Post image for City Scofflaws: Book’em, Dano!

City Scofflaws: Book’em, Dano!

by Larry Bush on 07/26/2011

in Busted

Four months after the deadline, ten city officials have yet to file Statements of Economic Interest and may soon be referred to a state agency for legal action, including fines and potential removal from office.

Included among the ten non-filers are Mayor Ed Lee’s scheduling secretary, a member of the Community College Board, the Hotel Council’s Executive Director who sits on a city board – and former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s sister’s sister-in-law (yes, we understand you need to get our your chart of Royal Lineages for that one).

Pam Arata, appointed by Newsom to the Recreation and Parks Commission and currently Mayor Lee’s scheduling secretary, failed to respond to the April 1 filing deadline and Ethics Commission warning letters sent June 15 and July 8. Her failure to respond by July 22 means that Ethics’ next step is an August 19 referral to the California Fair Political Practices Commission that levies fines and further action.

Chris Jackson, an elected member of the Community College Board, also missed the filing deadline and failed to respond to two warning letters.

Patricia Breslin, a member of the Rate Fairness Board and currently Executive Director of the Hotel Council, also makes the list. This board falls under the Public Utilities Commission and advises on setting water and sewer rates, a very big deal for the city’s hotels.

Breslin, formerly executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, is a high profile figure in San Francisco’s political world, taking a strong stance against the city’s livable wage ordinance, the health insurance requirement, and memorably against then-supervisor Chris Daly’s proposal to grade restaurants for cleanliness. Such a system, Breslin argued, “would give restaurants no time to fix a problem before a bad mark went up.”

Words to live by, Patricia Breslin. But perhaps four months isn’t enough time to fix your filing problem.

Leaders of the Pack

There is some competition for who belongs at the head of the list of scofflaws-turned-miscreants.

Arnold Townsend, the sole mayoral appointee to the Elections Commission, is so far out of compliance that he already has been referred to the Fair Political Practices Commission and Ethics reports that “no further action is required” by Ethics.

But he may be edged out by Regina Callan, a midnight appointee of former mayor Gavin Newsom to the General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee that monitors the Controller’s audits of city performance and also – as made clear by a July Civil Grand Jury report – oversees the city Whistleblower program.

Callan is the sister of Geoff Callan, who is married to Hilary Newsom Callan, who is the sister of Gavin Newsom. This is about as close as one can get to an “official family member” since former mayor Joe Alioto appointed his cousin to the city’s Civil Service Commission, proclaiming “what’s the point of being mayor if you can’t appoint a relative.”

Callan is an appointee in name but not in practice, having never shown up from Day One to take the oath of office, much less attend any of the meetings held since accepting the post. She remains listed on the Controller’s page as a Board member, but it turns out the fact that she hasn’t filed a Statement of Economic Interests isn’t a problem because, after all, she hasn’t actually assumed office. We count this as Ethics Loophole #144.

After some eight months of missing meetings – although reportedly she did call before the January 2011 meeting to say she would be a little late – it now falls to Mayor Lee to ask her to do her duty or hit the road. Alternately, having missed three meeting, the Board itself could schedule a discussion on her status.

Callan, by the way, occupies the seat intended for someone involved in “community organizations.” Her qualifications under that category remain an open question.

As far as attendance by commissioners and board members goes, Mayor Lee’s office confirms that Mayor Lee is on track to obtain attendance records and post them for public inspection – but that the track won’t start until round about October, in the midst of the election season. Until then, everybody gets to hide out in the weeds of individual commission records – where they exist.

More of Days Late, Dollars Short

But back to the Statements of Economic Interests.

The remaining gang that apparently was unable to find a pen in the house (we know how often that happens to us) are: Robert Davis, who was due to file a “leaving office” statement as Entertainment Commission executive director, John McKnight of the Workforce Investment Board, Nazly Mohajer, Human Rights Commissioner, Walter Park, Access Appeals Board member, and Jeffery Sterman, Health Authority Board member.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: