every commissioner? again this gets to the mayor's decision when it applyd and had it didn't. zoo is if your assumption she is exercising that based on her assess am of the likelihood of dereliction of duty, inappropriate behavior. >> you are asking mow to get in the mayor's head and figure it out that's not something i'm capable of doing. >>you are representing the does in the open up the possibility of abuse and how that discretion is exercised. >> she clearly said it would never be used for to supervisor ronen's question about a policy point or anything like that. only used in the case of ethical
8:04 pm
problem >> stick around i would like to invite up commissioner carter overstone for questions. commissioner? welcome and thank you for your service on the commission. and for being here today. i guess first just wanted invite you if there is information that you would like to share about the residence ignition letters including anything in response to what you heard from committee members or mr. elseburn so far today >> sure. thank you. chair preston and vice chair chan and supervisor ronen, committee, staff and members of the public, thank you for the
8:05 pm
invitation to appear before the committee today. i would say like to give context about why i think we are where we are. and it might be responsive to mr. elseburn's comments. so -- had i was worn in as a san francisco police commissioner i to being an oath of office. by my ash count the 7th time i have taken an oath for various poisons suspicions i held with the federal, state and now local government. while the precise form willulations of oaths they call condition tain to protect the constitution. these words are by design broad. it is left to the taker of the oath to interpret how to apply them. am i have been abling to
8:06 pm
complete my government service without faced with this challenge. until recently. the mayor's decision to require me to sign an undated letter of residence ignition as a precondition to my renomination was a director afront to the san francisco charter which is after all, our city's constitution. near low a decade ago the people of the city amended a charter for 2 reasons. first, to curtail the mayor's control overnight police commission and second, to grant autonomy in independence to mayoral appointise. in service of the 20 goals the people gave the board of supervisors the power to appoint 3 out of 7 commissioners. confirm mayoral nominee to the commission and for today's purpose the power to h approve or reject the major's decision
8:07 pm
to remove a mayoral appointee from the commission. the letter i was directed to sign, which gave the mayor carte blanche to remove me for any reason, can be understood as an ends run around this charter prosecute vision. designed to over ride the board's role in the removal process. to shield the mayor from taking public accountability for removing a commissioner in dampen the independence upon that the people ment to conifer on police commissioners when they amended the charter. on august irrelevant i rescinded my offer of residence ignition believing my oath of office left mow no choice. i knew this decision would not be well received by the mayor's office. i knew that there could be serious consequences. and as many of us read in the papers the mayor opted to attack me personally rather than to
8:08 pm
defend the substance of her conduct. it has not always been comfortableable to be publicly hated boy a person in a position of power. butt oath i took to defends the constitution against all misdemeanors foreign and domestic did in the come with with exceptions. it did not permit the consideration of counter factors such as the affect it might have on my family or piece of mind. in the end, i chose and will always choose to remain faithful to that oath and the people of the city it was meant to protect. so thank you for indulging me and i would welcome follow up questions from the committee. thank you, commissioner, for your comments. i wanted ask you specifically it
8:09 pm
is first time you were appointd and reappointment. can you claire foil when you were first nominated and appointed other than you asked to sign an undated resignation letter? did this come up? then when you were reappointed. when you were first appointed was there a discussion of the letter. >> no, there was not. >> no e mill to you asking tirafelony at the mayor's office who was in it is person communicates these to other commissioners and later to you, you did in the receive a request or phone call asking to you sign that or anything. did not come up in your first appointment? that's correct. my recollection no staff from major's office ever raise third degree issue of signing
8:10 pm
undatedys iingination letter the first time i was nominated. >> when you are up for reappointment you stated is that a letter was required of you. can you explain that you heard the back and forth. on april 25th i had a meeting with 2 senior staffers in the major's office it was communicated to me for the first time i would be renominated and my term was expiring. they also said that as -- bart of that renomination i need to sign an undated letter of
8:11 pm
resignation. i was caught off guard boy it because i did in the have to sign one the first time. and also as i have said before, i had irrelevant serious misgivings about ethices and legality of requiring mow to sign such a letter. i did to supervisor ronen's question i did ask a lot of questions and asked why? the example given was then gus mccarthy, fair there was ethical issues around a commissioner and it was hard to remove someone in those situations. i was told that it is something this all commissioners and charter commissioners signed and was told that commissioner yee on the police commission would sign one we had the same
8:12 pm
renomination date. we know now the latter 2 things are not the case. i was left with the overwhelming sense that this was a requirement. but any doubt was resolved the following day where i reached out to mr. fennel to ask -- whether we were still on electronic to submit my nomination that day, april 26th. i was getting nervous because my term expired april 30th. she replied back you have in the responded to my e mill referring from the prior day she sent me with the letter of resignation. i called miss fennel i was concerned fihanded over the letter before the process the renomination process was initiated this my letter could be accepted before that.
8:13 pm
and made to electric like i took my name out of consideration. i was sensitive to the timingef mrs. fennel and i had a back and forth negotiation where we landed was she agreed to take the initial process and submitting my renomination papers to the board as long as i gave her my word i would immediately thereafter return the letter. which i did. >> thank you for this clarification. from your public statement and it is coverages the mayor communicated through staff is displeased with your approach to opt issue around eliminating
8:14 pm
pretext stops. i can you describe hapressure was put on you to change your approach and how if at all the resignation letter in the mayor's office possession factored into that pressure? >> sure. may be i will give one global statement and then i can give an example or 2 however you want to hear. i want to make clear in fairness to the position the mayor's office adopted there was never a moment where someone pulled my resignation letter out of the draw and wave in the front of mow if you don't listen we will sign this. that never happened. but of course, that's not how these things work. the fact that everybody knows that this residence ignition
8:15 pm
letter is floating in the ether. it can be accepted any moment with no notice and immediately terminating your tenure on a commission is you know, a consideration that is at the forefront in my minds when i'm receiving direction from the mayor's office about when they wanted to see. so, in regards to specifics. may be i can give an example -- i can give a couple i will give one and stop for question fist you want to hear more i'm happy to discuss more. may be i will start with an example that has been made public through public referred's act and reporting by michael barba, which is a series of interactions on august first with power the mayor's director of policy.
8:16 pm
so -- i think may be providing context to the conversation might be helpful. so, this happened on august first. the pretext policy was public element introduced before the mission on may 11th. and -- the commission always planned to have a robust under any circumstances xhoont and public out reach program. our goal was to make it the most public low transparent process that had ever taken place. we are making good on that. the mayor's office -- interceded and wanted to have the human right's commission run the community out reach process, which i think i and others welcomed given their experience in this area. their expertise and than i have more resources than us to do that.
