The Council of Integrity in Government Report and the Resignation of Three Bay Area Councilmembers

Editorial: Resign, Councilmembers Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo resign

by GARY TILLMAN

On Friday, April 10th, I and all Bay Area journalists gathered for an open forum on what was called the “Council of Integrity in Government” report and the resignation of some Councilmembers who have been accused of corruption. This report, commissioned by Councilmember Nury Martinez and co-authored by Councilmember Ron Hahn, has resulted in the resignations of three Bay Area Councilmembers, Nury Martinez, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Councilmember Gil Cedillo.

In the interest of transparency, I want to discuss the report at length today, with the exception of a few things that should be kept confidential and be reported to the appropriate authorities.

For the record, I do not agree that Mayor Newsom and Cedillo are guilty of any wrongdoing. As an editor and a journalist who has worked with them, I do not believe the media was able to independently verify that there was any wrongdoing. As a result, I cannot tell the public the truth about their actions. If the media had been able to independently verify that they were breaking the law and making false or misleading statements, then no public official should have remained in office.

At the same time, I respect Newsom and Cedillo for their hard work as leaders in the government and their integrity and dedication to public service. They have done much to improve the transparency of government in San Francisco. But I also accept that they have done this work in the heat of the political campaign. When I had a chance to talk with them about the report and the events that led up to it, they were very candid about their mistakes. They told me, “This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced in my career.”

That’s the reality of politics. In this case, however, this is how it should have been handled. The report shows that the law was broken. Yet, the politicians involved did not resign as ordered by the court. This happened because they still were

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