Brown Turns Up Heat on Hallinan

Brown Turns Up Heat on Hallinan
Posted by FoM on October 03, 2000 at 10:36:40 PT
By Edward Epstein & Jonathan Curiel
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
Stepping up his pressure campaign against San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, Mayor Willie Brown said yesterday that he may ask for the creation of a joint federal-state-city task force to enforce drug and prostitution laws in the city. Brown said he is considering asking U.S. Attorney Robert Mueller for suggestions on how the federal government could help San Francisco deal with prostitution and what he has called a ``crisis in our city'' over drugs. He has already asked state Attorney General Bill Lockyer for similar suggestions. 
``I am upping the ante,'' Brown said. ``I don't know what they will recommend,'' the mayor said, ``but one possibility could be a task force, with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), FBI, the U.S. attorney's staff and our local police. ``Discussions will take place with law enforcement and prosecutors about this,'' the mayor said. In his letter to Lockyer, dated Friday, Brown wrote, ``I am deeply concerned about the perception that San Francisco is lax when it comes to serious crimes being conducted on our streets, often openly in the light of day, and I am determined to marshal all the resources at my disposal to effectively deal with this problem.'' Brown apparently became angry with Hallinan, his longtime political ally, after KRON-TV broadcast a series showing open drug dealing and interviews with drug dealers who said they came to the city from elsewhere in the Bay Area to carry out their trade because of its easygoing image. Police and Brown were also upset by the Board of Supervisors' defeat last week of a proposal to seize the cars of people suspected of soliciting prostitutes or buying drugs. Brown said he did not see any contradiction between his backing of Hallinan's re-election last year and his current campaign of upbraiding the district attorney. ``My support for him has absolutely nothing to do with the failure we as a city are experiencing with excessive prostitution or drug dealing, period,'' he said. Brown said he did not want San Francisco to become the scene of overt drug wars of the type that have hit Oakland or Richmond. ``I don't want it spilling over into our city,'' he said. Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Lockyer, said the attorney general ``will of course be interested and willing to work with the mayor and the district attorney on any of their law enforcement needs.'' Those ``needs,'' Barankin said, would have to be determined at a meeting with Brown and Hallinan. ``I know that (Lockyer) has had a chance to speak to the district attorney,'' said Barankin, without giving specifics of the telephone call. ``He's trying to get in contact with the mayor. He's hoping a meeting can happen sooner rather than later.'' The U.S. attorney's office already works with law enforcement in San Francisco and other cities on prosecuting drug and gun cases. Matthew Jacobs, assistant U.S. attorney and a spokesman for Mueller, said he would not comment on any plans Brown might have to contact his office. Brown and Hallinan met yesterday at City Hall, but both said they did not talk about the TV report. Hallinan said the two had discussed moving a program that helps single parents from the district attorney to the mayor's office. He described the meeting as ``cordial.'' Asked what he thought about the TV report and Brown's letter to Lockyer, Hallinan said, ``I haven't seen the letter. . . . I watched the Channel 4 show --it's disturbing. I don't like to see people out dealing drugs in broad daylight or in the dark on street corners. The police make arrests. And when they do, we prosecute to what extent we are able to.'' Hallinan said he did not feel he was under attack, but added, ``I was surprised by (Brown's moves). He could have picked the phone and phoned me. And we would probably have had a nice conversation. He has a right to ask whatever he wants.'' Brown raised the possibility of inviting in federal agents after his meeting with Hallinan ended. Fred Gardner, a spokesman for the district attorney, said Hallinan had no comment on the idea. Hallinan has made no secret of his preference for alternatives to jail for many drug and prostitution offenders, such as counseling and education programs. Last year, when The Chronicle reported that his office's conviction record was the worst among the state's 58 counties, Hallinan said, ``I would assume that San Francisco has more drug cases than just about anywhere else, and more of a tendency to divert them. I don't begrudge that. I like diversion. I like to give (nonviolent offenders) an opportunity. . . . Hopefully, at least some of them make it.'' Among supervisors, those on both side of the