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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

S.F. Official Hoping to Nix Sale of Supreme Court, PUC Buildings Abruptly Fired

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Officials Don Casper and Stan Moy were fired today from an obscure joint powers authority overseeing financing of two state-owned buildings in the Civic Center Area. This abrupt move comes almost immediately after the two men had complicated the proposed sale of the Supreme Court building at 350 McAllister and the Public Utilities Building at 505 Van Ness Ave

"I want to take exception to the word 'firing,'" said Jeffrey Young, spokesman for the state Department of General Services, which is conducting the sale of 11 buildings around the state in hopes of raising money to close California's budget deficit. "Their services ceased to be required."

As reported earlier, Casper, who until Wednesday afternoon sat on the three-person San

Francisco State Building Authority, earlier this week voiced objection

to a plan whereby California will seek to raise $2 billion by selling

the aforementioned 11 state-owned buildings. This bizarre financial practice -- in which the state would lease back its buildings from the buyers -- is akin to taking out a large loan. While California would certainly lose scads of money in the long-term, the cash-poor state would get an infusion in the short-term. 

Casper had told SF Weekly that he would seek to block investors from purchasing the buildings, on the theory that these buyers might seek to influence regulatory agencies such as the Department of Insurance and the PUC, which are housed in the buildings.

After a blog post about Casper's objections ran on this page Friday, Casper received a letter Wednesday announcing "your appointment as a member of the Governing Board ceases today. Thank you for your services and participation on the board."

Casper had been appointed to the board -- which oversees repayment of bonds raised to fund construction at the two sites -- by Gov. Pete Wilson.

Though Casper is a prominent Republican who has served on the party's San Francisco and statewide Central Committees, he expressed outrage at his and Moy's dismissals by a Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger staffer.

"If an appointed member of a quasi-independent government

body, no matter how minor, feels that he or she has to toe a company line, it's

not democracy," Casper said."There will

always be minority viewpoints. Minority viewpoints should be given an

opportunity to be heard. Where a public official, even a very minor public

official, is fired for his or her viewpoints, that can only mean that the

appointing authority can't deal with those viewpoints."

Casper said his colleague Moy had rankled higher-ups by expressing a wish that the the San

Francisco State Building Authority move ahead with plans for a March 5 meeting, in which members of the public could have conceivably expressed viewpoints about the proposed sale. Moy had not returned two calls requesting comment by press time.

Young said he did not know why Moy was terminated.

Notwithstanding, Young said that "because there's no longer a quorum, there will be no meeting

this Friday."

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