With h brown
Court Jester clarification and apology
March 31, 2007
Boys and girls, Warren and Matthew,
I made a
serious error a couple of columns back when I chastised financier
Warren Hellman for offering a 'bribe' to SF Weekly's lead columnist,
Matt Smith. The completely incorrect comments drew this response:
Dear Valued Reader,
Hellman? Money? What are you talking about. I've never spoken
with the man. I certianly didn't write a column saying he'd offered
me money. I'd appreciiate a published clarification aknowledging
your mistake. It's defamatory to claim I'd blithley entertained
an offer of money from a public figure such as Hellman.
Ouch!, Ouch and double-ouch!!
I was relying upon my memory and I got the players wrong. I
hit the Google button a few times and it replied that what I was
recalling was a meeting between you and Louise Renne, the President
of the SF Police commission during which she tried to bribe you.
So, it was not Hellman at all. Hellman was the one you challenged
to a bicycle race for some benefit or other. Anyway, here is the
text I was recalling and Hellman was nowhere to be found (sorry
This is from the SF Weekly, December 22, 2004 from a Smith piece
The High Life
"The problem was that I couldn't figure out the purpose
of the meeting. ... she finally cut to the chase.
Renne wanted to pay me to be a part-time investigator on
her insurance-broker lawsuit, apparently to benefit from knowledge
I'd gained while looking into the situation as a journalist.
Had I accepted her offer, I would have been taking money
from a public figure active in the very areas that I routinely
cover. In the journalistic world, this is a fairly obvious no-no,
a case of accepting a financial benefit from a source and, potentially,
a public figure I might have reason to write about.
Such a conflict of interest would have undermined much of
my coverage of San Francisco."
I apologize for the error and accept full responsibility. On
a side note though, I did write a few years back that I thought
that while erratic, SF's Smith was the most likely writer in town
to win a Pulitzer prize. I'll hedge that prediction now with the
caveat that first, he needs to get a spell-checker.
I've info'd my blast list and FCJ where I am an occasional contributor.
This matches the original distribution list.
Mea culpa again,
h. brown is a 62 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com,
an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h
is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and
a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email
h at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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