Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SF Taxpayer Tab for Herrera's Foto-op at Sundance Film Festival?

Let's give the San Francisco City Attorney credit for not only turning his office into Jo Becker's boutique public relations firm recently to promote her book "Forcing the Spring", on the taxpayers' time and dime, but for also using the world premiere of a lame and poorly-reviewed documentary, "8, The Mormon Proposition", to raise his profile among potential donors from the movie world for his future political campaigns.

(Credit: Clayton Chase, Getting Images.)

The documentary debuted at the January 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Utah and there was absolutely no City business being conducted there, but that didn't stop Dennis Herrera, center, from jetting to the event to pose with former Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese and Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights for this photo-op.

We, the taxpayers of San Francisco, footed the tab for Herrera's Sundance junket.

My public records request to the City Attorney brought back a document revealing Herrera stuck us taxpayers with a bill of $924 for lodging, taxi service and meals.

We also footed his airplane travel costs which came to $2,632, and adding that to the other expenses totals up to $3,556, just so Herrera could schmooze at the Sundance Film Festival.

On his way back to San Francisco, he flew first class but at least on his way to Utah rode in economy class.

Last year, I investigated (and piqued the interest of local media outlets) the cost of Herrera traveling to Washington with seven of his staffers, including publicist Matt Dorsey, when the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Prop 8 Perry case. You'll recall that Herrera was not required nor needed at the hearing since the main litigants, Ted Olson and David Boies, were handling those chores.

Herrera and his staff's junket to DC cost San Francisco taxpayers $17,000. He sure likes traveling to help his career and allowing us to pay his expenses.

You could make the argument that with the Perry arguments, Olson and Boies could have taken sick or suffered amnesia and Herrera might have been needed to save the day before the nine high court justices, and all of his staffers would be ready to assist him in a horrible worst case scenario (sure), but what excuse does Herrera have for making taxpayers underwrite his Sundance photo-op?

It's not too late for him to do an honorable act and repay the City the $3,556 he charged us in order to be at the 2010 film festival.

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