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Foreword633 Folsom St., Room 100
Telephone: (415) 554-5057
San Francisco, Ca 94107
Facsimile: (415) 554-6434

Honorable Laurence Kay, Presiding Judge
Superior Court of California
633 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94107

Dear Judge Kay:

On behalf of the 1996-1977 San Francisco Civil Grand Jury, it is my duty and pleasure to present to you these Reports which are the culmination of our efforts over the past twelve months. Each and every Juror is proud of the opportunity to participate in this valuable and venerable institution. We have attempted to serve both the Superior Court and our fellow citizens in the City and County of San Francisco with diligence and industry.

The diversity of subject matter mirrors the very complex nature of our local government -- from Recreation to Construction, Human Resources to Animal Control, Jails for both youth and adults, Libraries to Housing, Pension Plans to Motor Vehicles.

We were fortunate to have an amazing breadth of experience and expertise distributed through-out the 19 jurors. By drawing upon the particular talents available from this cross-section of our citizenry; by pooling our diverse backgrounds and our myriad strengths, as well as those resources available to each individual; by dint of just hard work, long hours and extensive research; we have reached the consensus shown in these Reports.

Strangers to each other a short twelve months ago, each juror brought to the table an open mind and a stimulating intellect. Their dedication to the task which you assigned last June has remained always true, at times -- exhausting, but, in the end -- rewarding. Each juror made valuable contributions to the whole. By virtue of a Socratic dialogue we separated facts from conjecture and fine tuned our Recommendations. It was an honor to serve as Foreperson. In particular, I'm indebted to Elizabeth Zitrin, who served both as Secretary of the Jury and as its Editorial Chair.

We were surprised and elated to discover a wonderful side-benefit of the Civil Grand Jury system. It is usually presumed that a Jury's Reports and the process of Responses to Recommendations constitute the primary effectiveness of this process. This year it became readily apparent that the very method and procedure of our investigations and interviews were, in themselves, producing measurable and salutatory effects far beyond our expectations. In many instances and over a range of Projects, because we questioned certain practices -- modifications were instituted in procedures; when we insisted on obtaining specific information -- operations were revised; upon investigating certain programs -- changes were made. We were amazed to find that simply by carrying out our duties with diligence -- making inquiries and gathering data -- there was a positive effect within many departments and agencies. As in any large organization, private or bureaucratic, common sense, proper adherence to the rules, and conscientious behavior sometimes becomes lax. The Jury, in the very act of complying with its injunction to investigate and report on the needs of all county officers, departments and agencies, engendered areas of compliance and responsibility in an amazing number of instances.

It is a common lament of Grand Jurors throughout California that insufficient attention is paid to their Reports. We trust that the aforementioned reaction, coupled with the new legislative regulations regarding Responses to Recommendations, will enhance the effectiveness of Civil Grand Juries.

Through the efforts of Ed Harrington, Controller, John Taylor, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, and Gary Giubbini, Grand Jury Coordinator, Responses to the Recommendations of each Civil Grand Jury will now be distributed to the particular Jury which initiated the Report -- even though it is no longer in office. This will enable those former jurors to appear at hearings of the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee and be present when discussions take place. This public forum may well prove to be the most effective arena available to the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury, and we intend to take full advantage of it.

The practice, initiated by the 1995-1996 Jury, of posting Reports on the Civil Grand Jury's section of the San Francisco Web page will be continued. That page now enables an Internet viewer to access our Reports and to send a response or inquiry for the Jury's attention.

I would be remiss not to convey the entire Jury's appreciation of the Superior Court staff with whom we have worked so closely. Gary Giubbini, Grand Jury Coordinator, provided us with excellent assistance and advice. His fine sense of humor and naturally upbeat nature served to help us through some demanding times. Mike Tamony, Grand Jury Consultant, was invaluable in clarifying possible problem areas and keeping us on a true path. Deputy "Kaz" - John Kaczmarczyk's good nature and fine assistance was greatly appreciated. Certainly we would have been lost without Paula Hollander's efforts in the final stages of readying our publication.

Thank you for holding me over another year and for requesting that I serve as Foreperson. It has been an invigorating experience. The pleasure of working with two groups of San Franciscans -- 36 diverse citizens of our great city over the two years -- has been unforgettable. The complete freedom which you allowed us, your confidence in our ability to deal with difficult situations, the knowledge that we could always be assured of prompt and sage advice, have been greatly appreciated.

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Miguel, Foreperson
1996-1997 Civil Grand Jury


Last updated: 9/15/2009 12:47:34 PM