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East Bay prosecutor to roll out SF D.A. campaign

Five months after I reported here that Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Sharmin Eshraghi Bock was considering throwing her hat into the ring for San Francisco District Attorney, she’s formally rolling out her campaign tomorrow with help from a prominent name in Bay Area politics.

Sharmin BockRep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, will join Bock for a news conference Tuesday morning at Golden Gate University School of Law on Mission Street in San Francisco; National Women’s Political Caucus President Lulu Flores of Austin, Texas, is scheduled to attend as well.

Speier and Flores are expected to endorse Bock and “highlight the lack of women citywide elected officials in San Francisco,” Bock’s campaign said in a news release, while “family members of crime victims will discuss Bock’s work.”

Bock, 48, has been a prosecutor for 21 years and is a nationally-recognized expert in human trafficking who created and leads the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit in Alameda County, prosecuting complex human trafficking cases with a focus on sexually exploited minors. She also directs a H.E.A.T. Watch program, providing communities, prosecutors, and police departments with the blueprint that has made Alameda County a role model in combating these crimes.

Other announced candidates for San Francisco District Attorney include George Gascon, the incumbent and former police chief, who was appointed to the job and subsequently endorsed for election by Gavin Newsom; and criminal justice expert and former police commissioner David Onek, whose political connections include his father – a former senior counsel to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – and father-in-law, former Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis.

Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2011
Under: Jackie Speier, San Francisco politics, U.S. House | 3 Comments »

Matt Gonzalez returns to public defender’s office

Former San Francisco Supervisors President and 2008 independent vice presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez has returned from whence he came – the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, where he took over today as chief attorney.

gonzalez1.jpgGonzalez, 45, was a deputy public defender from 1991 to 2001; he then served on the Board of Supervisors from 2000 through 2005, and lost the 2003 mayoral election to Gavin Newsom. He was independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader’s running mate in 2008.

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Gonzalez’s return to his staff at an 8 a.m. meeting. Gonzalez replaces former Chief Attorney Teresa Caffese, who left Dec. 31 for private practice.

Both Adachi’s and Gonzalez’s names have been bandied about as possible San Francisco mayoral candidates this year, both appealing to progressives; neither has declared candidacy.

In a news release, Adachi said Gonzalez’s experience both in the courtroom and in City Hall make him an excellent fit for the position, which involves overseeing and managing all internal operations of the Public Defender’s office as well as participating in budget planning and negotiations.

“We wanted a top trial lawyer who understands our work, has a commitment to our clients and a dedication to preserving the resources that allow our office to function,” Adachi said. “That person is Matt Gonzalez.”

Gonzalez since 2005 has been a partner in the law firm of Gonzalez and Leigh, where he handled both civil and criminal matters including several federal civil rights cases; 2010 Green gubernatorial nominee Laura Wells retained him after being arrested outside the Jerry Brown-Meg Whitman debate last October in San Rafael.

The McAllen, Texas native received his Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 1987 and his law degree from Stanford Law School in 1990.

Posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Under: San Francisco politics | No Comments »

East Bay prosecutor mulls bid for SF D.A.

Add Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Sharmin Eshraghi Bock to the list of people considering throwing their hats in to the ring to succeed state Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris as San Francisco District Attorney.

“A lot of people from the community are encouraging me to run and I’m seriously considering it,” she told me late yesterday, confirming a rumor I’d heard.

Sharmin BockBock, 48, has been a prosecutor for 21 years and is a nationally-recognized expert in human trafficking who created and leads the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit in Alameda County, prosecuting complex human trafficking cases with a focus on sexually exploited minors. She is also directs a H.E.A.T. Watch program, providing communities, prosecutors, and police departments with the blueprint that has made Alameda County a role model in combating these crimes.

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, earlier this year named Bock the 16th Assembly District’s Woman of the Year; she and others from districts around the state were honored at a March 8 ceremony at the State Capitol.

“Sharmin has been an invaluable asset to my district, the state, and nation in bringing domestic commercial sexual exploitation of minors to a level of national discussion,” Swanson said at the time, noting he’d worked closely with Bock on his legislation to increase penalties for human traffickers and put money toward aiding child victims. “Ms. Bock’s outspoken advocacy on behalf of child victims has taken the discussion to an unprecedented intellectual level, bringing state and federal law enforcement, lawyers, policymakers, and the public to the table to discuss the underground crime and its severe impact on our communities.”

California Women Lawyers last year bestowed upon Bock its top honor, the annual Fay Stender Award, given to a woman attorney who has demonstrated her commitment to under represented or disadvantaged people

Bock, an equestrian, also cofounded Paddock Cakes, a business that makes and sells horse treats; a portion of the business’ proceeds goes toward funding a safe house she hopes to establish with a therapeutic riding program for young human trafficking victims.

Bock earned an undergraduate degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1984 and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. in 1988.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom or his successor will appoint someone to fill Harris’ post as district attorney. Newsom has said that if she resigns before him, he’ll heed her recommendation for her successor.

