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Monday, July 13, 2009

Public Defender Goes Low-Tech Again -- Spends at Least $5K To Blanket S.F. In Fliers

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Public Defender Jeff Adachi has been vociferously publicly defending his own office - RICHARD BUI
  • Richard Bui
  • Public Defender Jeff Adachi has been vociferously publicly defending his own office

Public Defender Jeff Adachi made another foray into public pamphleteering this weekend, firing off roughly 62,000 large, glossy fliers imploring San Franciscans to pester their supervisors into restoring his imperiled budget at tomorrow's meeting.

The PD spent at least $5,000 in leftover campaign funds printing out the mailers, and hasn't yet gotten back his postage bill -- though "the people at the post office are very happy." For Adachi, it's the latest foray into staving off Mayor Gavin Newsom's proposed $1.9 million in cuts to his office. Adachi's argument all along has been that cutting his staff and assigning cases to private attorneys will cost the city more in the long run. 

A recent audit of the public defender's office by the city controller didn't exactly come to the same conclusion -- it found that the small pool of private attorneys handling cases where city representation would present a confilct of interest certainly don't save the city money, but don't cost much more than public defenders. Adachi, however, claims that his attorneys are willing to handle far more cases than private attorneys -- 240 per year, on average -- making them more cost-efficient in the long-run.

Adachi in May spent hundreds of dollars out of his own pocket spreading posters and leaflets around the city promulgating a similar message -- a low-tech endeavor relying on volunteers strolling through town and the United States Postal Service.

Last month, following a 4-1 vote in the Board of Supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee to re-allocate $600,000 to his office, Supervisors John Avalos and David Chiu moved to take half of that and send it to the District Attorney. "I would say that some kind of deal was made," alleges Adachi -- and he's not the only one.

If that's the case, It will be interesting to see which supervisors vote in favor of sending Adachi's office more funds -- and who doesn't -- at tomorrow's meeting.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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