California. Grand Jury (San Francisco).

Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) online

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We would like to take this opportunity to commend the
Airports Commission and Mr. Dwyer, Director of the Airport, for their
fine and conscientious efforts in maintaining and improving the
San Francisco Airport.

Kathleen M. Calkin,
Earl L. Ellingson,
Lawrence M. DuVall, Chairman



During the fiscal year in which this Grand Jury served,
it was found that the Police Department was constantly in a state
of flux. The trend of numerous retirements, which began during
the previous year, continued at an alarming rate; there was a
constant re-assignment of Officers and there was noticeable
dissension within the ranks.

The first important point noticed by this Grand Jury
was the low morale factor among the Police Officers from the
lower echelon to middle staff. This morale factor was reflected
in the high retirement rate of 8*1 during fiscal year 1976-77
through the month of April 1977; for fiscal year 1975-76, there
were 191 retirements, while in 197^-75, only 31 persons retired.
The Grand Jury feels that some of the possible causes for the
large number of retirees during the past several years are: 1)
the attainment of retirement age of a large number of Officers;
2) the disillusionment of the Officers after the adverse reactions
of the voters on the recent ballot initiatives; 3) lack of coopera-
tion and respect within the ranks.

The large number of retirements in the Police Department,
we feel, is a cause for some concern. This Grand Jury recommends
that persons who become disabled in the line of duty and therefore,
cannot perform in their original functions, should be referred to
light duty as is done in Los Angeles County, if that be physically
suitable to the individual. At present, the City and County of
San Francisco has no such program and the Retirement Board has no
alternative but to retire a partially disabled person. At this
writing, the Board of Supervisors is considering the retention of
an independent hearing officer to hear disability retirement
applications. Having an independent referee, totally separate
from the Department should prevent the possible abuse of disability
retirements. .

Turning to the problem of space within the Police
Department as noted by the Grand Juries of prior years, the Crime
Lab is definitely in need of additional working area. Some of
the space consuming materials held as evidence have to be kept for
long periods of time in the working office space of the Lab
because of the requirements of the laws of evidence. This, of
course, contributes greatly to the cluttered and crowded conditions
in the Crime Lab. During the investigation of this Grand Jury, it
has been revealed that some of the space under the Jurisdiction of
the Coroner's Office, currently remaining unused, might be utilized
by the Police Department by relocating the Crime Lab to the ground
floor adjacent to the Coroner's Office, or in the alternative,



transferring some of the stored items to the unused space. Thi3
matter has been pointed out by this Grand Jury to the Police Chief
and his Deputies, particularly from the advantageous standpoint of
the nature of the work of both the Crime Lab and the Coroner's
Office. It is recommended that the Mayor's Office and the Board of
Supervisors look into this matter as one of the solutions to
improve the over-crowded conditions of the Crime Lab.

The space problem in the Criminal Investigation Bureau
will be eliminated when that Bureau gets all its records on
microfilm. Microfilming is now underway at a good pace. Rows upon
rows of file cabinets occupied much needed space at the time of the
Grand Jury's visit.

The partial installation of the much publicized 9-1-1
system of the Bureau of Communications has taken place, however,
it still lacks certain hardware and personnel. The Board of
Supervisors has thus far not allocated monies needed to complete
the project. Also, further delays have occurred because
feasibility studies have been requested by the State Legislature,
since the State is providing some of the funds for installation
of the system.

The SAFE (Safety Awareness for Everyone) program was
initiated in the Fall of 1976 for the purpose of citizen awareness
of crime prevention at the neighborhood level. Meetings have been
held between various neighborhood leaders and the Police Depart-
ment. Local leaders concur in this idea of neighborhood involve-
ment. Lt. Mullen and Lt. Jordan of the Police Department staff
are bringing this program to the attention of the man on the beat,
mostly through information given at the area watch meetings.

Training and retraining of Officers is an important
factor in the Police Department. Certain courses in police
psychology and other police subjects are being offered the
Officers in the Department as well as "on the job" training.
Important in this respect is the comment from the Coroner's Office
about the apparent mishandling or inadvertent destruction of
evidence by Police personnel at the scenes of crimes. The
Coroner's Office has expressed concern over important evidence
having been mishandled on several occasions. The Police Chief,
upon being questioned by this Grand Jury on the subject, stated
that Police Officers are receiving training in laws of evidence
to avoid the occurrence of such incidents. We recommend that the
Coroner be invited to conduct sessions at the Police Academy with
regard to the handling of evidence.

In conclusion, this Grand Jury feels that morale is
the underlying cause of certain dissension within the ranks and



also that morale Is an important factor in the numerous "early"
retirements. The crux of the matter lies in the plain and simple
fact that communications appear to have broken down between the
upper and lower echelon. The Grand Jury feels that those few
Police Officers involved must rise above "petty politics" and
remind themselves of their sworn duty to protect the Citizens of
this City. We need the highest quality service they can, and for
the most part, do, provide.