The Chronicle has reported that others who’ve expressed interest in the appointment include attorney Bill Fazio, San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Paul Henderson, Police Commissioner and former prosecutor Jim Hammer, and David Onek, a senior fellow at the U.C. Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice. Other possibilities included Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and San Francisco Superior Court Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein, daughter of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

UPDATE @ 11:38 A.M. FRIDAY: The Chronicle’s Marisa Lagos reports Katherine Feinstein might not be eligible for appointment to this job.

Posted on Thursday, December 16th, 2010
Under: Kamala Harris, San Francisco politics | 3 Comments »

SF Dem group snubs Newsom for Lt. Gov.

The political action committee of San Francisco for Democracy – a grassroots progressive group “inspired by the leadership of Howard Dean” – released its slate of endorsements yesterday for November’s election. The group endorsed Democrats for every congressional, legislative and statewide office – with the exception of the lieutenant governor’s office, for which San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is the Democratic nominee.

The group’s website indicates the 60 percent threshold for endorsement wasn’t reached for that race during an Aug. 17 endorsement meeting. I couldn’t immediately reach the group’s president or communication director this afternoon, and my query to Newsom’s campaign wasn’t immediately returned. The campaign of Republican incumbent Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado chose not to comment.

Two polls last month – one commissioned by Maldonado’s campaign, the other independent – showed Newsom and Maldonado in a statistical dead heat.

UPDATE @ 12:47 P.M. FRIDAY: First, I was mistaken in calling San Francisco for Democracy an “SF Dem group” – it’s a nonpartisan progressive club, president Tim Durning said in a voicemail he left for me this morning. Durning went on to explain that Green candidate Jimi Castillo and Peace & Freedom candidate C.T. Weber got enough support from members of the club that Gavin Newsom didn’t have enough left to break the 60 percent threshold required for an endorsement; Republican Abel Maldonado was “a nonfactor in the race,” he said.

Posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Abel Maldonado, Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor, San Francisco politics | 6 Comments »

TEA Party will boycott San Francisco

Let’s get this straight.

San Francisco is boycotting Arizona over its immigration crackdown. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has even put the kibosh on all those city employee golf, er, business, trips to Phoenix.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg wants California to follow suit.

And now, California TEA Party groups  are boycotting San Francisco with a protest march in …  San Francisco.

President and founder of the Pleasanton/NorCal TEA Party, Dr. Bridget Melson, sent out an announcement of the May 1 event, which will start at 2 p.m. at the Civic Center at 24th and Mission streets.

“I say spend your money anywhere else than in San Francisco, vacation elsewhere, dine elsewhere — if you protest (in San Francisco), bring your own food, coffee and water,” she said in her news release.

I guess that means they won’t be stopping for a sourdough bread bowl at Fisherman’s Wharf?

Read on for the full news release:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Under: San Francisco politics, tea party | 50 Comments »

Obama names new EPA regional administrator

San Francisco’s top environmental enforcer, a notable crusader against climate change, has been selected by President Barack Obama to become this region’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

Jared Blumenfeld, 40, will run the EPA’s operations in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and more than 140 tribal nations. Here’s an interesting interview conducted with him about a year ago.

For eight years, Blumenfeld has directed the San Francisco Department of Environment, serving as the top environmental decision-maker for 28,000 city staff and a $6.5 billion city budget; he also did an eight-month stint as interim manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. He is a founder of Business Council on Climate Change; a former director of the Treasure Island Redevelopment Authority; and led the first United Nations World Environment Day hosted by the United States. He holds law degrees from the University of London and the University of California.

“I look forward to working closely with Jared Blumenfeld on the range of urgent environmental issues we face, in Region 9 and across the nation,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a news release. “At this moment of great challenge and even greater opportunity, I’m thrilled that Jared will be part of our leadership team at EPA. He will certainly play an instrumental role in our Agency’s mission to protect our health and the environment.”

Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Under: Environment, Global warming, Obama presidency, San Francisco politics | 2 Comments »

Did the guv really do that?

Check out the San Francisco Bay Guardian blog on a possible not-so-hidden message from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in a veto letter.

As you may recall, Ammiano yelled “kiss my gay ass” when the governor showed up at a San Francisco event.

Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Under: San Francisco politics, Schwarzenegger | 3 Comments »

Is Newsom’s affair worth news coverage?

This just in from Times online editor Ari Soglin: readers are split on that question. In a poll on the site, about a third of readers (as of 2:30 p.m. today) say, “Let’s stay out of his private affairs.”

But about 20 percent say that the scandal — the San Francisco mayor admits to having an affair with the wife of his former campaign manager — is worthy of coverage because of his position. And another 30 percent say the incident “raises questions about his loyalty to people close to him.”

Rounding out the poll — a highly unscientific snapshot of what our readers think — 10 percent say they “don’t care about his affairs, but dude’s hot, so please post a photo.” And 3 percent say, “I don’t care about Newsom, but please update us on Monica Lewinsky.”

Link to poll here.

Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2007
Under: San Francisco politics | No Comments »