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Monday, September 27, 2021

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News + PoliticsCity HallPreston wants details on the future of the City Hall scandal investigations

Preston wants details on the future of the City Hall scandal investigations

Supervisor wants to know how Herrera's move to the PUC will affect the city attorney's ongoing corruption probe.


The chair of the Board of Supes Government Accountability and Oversight Committee is formally asking City Attorney Dennis Herrera to explain how his office plans to handle the ongoing corruption investigations when he moves on to the Public Utilities Commission – which has been a part of the scandal.

“As you know, under the Charter, the Mayor will have the power to appoint your replacement. The fact that the Mayor will be appointing someone to head the office that is investigating her administration raises obvious concerns,” Sup. Dean Preston said in an April 27 letter.

Dean Preston wants to know if the mayor’s appointee can fairly investigate the Mayor’s Office.

He notes that

Following the Nuru indictment last year, the Mayor announced on February 4th, 2020, that the City Attorney, and Controller offices would take the lead in “laying out a clear and comprehensive plan to investigate any departments impacted by these federal charges, and committing to fully investigate any related issues they come across.” Over the last year, your office has conducted a public integrity investigation of various departments and agencies in the City. Your office and the Controller have issued numerous reports and made policy recommendations to address corruption. Meanwhile, six heads of major departments have now been charged or resigned due to alleged misconduct.

But now all of that is up in the air, depending on who the mayor chooses to replace Herrera.

The letter asks Herrera to give a detailed update on the status of his investigations – and also asks what he knows about who his successor will be.

Herrera’s not going to answer that; he already told me that he doesn’t know who the mayor is going to appoint. (In a sense, I almost wish there was a backroom deal – that Herrera had told Breed he would only leave if he had approval over her choice for his successor. If he did, we won’t know until she announces her decision.)

Here’s the list of questions Preston is asking – and depending on the answers, this may be the subject of a public hearing:

What is the current status of your corruption investigation(s) of the Mayor’s Administration and its city agencies and departments?

2. What plan is in place to protect the integrity of any pending public integrity investigation of the Administration when and if the Mayor appoints a successor City Attorney.

3. Will the appointment by the Mayor of a new City Attorney create a conflict, or appearance of a conflict, requiring that the investigation be transferred to another office, agency, or department?

4. On what date do you plan to vacate your seat? Please describe any factors that might impact the timing, and describe any communications or agreements with the Mayor on the timing of your vacating your seat.

5. Who will be appointed to succeed you? Please describe your knowledge regarding possible successors, including any recommendations you have made, or agreements with the Mayor, about this.

6. Please describe the status of any City Attorney investigation into the SF Public Utilities Commission.

7. What steps is the City Attorney’s office taking to avoid a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict, with your anticipated transition to head an agency that is or was under City Attorney investigation?

John Cote, Herrera’s spokesperson, told me that the office hasn’t seen the letter yet and will respond when they have reviewed it.

As far as anyone at City Hall knows right now, Breed is going to appoint a political ally to the job. Top of the list, I’m hearing, is Assemblymember David Chiu.

He still has years to go in Sacramento before he hits terms limits, but he also has a young family and that commute sucks. So he might be angling for the job. And he would be hard to defeat in the next election.

That would leave open an Assembly seat, which would mean another special election, maybe on a different date than the Newsom recall special election. Actually, two special elections – an open primary, and then a runoff between the two top candidates.

And I suspect there could be quite a few candidates.

Then whoever won would have to run in the June 2020 primary, and again in November.

So the one year in the four-year cycle that doesn’t have a lot of electoral politics going on in San Francisco has just changed.

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.
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  1. geek: “nothing to see here, move along, everything will just fall into place, slowly, no rush.”

  2. Gorn, you again, gleefully support the corruption that has existed for far too long. Change takes time. You seem clueless about the effect Nuru’s downfall has had. Funny thing, I knew for years that he was scum. He was basically a thug who served from Brown to Breed. Of course, now we know why. He got a lot of “gifts.” Nothing unique about this sort of thing. Politicians have engaged in such for a very long time. And some have spent time in prison. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but finely.

  3. geekgirl: and the “progressives” that throw money at their friends’ charities and call politics a day are sitting on the sidelines watching helplessly as power flows around them.

  4. Since the City Attorney, nor anyone else in SF Government was involved in this investigation, there is no impact. The Feds will continue root out the corruption, like they have been, unless the Democrats in DC want this investigation to end.

  5. And just as predictable is your reliance on a straw man argument. I never said he was committed to rooting out corruption. He certainly won’t be now. Instead, Breed will get someone like Chiu, who will do as he is told, as City Attorney. .And she gets to “appear” to be addressing the Recology corruption. And since Chiu will leave the legislature, she gets to try to put a crony there. That should please her Republican backers. And none of this has much, if anything to do with actual nonprofits. ECS is a true non-profit, THC, which did not want to have to upgrade the Granada is a non-profit that is not. THC is a cash cow for Shaw. He uses it to push his political manipulations, and his side projects. The Bishop of California is not skimming money from shelters and other services to open a museum and try promote the TL as an edgy playground for techies.

  6. Let’s see, Breed is appointing Herrera to a plumb position that he appears ready to accept. If Herrera were committed to really investigating Breed instead of providing cover, she’d never have rewarded him like this.

    If you think that the community benefits corruption scandal at the PUC only involves moderate nonprofits, then you’re going to be in for a rude awakening.

    Herrera is being deployed for graveyard management to ensure that the bodies remain buried and so les bon temps might roullez again.

  7. Gorn, another predictable post attempting to distract from the real issue. This is an attempt to derail any investigation that might affect Breed. She can choose someone who will maintain status quo at SFPUC, put in a new City Attorney who will have her interests, and so on.iIf the FBI is not stopped, it will eventually to things that could be quite unpleasant for her. Eventually, the so-called moderates luck will run out.

  8. Are progs now of the mind that Herrera’s “investigation,” commenced after the USANDCA indictments and pleas, after Herrera ignored whistleblowers, got his clock cleaned by whistleblower and wrongly terminated DCA Joanne Hoeper, who got support from BOMA to pursue racist gang injunction legislation, was legitimate and on the level to the extent that said investigation should be continued?

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