Annual Report 2002

A Report to Board of Supervisors
Annual Report 2002


  1. Purpose/Background
The essential rationale for the existence of the Sunshine Ordinance and its Task Force is to assure open government and maximum public participation in governance.
  • The San Francisco Board of Supervisors first passed the Sunshine Ordinance in 1993 creating a task force to advise the Board of Supervisors on matters related to the implementation of the Sunshine Ordinance.
  • The Sunshine Initiative enacted by the voters in November 1999, effective January 1, 2000, significantly expanded the responsibilities of the Task Force. It also reduced the number of members from 13 to 11, causing the Board of Supervisors to reconstitute the Task Force in April 2000.
  • The Task Force met for the first time under the new ordinance in May 2000.
  • Non-Profit organizations, which receive $250,000 or more of City funds are subject to the provisions of the Sunshine Ordinance. Administrative Code 12L requires at least two board meetings per year to be open to the public, and the public must be allowed to address the board. Non-profits are required to make a good-faith effort to include on their boards at least one member of the community served by the non-profit. See Section VII, Addenda #1 for a copy of Administrative Code 12L.

Officers of the Task Force

Joshua Koltun served as Chair Garrett
Jenkins served as Vice-Chair

The Task Force has 11 seats, four of which are dedicated:
  • The Society of Professional Journalists has one seat for an attorney and one for a member of the media.
  • The League of Women Voters has one seat.
  • The New California Media has one seat.
  • The other members must have demonstrated consumer involvement or community activism.
  • At least one person with a physical disability is required by the Sunshine Ordinance to be a member of the Task Force.
  • Members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors for two-year terms.
  • There are two ex-officio members-one appointed by the Mayor and the other by the Clerk of the Board.
  • This year the Task Force voted to add a youth member to sit with the Task Force.
  • The gender breakdown of the Task Force for 2002 was five females and six males.
  • The ethnic breakdown of the Task Force for 2002 was three African-Americans and eight Caucasians.
  • See Section VII, Addenda #2 for a membership listing.
(See Section VII, Addenda #3 for a copy of the By-Laws)
The Task Force was reorganized in May 2000 around three activities:
  1. Education of City/County staff to assure compliance with their obligations;
  2. Outreach and public education to assure knowledge regarding the public's right to access to records and participation in the public decision-making process;
  3. Enforcement of public access and participation laws.
To that end it was decided that an organizational structure around committees would (and has) facilitated the work of the Task Force:
  1. A Rules Committee was established to develop by-laws-procedures so the Task Force's work could proceed in an orderly way. As with all committees, recommendations for action are made to the full Task Force for final action.
  2. Public Education and Information: Unless the public is aware of its rights to access to information and participation, the value of the ordinance would be minimal. Therefore, a Public Information and Education Committee was created whose purpose is what its name says. To that end the Task Force has:
  • appointed a community volunteer to assist the Task Force with public outreach;
  • published and distributed a Task Force brochure published in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese;
  • conducted educational and information sessions to community groups throughout the City;
  • prepared a web page with full information on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. See Section VII, Addenda #6 for information on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force web page. Community members may now directly, through email or the web, contact the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Office requesting information or filing a complaint.
  • In 2002 the Chair of the Task Force met international visiting dignitaries from
    • Japan
    • South Korea (two separate visits)
    • Macedonia
    • Bulgaria
    • Indonesia
  1. Complaint Committee: The third committee is the Complaint Committee, which might be said to be the heart of the Task Force. If the efforts of the Administrator and the Deputy City Attorney fail to obtain the information to which a complainant is legally entitled, the matter will be referred to the Complaint Committee to determine jurisdiction. If jurisdiction is found, a Task Force hearing will be held at which time the complainant and the respondent will be invited to state their respective cases and to answer questions put by members of the Task Force, following which an Order of Determination will be issued. See Section VII, Addenda # 4 for a copy of the complaint form.

    From the complaints received from community members, the Task Force issued Orders of Determination to ten city departments and three commissions. See Section VII, Addenda #5 for Complaint Log.
  2. Compliance & Amendments Committee: This Committee was appointed in 2002. The Compliance & Amendments Committee's charge is to
  • thoroughly review the Orders of Determination adopted by the Task Force, and when appropriate, schedule public hearings to ensure their prompt and satisfactory compliance;
  • consider and make recommendations to the Task Force from staff and community members regarding amendments to the Sunshine Ordinance.
The Chair of the Task Force appoints committee chairs as well as its members. Each member of the Task Force must also be a member of a committee.Ad hoc committees are appointed as needed. There have been ad hoc committees to deal with email; conflict of interest; and proposed amendments to the Sunshine Ordinance.

The Clerk of the Board of Supervisors is required to provide a full-time staff person to perform administrative duties for the Task Force and to assist any person in gaining access to public meetings or public information.

The Administrator for the Task Force is Donna Hall.

The Administrator for the Task Force receives and answers questions regarding the Sunshine Ordinance and questions regarding the filing of complaints before the Task Force. The majority of questions to the Task Force Office regarding public records and the filing of complaints are handled at the Task Force Office. Those that cannot be resolved are forwarded to the Complaint Committee and then to the Task Force.

This year there were 1100+ informational calls and emails to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Office from community persons requesting assistance in obtaining public records from a variety of City/County Departments.


The City Attorney's Office advises the Task Force. The Sunshine Ordinance requires that the attorney assigned to the Task Force be experienced in public-access law matters. The Ordinance also requires the deputy city attorney assigned to the Task Force serve solely as a legal advisor and advocate to the Task Force, and that an ethical wall be maintained between the work of this attorney and any person or office that the Task Force determines may have a conflict of interest with regard to the matters being handled by the attorney.The legal advisor to the Task Force is Deputy City Attorney Ernest Llorente.Annual training is provided by the City Attorney's Office, with the assistance of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, to all City department heads and all City management employees and all employees or officials who are required to sign an affidavit of financial interest with the Ethics Commission.

  • Regular meetings held every month with reports from Standing Committees of work accomplished for the Task Force
  • Public hearings held before the Task Force for citizens having difficulty with public records and concerns regarding public meetings
  • Special meetings held to take care of extra public hearing
  • Task Force trained on the Sunshine Ordinance
  • Compliance & Amendments Standing Committee formed
  • Community neighborhood meetings attended to submit information regarding the Sunshine Ordinance
  • Brochures distributed in four languages explaining the Sunshine Ordinance
  • Meetings held with international groups regarding San Francisco's Sunshine Ordinance
  • Web site continually updated for community persons to connect into for information on the Sunshine Ordinance and the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force
  • Responded to 1200+ requests for information