Posts Tagged ‘Fire Code’

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Sues Former Supervisor Michael Yaki for More Than 70 Violations of City’s Lobbyist Ordinance

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Well, I suppose I can’t oppose enforcement of the Lobbyist Ordinance.

[And I'll mention that the "Yaki Compromise" would have had numerous salutary effects and would have saved lives lost due to the horrible Octavia Boulevard project.]

Herrera sues former Supervisor Yaki for more than 70 violations of City’s lobbyist ordinance

Lobbying for Rescue Air Systems, Inc. in the legislative process involving Fire Code revisions, Yaki ‘brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar’

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 4, 2013) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against former Supervisor Michael Yaki for more than 70 violations of the city’s lobbyist ordinance during the time Yaki was paid to advocate for the interests of his client, Rescue Air Systems, Inc., in the legislative process that revised San Francisco’s Fire Code earlier this year.  According to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, “Yaki flouted the lobbyist ordinance in every way” by failing to register as a lobbyist, failing to disclose the amounts and sources of payments for lobbying, and failing to report his lobbying contacts.  The complaint, which was filed with 15 accompanying declarations from Board members, legislative aides, fire commissioners and S.F. Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White, alleges that Yaki misrepresented his identity as a paid lobbyist when trying to set up meetings with five Supervisors.  

The city’s lobbyist ordinance provides for civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, or three times the amount of compensation scofflaw lobbyists fail to report — whichever is greater.  Yaki himself voted to support the ordinance in 2000 while a member of the Board of Supervisors.

“San Francisco’s Lobbyist Ordinance is a good government cornerstone that brings needed transparency to our local legislative process,” said Herrera.  “It imposes a simple requirement on lobbyists to disclose the nature and extent of work they do for their clients, and other paid advocates have managed to comply with it thousands of times.  Unfortunately, in the case we’ve filed today, the evidence is overwhelming that Mr. Yaki brazenly flouted a law with which he had no excuse to be unfamiliar.  Our lobbyist ordinance fulfills a very important function in our local government, and its aggressive enforcement is essential to the legitimacy of the law itself.” 

San Carlos, Calif.-based Rescue Air Systems, Inc. manufactures a patented “firefighter air replenishment system,” or FARS, which San Francisco’s Fire Code has required since 2004 for new buildings with a height of 75 feet or more.  When city policymakers undertook their periodic revision to the local Fire Code beginning last year, Fire Chief Hayes-White was among numerous city officials to oppose extending the FARS requirement because the San Francisco Fire Department had never used or trained on the system, and because firefighters “do not have confidence that the air coming from the FARS pipes is safe and breathable, or that the system has been checked and maintained on regular basis,” according to Hayes-White’s declaration.  

Yaki engaged in extensive lobbying efforts over a period of more than a year on Rescue Air Systems’ behalf to retain the FARS requirement.  According to the city’s complaint and supporting declarations, the former supervisor lobbied fire commissioners, S.F. Fire Department officials, staff in the Mayor’s Office, and members of the Board of Supervisors and legislative aides to extend the legal requirement for an air replenishment system that only one company — Yaki’s client — manufactured.  The City Attorney’s Office’s investigation secured evidence of at least 70 lobbying contacts, including more than 10 lobbying meetings with Supervisors and their legislative aides and more than 50 emails to city officials on behalf of Rescue Air Systems’ interests in the Fire Code revision process.  

Yaki’s lobbying efforts ultimately proved largely unsuccessful.  San Francisco’s Fire Commission passed a motion recommending that the FARS requirement be altered to offer developers a choice of whether to install FARS or a firefighter service elevator to facilitate oxygen delivery.  That recommendation was adopted as part of the San Francisco Fire Code amendments unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in September, which Mayor Ed Lee approved on Oct. 3, 2013.  

The case is: Dennis Herrera in his Official Capacity as San Francisco City Attorney v. Michael Yaki, San Francisco Superior Court, filed Dec. 4, 2013.  Due to the large file size of the 468-page court filing, the complete presskit with accompanying declarations is not being emailed but is available for download on the City Attorney’s website at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/index.aspx?page=570.”

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Demands Response from 414 Mason, Site of Tourist Slaying

Friday, August 13th, 2010

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J Herrera is going after the owner / operator of 414 Mason, the site of the recent Union Square shootout that resulted in the death of German tourist Mechthild Schröer. (The SFPD is still working on this case – they were down in Fremont yesterday.)

Mr. Herrera is alleging that the August 8th party was illegal and overcrowded. All the deets are below.

San Francisco’s Happy Warrior, DJH:

Herrera initiates legal action against teen party venue in Union Square tourist shooting. Demand letter to owner, operator of rental space alleges Fire Code violations, unlawful business practices in ‘horrific incident’ 

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 13, 2010) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera has taken a step toward suing the owner and operator of a Union Square venue where an illegal, overcrowded party for high school-aged youths last Sunday was marred by gunfire that injured two teens and took the life a German tourist. 

Herrera’spre-litigation demand letter to Joseph Ursino, owner of the building at 414 Mason Street, and Curtis Matthews, who rented out the party space, alleges that the two face, “at a minimum, civil liability for violating the California Fire Code and for unlawful business practices.”  Such violations can be punishable by fines and penalties as well as disgorgement of all profits related to the unlawful conduct.  The letter sent this morning acknowledges that the City Attorney’s Office is also evaluating the potential liability of Labriette Collins, the event’s promoter. 

“Because of the tragic circumstances and grave public safety concerns surrounding the event and how you and others managed it, I will seek full legal redress to affirm public confidence in laws intended to protect the safety of San Francisco’s residents and visitors,” Herrera’s letter states.  “Vigorous enforcement of these laws is additionally essential to guarantee fair treatment to the vast majority of responsible entertainment business operators, who invest the care and expense necessary to abide by the law, and who comprise one of our City’s most important economic sectors.” 

All the deets, and the demand letter itself, after the jump.

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