Friday, April 16, 2021
Uncategorized Democratic Party buckles on police reform

Democratic Party buckles on police reform

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Modest resolution from Racial Justice Committee defeated by last-minute “substitution” that only praises the SFPD

Hene Kelly, longtime Democratic Party activist, was so angry at last night's meeting that she threw her chair
Hene Kelly, longtime Democratic Party activist, was so angry at last night’s meeting that she threw her chair

By Tim Redmond

JULY 23, 2105 – Hene Kelly, a longtime teacher, union activist, and member of the city’s Democratic County Central Committee, says she gets accused sometimes of metaphorically “throwing chairs.”

Last night, she said, “I told them, take this down: I did throw my chair.”

Yep: She threw her chair against the wall in frustration after the DCCC gutted a fairly moderate resolution calling for police reform, including better training and oversight of police shootings. The resolution endorsed the findings of the Public Defender’s Office Racial Justice Committee.

The resolution had been delayed and delayed after the Police Officers Association – yeah, these guys – opposed it. But Kelly, along with Kelly Dwyer, who recently had to leave the committee after she was rent-hiked out of town, worked for months to come up with an alternative everyone could live with.

They met with the public defender. They met with the cops. They drafted and redrafted.

“I spent three months to get this before the committee,” Kelly said. I had police officers agreeing with our changes. I had to turn it in ten days before the meeting, and it was in the agenda packet 72 hours ahead.”

That’s the process. But last night, something else happened: Member Joshua Arce introduced a “substitute” amendment that amounted to worthless mush. And the policy arm of the San Francisco Democratic Party went with the meaningless statement by a vote of 13-10.

“I didn’t even get an up-or-down vote on my resolution,” Kelly said. “I was so angry I was beside myself.”

This seems to be the new strategy the conservatives are employing at the DCCC – let someone work for weeks or months on a carefully worded resolution, then substitute another one that undermines it at the last minute.

It allows the members to say they voted on, say, police reform – without doing anything of the sort. And it allows them to avoid taking a stand.

It’s yet another sign of the takeover of the local Democratic Party not only by allies of developers and the real-estate industry but by people who are unwilling to show any backbone at all on anything at all.

“I ended up voting on a measure that means nothing,” Kelly said. “I threw it on the floor and stepped on it.”

Now let’s remember: Police Chief Greg Suhr wasn’t opposed to the resolution. The only real opponents were the hard-core old-school POA types, who don’t want any criticism of anything even the worst cops do.

You want to see profiles in courage at the Democratic Party? The original resolution put the DCCC on record in support of this plan from the Public Defender’s Office:

48hillsracialjustice1

48hillsracialjustice2

The final resolution deleted any reference to that plan and instead states that the DCCC “supports the San Francisco Police Department’s continued progress on 21st Century policing.”

Here’s the vote, according to DCCC Secretary Kat Anderson:  In favor of the meaningless Arce resolution that shot down any effort at police reform: Arce, Rebecca Prozan,  Megan Levitan, Zoe Dunning, Leah Pimentel, Francis Tsang, Scott Wiener, Anderson, Tom Hsieh, Trevor McNeilm, Mary Jung, Fiona Ma, and David Chiu.

In favor of saving the original Kelly resolution: David Campos, Malia Cohen, Petra DeJesus, Matt Dorsey, Rafael Mandelman, Carole Migden, Tony Fazio, Joel Engardio, Hene Kelly, and Eric Mar.

Kelly said she figures she would have lost Engardio, Fazio, and maybe Dorsey if her resolution came up for a vote; they either respected the process or wanted to be counted as No votes on her proposal.

“So I would lose,” she said. “At least we’d get a vote for the record.”

But that’s not how the Democratic Party works these days.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

60 COMMENTS

  1. I am disappointed by the slant of your report, Tim. The original resolution was minimally amended. It took out the “Racial Justice Committee” title and deleted the attachment, which can be obtained from other sources. Typically, resolutions do not carry attachments. By making these amendments, more members were willing to vote in favor of it and support the mission of those who wish to see reforms in policing. What is interesting about the discussion points from Dwyer, Kelly and the RJC members was that the SFPD is already doing almost everything in the 21st century policing program anyway. So, good on the SFPD, good on the members of the community who advocate for dignified treatment of those who are confronted by police, good on those who work to protect our constitutional rights and bad on those who create opportunities for grandstanding.

