Caustic over cuts, Public Defender will have his (latest) day at City Hall (so you can have yours in court)
As has been previously reported in every San Francisco news outlet we can name, Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s been on the warpath all year long, taking on all comers in his struggle against budget cuts.
He’s gone to the mayor, he’s gone to the media. He’s gone to the Board, and he’s gone to the printers. Today he’ll take one last stab at it, going the rally route at noon on the steps of City Hall, wherein he’ll (again) ask the people to get involved and flood their district supervisors’ office with pleas to restore $1.6 million to his budget. [Ed note: Appeal Intern Laura Hautala will be reporting from the scene of the rally today, so stay tuned]
(Supervisors restored about $300,000 to the Public Defender’s Office budget from $1.9 million in originally-proposed cuts (after they promised to restore even more but instead gave some change to the District Attorney, which has a much bigger budget)). Adachi wants all of his money back money back money back, arguing that it’ll save millions in the long run for the city, who will be forced to hire private attorneys to take on some of the now-understaffed PD’s 29,000 clients).
When asked what he hopes to achieve with this last and best try, Adachi responded via e-mail: “The purpose of the rally and the mailer we are distributing is to underscore that even in a down economy, constitutional rights still matter. You can’t chop away at the integrity of our justice system in the name of budget cuts. Justice and fairness are core San Francisco values and we are mobilizing folks to make this point to the Mayor and Board.”
Adachi’s been around San Francisco a long time so we assume he knows what he’s doing, but we wonder, at this point, how much of a favor he’s doing himself. He’s pulled no punches in verbal spats with the Mayor (and physical ones, staffing Newsom’s pet project the Community Justice Court himself rather than sending a staff attorney he says he doesn’t have).
For his part, the Mayor said last month Adachi should cut down on the “theatrics” and get back to work.