Louise Renne's confused history


Wow, the Chron found a way to take a swipe at Dennis Herrera for getting involved in politics -- and guess who the expert source is? Former City Attorney Louise Renne -- who politicized her office so dramatically that the voters approved a measure barring city attorneys from endorsing candidates.

The Chron piece goes back and forth on whether Ed Lee properly disclosed city contracts. Then it quotes Tony Winnicker from Lee's campaign:

They must get exhausted over there at that campaign throwing stones out of their glass house all day long,” Winnicker said. ”What’s really too bad is we can’t actually look to our legal counsel to get guidance on this. .. because the mayor’s only legal counsel is too busy attacking him.

Which apparently disturbed Renne:

“I think the city attorney has to be particularly careful  in what he or she says and in what he or she does,” Renne said. “I don’t know if that line has been crossed here. I’m trying to stay out of the mayor’s race. I’m extremely troubled that these questions are even being raised.”

Please, Louise.

First, Renne ran for mayor herself while she was city attorney, in 1987, against Art Agnos and John Molinari (who, as a supervisor, was her client). She didn't get far. Over the next few years, she regularly supported candidates and took stands on propositions, even when her office was involved in evaluating those measures or giving advice to elected officials. In 1995, she endorsed Willie Brown for mayor -- even though he was running against her client, incumbent Mayor Frank Jordan.

It was exactly that sort of conflict that led to the city law that now prevents the elected city attorney from making endorsements in local elections. And now she's worried about Dennis Herrera?

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