8:17 pm
but part of what the mayor's office also.ed is than i didn't want any working group meetings to start before the entire community out reach process had completed. they wanted an open ended community out reach process with no firm ends date. and for members of the public, working groups are groups of 10 to 20 subject matter expert this is mote in a series of meetings to go over the nuts and bolts and in the weaves of the policy and assist the commission in drafting the anthropologist and providing recommendations for the commission to consider. >> so -- you know i was concerned that this would was -- an effort to delay the potentially derail the process while we all welcomed the robust
8:18 pm
community out reach we always planned to do this. having no time lines was not the best way to go. in a series of meetings, the commission the department leadership, hrc, human rights commission and dpa, had a series of meetings and reached a compromise the compromise was, we would have 2 working group meeting in august we would pause working groups for september so this hr c could do an among community out reach program and we would pick up the working group again in october. august first was the day before the first working group meeting. i was called that day, this is had i need you to dom i need you to at the out set of the working group tomorrow, give an empassioned speech to call in to
8:19 pm
question the relegitimacy of the working group to say it is essential low running rough shot overnight community. not respectful of the community. we had not have them at all and attempt to get folks to abandon the working group. fiwas not able to accomplish this through my speech i should consider boycotting the working group. i -- was extremely caught off guard by the 11th hour out reach given we had reached this compromise with all the relevant stake holders. and i recall making a couple of points why i did not think this was a great idea and i hung up the phone without making a commitment. i texted and asked if he had
8:20 pm
time to chat later. because -- i was caught off guard and forgot to make key points why i didn't think it made sense. we spoke earlier that evening where i did that and my reasoning was persuasive to mr. power and -- you know, i told him i just did in the know if i could do that. and i want to be careful in accurate here. i can say 80% confidence this he said there would be serious consequence fist i was not able to follow through on it. i'm 100% certain he said manage to this affect. so, i hung up the phone without making any commitment and saying i would get back to him and as has been reported in the pr
8:21 pm
records i thereafter submitteded my letter rescinding my offer resignation and texted explaining that i would not be able to give the speech he asked mow to give and the reason i thought i could not do it because i thought it was dishonest,wasdishonest, and cyne the community and scare quotes to derail a policy without taking accountability for opposing that policy. that is something i was not comfortable doing. >> thank you. commissioner and -- i have one more question for mr. elseburn. and then i want to get us to public comment. and my clothes may have questions. supervisor ronen you have a question. >> yes. >> go ahead.
8:22 pm
>> first, thank you for your service and thank you for being here and for putting yourself in this really public uncomfortable position this takes courage. it takes a lot of valor, frankly and integrity. thank you for this. a couple things, just -- back up you think the public don't understand the hard work of being a commissioner especially on important commissions like the police commission. that commissioners do. how many hours a week do you spepdz working on in your role as a police commissioner? it various dramatically. i have been working really hard on this pretext policy for many
8:23 pm
months now. so -- some weeks i spend as little as 4-5 hours some as much as 20 hours. so it dependsos that is required any given week that is a big range. i have been working more the higher ends lately given the policy advancing. >> do police commissioners get paid. we goat 100 a month. >> for anywhere 4 to 20 hours a week you get 100 dollars a month. >> and when -- so when you were first asked to sign the letter
8:24 pm
and you were given the example or the explanation of what happened in the case commissioner mccarthy, can you do you remember exact low what they about that? because, i my memory and i don't know if anybody else has a memory his term expired and he -- was not renominated. i wonder why that example was used and how it was used. >> to my recollection it was used as an example someone was in gross malfaesence and it was difficult on remove that commissioner that was not specific in nuts of bolts of what happened. at the time it was raised i was not familiar with it. i did not question the facts of that case. there was a statement made that
8:25 pm
it is unclear whether the charter permits or how to -- remove a commissioner, that was something else there was uncertainty around how to remove a charter commissioner at all. the letter was required resolve that removal process. i don't recall about the discussion about commissioner mccarthy. joy think it was a strange example. i was one of the supervisors calling for an investigation of mr. mccarthy that was on going and i'm not sure of the timing and i looked back in articles and it was september of 2021. that i asked for the investigation and my memory is not the greatest i can't
8:26 pm
remember the outcome but what i do remember is i doubt that i don't think the mayor's office may be i will ask -- okay -- i will ask -- if i can finish questions i will ask sean the question he can refresh our memories. it seemed like a strange one to me. so you talked a lot about the conversations that you had regarding the pretext stop and whether you know the timing of public engagement and when you were asked to do and the threats the threats made. if you did not do that. can we talk for a moment about what happened around the presidency vote for the
8:27 pm
commission? were you specifically asked by mayor's office to support commissioner lee for the presidency? >> i was not asked to my recollection. there was a conversation may be months before the vote. this i have a senior staff where his name was floated as a potential mayoral candidate. and there was a conversation about an unrelated subject. i believe in -- a few weeks before the vote. and at the ends of the conversation the last thing the star said we will talk next time about the leadership vote. but i did in the discover that commissioner yeee was the
8:28 pm
mayor's pick until the day of the vote >> how was that communicated to you. i received a phone call on the day of the vote checking with mow about the vote and that's when it was discloseed me that commissioner yee was the major's pick >> on this day were you asked? >> i was never asked. it was implicit and you know -- i think that there was a level of concern expressed from the staffer about not know when i would do. about that staffer never asked me to. nor did they ask who i planned to vote on. i did not say at that time. >> and why did you chose to
8:29 pm
support president a liace. because she is the most qualified commissioner to serve as president. she's got twice as many years on the commission the most tenured person. show understands how the commission works on a granular level. the way no one else does. and i worked with her close low now for almost a year. her work ethic is really unparalleled. i feel like i work a lot and i don't think there is anyone this works as hard as she does. she's got a lot of integrity and he we don't agree on everything but i can trust that she will exercise her independent judgment in a way she feels helps the public. >> after you voted for the
8:30 pm
president were you called by anyone in the mayor's office? i know you were called a liar by the mayor in the press but any other direct communication? >> i did call the mayor's office before the meeting to inform them i was going to vote for commissioner a lieace about 30 minutes before the meeting started. what was the response if any? >> well i think the response was one of surprise. one of being very displeased and a lot of this has been reported but people were. how was the displeasure
8:31 pm
communicated. >> spoke with her and was exercised and very surprised and could not believe i would vote for a board president. she handed her phone to mr. fern who knows was quiteup set and now reported in the press was -- reminded me of a conversation i had with the mayor in april where i said this i would w with the mayor if she was to mike a leadership change at the department and that would not be possible. you know if i were to vote for commissioner alias and reneging on my promise. and after i spoke with mr. elseburn i received i call from
