May 23, 2011
City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey issued the following statement today in response to a press release and letter from Public Defender Jeff Adachi's ballot measure campaign, SF Pension Reform, which baselessly alleges that the City Attorney has a conflict in both articulating policy positions as a candidate for office and as the City Attorney of San Francisco:
"I assume that Jeff Adachi publicly opposes murder and rape, and yet that doesn't prevent him from representing murderers and rapists in court as the public defender. That same principle applies to the City Attorney, and Jeff knows it. Dennis Herrera has an absolute right as a candidate for office, under the City Charter and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to articulate his views on public policy. (Especially about a past measure that voters already rejected.) That right doesn't impact Dennis Herrera's legal duties any more than it does Jeff Adachi's.
"Moreover, it's worth noting that Herrera's view (shared by a majority of San Francisco voters) that last year's Proposition B was a bad idea didn't prevent the City Attorney from successfully defending against a union-backed lawsuit to have Prop B thrown off the ballot.
"A public policy can be both dumb and legal. The City Attorney's job is only to defend legal aspects. Dumb is a job for others."
For information that clarifies the actual facts about San Francisco's ballot process -- including the Ballot Simplification Committee, and the limited role the City Attorney's Office plays in preparing ballot material -- please review the following past correspondence between the City Attorney's Office and Public Defender Jeff Adachi here:
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY
San Francisco City Hall, Room 234
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, California 94102-4682
(415) 554-4662 Direct
(415) 554-4700 Reception
(415) 554-4715 Facsimile
(415) 554-6770 TTY