  2. What needs to be discussed and analyzed is not Hene Kelly’s antics when a vote doesn’t go her way, but whether the DCCC is a representative body of Democratic Party voters in San Francisco. After being present at the May, June & July meetings it is apparent to this writer that the DCCC has been hijacked by closet Republicans and that the meetings are chaired by a hack who doesn’t even know rules of procedure, or who choses to ignore them when they prove inconvenient.
    The elected officials such as Senators Feinstein, Boxer, & Mark Leno, Kamala Harris are never ever there. They send proxies who say nothing but vote in their name. The BOS are there with varying degrees of attendance. The seated members of the DCCC have varying degrees of intelligence, preparation and insight to the matters which come before the Committee.
    I saw very very few members of this Committee vote or discuss in a manner which showed true consideration of the issues before them. It is apparent that minds are made up prior to the vote. The fix is in way before the issue is called for a vote. Such as the substitute resolution printed up and handed out by Joshua Arce right before the vote. Arce knew to wait until right before the vote to do it; everyone who voted for Arce’s pablum resolution knew it was coming. It wasn’t discussed at all, it was rushed through. Arce, the son of a 28 year veteran of the SF Police Department was the proxy for the POA. The whole process was a sham. For example, Tom Hsieh wasn’t there and didn’t send a proxy but somehow Chair Mary Jung had no problem counting his votes in favor of a “substitute” resolution that supposedly no one had seen until Arce passed it out.

    And it was shameful to see the way this Committee was run. It is apparent that Mary Jung couldn’t properly chair a grade school coloring contest. She doesn’t lead the discussion or contribute to the debate. She is not a true leader and displays no leadership qualities which is why it becomes apparent that she is a plant for someone else who is pulling the strings. She is somebody’s running dog. The secretary? She’s another one with cotton candy between her ears. She spoke against the resolution for 21st Century Policing Reform from the perspective of a family member of police officers and she knows that cops put their lives on the line every day. Again demonstrating that she wasn’t THINKING about the issue before her, she was responding from an entrenched emotional posture that carried with it a political perspective that shut out discussion and debate. Arce? He is the running dog for the POA which is run by a man who should just keep it real and put his white hood on.
    It was very disheartening to learn that the DCCC in one of the most progressive cities in the USA is not governed by principles of constitutional democracy. People are holding power for the sake of power and entrenched interests. It was more communist than democratic. “It will be the way I say it should be because I am in power.”
    I felt like i was trapped inside a Fellini movie but without the artistry.
    And people who continue to refer to this 10 point plan as “the letter written by jeff adachi” have no clue what they’re talking about and should just keep quiet or take the time to learn the facts before speaking.

  3. Elections have consequences. Hene Kelly lost her last bid for the DCCC and was appointed to fill a vacancy. She spoke at Debra Walker’s campaign kickoff and hectored the assembled via serial berating. She’s clung to the rotting corpse of organized labor for decades now and is emblematic of why the progressive establishment has met with diminishing traction with the electorate.

  4. The action by the majority has all the earmarks of a childish insult, more appropriate for a junior high school class than a group of elected officials.

  5. Update: Just confirmed that Hene Kelly did in fact VOTE FOR the amended resolution, which despite Tim’s statement to the contrary actually INCLUDES reference to the SFPD’s progress under the Racial Justice Committee’s Plan in language that Kelly herself wrote. The amended resolution does not, however, include the letter written by the anti-union Jeff Adachi that Kelly submitted as an attachment.
    I remember when Tim Redmond was actually a journalist and not a bought-and-paid-for political hack.
    Oh wait, I actually don’t.

  6. Carol’s reckless driving antics have forced the state to pay out for a number of lawsuits: “Migden claimed that her “wild ride” occurred during state business, so
    that the Department of General Services paid $335,000…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carole_Migden

    No wonder she’s keeping a low profile.

  7. Yep I was thinking the same thing, how is she even allowed on the DCCC? I remember Peskin getting all out of sorts over Newsom remaining on the DCCC

  8. The way the Progs are always demonizing other Dems, you’d think the Party would wise up and expel them.

  9. Why does the Public Defender even have a Racial Justice Committee? Their job is to defend people of all races.

    Sounds like the PD’s office is playing identity politics instead of doing their job.

  10. Hene Kelly is a grade A loser, self-admitted in fact

    “Kelly said she figures she would have lost Engardio, Fazio, and maybe Dorsey if her resolution came up for a vote; they either respected the process or wanted to be counted as No votes on her proposal.

    “So I would lose,” she said. “At least we’d get a vote for the record.”

    Tim needs to change his headline to “Hene Kelly wanted to lose on her resolution to support the anti-union Jeff Adachi so badly that she threw a chair when it was amended into a resolution that her colleagues, including her, could actually support.”

Comments are closed.

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