Ethics Commission to discuss Progress for All

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San Francisco Chronicle reporter John Cote's scoop highlighting how Recology executives were working behind the scenes under pressure from Chinatown power broker Rose Pak to encourage Mayor Ed Lee to seek a full term is just the latest development for a committee that's raised eyebrows already, and it may be just the beginning.

Five mayoral candidates -- board President David Chiu, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, state Sen. Leland Yee, former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, and businesswoman Joanna Rees -- have teamed up to encourage the San Francisco Ethics Commission to investigate whether Progress for All has run afoul of local election laws, rallying behind an effort spearheaded by Democratic County Central Committee Chair Aaron Peskin in a July 28 letter to commissioners.

At the heart of the issue is whether Lee or any of his representatives have been coordinating with agents of Progress for All. If they are, Progress for All would have to be considered Lee's own, candidate-controlled committee, Peskin asserts in the letter.

"Given the close relationship between Ms. Pak, the Mayor, and Progress for All, it is very possible that the committee has 'consulted' or 'coordinated' with the Mayor, and therefore its expenditures should be deemed to be made 'at his behest,'" Peskin's letter to the Ethics Commission argues. A City Hall insider told the Guardian that Pak -- a primary driver behind the Run, Ed, Run campaign -- is regularly observed going to and from the mayor's office.

"If Progress for All or any of these other committees has been acting on Mayor Lee's behalf, those committees may have violated the $500 contribution limit and prohibitions against accepting corporate, union or city contractor money, restrictions that apply to all candidate committees," the letter states.

Financial disclosure filings for committees fundraising for the Nov. 8 election are due Monday.

Aside from the question of whether there is coordination between Lee, who has not yet announced that he will run for mayor, and Progress for All, concerns have been raised about city contractors aiding in the efforts of the campaign. Under the city's Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, contractors doing business with the city are not allowed to make political contributions.

(Given the revelations that Recology executives' signature gathering efforts were done in violation of company policy, it's no wonder Recology executives become bashful when approached by reporters who ask tough questions.)

Meanwhile, Recology might not be the only city contractor that Pak has encouraged to support Run, Ed, Run. A column that former Mayor Willie Brown published recently in the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that this isn't the first conversation of this kind.

"One thing you can say about Chinatown powerhouse Rose Pak, she is not shy," Brown's column begins. "Holding court at the party for the opening of the new airport terminal, Rose was seated at the table with interim Mayor Ed Lee and his wife, Anita, and a host of other local officials. 'I want every one of you to call his office and tell him he should run for mayor,' Rose told the table. 'And do it right away so that there's no misunderstanding.' Then she turned to the architect David Gensler. 'Didn't you do this terminal?' she asked. 'Yes,' he said. 'Didn't you remodel this terminal before?' 'Yes,' he said. 'Then your firm should raise a million dollars for his election campaign.'"

While Brown may not be a visible player in the Run, Ed, Run campaign, he's certainly been at the table with a key driver behind it and Lee himself -- and he's using his platform in the Chronicle to get the word out about Lee's potential mayoral campaign.

"The specific revelations of unethical and possibly illegal activity are very troubling and need to be fully investigated by the Ethics Commission as soon as possible," Chiu told the Guardian.

Political consultant Jim Stearns, whose firm is managing Sen. Yee's mayoral campaign, joined the chorus in calling for an investigation. "If you think about the fact that these guys still, according to press reports, are eating together once a week, and there's not supposed to be any coordination ... You have this committee that is essentially operating in complete disregard of the campaign law," he said. "It's sort of like there's a crime being committed, and where's the police?"

The San Francisco Ethics Commission will hold a policy discussion about how to treat Progress for All at its Aug. 8 meeting, Ethics director John St. Croix told the Guardian.

"We've told the committee that we believe they're a primarily form committee, which is an independent expenditure committee on behalf of a candidate for office or a ballot measure," St. Croix explained. "They're claiming that there's no candidate, so they can't be that committee, even though they're acting pretty much exactly like one would."

As things stand, Progress for All has filed as a general purpose committee, he added. "A general purpose committee is what you would think of as a [political action committee]. They usually represent an organization or elected group of individuals, they tend to exist for a long period of time, and they contribute to multiple campaigns, whereas a primarily formed committee is created to support or oppose a single candidate or a single ballot measure in a single election," he explained. Another key distinction: "Independent expenditure committees don't have contribution limits the way that candidate committees do. Candidate committees have a $500-per-contributor contribution limit."

