The district attorney
Call this new campaign "Recuse, George, Recuse."
District Attorney George Gascón's challengers in the November race banded together today to call on the D.A. to recuse himself and his office from any potential investigations involving the "Run, Ed, Run" campaign.
You'll recall that former Mayor Willie Brown and Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak lobbied hard to get interim Mayor Ed Lee to agree to run for a four-year term in November. They were behind the "Run, Ed, Run" campaign to convince him to do so.
Officials at Recology, the city's garbage hauling company, acknowledged Pak made multiple requests of a senior executive at the company to direct subordinates to gather signatures for the "Run, Ed, Run" campaign. This happened while the garbage company's contract was up for a vote at City Hall.
Retired judge Quentin Kopp (is there a city mover and shaker not involved in this story?) promptly sent a letter to Gascón, asking him to convene a criminal grand jury to probe "corrupt influencing and other felony or misdemeanor misconduct."
Kopp said he asked the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco to conduct a federal criminal investigation.
Well, now Gascón's competitors - deputy district attorney in Alameda, Sharmin Bock; former police commissioner David Onek; and criminal defense attorney Bill Fazio - have partnered to call on the D.A. to recuse himself and ask an outside agency to review the matter.
In a statement, the three said, "In the interest of public confidence in the integrity of our government, Interim DA Gascon has a duty to recuse himself from the decisions in this case and potential investigations into this matter, given his personal and political ties to parties involved."
The Chronicle reported when Gascón was named D.A. in January after Kamala Harris was elected Attorney General that the then-police chief only took the job after making calls to Brown and Pak to gauge his chances for election in November. Also, assistant district attorney Victor Hwang was a co-chair of the "Run, Ed, Run" campaign.
The three challengers have so far resisted forming alliances under the ranked choice voting system, but it seems they've found their first unifying issue. Do we smell an "Anybody but George" campaign?
We are awaiting a response from the DA's office.
UPDATE: Gascón said his office contacted the Attorney General on Monday to review the case and explore any potential conflicts of interest and are awaiting a reply.
"This is being handled the way it's supposed to be handled," Gascón said. "Obviously we take corruption very seriously. We acted, and I personally acted upon it, as soon as this came to our attention."
Gascón also was spotted at Boulevard Tuesday night chatting at the bar with Brown and attorney Steven Kay, who shares a Ferry Building penthouse office with Brown. Gascón said he was there to meet Kay, a friend, and simply exchanged greetings with Brown, who was with somebody else.
Call this new campaign "Recuse, George, Recuse." District Attorney George Gascón's challengers in the November race banded together today to call on the D.A. to recuse himself and his...