8:32 pm
mayor breed, where she reiterated that point and reiterated that make it difficult for her to plan her policy goals and focused on the leadership change at sfpd and asked me to not to vote for commissioner alisa. and any point, did you plain what you just explained to us why you choosing to vote fer for her. >> i did explain and another point i made was that i feel strong low about the pretext policy i'm working of it is a policy that will deemphasize stops for low level traffic stops the data shows don't produce public safety benefit
8:33 pm
and racial desparities and allow police to shift the resources to all the great w they are already doing we know for a fact stops and prevents crime that feels like a win for everyone. to that point, i felt as though the department in the mayor's office working hard to derithat policy. and the pedestrian commission has extraordinary unilateral power and if -- the commission president were to be insufficiently they could kill the policy that was a reason i gave -- >> when mr. power told you -- when you said that you would in the make this speech to try to
8:34 pm
derail the work group process and mr. power said there would be serious consequences what did you think the consequences would be. why a friendly amendment. dinot tell him over the phone. at the end. call i said i needed to think and i texted him later. but when he said there motorbike serious consequences or equal to that statement i'm not sure those were his exact words the first thing that came to mind was the resignation letter. i don't know what other serious consequences could be referring to. >> uh-huh. >> um -- i guess the last question i have for now is --
8:35 pm
given everything you are dealing with here. your -- accomplished and respected attorney in the community. you are doing this job basically as a volunteer aside from the 100 dollars a month you get. and you have been you know placed in a very uncomfortable position, i'm wondering -- why you are choosing to fight and continue to serve as a commissioner on the police commission? well, i grew up in the city. and -- i care about it and care about the residents of the city. that's why i wanted serve in the first instance. and all of these this unfortunate intervening
8:36 pm
situation, is not going to derail me for doing the good work i was nominated to do. right now we are conducting thousands upon thousands of traffic stops that are in the making anyone safer. but they are rounding up a lot of innocent people and disproportionately black people and subjecting them to unnecessary humiliation. and -- making it clear to them that they are being singled out for disfavored treatment on account of their race. you know, i'm all the sudden thrust in ray position where i can do something about that. and so i think that it is upon me to use whatever power i have to solve that situation and do
8:37 pm
it in a way that will make all of san francisco safer regardless of race or other background. >> thank you for that just really appreciate you very much. thank you. >> thank you. thank you supervisor ronen. i know we want to hear more from mr. elseburn i like to go to public comment first. and given the need to maintain quorum afternoon commitments i like to limit public comment to 90 seconds. open public comment on this item. are there members of the public hold like to comment for item number one? seeing no members of public for those on the line dial star 3 to be added to the queue there are
8:38 pm
5 callers with 3 in the queue. >> forward the first caller. supervisors, i do attends virtualet san francisco police commission meetings. i support cindy -- [inaudible] i do not support yee. i don't see leadership qualities in that candidate. at all. he is a lackey. taking instructions following like a sheep. now -- you are the executive branch. the organized branch it is time
8:39 pm
for the legislative branch to change how appointments are done. may be the mayor should have 3 appointees and the board of supervisors 4. that is the way to do it then you [inaudible] you go in circles and talk about the [inaudible] and nothing happens. final solution, the mayor should have 3 appointments may be 2 and the board of supervisors 5. that will solve. thank you. >> your time is paddled. thank you for your comments. next speaker, please. >> good morning supervisor this is is mr. dennis williams, [inaudible] merchant's collaborative i want to say that the city government should not be fearful to do their jobs.
8:40 pm
for corruption. this is a gregeous conduct by the mayor and those supporting the public demands justice this is a form of bully and scare tactics and calling the city [inaudible] a liar [inaudible]. the mayor [inaudible] plaza east uninhabitable by [inaudible] and mayor and support are supporting the developers in the redevelopment of the building you who is this possible. 400 million a lotted to the chronicle says [inaudible] [echo] [inaudible] i'm eccluded as a microdevelopment company [inaudible] through my add vocation for the community and the stele at large i have been excluded i vote publicly -- for
8:41 pm
recall the mayor and focus on committees to the nonprofits this supported her and any corporations this are supporting her also. thank you. thank you for your comments. next speaker, please. >> good morning this is chad and thank you supervisors preston, chan and ronen, the san francisco charteder states commissioners are independent from the person or people who appoint them. there are clear provisions in the charter this layout commissioners removal and the wake of abuse or not official low one's duties. selective designation of commissioners to sign letters and others not requested to indicates inconsistency and bias. publicly or privately pressuring commissioners to take certain
8:42 pm
positions after they are appointed this is in charter violation. whether or not the practice has been discontinue there is has been unethical actions by the major's office in implementing the resignation letters my hope the findings today lead to an inquiry of the ethic's commission considering the gravity of mentioned practices. thank you very much. >> thank you next speaker, please. >> good afternoon or good morning, supervisors ip kevin ortiz. i'm call nothing [inaudible] the concern practices that happened with the undated residence ignition letters temperature it is a clear violation of the city charter. you know there has been many things said today about the letters would not be used in a
8:43 pm
policy disagreement but many instance where commissioner overstone talked about how he was targeted for disagreeing with the appointment of or election of a city police commissioner. president. with -- president [inaudible] i think you know we mead to look at they were used and recognized in the city. went city family. as a way of bullying commissioners to silence them and they were not free or independent. i like to reminds the supervisors that as well is an oath of office every commissioner takes they will swear and support and defend the constitution of the united states and they will bear true faith and the same and take the obligation freely without purpose of e vagz. the letters show they did take their obligation with purpose of
8:44 pm
potential evasion and don't take it freely. i think clearly we need to look at the different [inaudible]. >> thank you for sharing your comments >> there are 10 caller in the queue 5 waiting. >> hello there i'm amy white and i have been paying attention to the issue. and i was negating with folks on twit exert someone was defending the mayor saying it makes sense the mayor has this power and able to exercise it in order to get things done and you know rather then and there have this back and forth. i think the issue with this has been described here today chad said it is in the charter the mayor is not to supposed to
8:45 pm
tamper with the police commission with her power. she know this is and everyone who works for her knows this. she is going against the charter to do something to mess with that power structure but for what reason? around pretextual stops? this is an african-american mayor who stands up for the african-american community and this is like jones in the back or something because -- are you series? she will abuse her power for that? to try to stop this racial scombies get the cops focus on dangerous safety issues on the street? my goodness. london breed, explain yourself. this is not right. thank you for hold thanksgiving hearing. thank you to the bravery of the people on the commission and the mayor knows better. so does her staff this it is an issue.
