Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The city's spineless progressive leadership


Progressive political leaders in San Francisco are increasingly spineless. I've already cited their reaction to the uprising in Polk Gulch---complete silence---and now we have their failure to appoint a serious reformer to the Ethics Commission, one of the authors, Hulda Garfolo, of the Grand Jury's critical report a few years ago. (See also Harvey Rose's report comparing SF's ethics laws with L.A.'s).

Good to see Melissa Griffin writing about this failure. She's beginning to fill the independent role that Ken Garcia used to occupy that's been lacking on the Examiner under the new "progressive" ownership:

To her great detriment, Garfolo told the truth to the rules committee when it was considering which candidate to recommend to the full Board of Supervisors---her or Brett Andrews. She barely hid her disdain for the commission and the outsized influence of its executive director, John St. Croix. Even her application said, "I would like to help bring credibility and public trust to this commission, which avoids transparency as often as it can." So, instead of Garfolo, the committee chose Andrews, the executive director of the Positive Resource Center, a nonprofit that serves the HIV-positive community. A self-described "proud, LGBT, African-American man," Andrews doesn't have quite the expertise of Garfolo, but he didn't appear to have her reform agenda, either.

Griffin notes the hypocrisy of progressive supervisors, including Supervisor Avalos:

Instead, Supervisor John Avalos said he wanted to appoint a lawyer or someone with legal "expertise." But back in 2011, Avalos voted against the appointment of lawyer Dorothy Liu, saying that legal knowledge is fine but the commission needed "someone with vision."

Garfolo was too candid and too serious a reformer to get progressive support---or to qualify as a member of the City Hall "family."

Supervisor Breed---who of course didn't vote for Garfolo---made a typically stupid contribution to the meeting:

Breed said she was particularly struck by Garfolo’s comments that the ethics commission is led by the staff. She questioned how effective Garfolo could be “if you don’t have a level of trust for people managing the department? It is about people working together and being open-minded, not just pointing the finger,” said Breed.

"Pointing the finger," that is, substantive criticism of how the commission operates, is too negative for Breed. Garfolo's mistake: she didn't kiss enough ass at that meeting. She was supposed to pretend that the commission and the supervisors were "working together" for the good of San Francisco.

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