Aileen McCarty
Seizo F. Oka

Francis J. Murphy, Chairman



The Board of Permit Appeals is an appointed body of
citizens which hears cases resulting from granting or denying
permits through the administrative process of other City departments
such as Police, Fire, Health, Public Works and City Planning.

This Grand Jury finds that many of the problems previously
encountered by this Board with these City departments appear to be
evaporating for several reasons. The Board appears to be more
business-like in its meetings, or hearings, lacking the "frivolous
atmosphere" and "insensitivity" that were apparent to a previous
Grand Jury. Meetings of the Board are orderly. They are usually
somewhat lengthy - perhaps more so than they should be. This results
from the Board's attempt to give all applicants and protestants
an adequate and equitable opportunity to present their case at the
public hearing. The Board members appear well informed on cases
being presented to them. Changes in department-head level of other
City departments may also have contributed to the reduction in
inter-department problems in that this Board is not regarded in as
much an adversary role as it once was. Further, the present Board
appears to be extremely concerned with public input and with the
rights of "ordinary citizens" rather than with more influential

We commend Philip Siggins, Executive Director of the Board,
for his services both to appellants and to the Board. Mr. Siggins
meets with appellants, outlines the appeals process and gives the
advice necessary to permit the process to work smoothly. We
understand that he has often been accused of being an advocate of
the appellant because of his very obvious attempt to assist the
citizenry with their problems. This Grand Jury submits that this
should be the function of the public servant.

The administrative process of permit denial and appeal is
confusing to most citizens and should be clarified or modified.
Applicants denied permits or licenses are supposedly given notice
that they have a right to appeal within a short 10 days of the
denial, although the processing period prior to that denial may have
taken several months. In many cases, the appellant is unaware of
his rights to appeal. It should be mandatory that with each denial
of license or permit an applicant should be informed Immediately in
writing , in easily understood terms, of his rights to appeal and of
the required timetable. He should have the counseling of a staff
member of the Board at that time if necessary. The 10 day period
for filing an appeal should be extended to permit adequate time for
preparation and processing of the appeal.



The need for an attorney (or attorneys) on the staff of
this Board has often been the subject of discussion. The Executive
Director has found it necessary to attend Law School to prepare
himself for the service he must perform. It is the recommendation
of this Grand Jury, as it has been from previous Grand Juries, that
no such staff counsel position be established nor that the Director
be required to be an attorney. We recommend that legal consultation
be obtained from the City Attorney's office as and when required
by this Board. There appears to be a concern on the part of the
City Attorney that, by providing this consultation to the Board by
his staff, he may create a conflict of interest situation. It
appears to us that, by careful assignment of responsibility, the
problem of alternately designating an attorney to work with this
Board and with other "adversary" City departments can be eliminated.

This Board may hear over iJOO cases in a year. With this
as a consideration, it appears to be understaffed with only an
Executive Director, one Secretary and one CETA employee, with
academic training in the law, available to process all appeals and
to offer the required services to appellants and to the Board.
Budgetary problems appear to be extremely critical. It has been
brought to our attention that for a period of several months in the
last fiscal year, no funds were available for a court reporter to
provide the required hearing transcripts and no funds were available
for stamps and mailing of necessary documents. We are concerned of
legal responsibilities if a situation develops in which a court
hearing is required at a later date and no transcript is available
from a Board hearing. It would suggest and we recommend that this
Board be provided adequate funds to provide the services necessary
to the public — including court reporters and personnel for counselling.

Our immediate impression of the office facilities of
Mr. Siggins certainly was unfavorable. It appeared to be one of the
shabbiest of all City offices. We recognize that physical facilities
are not as important as a staff that performs its duties well, it
nevertheless strikes us that this office should not give to the
public the impression of total poverty and neglect.


San Franciscans should be and can be pleased with the
appointment of their new City Librarian. John Frantz comes to our
City with vast experience, innovative ideas, and motivation to
rebuild the library system. Following the controversy that surrounded
a previous City Librarian, Kevin Starr, this Grand Jury Committee
was impressed with both Mr. Frantz and with his predecessor, the
interim caretaker of the system, Edwin Castagna.


PUBLIC LIBRARY (continued)

The Librarian has had little time since his arrival in
February to effect substantial change in either organization or
operation. His beginning by development of a master plan for the
Library is laudable. We feel that, in its final form, this master
plan should include not only program objectives but also detailed
employee performance standards, not only recommendations for new
facilities but also plans for better, more efficient use of existing
facilities, not only appeals for or plans for additional staff and
financial support but also plans for additional services resulting
from streamlining the existing operation.

