Sarah Phelan

Will SF follow Portland on FBI spy concerns?


The Human Rights Commission and the Police Commission will hold a May 18 joint hearing at City Hall to discuss a recently released memo between the SFPD and the FBI that suggests that SFPD officers assigned to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force are under the control & rules of the FBI. The concern is that the memo allows SFPD officers to circumvent local intelligence-gathering policies, departmental orders and California privacy laws that prevent spying on people without any evidence of a crime. Read more »

Campos urges Lee to implement entire due process law


Text by Sarah Phelan. Photographs by Luke Thomas

After the Guardian broke the news that Mayor Ed Lee was planning to only partially implement Sup. David Campos’ due process legislation, we headed to City Hall to witness Lee announce his partial shift during question time. And afterwards, Lee told reporters that he spent the months since he was appointed reviewing the policy and talking with leaders in the city’s juvenile justice departments.

“I looked at the difference between youth with family here and youth who did not,” Lee said, noting that his decision to let youth that have family here to have their day in court is in keeping with his policy of focusing on family reunification and getting families more involved.

Lee stressed that youth with family here will still need to be enrolled in school and not be repeat offenders in order to have their day in court.

“It will be decided upon on a case by case basis,” he said. Read more »

Garbage shuffle

Alamo Square group alleges that Recology overbilled as board delays landfill decision


The Department of Public Health has scheduled a May 13 hearing to review allegations that Recology subsidiary Sunset Scavenger overbilled for trash collection at a condominium building for years, resulting in $84,544 in excess charges, erroneously charged the building commercial rates, and is refusing to make a full refund. Recology counters that the building's managers oversubscribed, and the company gave a three-month refund as a show of good faith, but considers additional refunds punitive.Read more »

Mayor Lee to partially implement Campos’ due process ordinance


Today at question time, Sup. Jane Kim will ask Mayor Ed Lee what his plan is to implement a due process ordinance that Sup. David Campos authored and a super majority of the Board approved in 2009, prohibiting the Juvenile Probation Department from reporting undocumented youths at the time of arrest. And according to an anonymous source, Lee will say he has decided to implement the policy, if the youth in question are “accompanied,” which means they have family here. Read more »

Legal scholars weigh in on Secure Communities


In face of statements by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, three legal scholars in California have offered their opinions on recent developments surrounding immigration enforcement in California and “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) a program run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that automatically shares fingerprints at the point of arrest by local law enforcement.Read more »

And they’re off! Mayor’s horse race officially begins


Reporting by Sarah Phelan and Linda Man. Photographs by Sarah Phelan
Thirty-six candidates have filed papers in the 2011 mayor’s race, but only former Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier, Sup. John Avalos, Board President David Chiu, former Sup. Bevan Dufty, former Sup. Tony Hall, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, venture capitalist Joanna Rees, City Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, and Sen. Leland Yee got to publicly race out of the starting gate May 5 during the first official mayoral forum. And while the decision to exclude the other 25 candidates was understandable from a logistical perspective, it raised the perennial question as to how the concerns of marginal communities and marginal candidates will be addressed during the campaign. (N. B. Write-in candidate and taxi driver Harold Miller used the forum to circulate his campaign literature, a strategy he also employed during this week’s cab driver protest around MTA credit card fees) Read more »

Illinois pulls out of Secure Communities


As California considers reforming Secure Communities, Illinois announced today that it is terminating its involvement in the controversial federal immigration program. California and Illinois moves come in face of Washington D.C’s decision to opt out of S-Comm and Washington State's refusal to participate. And they test ICE’s claims that the program is mandatory, as other states watch these developments.

(UPDATE: Yesterday, I erroneously reported that New York State had refused to participate in S-Comm.That is not the case. New York State does allow jurisdictions to participate, they have a MOA with ICE, and 8 more counties just joined. I confused NY with Washington State, which has refused to join.)

In a May 4 letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn enclosed a notice from Illinois State Police (ISP) director Hiram Grau, notifying ICE that because of its indiscriminate use of the "Secure Communities" deportation program, Illinois is terminating the November 2009 S-Comm Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between ISP and U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s ICE."

“The stated purpose of the program, as set forth in the MOA, is to “identify, detain and remove from the United States aliens who have been convicted of ¬serious criminal offenses and are subject to removal (emphasis added), ICE’s statistics on the Secure Communities program, compiled through February 28, 2011, reveal that the implementation of the Secure Communities program in Illinois is contrary to the stated purpose of the MOA: more than 30 percent of those deported from the United States, under the program, have never been convicted of ¬any crime, much less a serious one. In fact, by ICE’s own measure, less than 20 percent of those who have been deported from Illinois under the program have ever been convicted of a serious crime.”

Read more »

Hundreds Protest Wells Fargo Shareholder Meeting in SF


The New Bottom Line, a national campaign to hold banks accountable for foreclosures, kicked off in San Francisco this week, as hundredsmarched through the Financial District to demand that Wells Fargo change corporate policies that bankrupt families, dismantle neighborhoods, and empty public coffers.
During the bank’s annual May 3 shareholder meeting, a group of homeowners and clergy addressed Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf to demand a foreclosure moratorium. Read more »

Ross for boss (of the sheriff's department)


City Hall’s steps were awash in multi-lingual black and yellow “Ross Mirkarimi for Sherrif” signs at noon today, as Mirkarimi supporters watched Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who is stepping down after 31 years of service and eight elections, endorse Sup. Mirkarimi as the next sheriff.  “New Leadership for a Safe San Francisco” was printed on the English version of the signs that Mirkarimi’s supporters carried. They included former Mayor Art Agnos, Sups. David Campos and Eric Mar, Tim Paulson of the Labor Council, Debra Walker, Linda Richardson, Sharen Hewitt, Terry Anders, and Mirkarimi’s partner Eliana Lopez and their almost two-year old son Theo. And everyone had plenty of great things to say about outgoing sheriff Hennessey and sheriff candidate Mirkarimi. And Hennessey even pinned a shiny toy sheriff’s badge onto the T-shirt of Mirkarimi's son Theo, making him the happiest kid in town. At least for the day. Read more »

The case against consolidation

Low-income communities accuse Sutter Health of price-gouging at hospital costs hearings


With officials predicting that San Francisco will spend $500 million annually on health care costs for city employees and retirees, the Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee held an April 28 hearing to analyze why hospitals costs are higher in Northern California than Southern California, and why costs have escalated in the last decade.Read more »