Embattled Ethics Commission heroes

Pub date August 20, 2009
SectionPolitics Blog

By Steven T. Jones

Two of the best, most public-spirited individuals ever to serve the San Francisco Ethics Commission – former staffer and commissioner Joe Lynn and current staffer Oliver Luby – are each fighting serious battles.

Luby — a Lynn protégé who has fought persistent corruption and dysfunction within the department — has been hounded by Director John St. Croix and his lieutenant, Mabel Ng, and now faces a ridiculous investigation for daring to comment from his work computer on flaws in new state ethics rules.

His many progressive supporters and his union, SEIU Local 1021, have each formally protested what they see as illegal retaliation against a whistle-blower and the matter has been shopped out to Oakland’s Ethics chief Dan Purnell (who also did the 2004 investigation of Ng improperly ordering Luby to destroy a document showing a money laundering scheme by the Gavin Newsom for Mayor campaign, the very thing that Ethics is supposed to regulate).

Meanwhile, Lynn faces a far more consequential battle: he’s fighting for his life against leukemia and about to undergo another round of chemotherapy. Friends and supporters of Lynn – a true Ethics pioneer – plan to gather tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Tacqueria Reina at 1550 Howard to show their love and support. All are welcome.