Read James Chaffee's response - Page 4


The fact is that democracy exists because public-spirited citizens fight for it.  The better question is, Why did the Library Commission fight against it at every turn?   It is important to look at the broad perspective of who is, and has been, fighting for the democratic principles of openness and public process.  The fact is, Kimo Crossman and I, as well as others, have been fighting for democratic principles that are important to everyone and it is a good thing that we do, no matter how often we lose.

For those who saw my public comment at the Board of Supervisors meeting of April 11, you saw 35 newspaper headlines exposing problems in SFPL while I mentioned everything from the book dumping scandal to the retribution against staff whistleblower scandal, and many in between.  Would the City and the society as a whole be better off if none of that were exposed?  Of course, the library administration did not willingly allow the sunshine that brought those issues to light.  One of the weapons that they use most relentlessly against openness is personal calumny against those who would uncover the truth.  I have been called a lot worse things than vexatious litigant.  Every gain for democracy comes at the expense of the aristocracy’s prerogatives.  They don’t like it, but that is the way it works.

In the end it wasn’t about the Brown Act.  Figuratively speaking, I was smuggling wheelbarrows. It was about establishing a beachhead for democracy so that there would be public discussion about the issues of the privatization and destruction of the public library.  It is true that some of the Brown Act lawsuits were about relatively small points, but it began with brazen and open contempt for sunshine and ended up with more of the truth coming out than anyone thought possible.

The next step is putting Library Commission meetings on SFGTV.  How many departments with a $70 Million annual budget are not broadcast on cable access or available on Video on Demand?  The one thing that will make it difficult for the Library Commission to privatize the Public Library is to allow the people to see what is going on.  That is where "sunshine" comes from.  "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."