Peskin, meanwhile, hinted that there may be more to come. "There's a lot of it," he said, "and I think there are many people who have stories to tell."

Comments

The fact that Peskin is involved in this mudslinging, gives the rumor that Ed Lee is somehow coordinating the campaign less credibility. Peskin just wants to undermine the good work Ed Lee has been doing; and will do once elected major.

Posted by Chris Pratt on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

the people pushing for this "Inquiry" are also candidates for Mayor tell us everything we need to know here.

Lee looks squeaky clean to me and even the SFBG aren't claiming that he's involved.

So let's just have an election and let the voters decide. Problem?

Posted by Harry on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

When will the American "PUBLIC" wake up? All the junk they print in local news today, is just a disfigurement of how things should be. They are trying to keep your mind on something else as the real problem surpasses us. We need to "stand" as the GREAT CONSTITUTION said to do in the first place. STAND for what's right, and "DEFEND" our country from evil-doers, and mis-deeded beliefs that aren't in our constitution. Why do we continue to let people walk on us?!?!?!?!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2011 @ 2:25 am

What exactly does "the good work Ed Lee has been doing" consist of ?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

by citing Lee's ability to keep the withered rump of the socialists on the BofS honest.

Lee generally ducks the overly political in favor of common sense and moderation. He's running an enterprise not pandering to a pressure group.

The voters like that approach which is exactly why the other candidates are scared crapless that he might enter.

Ask me if I care, as a voter, about being given more choice? Ask me, as a voter, whether I want the option of voting for Lee ruled out on a technicality?

Are the other candidates really so lacking in confidence that they want to doctor the voting options? Bring it on, Lee and all, and let the people decide.

Posted by Harry on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

You cited exactly zero examples of Ed Lee's good work.

That's the same number of accomplishments I expected.

Nice list of meaningless generalities, though.
You must work for him or his fake "grassroots" organization paid for by Rose Pak and Willie Brown.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

the opportunity to vote for him?

Posted by Harry on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

You are apparently hallucinating that someone has "sought to deny the voters the opportunity" along with your hallucinations that Ed Lee has accomplished something important while temporary mayor.
That quote, by the way, is another stunning generality indicative of a background in misleading communications skills.
Which reminds me-

You refused to say whether or not you work for the Lee campaign or his fake "grassroots" organizations paid for by Rose Pak and Willie Brown.

A reasonable person would now assume this to be the case.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

really hasn't achieved anything, then presumably people won't vote for him anyway.

So why are you concerned?

Posted by Harry on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 1:41 am

I'm a concerned VOTER who was led to believe you and the other commenter favored Ed Lee because of some specific accomplishment.
If I were to learn that Lee has made some important accomplishment(s) as temporary mayor, I would consider voting for him.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 9:12 am

why fear him as a candidate? The addition on the ballot of such a non-entity would surely not detract from your favored candidate(s).

Why I might vote for him is my own business and my own choice. I am merely arguing to be given that as an option.

Posted by Harry on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 10:17 am

And his utterly non-specific "good work" that you are so impressed with.

I tried to ask specifically why you support him and rather than giving a factual straight answer, you act as if your privacy has been invaded?

If you want your reasons to support Ed Lee to remain a secret, that's fine.
It's just a little ridiculous.

"Why I might vote for him is my own business and my own choice. "
Posted by Harry on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 10:17 am

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

Are you paid, directly or indirectly by Enrique Pearce or Rose Pak?
None of those groups call themselves a "campaign".

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 9:28 am

I'm just a SF voter seeking more choices.

Posted by Harry on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 10:18 am

Yes, nothing but progress for all.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 8:04 am

(i) Hard to see what Ed Lee has accomplished other than a watered down pension reform bill; (ii) the conduct of the Run, Ed, Run campaign sounds bad; (iii) Peskin getting involved weakens any investigation of the Run, Ed, Run campaign. Why won't Peskin go away?

And Ed Lee's ability to "accomplish" anything else over the next few months just dissolved as Chiu doesn't trust him anymore. Predictable--once Lee became a candidate, he lost the good will he had via his interim status.

Posted by The Commish on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

I'LL PUT THIS IN CAPS FOR THE STUPID, EVEN IF "Progress for All" SHOT JFK, IT WOULD MEAN NOTHING TO LEE, WHAT IS THAT SOUND THAT HOMER MAKES "DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH"

Posted by Guest on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

........................sound of fear.

