Friday, October 05, 2012

Our spineless supervisors and their "independent counsel"

The Bay Guardian reports on a letter sent to the Board of Supervisors by lawyer Scott Emblidge, appointed to provide legal advice to the board on the Mirkarimi case:

The City Attorney's Office strongly advised the supervisors earlier this year not to discuss the Mirkarimi case with anyone, and they have all heeded that advice and refused to discuss the case with reporters, adding to the drama surrounding a high-profile decision with huge potential long-term ramifications.

This is wrong on several levels. The City Attorney of course is also representing the mayor in his attempt to destroy Mirkarimi. Why would the supervisors "heed" that advice? Because it gives them an excuse to be spineless, which is their default position. Instead of debating the issue---and defending a pro or con stand---it's naturally easier to have an excuse to say nothing.

And there will be no "huge potential long-term ramifications." The notion that the present or future mayors will see the attempt, if successful, as a precedent allowing them to dismiss other elected officials is ridiculous. I bet if Mayor Lee had it to do over he wouldn't have started this process on Mirkarimi:

“Scott Emblidge parrots the language of the City Attorney in his recommendation against recusal,” Mirkarimi attorney David Waggoner told us, taking issue with the relationship Emblidge and his firm have with the city and the fact that he also served as legal counsel to the Ethics Commission, some of whose members were unaware of that dual role and expressed concern. “The board must appoint independent counsel.”

The supervisors don't need any outside "counsel." All they need to do is locate their backbones, but I don't expect that to happen. We already knew that this board is one of the dumbest ever. Now we know it's also gutless.

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