Jeff Adachi Lawyers Up

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Joe Eskenazi
Jeff Adachi insists his back isn't to the wall
As public defender, Jeff Adachi has provided legal services for countless defendants. But now that he's a defendant, he finds himself in the unfamiliar position of having to phone a lawyer.

Five city unions this week sued Adachi in an attempt to keep his pension and health care reform measure, Proposition B, off the November ballot. The public defender declined to discuss his legal strategies and said he'll save that for the courtroom. "Each of these issues will have to be litigated in a brief. There'll be an oral argument," he says. "We will be represented by an attorney." If he knows who that attorney is, he's not saying right now.

This, by the way, was just the latest union tack to keep Prop. B off the ballot. Here's the running tally:

A drive to have the Board of Supervisors strip funding from the public defender's office; poison pill language negotiated into police and fire union contracts that nullify $20 million in wage concessions if Prop. B passes; a purported effort by local union heads to cajole Rep. Nancy Pelosi into diverting federal dollars from companies owned by Michael Moritz, the venture capitalist who largely bankrolled Adachi's signature-gathering drive; a conspiracy theory that Smart Reform treasurer Craig Weber -- now Adachi's co-defendant -- managed to hoodwink 18 fellow members of the Civil Grand Jury into writing a report critical of the city's pension system; and, finally, accusations Adachi is a tax cheat.

Adachi tells SF Weekly he wasn't surprised by this week's lawsuit. He was surprised, however, by unions' petition to not have the word "pension" in the description of Prop B. on the ballot -- and he was not able to argue away the title "Proposition B: City Retirement and Health Plans."

Adachi said "we could" use campaign funds toward legal defense, as "we're essentially defending the measure." Not surprisingly, he predicted he'd come out ahead.

"I'm confident we'll prevail. Their arguments are highly technical and have no merit. Basically, they're saying the voters of San Francisco can't have a say in determining city employee compensation."

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