City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed a pre-trial brief aimed at dismissing of a lawsuit by the California State Lands Commission to invalidate Proposition B, the voter-approved measure requiring electoral approval for height increases for new development on waterfront property managed by the Port of San Francisco. The legal challenge filed on July 15 contends that the city's unelected Port Commission exercises sole land use regulatory authority over port property -- and that voters, the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are all powerless to make decisions about the height and size of new buildings on 71/2 miles of waterfront property, from the Hyde Street Pier to India Basin.
Herrera's pleading, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Oct. 6, argues that the State Lands Commission's view defies California's well-established constitutional right to initiative and ignores nearly five decades of land use regulation involving port property -- ever since San Francisco voters themselves approved the transfer of state tidelands to local control in 1968.
Said Herrera: "After half a century of successful cooperation on San Francisco's waterfront, the California State Lands Commission has decided that San Francisco's waterfront planning process is illegal and that voters have no say about what can be built next to the bay. That is wrong. Yet even apart from the commission's incorrect legal arguments, it's hard to understand their rationale for upending a participatory process that has made San Francisco's waterfront the envy of cities worldwide. For decades, land use decisions involving port property have included voters, elected leaders and appointed members of our Planning and Port Commissions."
City Attorney Herrera won a key legal victory in January when a San Francisco Superior Court granted his motion for preliminary injunction against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, or ACCJC. Under terms of the ruling, the ACCJC is barred from finalizing its planned termination of City College of San Francisco's accreditation as it had planned to do on July 31. Still, Herrera's litigation -- which alleges that the private accrediting body has allowed political bias, improper procedures, and conflicts of interest to unlawfully influence its evaluation of the state's largest community college -- continues.
After a thirteen year battle that broke new legal ground and consumed years of work by public and private attorneys, the City and County of San Francisco along with Santa Clara County, Los Angeles County and seven other California cities and counties won a $1.1 billion judgment from the Honorable Judge James P. Kleinberg of Santa Clara Superior Court, who ruled that three manufacturers of lead-based paints are jointly liable for the cost of removing their products from homes around the state.
City Attorney Herrera has filed a class action against the State of Nevada for its controversial "patient dumping" practices -- busing hundreds of indigent people who suffer from mental health afflictions to out-of-state locations, including San Francisco, "with inadequate provisions of food and medication, and without prior arrangements for their care, housing or medical treatment upon arrival." The lawsuit is on behalf of all California localities affected by the practice.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is engaged in litigation against Monster Beverage Corporation for violating California law with its marketing of highly-caffeinated energy drinks to children as young as six-years-old, despite scientific findings that such products may cause "significant morbidity in adolescents" from elevated blood pressure, brain seizures, and severe cardiac events.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera has filed suit against three gun accessories companies and a gun show promoter for selling disassembled high-capacity magazines in California in violation of a state law that prohibits the sale, manufacture, or import of gun ammunition feeding devices that accept more than 10 rounds. The equipment is marketed as gun magazine "repair kits" in a barely-disguised attempt to skirt a 14-year-old California gun safety law, according to Herrera's complaint.