Friday, January 03, 2014

Cost of SF Mayor's City Hall Tribute to Nelson Mandela?

(From the left, George Shultz, his wife and Chief of Protocol Charlotte Maillaird Shutlz, Mayor Lee, admitted wife-bruiser and Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, and Board of Supervisors president David Chui. Credit: SF Examiner, Evan DuCharme.)

Since the list of documents Mayor Ed Lee claims he does not have continues to grow - no document about the cost of his December party for hundreds of diplomats and 1 percent socialites, no document for the budget of his Office of Protocol, no public records request log for the last eight months of 2013 - I hope he soon turns to his Tech Inc buddy Ron Conway to ask him for the necessary tools to create and maintain such vital public records.

Add to the list this reply in response to my public records request this week for the list of guests and expense for the mayor's stately tribute to the great humanitarian Nelson Mandela, held at the top, middle platform and base of the Charlotte Mailliard Shultz Staircase at City Hall on December 11:

This office does not have any responsive documents to your request. 

 (Cyril Sibusiso Ndaba, Consulate General for South Africa, speaks to the crowd from the Charlotte Maillaird Shultz Staircase. Credit: SF Examiner, Evan DuCharme.)

The tribute was invitation only and, I believe, was held at 8 am to minimize the chance that anti-gentrification activists or others upset with the mayor and his administration about a host of economic justice issues might show up.

It's laudable that City Hall was used to pay tribute to Mandela, even if it was an event designed very to stroke the egos of elected officials and burnish their global credentials, and I can accept that the mayor didn't want ordinary citizens showing up and potentially mucking up his show.

 (Mr. and Mrs. Shultz hold hands over the plaque designating the City Hall grand staircase in her honor, at the December 2010 diplomats' party. Credit: SF Chronicle, Catherine Bigelow.)

However, I do believe that taxpayers have a right to know who was invited to participate in the Mandela tribute and how much it cost us. Following the money, not to mention the list of guests, should be a snap in San Francisco at our City Hall. Right?

No comments: