Porn Scandal Shocks City Planners -- But Doesn't Surprise Them

Categories: Government
Meanwhile, over at the planning department...
A number of current and former members of the city's planning department told SF Weekly they were "mortified" and angry regarding allegations that at least four senior planners have been sending around pornographic e-mails accompanied by purportedly racist and homophobic commentary. 

The San Francisco Chronicle yesterday reported that planning chief John Rahaim has filed paperwork formally recommending the dismissal of influential veteran zoning administrator Larry Badiner and three others. Neither Rahaim nor Badiner returned SF Weekly's calls.

Other department veterans registered shame and anger -- but claimed that this fit in with "a culture of workplace intolerance."

"Derogatory anti-gay remarks, misogynist remarks -- things that were pretty sexist" were not uncommon at senior-level meetings, recalls one longtime former employee. The alleged raunchy e-mails "were not an aberration. You can understand why these e-mails were circulated and tolerated when top management was engaging in it and tolerated it."

It's not like anyone can plead ignorance either, if the e-mails -- for which SF Weekly has filed a public records request -- are explicit pornography. Planning department higher-ups and rank-and-file know that disseminating porn on city computers during work hours is not kosher. Period.

Working in code-enforcement, "We were monitoring massage parlors and trying to ascertain whether they were legitimate massage therapists or something we should be working on with the vice squad," recalled a planning department source. "We had to go to Web sites that were pretty raunchy and had to get special dispensation -- with Larry Badiner's knowledge. We had to get a release to do those kinds of searches."

It's all left some department employees fuming. "This is astounding and offensive," said one. "We're told we don't have the resources to keep staff and this is what these a-holes are doing? Good riddance to these people."

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