Herrera to sue 'at the earliest opportunity'
to remove Ed Jew from Board of Supervisors
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Photo by Luke
From the Office of City Attorney Dennis Herrera
October 19, 2007
Letter to City's Ethics Commission Proposes Superior Court
to Minimize Duplication of Efforts, Maximize Due Process Rights
City Attorney Dennis Herrera will file a civil action in Superior
Court "at the earliest opportunity" to oust Supervisor
Ed Jew from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for his failure
to comply with the City Charter's residency requirements to seek
or hold the office, according to a letter released this morning
to the San Francisco Ethics Commission. The decision comes one
day after California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued
an opinion granting Herrera's application for leave to file the
suit, and hours before a preliminary hearing by the Ethics Commission
to address procedures for related charges of official misconduct
that Mayor Gavin Newsom filed against the supervisor on Sept.
Herrera's letter proposes that the Ethics Commission conduct
its proceedings concurrently with the civil litigation, and that
both parties avail themselves of the Superior Court's well-established
discovery procedures to develop evidence in both proceedings.
Such a process would avoid needless duplication of effort, Herrera
argues, while offering significantly greater due process rights
to the suspended supervisor than would otherwise be afforded under
the Ethics Commission's current regulations governing discovery.
Attorney Steven Gruel, who is representing the supervisor, has
already publicly stated his intention to seek full discovery in
connection with the Ethics Commission proceeding, in apparent
agreement with Herrera that the full and formal process guaranteed
under the California Code of Civil Procedure would serve the interests
of both his client and the public generally.
"As Attorney General Brown noted in his opinion yesterday,
the public interest clearly demands a prompt judicial resolution
as to whether the supervisor met the residency requirements to
seek or hold his public office," Herrera said. "Notwithstanding
the differences between the Ethics Commission and the Superior
Court proceedings, the discovery process I am proposing today
would meet the needs of both cases to develop evidence on similar
core facts, while maximizing Supervisor Jew's due process rights."
Herrera's letter proposes that once the parties have completed
discovery, the Ethics Commission could conduct a further status
conference to establish dates procedures for the conduct of the
hearing on the Mayor's charges of official misconduct. Were the
commission to seek updates on the discovery process, Herrera's
letter added, it could establish a schedule for the parties to
submit such periodic reports. Consistent with the Attorney General
Opinion issued yesterday, the City Attorney will file the civil
action upon the Attorney General's approval of the proposed complaint.