8:46 pm
thank you. >> thank you. 10 questions of lawers on the line and 5 in the queue. >> good morning. thank you very much for holding this hearing. and also to the commissioners for bravery on ethics. i want to it i'm erika [inaudible]. i want to makes me think i wonder what else elsewhere -- um -- apointsise of the mayor or higher hires of the mayor by sign being these types of letter and if this is an important issue to look into.
8:47 pm
many talks about how the mayor was controlling her appointees and i wonder if those appointees signed that letter? i think this would be important information. may be not at this committee meeting thank you for all your work. thank you for sharing your comments. there are 9 callers in the queue with 3 waiting to speak. forward the next caller. >> i'm lisa audrey a long time residents of san francisco. i have to say this , is a very, very big deal. it is really disturbing. what we are finding. thank you for holding this very important hearing. and i commend the young
8:48 pm
commissioner for his courage and for his valor. i just i'm deeply concerned. i believe that reforms mode to be made and -- i find the mayor's representative is cavalier and unresponsive under the questioning. and frank low, public servants and elected officials especially ones who have as much power as our mayor does because of our city charter, are to be held accountable for their decisions. this is a very different thing. this really she tried to circumvent and there is no answering for what happened, which is in the satisfying. it it is in the correct. think about this. these appointise the mayor the
8:49 pm
not just this mayor. they are on the rent board. they are on the planning commission. they are on the sfmta they touch all of our lives. my name is michelle. thank you for host thanksgiving hearing. it is important ton likewise the ethics within our gentleman t. is disgusting how this practice has been used to pressure our commissioners. they represent our public interests not the mayors. and i would like theory this committee to look and see how long this practice has been held. with previous mayors. because i don't believe this started with mayor breed. i think this practice has gone
8:50 pm
on for a long time with previous mayors. i think we need to look back how this practice put a strangle hold toward the progress of us. because of i don't believe that every decision has been made for our public interests. i think that needs to be corrected and i think the mayor needs to face consequences [inaudible] serious consequence to her actions, thank you for sharing your comments. i look forward to your work on this issue. >> thank you for sharing your comments. there are 8 callers with one in the queue. please forward the caller. >> good morning supervisors. i'm jupiter [inaudible] a language time san francisco resident. i would like to thank this committee for the important hearing. and i wanted to say that this issue matter on undated
8:51 pm
resignation letter system troubling considering that the mayor's appointment extends beyond city commissioners. with the most notable noncommission the district 6 supervisor and district attorney i mere like many others do that the mayor's influence over the 2 posts created an issue on upon inspect thought the practice of undated letters connected to city commissioners one cannot help but wonder whether the appointise are compromiseed fulfill the mayor's agendaful we reach aid tipping point the people of san francisco want trust from the city but it is impossible to ask that consistent [inaudible] city government. this hearing is important, i cannot help but think of the exhausting and frustrating redistricting process several
8:52 pm
members of the task force the chair of the task force admit to external influence if the mayor's office in the process. it is time to bring transparency and honesty back to government sew to ensurety people feel their voice matters. it is about them. >> thank you for sharing your comments. there are no other speakers in the queue. public ment is closed. supervisor chan. thank you, chair preston. i want to thank all the public comments today. i also want to thank both chair preston and supervisor ronen for experiencing this hearing and having us here today for this critical discussion and thank you to our police commissioner max cart or overstone for his
8:53 pm
courage and to speak up when a response to the acquisition of being a liar. on record by our mayor, which is very serious. all this brings to i want to put context for our public, why does this such an issue a critical issue that san francisco residents and voters should pay attention to. here is the reason why. wight we know our commissioners really are the decision makers. part of the decision makers and part of the commission making process this the city and county of san francisco. our commissioners no matter which body they are on, they have a range of responsibility. that is including decisions on city contracts, personnel decisions and critical policies
8:54 pm
impact our city. i ulc also. to put in context the mayor's approach to appointing her commissioners is also critical. i think it is a minds set of governors and minds set for how our mayor views this how the view of the democracy and view on how we should approach to city governance. hour mayor appointed elected bodies including our city attorney. district attorney. a member of the board of spriersz. district 6 supervisors and 3 members of the board of education. with appointments elected to office and commissions, it is
8:55 pm
why we want to question the mayor's approach. why were updated resignation letters required the appointees, i think you have responded and gave good examples of why but the question that though in your answer of this letter. not just about the derelict of duties, there is a specific explanation in inappropriate behavior. hadoes the mayor of course you can't get in her head. as her chief of staff and as
8:56 pm
administration deem inappropriate behavior? actions taken similar to that of commissioner merfee on the port commission. couldure -- for the public that does not know what that is. . he committed eblth cal violations dbi went after him. a number of problems with his service. >> could you repeat that one more time. >> there were a number of issues with commissioner murphy in his private practice this lead to investigations on his work. but as we know by the city attorney's memo we than there are 4 ways that commissioner can be removed, in fact one is for cause commissioners, with that -- could be remove -- and there are at real commissioner this is can be removed there is a process in our charter where
8:57 pm
americans this condition victed of felonies. again, all these put in place, why does the administration feel like the existing removal process is in the adequate? >> as i said earlier in response to supervisor preston who asks the same question. it happened in the last for you years on the airport commission. both those processes took 6 to 9 months. they shut can't speak to commissioner ma zooma i don't remember naone. but had it was the sheriff the ethiks shut down work. hired council issue spends money and take months interviewing and doing all this and then don't know if you were here as an aid when the board of supervisors
8:58 pm
had the trial we hired outside council. it was a burdensome, expensive process. and believed this letter will be a way of short circuiting this press in an efficient way. >>ir disagree with that approach. because sheriff's decision after all -- as an elected official. to be removed because again while i would not say against the will of the voters but after all it was someone elected by the voters. and it was the will of the vert this is put machine like the sheriff in the position. and it it is right low so by the charter really technically san francisco constitution that we then have that process. but in your opinion or the mayor's opinion i don't want to put word in your mouth this is your opinion you have said that
8:59 pm
this is truly the mayor's intent and her decision this you decide to go with the practice. it sounds to me from what you just explained that it is not worth the burden. not worth the time nor the public dollars to make sure that if we were to remove someone from elected office or appointed office to go through a charter process. that with upon integrity it is better it trust the mayor and her decision alone instead of our charter? >> yes. >> thank you. >> and so. again, i think this is the question that i have, you know the approach to this. i think the mayor has said this
9:00 pm
public low if you coulded media -- event but if you could, reiterate, perhaps, what again the mayor said that in left week in a media forum, stated her reasoning again why she believes she wants exercise her authority to request a resignation letter? >> i'm sorry supervisor i'm not sure i understand the question you are asking me again yet mayor had this policy. >> again, and may be if i could i will use this as an opportunity to get to supervisor ronen's question or point about mccarthy. you may have seen we had a side conversation with commissioner overstone i read his e mail of april 26th. where he said based on the an e
9:01 pm
mailive and he tyler? just tira. in the e mail you mentioned your conversation with ivy and tiare. approximate in this conversation he said, based and please stands up if i mischaracterize this, based on what you said about commissioner mccarthy i will sign this letter of resignation. when i saw that e mail as part of this. i immediately asked and talked aboutive and he tiare. mccarthy was never part of the decision for the residential for the letters. >> i want to be clear. there was never concern about commissioner mccarthy's service in the dbi. the mayor believed he served with great serve it was always about murphy. to answer your question issue again. the rational for the letters was
9:02 pm
for extreme ethical malfaesance similar to nose by murphy. >> you know i guess if i may you can confirm the mayor public low stated last week that her intention to do this she believe she is responsible the decisions of the commission and the buck stopped with her and therefore she believes it is within her authority. way she approached gashing the city she has to have control over her americans. and their decision. i don't believe the mayor said she is to have control.
