Posts Tagged ‘Joanne Hayes-White’

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.”

The Feds Spank Our San Francisco Fire Department Over the Deaths of Vincent Perez and Anthony Valerio in June 2011

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

If you want, you can compare what the SFFD has said about last year’s disaster with what independent federal investigators have recently said:

A Career Lieutenant and Fire Fighter/Paramedic Die in a Hillside Residential House Fire – California

“Occupational injuries and fatalities are often the result of one or more contributing factors or key events in a larger sequence of events. NIOSH investigators identified the following items as key contributing factors in this incident that ultimately led to the fatalities:

  • Construction features of the house built into a steep sloping hillside
  • Natural and operational horizontal ventilation
  • Ineffective size-up
  • Fire fighters operating above the fire
  • Ineffective fire command communications and progress reporting
  • Lack of a personnel accountability system.”
The report is pretty detailed:
And here are some recommendations from the Feds:

“Recommendation #1: Fire departments should ensure that standard operating guidelines (SOGs) are developed and implemented for hillside structures.

During this incident, the E26 officer knew the fire was below him but he was unaware of just how many floors.  If an adequate size-up had been conducted, or had the E26 officer obtained more intelligence information from the resident of the home that he spoke to briefly upon arrival, it may have facilitated a more rapid determination of the location of the fire floor. 

Recommendation #2: Fire departments should ensure that an adequate size-up of the fire structure is conducted prior to crews making entry.

In this incident, if an effective size-up would have been conducted several factors may have changed the first arriving companies’ tactics.  The B side door would have been an option for initial entry. If the small window below the front door would have been noticed perhaps the fire could have been seen on the basement floor; or if more intelligence information would have been gathered from the occupant initially they could have identified that the fire was on the basement floor and how to access the floor.

Recommendation #3: Fire departments should ensure staffing levels are maintained.

During this incident, E32 was originally assigned as RIC then re-assigned fire fighting duties to back up E11.  E20 was dispatched as RIC but did not arrived on scene until after the victims were recovered.

Recommendation #4: Fire departments should ensure that a personnel accountability system is established early and utilized at all incidents.

In this incident, BC6 and the IC tried to radio E26 with no response and it was assumed they were with BC9 or that BC9 knew what they were doing.  An additional supporting component to fireground accountability is frequent progress reporting.  When the IC fails to get a response after 3 attempts, or he receives a garbled response, action must be taken to determine the crew’s status.  A worst case scenario must be assumed until their status can be confirmed. 

Recommendation #5: Fire departments should ensure that fireground operations are coordinated with consideration given to the effect horizontal ventilation has on the air flow, smoke, and heat flow through the structure.

At this incident, the officer on E26 realized that they had a fire somewhere in the structure, probably underneath them.  The victims from E26 had deployed a 1¾” hoseline to the ground floor of the structure attempting to locate the fire. BC9 came into the structure and met them during their investigation of the ground floor. Victim #1 advised BC9 that the fire was underneath them.  BC9 agreed to this and decided to take a crew down side B and attack the fire through the exterior doorway on side B at the basement level.  BC9 and the IC discussed and agreed on this tactic.  E26 did not receive any further instructions and did not leave the structure but attempted to go to the basement via the interior stairs.  E26 did not provide any radio reports to the fire attack group supervisor (BC9) or the IC of their location or actions.  

When an incident transitions from an investigation mode to an offensive fire attack mode, the IC should ensure that all companies have and understand their assignments, and are accounted for in the Personnel Accountability System.  This information should be collected on a tactical worksheet to ensure that all companies have an assignment and are accounted for.

Recommendation #6: Fire departments should ensure that the Incident Commander is provided a chief’s aide at all structure fires.

In this incident, a chief’s aide may have helped the IC to establish and manage the tactical worksheet early in the incident, track the deployment location of the E26 crew, and monitor transmissions on the fireground channels.

Recommendation #7: Fire departments should ensure that an incident safety officer is assigned to all working structure fires.

In this incident, for the size of the fire department and responsible coverage area, there is an insufficient number of incident safety officers (ISO) and/or qualified personnel (certified to NFPA 1521) to act as an ISO within the fire department. The ISO should be of a rank worthy of the significant responsibility.”

PG&E, San Francisco National Laughingstocks – Wouldn’t It Be Nice to Have a Normal Gas and Electric Utility?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I don’t know, PG&E. Don’t you know by now that you’re a loser organization?

So how does it help to have your spokesmodels Blame the Customer First?

Right now, we’re actively investigating the cause,” PG&E spokesperson John King said shortly after the outage. “It could be a number of things, from customer-owned equipment to PG&E equipment…”

Oh, I know. The answer is that it doesn’t help.

It doesn’t help at all.

Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job:

Via David Yu - click to expand

Here’s the latest:

PG&E and the City and County of San Francisco Investigate Power Outages at Candlestick Park

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 19, 2011 — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) issued the following statement from Geisha Williams, executive vice president of electric operations, about the power outages that impacted Candlestick Park this evening:

PG&E is working closely with the City and County of San Francisco, owner and operator of Candlestick Park, to determine the cause of tonight’s power outages. The first priority for both PG&E and the City and County has been to get the power restored as quickly and safely as possible and keep the power on through the rest of the game. Determining exactly what happened and working to prevent something like this from happening again is very important to everyone involved.

SOURCE  Pacific Gas and Electric Company”

And from SFGov:

“MAYOR LEE’S STATEMENT ON POWER OUTAGES AT CANDLESTICK PARK

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued the following statement on the electric power outages at Candlestick Park at tonight’s San Francisco 49ers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Monday Night Football game:

“Following the loss of electric power to Candlestick Park before kickoff this evening, I directed our Police, Fire and Recreation & Park Departments and our Public Utilities Commission to work closely with the 49ers and PG&E to ensure that maintaining public safety and restoring power to the stadium were the top priorities. City staff worked immediately to deliver backup power and support PG&E staff in their repairs.

I have directed Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington to conduct a full investigation into the cause of both outages and, with PG&E, identify immediate actions that must be taken to prevent incidents such as this from happening again.

Tonight we all share in tremendous pride for our San Francisco 49ers. We must make every effort to support continued victories for the team and fans across the Bay Area in the weeks ahead.”

And from Mayor Ed Lee on September 1, 2011, during the one-year anniversary of PG&E’s incompetance killing eight people in San Bruno:

 “They’re a great company that gets it.”

Uh, nope!