SF Sunshine Dims:
Wiener Puppet: 'I Have no Qualifications'
Video streaming by Ustream
Patience with Supervisor Scott Wiener's puppets on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force was not on my agenda last night at the panel's regular monthly meeting down at City Hall. Before the meeting got underway, in front of at least two-dozen witnesses, I demanded from newly-appointed Todd David that he state his qualifications for having a seat on the SOTF.
David said, "I have no qualifications." He also stated that nothing he could say would please me. Not true, he could announce his resignation before his first SOTF even started and that would very much please my sunshine heart.
As more SOTF members and members of the public came into the hearing room, I told them about David's quote that he lacked qualifications to serve on this important panel.
I stayed for almost three-hours of the meeting and was sickened to see motions made to install spanking new appointees with no previous service on the SOTF or interactions with it prior to showing up last night, to be the chair and vice chair. What a flagrant insult to the SOTF, attempting to stack the two top positions with folks bereft of institutional knowledge.
On top of that, not one of the Wiener puppets bothered to prepare a one-page written statement for the public, explaining their sunshine experience or why they're supposedly qualified to serve on the panel.
For most of the time I was present, the room contained at least 30 folks deeply concerned about Wiener's evisceration of the old SOTF membership and his continuing efforts to seriously dilute sunshine regulations. I met the half-dozen African-American folks from the Bay View district who've been trying for a solid year to obtain SF Police Department and SF Muni tapes of their relative being shot and killed by the cops on a transit platform.
Listening to the relatives of Kenneth Harding Jr. explain their attempts to get a copy of the closed circuit security camera tapes and getting stonewalled at every turn by the SFPD and Muni, I was reminded of why we need a strong and independent membership running the SOTF. It takes guts and freedom from the City Family to force these departments to eventually release the public records sought by Harding's family.
Kudos to all the sunshine advocates who spoke up last night and taught the Wiener puppets a lot about good government. The entire proceeding was streamed live by master media wiz Tony De Renzo, who also archived the tape at his SF City Watch site. I've embedded the tape here.
Unfortunately, even though SOTF meetings are held at City Hall, the Supervisors have made no provisions to broadcast them on the city government's public access cable channel or its web site. What does that tell you about the commitment of transparency by the Supervisors?
San Francisco's sunshine principles may be dimming right now, but the fight to retain and expand what open government laws we currently have is just beginning.