9:03 pm
i want to have a level of control. by that. >> she said because i'm held accountable and responsible for it and named the commissioners on the police commission they were not electd and the conversation from there. >> scott laughed he could not name the member of the police commission. >> that's true. i will take that quote. if the mayor said show wanted a level of control. mayor feels responsible for the work that happens on all the commissions and the ends she is the one held accountable for the work of all commissions more then and there the board of supervisors. she is accountsable the buck
9:04 pm
stops with her. by this mentality of wanting a level of control, what she decide in the your words early on is that thena the decision is that her decision and her authority and her need for a level of control overnight commission is worse for the administration to go around the charttory make the decision of requesting letters of resignation of our commissioners had make critical policy decisions, critical decisionos personnel and critical decisionos city contract. >> again, she made crystal clear only in s of ethical mistakes in no way used for policy purposes.
9:05 pm
>> i think that demonstrated by commissioner carter overstone, as an example that there is an impression that there is again, none of us can understand that is a serious consequences mean but it sounds to me a level of control also probably means a policy decision. >> there are 2 things carter said this need to be highlighted. one he did say at no point did anybody in the mayor's office threaten the use of a letter of residence ignition. correct? >> well, you heard that. >> >> two the mr. elsebunch director question and comments to the committee and not to other folks in the chamber. he did say that here.
9:06 pm
>> and secondly said he was 80% sure of haandre said. let's not take that for fact. this is let's again. i am focusing on because you and mr. paulino during the meeting have insisted this is just the mayor's decision and she is the one had is making all the decisions and determining can which commissioner should submit a letter. i'm focusing back on the mayor why would the mayor accused which it is a serious accusation if you think about it. publicly at a press event accusing her appointment police commissioner max carter overstone a liar. explain that to us. >> that's a question you have to ask the mayor. she is the one who said it i
9:07 pm
don't know why she said it. >> yea. that's what i'm at that the mayor deem police commissioner a liar and hence the source of the conversation sort of arrive friday or exposy of the practice is really the mayor's decision in need of some level of control of our commissioners. and when than i have disagreement in this event where the mayor calling our commissioner a liar, because the commissioner in this case commissioner carter overstone, did not agree to her point of view who out football the police commission president.t the poli commission president.o the poli the police commission president.b the poli commission president.e the poli commission president. unless you disagree. i did not hear a question y. tr is in question. i wanted gift opportunity from
9:08 pm
hai described as the major's intent the mayor's decisions and the mayor's comment on our police commissioner if you wanted to disagree to any of that. >> no. >> no problem. >> thank you chair preston my final comment is this, you know i think this today is i want to thank mr. [inaudible] for being here. it is seems you have very challenging job. trying to figure this out. i guess last question, though, i have great respect for mr. elseburn. because not just had he is today as a chief of staff and managing you know a city and county of san francisco assisting our mayor to managing the city and county of san francisco. mr. elseburn was a former elected district 7 supervisor and so i think that you
9:09 pm
understand the function and operation of city gentleman really, really well. and any point when the mayor begin her practice of requesting resignation letter you knew about our chart and the appointment process and the removal process as for chief of staff you have mentioned before this you have robust conversation with the mayor on many front including these policies involving the topic today. any point have you ever flagged for the mayor or advise her or suggest to her or remind her that if her intent is to make sure she move a commission here other process have you ever remind her that these process exist? >> again. supervisor, i will not get in the specific conversations i had
9:10 pm
we had robust discussions about all elements of there. are you aware the process exist? >> i am familiar with the charter, yes. >> very familiar i say. thank you and thank you i think that this help my making my conclusion statements in this and i really appreciate your time, allow me to make these ask these questions and again i think that it is the approach to governing that is critical to tuesday's conversation. and that in my opinion that -- i think i have a very great difference of opinion about approach governing -- approaching governing and governing our city governments. we are better when we have diverse bodies and inspect
9:11 pm
commissioners who are constantly working in the best interests of our city and this goes to elected officials. every elected official. their jobs should be thinking about and in serving our city and working in the best interests of our city. not -- based on loyalty. and -- that -- even if in the face of the disagreement, you should be able to say it, say it out loud elected or commission, and we should have transparent conversation about these difference of pregnancy because it allowed integrity competence to have the debate and we can vet our policies and be have better policies. and that's not just about policies. but about city contract, who should be the next police chief or city department heads all of these is critical to the
9:12 pm
integrity of our city government and good and clean government of and i think this today when we witnessed is is an prop to government and think about that mayor with this mentality with this prop and has again reiterate appointed elected bodies like the attorney district attorney, district 6 supervisor and 3 members of the board of education. let me say that -- it is alarming and to say the least. thank you chair preston >> thank you vice chair chan. a couple of quick questions. in the responses there was a statement at the mayor's office had never required letters of resignation from appointees to elected positions that was another question.
9:13 pm
so i understand that they were not required of folks but i wanted to make sure we are not word smithing and finds out if the mayor's office ever requested any such resignation letter if any appointees for noncommissioned positions including elected but appointed in the interim prosecute suspicions of supervisor a social securitior, da, city attorney? >> board of education. >> and board of education. >> thank you. why absolutely not. >> not requested. >> absolutely not. >> thank you. and then city college, too. >> right. thank you for this. and then like -- just one question here, the -- is this practice utilized went
9:14 pm
administration by anyone below the mayor? people hor hiring -- for city jobs. or people who are -- these commissions we are talking about they hire the director. of the department. they go through a process. are you aware of any use of indated resignation letters in connection with any hiring went administration. >> no , i am in the aware. >> would you agree that if a commission, for example, a commissioner demand an undated resignation letter from a department head who they were hiring that would be improper? >> i will see what, yes, absolutely. >> that would you agree that would likely be official misconduct for which this commissioner could be removed. >> i don't know about that.
