Sup. Mirkarimi pushes for transparency in mayor’s security detail costs

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By Rebecca Bowe

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Image courtesy James Ratcliffe

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has introduced legislation that would require elected officials to reimburse the city for security-detail costs while traveling the campaign trail, the Chronicle has reported. Mirkarimi has been trying unsuccessfully for more than a month to get the Mayor’s Office to disclose how much is being spent on security for Mayor Gavin Newsom as he campaigns for governor outside San Francisco. In response, he’s been told that revealing that dollar amount would be a security risk.

The legislation also seeks to shine some light another longstanding transparency problem: Newsom’s public calendar. Mirkarimi’s proposed rule would require the mayor to submit a detailed schedule, describing how much time was spent on each activity listed.

The Guardian has noted the mayor’s tendency to reveal only a bare minimum of information in the official schedule he publicizes, telling journalists and concerned citizens virtually nothing about how the people’s business is being conducted.

Sunshine advocate Kimo Crossman, who has been publicly calling for a meatier mayoral calendar for years, pointed out that there are already open-government rules in place that have been ignored. “When the Guardian found out the Mayor Willie Brown was shredding his calendars, part of the Prop G enhancement to [the city’s Sunshine Ordinance] required keeping a very detailed calendar and preserving all correspondence in the Mayor's office,” Crossman told us via email. “The [Sunshine Ordinance Task Force] has found that [mayor’s office spokesman] Nathan Ballard and Mayor Newsom have willfully violated these provisions and therefore committed official misconduct.”

"Subsequently," he added, "no behavior has changed."