car-seizure issue supported Brown's letter to Lockyer. ``These are big-time actors, not the little middlemen,'' Supervisor Amos Brown said of the people he wants Hallinan to pursue. ``The authorities know who they are.'' The supervisor proposed the car-seizure law. Supervisor Gavin Newsom, who voted against the idea, said Brown's moves were ``exactly the resolve that we need to hold each and everyone of use accountable. ``. . . We are all equally to blame for not aggressively addressing this problem.'' Chronicle staff writer Jaxon Van Derbeken contributed to this report. Note: S.F. mayor may ask for drug task force E-Mail: jcuriel sfchronicle.comSource: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Edward Epstein, Jonathan Curiel, Chronicle Staff WritersPublished: Tuesday, October 3, 2000 2000 San Francisco Chronicle  Page A13 Contact: chronletters Website: Article & Web Site:KRON - TV Brown Fires Shots in Drug War with City DA
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Comment #2 posted by Frank S. World on October 04, 2000 at 07:56:03 PT
SF Chron columnists Matier & Ross weigh in
ROUND TWO: ``It was amazing, he just came in, sat down and didn't say a word about it.'' That's how Mayor Willie Brown summed up his private meeting with District Attorney Terence Hallinan, after his very public hammering of the D.A. for not prosecuting drug dealers in San Francisco aggressively enough. ``It was as if nothing had ever happened!'' Brown said. ``What can I say?'' Hallinan tells us. ``It's all so off-the-wall. I'm just trying to think of some measured response.'' As for the face-to-face meeting that went nowhere, Hallinan said: ``I heard him say he was going to take it up with me. But when I got there, nothing came up.'' No mention of the mayor's criticisms of the D.A.'s drug prosecution record and no mention of Brown's call during the weekend for the state attorney general to get involved. Instead, Hallinan said, he and Brown talked only about the transfer of the Family Support Unit over to the mayor's office -- and then they went out to meet the reporters gathered outside. ``I didn't sense any hostility or anger at all. Then I wake up the next morning and read where he's asked the feds to come in, too!'' Hallinan said. ``And I have to tell you I have some concerns about the DEA and the FBI coming in and dictating our drug policy. They might want to shut down our medical marijuana clubs.'' As for what's really behind the mayor's slams -- well, that depends on whom you talk to. Brown just says that he came to the conclusion about ``five or six months ago'' that Hallinan wasn't cutting it. ``Attorneys I know told me that we were an open city when it came to drug prosecutions -- that no one ever went to trial. We just can't have that,'' Brown told us yesterday. And it wasn't just Brown's buddies at the legal bar. ``I got tired of merchants and people calling up my staff and complaining,'' Brown said. Interesting words from a guy who just a couple of months ago had Deputy Police Chief Rich Holder walk the plank for criticizing Brown's housing director for not evicting drug dealers from the projects. ``Yeah, but that was someone attacking one of Willie's guys -- you don't do that,'' said one cop who witnessed the deputy chief's ouster up close. ``This whole thing is about Kamala Harris,'' chimed in another Brown confidant, referring to the very good friend of the mayor who exited the D.A.'s office after not being picked for the No. 2 slot. ``Cross one of Willie's friends and there will be hell to pay.'' Others point to it being election time -- with a whole new Board of Supervisors up for grabs. ``Hammering Hallinan on the drug issue is a winner with the West Side -- and that's where Brown's candidates need a boost,'' offered one political consultant. What does Hallinan think? ``One thing I've learned about Willie is that nothing he does is ever simple, and it's never easy to figure out what his motivations are.'' If it were any other way -- it wouldn't be Willie. --------------Hopefully Boss Willie's reckless behavior won't lead to the feds closing any mmj clubs, but that's what he's risking with his ridiculous, irrational stance!
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Comment #1 posted by Frank S. World on October 03, 2000 at 14:45:40 PT
The US Attorney should be investigating Brown!
Boss Willie Brown, one of the most corrupt politicians in the US should be the one being investigated. The only reason it hasn't happened is because the equally corrupt Clinton-Gore administration needed him to do their dirty work in CA. Willie Brown's career has been built on corruption, first as Speaker of the CA legislature, and recent years the Mayor of SF, and he has used these positions to enrich himself and his friends.Lashing out at Hallinan just shows how morally bankrupt he is.
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