BASF Criminal Justice Task Force Urges Placement of Proposed Amendment to City Charter Concerning Police Department Staffing Levels on November Ballot
July 14, 2020, San Francisco—The Bar Association of San Francisco's Criminal Justice Taskforce (CJTF) sent letters to the City Attorney's Office and Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee in support of Yee's proposed amendment to the City Charter (“Yee Amendment”) concerning staffing levels at the San Francisco Police Department.
The Yee Amendment - "simple, straightforward, and democracy in action" - would require the Police Department every two years to submit to the Police Commission a report and recommendation regarding police staffing levels, require the Police Commission to consider the report and recommendation when approving the department’s proposed budget, and remove any minimum police staffing level that arguably is required by the current City Charter.
CJTF disagrees that a meet-and-confer process with San Francisco Police Officers Association is legally required or appropriate prior to placing the amendment on the November ballot for review by voters. The Yee Amendment is a classic managerial matter not subject to bargaining as a matter of law and policy.
The Yee Amendment must be placed on the ballot by July 21, 2020, in order to be considered by voters in the November election; otherwise, a City Charter amendment will have to be delayed until 2022.
CJTF appreciates the partnership and expertise of pro bono counsel from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in this effort.
BASF’s Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) members include prosecutors, defense attorneys, civil rights attorneys, law professors, the judiciary, members of law enforcement, and police oversight agencies. CJTF was formed five years ago in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, which drew nationwide attention to issues of fairness in the criminal justice system. Since then, taskforce members have worked to rewrite the police use-of-force policy, researched and advocated against the use of Tasers, weighed in on a statewide effort to reform the bail system, and helped shape anti-bias policing measures.
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.