Posted by Patrick Brown on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

That's a fact. If Tiny Peskin is involved - then there's some progressive political angle there somewhere.

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

"Your replies are nothing but ad-hominem attacks"
Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

You wrote it an hour ago, whining about how you couldn't criticize a woman with a dead son without someone calling you out on it while using impolite language regarding your disgusting, fat and greasy ass.
Remember?
You really wanted to point out how wrong it all was for that to be happening to you.

Now.
See where you gleefully called that guy "Tiny" Peskin and diverted the attention from the above story to him?
That's an ad hominem attack, idiot.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

at least in part - he's a prime political player in this city.

Get how that works poor dear?

Posted by Right on Sister Snapples on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 12:54 am

And calling him names is just your idea of fun, isn't it?
Dear.
(Vomits)

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 9:13 am

The group Progress for All claims to be a general-education effort. We all know that's false. It's goal is to encourage Ed Lee to run for mayor.

It's appropriate for the Ethics Commission to investigate the group, in light of information that has come out so far and also the behavior of Rose Pak.

I personally believe it would be a mistake for Ed Lee for run for mayor. First, he promised he wouldn't. Second, a run will destroy the era of good feeling at City Hall, which is making it possible to address many vexing problems in a civil and mature way.

A mayoral candidacy by Ed Lee will immediately bring back all the childish and counterproductive behavior that usually prevails at City Hall.

On the other hand, the announced candidates for mayor are deluding themselves if they think they can defeat Lee, should he run, with attacks on some of his backers. The voters want to see positive suggestions for practical problem-solving, not more of the same old recriminations.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

Which vexing problems have been addressed?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

changing his name to Ed Lies.

That is, if he brakes his promises made when he was on the other side of the world, making promises over the phone and via email, so we couldn't see if his fingers were crossed behind his back, giving him an out from keeping his damn promise not to run.

Posted by MPetrelis on Jul. 29, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

That's a first for a politician

Posted by Patrick Brown on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 12:51 am

boys and girls,

Follow this guy's advice and Hennessey can still be Mayor?

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Subject: Hennessey for new Interim Mayor?
From: "h. brown"
Date: Sat, July 30, 2011 8:05 am
To: h@ludd.net
Priority: Normal
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boys and girls,

An SF ophthalmologist has a letter in the
editorial section of the Chron today which, I
believe, presents the perfect solution to the
dilemma in which Ed Lee finds himself.

Put succinctly, Dr. Craig H. Kliger suggests
that:

"In any event, while I won't say he can't change
his mind, because circumstances have evolved, if
he truly believes he should run, I don't believe
he can do so credibly if he doesn't resign the
mayorship and forfeit any guarantee he may have
to the city administrator post first.

By doing so he would not only express his confidence
in securing the people's blessing but also not have
an unfair advantage over other candidates based
on perceived misrepresentation."

I like the way this boy thinks.

And, for a chaos freak such as myself, this just
tosses more cherry bombs into the chuck full SF
political toilet.

Then, we get a new 'Interim' mayor and who, pray
tell will that be?

I think Mike Hennessey makes sense.

Then he can choose his own replacement as Sheriff..

Ah, the mind boggles.

Giants at 10am?!?

Great game last night.

MVP w/game winning hit ... Edgar Renteria!

(Is this an echo of last Fall?)

h.

Delete & Prev | Delete & Next
Move to:

Posted by Great letter to Chron on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 7:39 am

ed lee is not honest. recology is involved in his campaign, they want to keep their monopoly on public funds. as a bureaucrat he supported a 54% increase in garbage rates, which hit the poor the most.

ed lee is dishonest as is his consultants and his backers. they are using shady fundraising and ed lee is going to feel the pain when we're not making jokes about his goddamned mustache and look at what he's really about. He is a jerk, and the fact so many people including the Guardian are pro-Lee and are backing him like the Chron shows how pathetic the Guardian is now. in the old days, they woulda kicked ass and investigated the Run Ed Run campaign - instead it's bullshit.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 10:24 am
Posted by Harry on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 10:36 am

ask him for any specific reasons why he likes Lee as a Mayor.

Those are Harry's Secrets and everything about this subject leads back to bana l generalities and the buzzword:
"Choice"

"It's all about choice!

Why, who could possibly oppose Choice?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

If you expect anything really enforcing ethics from the Ethics Commission you are delusional.