It now appears that the City Librarian is competent to
deal with the administrative problems that have plagued the system
for some time.

We are pleased that the budget for the next fiscal year
includes provision for the Automated Circulation System to replace
an out-dated "Self-Charge System". The new system, which has been
recommended for many years, has been tried and has proven successful
in other public libraries. It should be considerably more efficient
and should reduce losses and overdue accounts. Although three new
positions have been approved in the new budget, that of Assistant
City Librarian has not. This is one of the major requirements
of the Library as we perceive it. The position had been approved
by the Mayor but was again cut by the Board of Supervisors. It is
imperative that this position be approved in the future. The City
Librarian must be responsible for administration and management of
the library system but he must also interface appropriately with
City government and, particularly in San Francisco, with civic and
social groups. Without the services of an Assistant City Librarian
to manage the budgetary and routine administrative functions of the
system, priorities and time constraints would dictate that little
effort could be allocated by the Librarian to important civic and
social interaction. We understand that San Francisco is the only
City of its size in the United States that does not have a similar
library position funded at the present time. Some believe that
management of the system can, and should, be left entirely to the
City Librarian as his sole responsibility. The effort required of
a new City Librarian to solve the current problems of a complex
system will require more than routine management, however.

A recent research report compared eight major city library
systems for U. S. cities with population of approximately 600,000
to 900,000. Although San Francisco ranked sixth in population within
the library system service area in that study, it ranked first in
total system bookstock and third in total system circulation. It had
the largest staff per capita and the largest number of branch
libraries. It appears, then, that the personnel and facilities are
there to provide substantial and adequate service given the proper


PUBLIC LIBRARY (continued)

motivation and innovation by the new City Librarian and the
cooperation of the City Administration.

The challenge to the Library system is its re-orientation
from white middle class to a multi-national, multi-racial, multi-
interest system. The administrative staff is beginning to recognize
the needs and the branch libraries are being tailored to meet the
needs of the communities they serve.

It is beginning to become evident that it is difficult to
staff the library adequately within the civil service system. The
system hinders the selection of appropriate employment candidates
for very specialized assignments. It dictates promotion from within,
thereby fostering inbreeding within an existing staff. And, it does
not provide adequately for rewarding excellent employee performance
of the kind expected at the professional level in a service organiza-
tion such as the library. One of the City Librarian's major tasks
must be the review of the selection process for new employees and
for promotion of his existing personnel. Position descriptions must
be modified to reflect the current requirements of the system and
care must be taken by the Library and by Civil Service to recruit,
employ and promote only those job candidates that meet the vigorous
standards required by the system.

Previous Grand Jury reports have proposed a reduction in
the number of branch libraries to effect increased service levels
without increasing staff. This Grand Jury recommends that all existing
branches remain open to serve the neighborhoods. It further recommends
that consideration be given in the Library's master plan to opening
certain branch libraries on Sunday afternoons, as is being considered
for the main library, even if this requires modification of hours
during the balance of the week. In fact, given a choice, it appears
very clear that certain branch libraries would get wider use per
employee during Sunday opening than would the main library.

For many years the issue of a new Main Library building
has been discussed in San Francisco. It is generally agreed that a
new, more functional building is a requirement for efficient operation.
This Grand Jury heartily agrees that the existing building, although
an architectural Jewel in the Civic Center setting, is functionally a
misfit for modern library operation. We recognize equally, however,
the current economic realities of city government and recommend
therefore, that consideration of a new Main Library building be
deferred. It is inconceivable that a bond issue of the magnitude
required for construction of the new facility could gain voter
approval. It is further recommended that the existing building be
reviewed within the master plan not only with the idea of making it
more functional within some reasonable capital cost, but also with the
idea of improving the physical condition of the parts that have fallen
to woeful disrepair.



The War Memorial Board is entrusted with operation o?
two J*5 year old buildings, the Opera House and the Veterans'
Building. The Opera House is a 3250-seat multi-purpose performing
arts building. The Veterans' Building contains administrative
offices, meeting rooms for Veterans* groups, an auditorium with a
seating capacity of approximately 1000, and the San Francisco Museum
of Art.

Past Grand Juries, in their reports, have been critical of
the physical condition of the property. We are pleased to note a
change in direction from those deplorable conditions. These
facilities now appear to be in a much better physical condition than
many other City-owned or City-maintained properties.

