Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sup. Kim's 2,200-Page Super Bowl Email Trail Reveals . . . ?

She's not Scott Wiener, her opponent in the state senate race, but that will get her only so far if she wants my vote.

Supervisor Jane Kim garnered much goodwill and scads of legacy and social media attention for questioning Mayor Ed Lee's deal for the Super Bowl, and we were pleased to see her advocate for fuller City Hall transparency about the arrangement with the NFL.

Our recent public records request for her communications from January 2015 through this month, reveal Kim did nothing of significance on the Super Bowl last year until it was disclosed in November that Muni's overhead street wires at the foot of Market Street might be removed, causing vast and major transit headaches.

We received close to 2,200 pages of emails from Kim, many of which are tangential to the Super Bowl or consist of the same CC'ed emails circulated between her staffers. Not one email was sent from the addy. Quite odd she herself didn't write any emails on the big game.

The first reply to our request invoked a ten-day waiting period, the second asked us to narrow our focus and the final reply before responsive records were released asked the Clerk of the Board about whether a digital-only response imposes a cost on us, the requester.

On the other hand, no such concerns were raised in late January related to a very similar request from a local reporter, formerly of the Bay Guardian. No ten-day delay, no effort to reduce the scope of the request and no question raised about charging the reporter.

Some requesters are more equal than others.

We wonder if Kim grants special favors to the reporter who is not known for a critical approach to progressive politicians, an attitude learned at the Bay Guardian, but when bloggers of an independent streak request the same public records her open govt policies change.

One telling email from Kim's chief of staff Ivy Lee, from August 2015 to a homeless advocacy and service nonprofit, caught our attention because it shows, to their credit, that Kim's office was reaching out the organization for advice related to homeless folks, the Super Bowl and the mayor's policies.

We've posted the entire cache of Kim's email trail for the past thirteen-months here. If we missed emails showing Kim took substantive steps prior to November about the costs of the Super Bowl to the taxpayers of San Francisco, let us know and we'll amend this post.

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