9:15 pm
i level that to the city attorney to determine had official misconduct is. it is anal gus you have commissions this bring on and hire a department head but that department head cannot be removed in most case its requires the mayor and the commission. it would be inpresent for a commissioner or commission as a condition of bring someone on as the director of that department to require an undated resignation letter this was subvert removal pursuant to the charter. right? you agree with this. >> supervisor, you use the word inappropriate. inappropriate as i remember from having sitting through hours of hearings had official misconduct is minot be official misconduct is. >> it was in the found for misconduct that was inpresent
9:16 pm
but in the official misconduct. >> that went through the charteder removal process and that is the proper accomplice to be debated you have been in the halls for a long time. the former supervisor now chief of staff, i think we being at least agree this it would be extreme low inappropriate for a commissioner to require a department head to submit an undated resignation letter and extremely inappropriate for anyone doing hire nothing the city of san francisco to require the person than i are hiring to submit an undated resignation letter. >> is this right j. i believe the mayor would agree. >> here is the difference with the commissioner or the department head or the manager who hires.
9:17 pm
everyone of those other people the charter would provide that an official misconduct prosecute seeding commenced to bring before the board the question of whether this person should be removed for this abusive power. the only person in the city who is in the subject to that form of removal is the mayor. under the charter. and hence our discussion today. but i don't think it make its less inappropriate even if the remedies may differ. supervisor ronen. >> thank you. i don't have any questions i wanted it make some final remark fist this is okay? >> yes. and if i can make one more point i have one more question then remarks. sure. >> are you familiar with the use
9:18 pm
of undated letters of residence ignition in the city in kansas city? >> no. has this come up anyone pinned this out to you? >> i'm not had a chance to review had they do in kansas city. >> i will suggest it is for from here that folks look at whammed in kansas stele as a cautionary tale. because hahappened there was starting in 2012, news broke that the mayor of kansas city requiring undated resignation letter fist appointees. in response, it is almost word for word the response we got from this administration. these were only to be used in dereliction of duty if someone does not show up. fast forward it 2015, when an
9:19 pm
appointed commissioner on a tax increment financing board disapproved a development from a powerful developer. and the next morning their undated resignation letter was foiled this is the cautionary tale and the concern. i'm glad we are changing this practice. but i want to note this is in the the first place that happened. it is that is the danger. right of holding these over folk's head and not having an explanation as to how decisions are really made as to whether or not they will be used or not. so i will -- will turn it over to prierz ronen. thank you for the indulgence for that additional look in another jurisdiction. >> absolutely and thank you for calling for this hearing. i wanted to ends to explain why i believe this is an important conversation to be having.
9:20 pm
in detail during this hearing today. we all know this of course, it makes sense any appointing authority to anybody will chose someone this thinks shares their pregnancy toward most policy issues. this guess without saying would in the appoint machine this often disagrees with you. but the entire point of an inspect residents oversight mittees of city department system that we get an outside and unbiassed, independent look on how the city is run. and how businesses are conducted here. it is one thing for the mayor or for any elected official to express one's opinion to a commissioner about their stance on an issue.
9:21 pm
and making their case why that is their stance. it is an entirely other thing to pressure, threaten or attack a commissioner for having a difference an opinion. and that is what most worried me in this case. and had has come out with the undated letters but not only that, you know that the public name calling of commissioner carter overstone the allegations or the threats that there will be consequences if the commissioner does in the support his own conscious. it is troubling when you hear from mr. carter you hear someone had is substantive. hoe is not -- trying to oppose the mayor. hoe is looking whether it is the
9:22 pm
pretext stops and the very evidence based reasons behind his desire to push the policies forward. whether it was his decision to appoint kindz as president of the commissioners, articulate in detailed ways why he is making those decision its is thoughtful, very thought out and very based on evidence. and sadly, we are getting a glims into how the mayor's office is treating its commissioners and it makes me sad. it reminds me in a way of what is happening in the supreme court where it is so politicized the body this it is legitimacy
9:23 pm
is in question. and you know i didn't think we would see anything remetly like that in san francisco but it is making me nervous that level of interference and politicalization of commissioners is defeating the entire purpose of these independent busied this . is especially so with the police commission. the police commission is the most special commission we have in san francisco because we have made the voters made a judgment that it is an appropriate to have civilian oversight of paramilitary organization within the city. to see this level of interference with the police commissioner is troubling. and it begs the question when else is going on behind the scenes we are not seeing. and then finally i would just
9:24 pm
say that these commissions, they are a lot of work. a lot of work. cost a lot of machiney. take a ton of hours not only from the commissioners the volunteers hours of the commissioners are getting but our directors, staff of departments. department heads. it this is a tremendous amount of energy, resources and et cetera to run these bodies. and if than i are essentially only to operate as a rubber statutory to the mayor's decisions, had a waste, had a farce and waste, waste of machine and he time and energy. what a waste of the good will of people in san francisco willing to give their time and energy in this way. i have to say, you know that i'm glad that the mayor decided to
9:25 pm
discondition the undated resignation letter this is was a bad idea from the get go. if in the illegal idea from the get go. but this is not the only thing revealed had mr. carter overstone came forward and gave us a look into the behind the scenes of how mayoral appointees are treated on the commissions. and to me. it is -- a problem. it is disturbing and it really 3s into question not only the point of having the commissions i help we learn if this. i help other commissioners feel comfortable coming forward. if than i are pressured to do something against their own
9:26 pm
conscious and own policy -- belief in how policy should be decided. and we will continue it be here and listen and provide oversight the best we can. why thank you. >> thank you supervisor ronen. i wanted to add final remarks. i really want to thank my colleagues vice chair chan and supervisor ronen for making themselves available for this special set hearing today. and also both to mr. elseburn and to commissioner carter ownstone for being here. and share your thoughts with us and answer questions. also want to rescue noise and thank melissa hernandez and preston my aids going through all of this material and working with us to get ready for the
9:27 pm
hearing today. and the clerk's office. we ask a lot of the clerks and the special hearings are heard to calendar and staff we appreciate their willingness to facilitate this today. i think this our letters of inquiry, for responses some are pending we heard become if alegality of commissioners but not all we have complete response from thes mayor's office. i think the information we have been getting today's hearing have made some things clearer and hen helpful. i want to emphasize, the i hope we agree the practice of using undated residence ignition letters is inconsistent with the city's charter as the city attorney has opined and
9:28 pm