Posted by Mark on Jul. 30, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

should try and figure out why it is wasting the tax payers money on being a useless political operation.

If the city was spending our tax dollars on a commission that was peopled by right wingers the Guardian would be doing exposes on its politics and general uselessness.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 4:10 am

The Ethics Commission is by no means useless. It is being used quite effectively by San Francisco's political right wing to keep the corruption coming.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 8:05 am

It's true the Ethics Commission is pretty useless.

It's also true that Progress for All is dishonest in claiming that it's purpose is the general education of the electorate.

Also true that the Ethics Commission should investigate Progress for All for violation of campaign laws.

Also true that Ed Lee will be just another politician if he breaks his word and runs for mayor, as now seems likely.

But none of the above will make any difference in the November election.

Chris Daly boasts that SF progressives have known from day one that Lee would run. Yet they have done nothing to develop a counter strategy in all that time.

They can't come up with a credible progressive candidate for mayor. Their newspaper is going down the tubes. They have no first-rate thinkers. They are as anti-intellectual as right-wing groups in small towns in Middle America.

Upshot:

All the whining and rhetorical posturing by our local progressive sect won't stop Ed Lee. He will sweep to victory in November thanks to the first-choice option of voters. The second and third choices will never even come into play.

So who is useless here?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 9:38 am
Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 10:24 am

The "Draft Ed Lee" TV ad is a hoot!!!

It says he "signed budget to a standing ovation" LOL

The ovation was from his "city family" flunkies.

Twitter????? LOL

Ed is a joke.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 9:52 am

Heck, Saddam Hussein got standing ovations from his cabinet every time he walked in the room.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

I'm pretty sure we're headed towards godwin's law here.

Paid & unpaid claques are always useful.

Posted by Nusfrat Jones on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

"Ed is a joke."

- Guest

Could be. But he's roaring ahead, with his eye on the prize, while progressives are getting zonked on medical marijuana and/or medical alcohol.

An army of stoners can always be defeated. Even by a joker.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 10:31 am

Don't burst a blood vessel with that ragegasm.

Posted by Nusfrat Jones on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

Campers,

Look at the 'RunEdRun' signs and tell me if you don't think that Ed Lee would make a great mayor. For 'South Park'.

Giants busy stirring new meat into the stew.

We'll get there.

h.

Posted by Great letter to Chron on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

Guys,

Read this exchange happening now on the Bay Citizen. If you don't realize the level of pure garbage the Guardian online exchanges have become, read this and learn what an intelligent exchange about intelligent ideas can be:

http://www.baycitizen.org/columns/elizabeth-lesly-stevens/tax-policy-san...

No, of course I don't expect you to change course.

One can only hope.

h.

Posted by Great letter to Chron on Jul. 31, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

Whether or not you think Ed Lee would make a good mayor, the issue is whether or not Progress for All has broken any local election laws. We have these laws in place so that we can have fair elections. I personally would want to know if any candidate (progressive or moderate) running for office or any committee working on behalf of a candidate blatantly or discreetly broke the law.

I don't have any problem with the progressives, Aaron Peskin or any of the other mayoral candidates looking into whether or not there is a violation, regardless of the underlying motivations. This is politics, and we have an election coming up.

Posted by EmilySF on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 8:47 am

connection to Ed Lee. So even if they have technically infringed some rule, that doesn't really have anything to do with Ed standing on an impeccable ethical bedrock.

Posted by Harry on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 10:18 am

Right. Listen to this guy. He really likes Ed Lee. Just don't
ask him for any specific reasons why he likes Lee as a Mayor.

Those are Harry's Secrets and everything about this subject leads back to banal generalities and the buzzword:
"Choice"

"impeccable ethical bedrock" ?
What an impeccable crock!

Posted by Guest on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

that "impeccable ethical bedrock" will liquify faster than lanfill in a major quake.

Posted by antfaber on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Progress for All has no connection except that the people who engineered Ed Lee's appointment as a caretaker interim Mayor under proviso he not seek election are the same ones who are engineering Progress for All, as we will discover when the Ethics files are released today.

The same individuals around Jane Kim's campaign made similar disclaimers last year, disclaimers that have proven false.

Ed Lee = Willie Brown + Rose Pak.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

Basing his run for office on the fact that his benefactors didn't get it in writing is hardly "ethical bedrock."

Posted by Guest on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

is also accurate.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 01, 2011 @ 3:48 pm
Posted by Guest on Aug. 02, 2011 @ 1:56 pm