Daly Sics City Attorney on Mayor over Ouster of Film Commission Head

Angry coyote from exzooberance.jpg
Coyotes, it seems, don't always do as they're told
When Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier and Chris "I represent the disabled community, not you" Daly see eye to eye on an issue, it's a good sign that everything is in place for the big apocalyptic finale in 2012.

And yet, Mayor Gavin Newsom's recent attempt to strongarm Film Commission head Stefanie Coyote into resigning has done just that. Last month Alioto-Pier introduced a charter amendment that would break the mayor's monopoly in appointing film commissioners.

Daly, meanwhile, has publicly stated he feels Newsom overstepped his power by demanding Coyote to quit, and, late last month, made his position official. Daly penned a letter to the City Attorney requesting an investigation over "possible violations of the San Francisco Charter by Mayor Gavin Newsom" regarding Coyote's ouster, and quietly circulated his Dec. 30 note throughout City Hall (incidentally, as of Monday Coyote had not resigned and was still working for the Film Commission).

"I am asking for an opinion on whether it is appropriate, or not, for the Mayor to ask a department head for her resignation without recommending removal of the department head to the appropriate commission," reads Daly's letter. "Further, I ask you to investigate whether or not the Mayor's request of a resignation from Ms. Coyote involved any coercion or unnecessary duress. I also ask you to investigate whether the grounds for the Mayor's request had anything to do with Ms. Coyote's husband's support of Mayor Gavin Newsom's opponent in the Democratic primary for California Governor..."

Calls to Daly's office have not been returned. Jack Song, a spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, would only say that "we're looking into the claims made by Supervisor Daly."

Daly's letter also brings up an interesting point regarding the filling of Coyote's shoes -- should she ever resign. While one charter section appears to put responsibility for hiring an executive director with the mayor, another places the responsibility in the commission's hands.

It will be intriguing to see how -- if at all -- the City Attorney responds to Daly's letter. To put it mildly, it would be a bit of a surprise if the city effortlessly disclosed information that could, conceivably, lead to a lawsuit or ethics complaint. In any event, this is one film that appears to be ending more sloppily than the mayor had planned.

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