threatens the independence of commissioners regardless how they are intends third degree is the practical affect of having an undated resignation letter to hold over someone. i think it is outrageous this has been going of i think that if the purposes were as stated i don't know why this practice would have been a sdret. i hope if there was air insure coming of the charter removal process that they would come to the board of supervisors we would collaborateerate on fixing the charter. i don't believe it needs to be fixed but if that was the perception the way to deal with in in a democratic society with rules is to collaborate across the branches of government to address any per received deficiencies in removing folks rather than just breaking the rules. i think that it is an abuse of power to require undated
9:29 pm
resignation letters as a condition of appointment. and it should not be occurring in city government. i want to be clear that as i referenced before, had anyone other than the mayor done this? there would be calls for this person to be removed from office for official misconduct and as mr. elseburn pointed out, whether or not those calls would be successful and someone would be removed is another question. that would go through the charter process. but tlldz be calls for this t. is that serious of a concern. it is is that bad and i >> there is in question that of the severity of it. but as noted our charter does not contain a consequence for misconduct boy the executive and, part from legislation to prevent the mayor from engaging
9:30 pm
in this mayor the path for, countability in this case is in the clear. the explanations for the mayor's practice here are i will be charitiable they are inconsistent to say the least. and the depending which statement you electric at, which response we get different explanations i understands mr. elseburn on behalf of major's office will emphasize the situation of the commissioner gone a wall. i understand this seems the most clear the one most say, yes this person should be removed but as vice chair chan pointed out, the situations of inappropriate behavior, which is in the defined anywhere, as one of the reasons for the undated letters really suggests that the mayor can use these or have these in
9:31 pm
case someone enengage in the inappropriate behavior how she determine third degree rather than going through misconduct proceedings more than the mayor would weigh in on the questions the program ters were never defined. and days after providing responses to our letter of inquiry saying the letter it is were just for the most dire situations of inappropriate behavior, days later the mayor in an intrau with k qed asked about the letters why she solicited the letters she said admitsed in that interview this she wants to have a little control over commissioners. at some point you need to believe folk when is than i tell you when than i are doing inform the interview the mayor told us what she was degree. and why she was main and this is
9:32 pm
consistent with what has been reported. by commissioner carter overstone this is what the intent was here. the sometimes the obvious answers are the correct ones. the obvious answer here is that these letters were designed to exert control over commissioners. because if they were designed for all the, scenarios we heard about if they were designed for the a wall commissioner or designed for the person gets convicted of a felony or something, than i would have been required of every commissioner. it makes absolutely no sense yu would not if those were the purposes why the mayor would not have required those of every person of every commissioner she was appointing.
9:33 pm
i want to thank and gin my colleague in thanking police commissioner overstone for his service. and for bringing this to light, fortunately for all of us, he was sadly enough to rescind his letter. so this it could in the be used in the way that it appear to have been intended after policy disagreements e merged. we are all fortunate that given his legal training and thoughtfulness he had the presentlies. minds to rescind that letter before it could be used against him. and -- i think i'm troubled, i remain troubled that we still don't have any guidance beyond saying the major's discretion on a case by case basis why some
9:34 pm
commissioners are entrusted be in their commission seats and others the mir feels that she needs to have an undated resignation letter hanging over them this it is disappointing. i'm gladys we will have change. we cannot expect people to have faith in government when the head of the government is under mining the charter manipulating commissioner and putting our city at risk it is text become abuse of power and interferes with commissioner's exercising their inspect gentlemen. that's why the charter is set up the way it is. that's why you don't get to appoint someone and have power to remove them. we would be outraged if i don't found machine who when trump was appointing a judge he required an undated letter of resignation. could you imagine the outrage if we learned that this is no different. people are ash pointsd and
9:35 pm
expected to serve with independent and as ronen pointed out on the police commission specific low the voters said they don't want removal by the mayor of her appointees to the police commission they want commissioners to do what commissioner carter overtone is gchlg get an appointment but bring their experience. expertise and independent judgment to the commission. when it is considering matters of important as who gets stopped by police approximate who gets restd and who gets incarerate in the san francisco. so, on a positive note i'm glad that there seems to be agreement that this is in the a proper practice. the practice is coming to an end. appreciate the major's office rescinded the pending letters and -- i think i will just say this was allowed to go on for an
9:36 pm
extended period. time at least a year sounds like mull pull years. i think now one mess knowledge we need taupe sends to people in our city and especially the commissioners and others and folks who work for the stele we need to protect whistle blowers so practices like this are exposed early. should in the take to the air whistles to condemn them. we should support commissioners and others who speak out about problem with practices in the city. and -- i hope that this hearing the letters of inquiry have been helpful in bringing the practices to light and ensuring this administration does better going forward. i would like to continue this hearing to the call of the chair as we get additional answers to the loi that is pending and
9:37 pm
allow us to bring the hearing back if needed. without unless there are further comments let's call the role and motion it condition at this time call of the chair. >> chair man >> aye >> preston. >> aye. >> there are 2 aye's. >> the motion passes. do we have other items. >> no other items. thank you very much. we are adjourned.
9:38 pm
9:39 pm
>> the bicycle coalition was giving away 33 bicycles so i applied. i was happy to receive one of them. >> the community bike build program is the san francisco coalition's way of spreading the joy of biking and freedom of biking to residents who may not have access to affordable transportation. the city has an ordinance that we worked with them on back in 2014 that requires city agency goes to give organizations like
9:40 pm
the san francisco bicycle organization a chance to take bicycles abandoned and put them to good use or find new homes for them. the partnerships with organizations generally with organizations that are working with low income individuals or families or people who are transportation dependent. we ask them to identify individuals who would greatly benefit from a bicycle. we make a list of people and their heights to match them to a bicycle that would suit their lifestyle and age and height. >> bicycle i received has impacted my life so greatly. it is not only a form of recreation. it is also a means of getting connected with the community through bike rides and it is also just a feeling of freedom. i really appreciate it. i am very thankful.
9:41 pm
>> we teach a class. they have to attend a one hour class. things like how to change lanes, how to make a left turn, right turn, how to ride around cars. after that class, then we would give everyone a test chance -- chance to test ride. >> we are giving them as a way to get around the city. >> just the joy of like seeing people test drive the bicycles in the small area, there is no real word. i guess enjoyable is a word i could use. that doesn't describe the kind of warm feelings you feel in your heart giving someone that sense of freedom and maybe they haven't ridden a bike in years. these folks are older than the
9:42 pm
normal crowd of people we give bicycles away to. take my picture on my bike. that was a great experience. there were smiles all around. the recipients, myself, supervisor, everyone was happy to be a part of this joyous occasion. at the end we normally do a group ride to see people ride off with these huge smiles on their faces is a great experience. >> if someone is interested in volunteering, we have a special section on the website sf you can sign up for both events. we have given away 855 bicycles, 376 last year. we are growing each and every year. i hope to top that 376 this year.
