Our February 22 meeting was quite successful considering that both Eleni Kounalakis and Ed Hernandez informed SRVDC two days before the meeting that they could not attend! Serendipitously Jeff was the only speaker, so we had the opportunity to hear Jeff’s background and vision for the future. We were all impressed that he was intelligent, authentic, smart. After all if President Obama, a very intelligent man, asks one to join as Special Counsel, that person is undoubtedly intelligent. We were amazed at his abilities to find solutions, get things done, vision and insight for how to make the Lieutenant Governor productive and active in re-shaping our society, and his desire to give back to society.
Jeff graduated from Amherst College, and he went on to grad school at Harvard University where he graduated at the top of his class with his Masters in Public Policy. Then he came to California, where he received his law degree from UC Berkeley with the highest honors. After graduation, Jeff was hired to clerk in the two highest courts in the land, for Judge Ab Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Following his clerkships, he returned to California, and worked for two decades as the fourth lawyer of the San Francisco offices of Munger, Tolles & Olson. But during that time, Jeff took many cases that didn’t come with a paycheck, but instead helped some of our most vulnerable Californians win justice and get ahead. He represented foster youth, women who had been abused, disabled veterans, homeless people, disabled children, wrongly imprisoned individuals, Native Americans and other victims of discrimination, as well as working families who could not afford a good lawyer. Jeff was regularly named one of the best lawyers in California and in the country.
He has done some remarkable things:
When Governor Pete Wilson got Prop 187 passed, Jeff filed a lawsuit the very next day. With that lawsuit, he prevented that proposition from going into effect.
When the mayor of San Francisco started a program to cite and fine homeless people, Jeff brought attention to this and helped create a solution which was implemented under Mayor Willie Brown.
When Prop 209 led to discrimination in college acceptance, Jeff fought for diversity and equal access.
He helped to overturn Don’t ask Don’t tell in the military.
He stood up to the Gun Lobby and helped Californian cities close the gun show loophole.
What really made us want to support Jeff was his desire to reform Proposition 13. He was not asked about this. He brought it up himself. Another subject he brought up was the carbon fee, e.g. Citizens Climate Lobby. We all agree that this is much better than Cap and Trade, and is what is really needed.
Jeff is endorsed by Congressman Adam Schiff, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Congressman Ro Khanna.
We also heard from from District Attorney Diana Becton. We were all impressed with her reforms inside the DA’s Department including bringing in a Kamala Harris team member as a lateral movement to a key position in the Department, surveying thoroughly every employee about what improvements are needed, and thoroughly reviewing the policies and procedures needed to improve the Department especially the policies for advancement. Moreover we were impressed with the collaborative effort in determining what programs to be implemented to make the Department effective and fair. https://www.becton4da.org
After Diana Becton spoke, member Chris McGinnis made a motion on the floor to endorse Diana becton as District Attorney. With resounding “Ayes”, the San Ramon Vally Democratic Club endorsed Diana Becton for District Attorney.