Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Attorney’

Oh, It’s On! City Attorney Dennis Herrera Calls for Federal, State Investigations into Mayor Ed Lee Campaign

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Get up to speed on this issue right here, courtesy of The Bay Citizen writer Gerry Shih, who’s been nosing around our somewhat-corrupt SFO airport lately.

And here’s the version of the same story what’s in the National Section of today’s New York Times:

Contributions to Mayor Raise Issue of Legality

Ouch.

Your City Attorney Dennis Jose Herrera:

Via Luke Thomas of Fog City Journal

And here they are – Interim Mayor Ed Lee and Mayoral Spokesmodel Tony Winnicker along with the Fourth Estate (including feisty Gerry Shih and feisty Luke Thomas) at San Francisco City Hall:

And here’s “City Family” member GO Lorrie’s Airport Shuttle:

All the deets:

“Herrera calls for criminal investigation of laundered campaign donations to Ed Lee

Letter to U.S. Attorney, State A.G. and San Francisco D.A. says only investigators with authority to subpoena records, question witnesses under oath can resolve questions

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 7, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today called for a formal criminal investigation into allegations first reported late yesterday afternoon that donors to interim Mayor Ed Lee’s campaign conspired to exceed contribution limits by laundering money through business associates. Herrera’s three-page letter to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón noted that the published admissions by employees of Go Lorries Airport Shuttle may indicate felony and misdemeanor violations of state and local laws. The California Fair Political Practices Commission has already announced a civil investigation into allegations that donors were reimbursed cash to make campaign contributions to Lee.

Further heightening concerns about the apparently illegal contributions, Herrera wrote, is that the donations closely followed official actions by mayoral appointees that significantly benefited the purported donors’ employer. Those actions include altering shared-ride the loading zone configurations at San Francisco International Airport to favor Go Lorries Airport Shuttles “due to feedback” from unspecified parties. Lee’s campaign has reportedly returned some $8,500 in donations that were questioned yesterday.

“Investigations are warranted when credible allegations risk undermining public trust in our local government — and we’ve certainly reached that point here,” Herrera said. “Only independent investigators with authority to subpoena records and question witnesses under oath can adequately resolve questions to which San Franciscans deserve answers. A formal investigation will best assure justice while protecting innocent parties. I hope interim Mayor Lee’s campaign joins in calling for such an inquiry, and cooperates with it fully.”

Herrera’s letter noted that multiple political endeavors on interim Mayor Lee’s behalf for much of the year have been plagued by ethical and legal questions, including political activities by city contractors, and the advent of a controversial “general purpose committee” that advanced Lee’s candidacy throughout the summer while sidestepping legal restraints that normally apply to candidate committees.

Urging “a full, fair and speedy investigation,” Herrera’s letter to federal and state criminal prosecutors concluded: “Allowing these questions to remain wholly unanswered can only serve to betray San Franciscans’ confidence in the integrity of their public institutions, and potentially diminish the legitimacy of their elected leadership.”

Remembering the Cosco Busan Oil Spill Three Years Later – Turns Out That Everybody was to Blame

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Has it been only three years since the Cosco Busan, the leakiest 2001 Hyundai ever, spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel* into the bay? Seems longer.

Anyway, turns out that a dude who supposed to be up front looking out for stuff in the pea soup fog was downstairs in the galley eating breakfast. I did not know that, no sir. Of course, the idea to depart on sked despite the fog came from the bar pilot, so that’s the person who’s primarily responsible. But there still plenty of blame to go around. Deets below.

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

Click to expand

All right, it’s Blame Time:

The National Transportation Safety Board determined the following probable causes of the accident:

- the pilot’s degraded cognitive performance from his use of prescription medications, despite his completely clean post accident drug test,
- the absence of a comprehensive pre-departure master/pilot exchange and a lack of effective communication between Pilot John Cota and Master Mao Cai Sun during the accident voyage, and
- (COSCO Busan Master) Sun’s ineffective oversight of Cota’s piloting performance and the vessel’s progress.

Other contributing factors included:

- the failure of Fleet Management Ltd. to train the COSCO Busan crewmembers (which led to such acts of gross negligence as the bow lookout eating breakfast in the galley instead of being on watch) and Fleet Management’s failure to ensure that the crew understood and complied with the company’s safety management system;
- the failure of Caltrans to maintain foghorns on the bridge which were silent despite the heavy fog;
- the failure of Vessel Traffic Safety (VTS) to alert Cota and Sun that they were headed for the tower. VTS is legally required to alert a vessel if an accident appears imminent, yet they remained silent;
- the malfunctioning radar on the COSCO Busan, which led Captains Cota and Sun to use an electronic chart for the rest of the voyage. Although Coast Guard investigators found the radar to be in working order, they did not examine it until days after the accident (allowing time for faulty equipment to be fixed, which is not uncommon after a marine accident)
- Captain Sun’s incorrect identification of symbols on the electronic chart;
- the U.S. Coast Guard’s failure to provide adequate medical oversight of Cota, in view of the medical and medication information he had reported to the Coast Guard

Happy Anniversary, Cosco Busan, or should I say MSC Venezia? Don’t ever come back.

The patched-up ship finally hits the road, back in aught-seven – this was the last time we’ll ever see the Cosco Busan in the Bay Area, most likely:

*Yeah, Wiki is still wrong on that gallonage figure, partly due to the U.S. Coast Guard sitting on information for months and months ’cause they didn’t want to earn themselves any more bad press.

Cosco Busan Oil Spill Endgame: Chinese-Based Fleet Management Ltd. to pay $10 Mil.

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Here’s the news from the boys and girls at Justice, below.

Patched up and riding high – the last time we saw the Cosco Busan back in 2007. Will it ever come back? She’s called the MSC Venezia these days, currently working in the Canaries.

Oh well, she’s not the first Hyundai to leak oil into San Francsico Bay, and she won’t be the last.

The full release, after the jump

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