9:43 pm
we frequently do events in bayview. the spaces are for people to come and work on their own bikes or learn skills and give them access to something that they may not have had access to. >> for me this is a fun way to get outside and be active. most of the time the kids will be in the house. this is a fun way to do something. >> you get fresh air and you don't just stay in the house all day. it is a good way to exercise. >> the bicycle coalition has a bicycle program for every community in san francisco. it is connecting the young, older community. it is a wonderful outlet for the community to come together to have some good clean fun. it has opened to many doors to the young people that will usually might not have a bicycle. i have seen them and they are
9:44 pm
thankful and i am thankful for this program.
9:45 pm
♪♪ >> san francisco! ♪♪ >> this is an exhibition across departments highlighting different artworks from our collection. gender is an important part of the dialogue. in many ways, this exhibition is contemporary. all of this artwork is from the 9th century and spans all the way to the 21st century. the exhibition is organized into seven different groupings or
9:46 pm
themes such as activities, symbolism, transformation and others. it's not by culture or time period, but different affinities between the artwork. activities, for example, looks at the role of gender and how certain activities are placed as feminine or masculine. we have a print by uharo that looks at different activities that derisionly performed by men. it's looking at the theme of music. we have three women playing traditional japanese instruments that would otherwise be played by men at that time. we have pairings so that is looking within the context of gender in relationships. also with how people are questioning the whole idea of pairing in the first place.
9:47 pm
we have three from three different cultures, tibet, china and japan. this is sell vanity stot relevar has been fluid in different time periods in cultures. sometimes being female in china but often male and evoking features associated with gender binaries and sometimes in between. it's a lovely way of tying all the themes together in this collection. gender and sexuality, speaking from my culture specifically, is something at that hasn't been recently widely discussed. this exhibition shows that it's gender and sexuality are actually have been considered and complicated by dialogue
9:48 pm
through the work of artists and thinking specifically, a sculpture we have of the hindu deities because it's half pee male and half male. it turns into a different theme in a way and is a beautiful representation of how gender hasn't been seen as one thing or a binary. we see that it isn't a modest concept. in a way, i feel we have a lot of historical references and touch points throughout all the ages and in asian cultures. i believe san francisco has close to 40% asian. it's a huge representation here in the bay area. it's important that we awk abouk about this and open up the discussion around gender. what we've learned from organizing this exhibition at the museum is that gender has
9:49 pm
been something that has come up in all of these cultures through all the time periods as something that is important and relevant. especially here in the san francisco bay area we feel that it's relevant to the conversations that people are having today. we hope that people can carry that outside of the museum into their daily lives.
9:50 pm
9:51 pm
>> it's great to see everyone kind of get together and prove, that you know, building our culture is something that can be reckoned with. >> i am desi, chair of economic development for soma filipinos. so that -- [ inaudible ]
9:52 pm
know that soma filipino exists, and it's also our economic platform, so we can start to build filipino businesses so we can start to build the cultural district. >> i studied the bok chase choy heritage, and i discovered this awesome bok choy. working at i-market is amazing. you've got all these amazing people coming out here to share one culture. >> when i heard that there was a market with, like, a lot of filipino food, it was like oh, wow, that's the closest thing i've got to home, so, like, i'm
9:53 pm
going to try everything. >> fried rice, and wings, and three different cliefz sliders. i haven't tried the adobe yet, but just smelling it yet brings back home and a ton of memories. >> the binca is made out of different ingredients, including cheese. but here, we put a twist on it. why not have nutella, rocky road, we have blue berry. we're not just limiting it to just the classic with salted egg and cheese. >> we try to cook food that you
9:54 pm
don't normally find from filipino food vendors, like the lichon, for example. it's something that it took years to come up with, to perfect, to get the skin just right, the flavor, and it's one of our most popular dishes, and people love it. this, it's kind of me trying to chase a dream that i had for a long time. when i got tired of the corporate world, i decided that i wanted to give it a try and see if people would actually like our food. i think it's a wonderful opportunity for the filipino culture to shine. everybody keeps saying filipino food is the next big thing. i think it's already big, and to have all of us here together, it's just -- it just blows my mind sometimes that there's so many of us bringing -- bringing filipino food to the city finally.
9:55 pm
>> i'm alex, the owner of the lumpia company. the food that i create is basically the filipino-american experience. i wasn't a chef to start with, but i literally love lumpia, but my food is my favorite foods i like to eat, put into my favorite filipino foods, put together. it's not based off of recipes i learned from my mom. maybe i learned the rolling technique from my mom, but the different things that i put in are just the different things that i like, and i like to think that i have good taste. well, the very first lumpia that i came out with that really build the lumpia -- it wasn't the poerk and shrimp shanghai, but my favorite thing after partying is that bakon
9:56 pm
cheese burger lumpia. there was a time in our generation where we didn't have our own place, our own feed to eat. before, i used to promote filipino gatherings to share the love. now, i'm taking the most exciting filipino appetizer and sharing it with other filipinos. >> it can happen in the san francisco mint, it can happen in a park, it can happen in a street park, it can happen in a tech campus. it's basically where we bring the hardware, the culture, the
9:57 pm
operating system. >> so right now, i'm eating something that brings me back to every filipino party from my childhood. it's really cool to be part of the community and reconnect with the neighborhood. >> one of our largest challenges in creating this cultural district when we compare ourselves to chinatown, japantown or little saigon, there's little communities there that act as place makers. when you enter into little philippines, you're like where are the businesses, and that's one of the challenges we're trying to solve.
9:58 pm
>> undercover love wouldn't be possible without the help of the mayor and all of our community partnerships out there. it costs approximately $60,000 for every event. undiscovered is a great tool for the cultural district to bring awareness by bringing the best parts of our culture which is food, music, the arts and
9:59 pm
being ativism all under one roof, and by seeing it all in this way, what it allows san franciscans to see is the dynamics of the filipino-american culture. i think in san francisco, we've kind of lost track of one of our values that makes san francisco unique with just empathy, love, of being acceptable of different people, the out liers, the crazy ones. we've become so focused onic maing money that we forgot about those that make our city and community unique. when people come to discover, i want them to rediscover the magic of what diversity and empathy can create. when you're positive and committed to using that energy,
10:00 pm
>> what i will bring up my lovely cohost and i realized we went to the same high school in sacred heart the lovely of the bay area! >> i love that you did an amazing job after all the year its is a pleasure we never cohost third degree event. i'm thrilled to be here with you yoch excited, this is the first time. >> with we give a shout out toure high school a couple blocks away. gi know >> a lot of green high schools our high school fighting irish sacred heart