Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Sup. Breed & DA Gascon to SF Taxpayers: Drop Dead

I have two open complaints before the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, one each pertaining to the calendars of Supervisor London Breed and District Attorney George Gascon.

Neither has been forthcoming with genuine and detailed daily work calendars, and the SOTF was waiting for the revised law requiring the Supervisors to fall under the existing statute mandating that they, like department heads such as the DA, keep and release calendars. That law went into effect on July 1.

Breed has had more than a month to prepare for the release of her June and July calendars, but as we've seen in the past when she's offered up "my dog ate my hard drive" excuses for withholding or setting extreme hindrances, she's still doing all she can to keep her calendar out of public view.

My immediate disclosure request this week to Breed, which requires City officials to provide the responsive records within ten business days, generated this lame response:

"As you can see on the Board of Supervisor’s website, the Board is in recess from July 29 to August 31, 2015, and the next regularly scheduled meeting is September 8, 2015. As such, you will receive a response after September 8, 2015."

There is no provision in the calendar sunshine law exempting Supervisors from meeting their legal requirements merely because they're in recess. It's not as though Breed and her three paid staffers are off visiting Pluto and no one is in her office. Actually, since there are no Supervisors' meetings now, Breed has plenty of time to comply with my request.

With DA Gascon, his public info flack Alex Bastian was instructed by the SOTF in no uncertain terms to have his boss end the habit of listing absolutely no events on the majority of dates of his calendar. When there were listings, they overwhelmingly were for media interviews in his office or at a studio. An ambitious politician has to keep the press happy and Gascon enjoys seeing his mug on TV and splashed across news sites.

Isn't this something? The DA's calendar is kept on paper, not electronically.

Instead of blank days per his custom, Gascon now states on the majority of days: "All day: DA to conduct meetings in office." Meetings with political consultants, members of his staff, schmoozing with donors or interior decorators? He's not divulging such pesky details.

When he does put details on the calendar, it's usually for working the media and on those days interviews are the only listing. No meetings take up the rest of his day apparently.

A 1999 ballot measure passed by the taxpayers mandated the DA maintain a calendar with details about who he meets with and the topics discussed. For Gascon, he can't be bothered with the pesky sunshine laws that apply directly to him.

When it comes to their calendars, Breed and Gascon with hold the public records and resist every effort to have them comply with the law. The message from Breed and Gascon to San Francisco taxpayers on calendars is drop dead.

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