Wednesday, April 24, 2013

City Attorney Herrera's Tab for Video Starring Himself?

Guess they couldn't locate any victims of predatory lending practices at Payday Loans and Check 'n Go, who might want to tell other victims how to apply for a refund so they decided to feature a politician and his staff instead.

Dennis Herrera, City Attorney of San Francisco, stars in a video produced by Dennis Herrera that was funded by Dennis Herrera, designed to boost the ego of Dennis Herrera and to expand Dennis Herrera's name recognition among Hollywood donors.

The video above officially is about educating predatory loan victims to file claims for potential refunds, but instead of simply having victims tell their stories and explain how to apply for the refunds, the real point of the project is to promote one ambitious politician.

Total cost to taxpayers to stroke the egos of Herrera and his wife, who both appear at the very beginning of the video, and the city employees who created the video and star in it?

According to public records from the city attorney's office after I filed a request, the tab came to $5,564, with $1,720 of that amount going to the PR Newswire to garner some attention.

The video had a local red carpet premiere on February 20 at Gino and Carlo's restaurant in North Beach, according to a Herrera press release, where a background banner featured the seal of the City Attorney. Needless to say, Herrera was happy to pose in front of the banner for a few pix. One of Herrera's staff publicists, Jack Song, emailed today to say the office incurred no expense to taxpayers and guests had to buy their own libations. 

On February 21 at the Wilshire Screening Room in Beverly Hills, the video had its world premiere. The screening rental came to $250, paid for by taxpayers. Jack Song said today that Herrera, fellow publicist Matt Dorsey and staff attorney Marisa Moret, who produced and directed the video, were all at the Beverly Hills event. Song didn't produce requested travel expense reports because, he obliquely stated, there were none. I guess that means unlike their SCOTUS junket, Herrera, Dorsey and Moret didn't stick the tab to taxpayers.

Reaching predatory lending victims is secondary to this entire endeavor. It's all nothing more than more p.r. for Herrera and his staff. They wanted to show off their video-making skills, most likely on city time since this is consider outreach work, and shot a parody of the coming attraction for "Les Miserables", hoping to generate lots of media attention at Oscar-time with their cleverness.

Hello, they spent $1,720 for the services of the PR Newswire and except for a blog post at the SF Chronicle's site, which never raised the matter of how much the damn thing cost taxpayers, there was no bang for all those bucks.

In case I have no presented enough evidence that this video was more interest in capturing the attention of Hollywood donors for future Herrera campaigns, through showing off the parodying skills of his City Attorney office's staff, have a look at the second version of the product, a split-screen edition comparing it with the "Les Miserables" trailer from Universal Studios:

When watching the end credits, be aware that many folks listed are employees of the City Attorney office. How successful this video has been at reaching beyond the friends and family of Herrera and his staffers is anyone guess.

Curious to learn if Universal Studios was asked to grant licensing rights to Herrera for use of their intellectual property.

I sure wish this November's race for the City Attorney's office weren't like the elections of the Soviet Union - no challenger to the incumbent. For lots of reasons, including his abysmal record on upholding sunshine laws and practices, Herrera needs electoral competition.

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