The Opera House is used substantially all year although it
is not always revenue producing. It generates revenues only when
performances are open to the public but not during rehearsals. The
complex operates on an annual budget of about $900,000. Current
revenue is less than $200,000 leaving an annual deficit of almost
three quarters of a million dollars to be made up from the general
fund. Any attempt to make these facilities self-supporting would
require substantial increases in rent to the performing companies.
These companies, in turn, would find it necessary to raise ticket
prices or would require some form of tax support if they were to
continue their cultural activities. Ticket price increases would be
unpopular and may reduce attendance. The transfer of tax subsidy
from the Opera House to the performing companies is unnecessary and
cannot be recommended by this Grand Jury.

The Feasibility Study of a Proposed San Francisco
Performing Arts Center (PAC) prepared by the Stanford Research
Institute was studied in detail. The building, as proposed, would
provide substantial flexibility in the scheduling of cultural events
in the several auditorium facilities that would then be available.
The proposed PAC would increase exposure to cultural events for the
Bay Area public - approximately 50? of whom would come from outside
San Francisco - since it would provide space for many more activities
such as traveling road shows and musicals for which there is no
space now available.

This Grand Jury heartily endorses the PAC proposal and
recommends that, since the Center is a cultural arts facility, it
be put under the management of the War Memorial Board and its
Managing Director Donald Michalske when completed. Only in that way
will the City benefit fully from the aforementioned flexibility in
scheduling. We see little reason for the added expense of indepen-
dent management. We are unequivocally opposed to its management by
the Real Estate Department which manages the Civic Auditorium and
other City buildings because of the lack of similarity of the


WAR MEMORIAL (continued)

functions of other City properties with those of the new PAC. In
order to accomplish the merger of management responsibility, action
will be required by the Board of Supervisors to expand the property
limits of the War Memorial to include the proposed site on the block
bounded by Van Ness, Hayes, Franklin and Grove. We further urge
that the War Memorial Director be involved in the planning and
construction phases of the PAC from its inception.


The management of the Port of San Francisco has found itself
naively caught in the cross fire of opposing political interests. It
has also found itself overburdened with financial problems not of its
own making but mostly inherited when the City voted to take over its
operation in 1968 from the State.

Members of this Grand Jury found Port Director Thomas T.
Soules to be a thoroughly professional and knowledgeable maritime
administrator with much experience in the shipping industry and many
worldwide contacts. He must, however, be freed of the politial
shenanigans with which he is saddled so that he may function properly
to reestablish the Port of San Francisco as a viable financial entity
and as an asset to the City. It appears, for example, that the filing
by the City of the recent suit against Triple A Machine Shop, the
Department of the Navy, et al., at a time when arrangements had been
made for negotiations to resume between Triple A and the Port for
lease of the Hunters Point Shipyard property was either inordinately
poor timing or an attempt at political embarrassment.

In order to survive, the Port must undergo radical physical
changes as well as some obvious organizational and political changes.
The San Francisco Port is faced with the problems typical of facil-
ities worldwide that have not kept pace with technological advances
in the maritime industry. The proposed plan to establish the required
facilities, under the Port's direction, at Hunters Point appears
mired in political controversy. Much of the traffic appears to be
lost, for the time being, not only to Oakland, Redwood City, and the
river ports, but also to Seattle, Portland and Southern California.

A major question that must be answered is the need for
port activity in San Francisco itself, not in San Francisco Bay and
adjacent river areas such as Stockton. This Grand Jury believes that
Port activities contribute substantially to the economic life of the
City. It is also our belief that maritime activity can and should be
subsidized. It appears that the direct cost of Port operations can-
not be borne entirely from maritime income. Commercial Port develop-
ment, which must be actively pursued, could substantially defray the
losses from Port operation.



Further, the Port must be absolved of the responsibility of
paying the cost of operation of the fireboat "Phoenix". This total
annual cost approximates $1 million per year. It is our understand-
ing that, through the efforts of Mayor Moscone, an agreement has
been reached between the Fire Department and the Port Director to
share this cost of operation Jointly between these two entities on
a 51^/^9? basis, respectively, for the fiscal year 1977-78. Granted,
the fireboat, is operated for the safety of the Port. However, fire-
fighting and the equipment with which to fight fires are the respon-
sibility of the Fire Department. This Grand Jury recommends,
therefore, that the total cost of operation of the "Phoenix" be borne
by the Fire Department and that the Board of Supervisors adequately
fund the budget of that department to provide for this increased
cost in the future. A study, now being completed by the Fire
Department, indicates that a new fireboat, costing some $600,000
had the potential of saving the City almost that much each year,
primarily in labor costs. We agree that, since the "Phoenix" is
approximately 20 years old and nearing the end of its economic life,
it could and should be replaced if the indicated savings - whether to
the Port budget or to the Fire Department budget - can be realized.

Approximately $86 million worth of bonded debt was absorbed
by the City when it took over operation of the Port. Over ^0% of the

Online LibraryCalifornia. Grand Jury (San Francisco)Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) → online text (page 3 of 32)