Back-to-Back Awards Recognize Office’s National Leadership, City’s ‘Civic Creed’ in Public Integrity, Civil and Women’s Rights
City Attorney Dennis Herrera is set to receive two awards in the coming days recognizing his office’s work to defend the integrity of our public institutions; to secure equal rights in marriage laws for gay and lesbian couples; and to protect the reproductive rights and medical privacy of women from recent onslaughts by the Bush Administration and Ashcroft Justice Department.
Tonight, NARAL Pro-Choice California will honor Herrera as a “Champion of Choice” for his leadership in making San Francisco the nation’s only municipality to have intervened in Planned Parenthood vs. Ashcroft, a move that has permanently enjoined authorities from enforcing the Bush Administration’s so-called “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003” against San Francisco General Hospital and City public health workers. The award also credits Herrera for his office’s lone refusal last February to surrender confidential medical records of abortion patients sought under rules of discovery by the U.S. Justice Department, a stand later upheld by U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton.
On Sunday, the Hispanic National Bar Association will present Herrera with its Attorney of the Year Award for 2004, recognizing among other achievements his office’s public integrity investigation and lawsuit that blew the whistle on a nationwide scam to defraud the federal E-Rate program, which helps America’s poorest school districts bridge the digital divide. Herrera’s action proved critical in enabling federal authorities last May to obtain a guilty plea and criminal fine, civil settlement and restitution payment totaling $20.6 million by a major technology company. HNBA additionally acknowledges Herrera, the first Hispanic to serve as San Francisco City Attorney, for his office’s national leadership on same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
“The significance of recognition such as this isn’t what it says about a single individual, but in what it says about an outstanding team of legal professionals and a remarkable City whose civic creed is to lead the way,” Herrera said. “I am very proud of San Francisco for its history of progressive leadership — for being America’s conscience at a time when America needs one — and I’m honored to serve in a role that enables me to help fulfill that promise.”
To learn more about the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, visit http://www.sfgov.org/city_attorney.