Friday, May 09, 2014

SF City Atty Urged Positive Online Comments for Becker's Book

When she's not been spending City time and using City infrastructure to organize a book reception for Jo Becker's "Forcing the Spring" and inviting Judge Vaughn Walker to the photo-op and flying down to Southern California (apparently on her own dime and time) to appear on a panel and at a cocktail party, deputy San Francisco City Attorney Therese Stewart has also been trying to generate friendly comments online for Becker.

On April 24 Stewart wrote to someone, perhaps a member of the LGBT legal advocacy community or someone in the judicial system, urging this person to "post positive recommendations about the book on Twitter, Facebook and the Amazon website. Jo Becker is getting lots of backlash on the book from the gay legal establishment who feel it overstates the importance of the Perry case and doesn't cover the accomplishments of the gay legal establishment sufficiently. It is, of course, a story about the Perry case, and does not deserve the kind of nasty commentary it's has been getting".

Well, I would argue it's also a commercial endeavor and one that presents Stewart and her boss Dennis Herrera most favorably.

Later that day, the recipient of Stewart's plea for spin on behalf of Becker responded and said they would not be writing any comments online.

They said, "I'm not sure my comments on Yelp or Amazon would carry that much weight, and I don't want to leave the impression that I'm carrying water for HRC or AFER. Chad Griffin et al. are adults in charge of powerful organizations and they can best take care of their own defense."

Speaking of carrying water, that is exactly what I think Herrera, his three staff publicists and Stewart have been doing for Becker.

Stewart replied on April 25 saying, "Not to worry. I understand. It is really about her that I care the most. She does not deserve the nastiness that the community usually directs toward each other".

Wow, Stewart sure has much invested in her friendship and collaboration with Becker. Are there any bounds to what Stewart won't do to promote Becker and "Forcing the Spring"?

At the City Attorney's web site, Herrera makes this generic and hollow good government promise:

"Remember: a public office is a public trust. As public officials for the City and County of San Francisco, it is our highest responsibility to conduct the functions of government in a way that is honest, open, and responsive to the citizens we serve. I am proud to offer my office's unwavering commitment to assist in that endeavor."

Come off it, Dennis. The emails released this week from your office reveal how much time and resources were recently devoted to helping Becker. The people of San Francisco were ill-served by you and your staff in this sorry affair. An apology would be nice, as would submitting a bill for public relations services to Becker and her publisher.

Previous posts in my effort to hold the City Attorney accountable for his role in using City infrastructure and City employees' time to promote Jo Becker's book are here and here and here and here.

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