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Dog Bite 

Wednesday, Aug 9 1995
Campaign Coercion
Going back to the days of Mayor Joe Alioto, temporary city employees who worked in the mayor's office have found themselves in a pickle come election time. As "at-will" employees who could be fired at any time without cause, they have been easily coerced into working on the mayor's campaign -- or, at the least, donating money.

"I've been an unwilling precinct leader for most recent mayors," says one such employee.

All that was supposed to come to an end when Service Employees International Union Local 790 negotiated a contract last year, which made the city's 1,200 temps permanent employees with job security. But Mayor Frank Jordan has managed to find a way to maintain the fear of God in some 30 temporary workers who toil in the mayor's offices of housing, community development, and criminal justice. Without explanation, the mayor has iced the reclassification of the employees as permanent until after the mayor's race. The apparent motive came out in a recent meeting between union reps and civil service bureaucrats. A union member asked if the mayor was keeping the positions open so he could fill them with loyalists after the election, assuming of course that Jordan is re-elected. A civil service official looked at the union rep and said, "Don't quote me on this, but I think you're right." Keeping the workers as temps is already having a positive effect for the mayor, sources say. Many housing and community development employees are planning to donate money and work on the mayor's re-election campaign.

Brown Town
Willie Brown supporters say their candidate will move the city forward expeditiously -- and a little cocktail-napkin figurin' bears this out. Brown, if elected, could within a year's time appoint six members to the Board of Supervisors, remaking it in his image. Here's how it'd work: Four of the supervisors -- Willie Kennedy, Tom Hsieh, Angela Alioto, and Terence Hallinan -- will be termed out of office by January 1997. (If Hallinan wins the district attorney's race this November, he'll give up his seat even sooner.) Brown has the juice to employ them all in San Francisco as department bigwigs or in Sacramento in posts. Add to this calculation supes Carole Migden and Kevin Shelley, who're running for the state Assembly in 1996. Combine these six Brown-loyal votes with liberal Tom Ammiano, sometimes liberal Mabel Teng, and longtime Brown friend Sue Bierman and we're talking greasy skids. Brown, who has more than enough chits to toss their way (money, endorsements), could talk them out of their seats early. Even if they stay supes, their cakewalk races promise to remove them by January '97. With these prospects, Brown must be rethinking his position on term limits.

Policing the Police
Sometimes, the city's in no mood to compromise. For instance, the Board of Supervisors voted last week to put a charter amendment on the November ballot reforming the Police Department's Office of Citizen Complaints. One feature of that amendment is a beefed-up staff, which ACLU attorney John Crew has championed for years. But the supes voted down a hybrid version of the amendment (crafted behind closed doors with Crew present) that would have given the Police Officers Association its wish of bypassing the Police Commission on internal discipline cases. Instead, instances of sexual harassment, homophobia, or drug dealing would be addressed through outside arbitration -- away from public scrutiny. As one longtime City Hall observer put it, "In San Francisco, we have values that aren't easily interpreted by arbitrators from Modesto."

By George Cothran, John Sullivan


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