President Theresa Sparks
Courtesy Alice B. Toklas LGBT Club
By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel
Former Police Commission President Louise Renne today submitted her resignation from the commission to Mayor Gavin Newsom following loss of Renne’s preferred candidate for commission president.
Both the Police Commission secretary and the Mayor’s Office of Communications confirmed Renne’s resignation to the Sentinel.
The San Francisco Police Commission last night named Theresa Sparks as new commission president.
Sparks won the position on a 4-3 vote with Commissioner Joe Marshall receiving three votes.
Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese provided the fourth and tie-breaking vote in favor of Sparks.
Alioto Veronese explained his vote before the commission Wednesday.
Joe Alioto Veronese
“There is no commissioner on this panel that is not capable of addressing the issues that this department faces in the coming years. Each of us brings a wealth of experiences, education and leadership to which this great City benefits. We do not represent any government entity, we represent the people of San Francisco,” stated Alioto Veronese.
“I have served on this commission for three years now with Commissioners Sparks, Marshall and Renne. I have a great appreciation for the hours we dedicate to serving this great City, and have great respect for the work of every commissioner that has come….and gone, including those hear with us today…
“I have spent much time considering this vote, an important one for the direction of the Department.
“Three years ago, Mayor Newsom choose Chief Fong to lead the members of this department through very complex difficulties, including staffing shortages, personnel issues, and public relations skirmishers… to say little of the her core responsibility to both fight and reduce crime.
“The chief has served our City and will continue to serve our City well. The chief has also done a masterful job of tolerating the various personalities in this city government. Throughout my tenure, although we have challenged the Chief, there can be no doubt that she has received the support of this full commission and each member individually. I can anticipate that such support will continue. No evidence exists to support a different conclusion, no matter this vote tonight.
“Under proposition H, we were given a decree which has over the last few years been blunt on its edges. While I have been a critique of this commission and its ability to make progress toward the end of fulfilling its vision, I am a strong believer that “no act is too small as long as something greater remains — Marco Tullio Cicerone.
“The people of this great city, through the vision of Supervisor Tom Amianno and Prop H have mandated that we, as a family of commissioners, department heads and members, be more responsive to the people that we serve: a peoples’ department that accelerates on its promise to be the best, the friendliest, the most advanced and efficient department, for all large cities to emulate. Where good people like officers Birco, Tsujimoto, Tuvera and Espinoza, gave their lives so that San Franciscans can live safely, we, as Commissioners have every obligation to fulfill this mandate … and more importantly, support our officers fully toward this end.
“I have known Joe Marshall on a personal and professional level for several years. I work with him on and off this commission to fulfill the promise of the Omega Boys Club. His work in the community is unparallel in this City. In many ways he is my mentor.
“I have also come to know Commissioner sparks and her tireless work on this commission to increase our budget and pass meaningful resolutions. She too, has earned my respect and admiration. Her work with the LBGT community and her representation thereof on this commission has been both historical and meaningful. More importantly, however, Commissioner Sparks is known to me to ask the right questions and challenging stale mentalities, which is the essence of our mandate. She has done so while maintaining the dignity this department is worthy of.
“My vote marks an historical moment for San Francisco , I know you can appreciate it as I do.. Commissioner Sparks has my vote and confidence… Congratulations Madam President.”
Also voting for Sparks were Commissioners Petra DeJesus, David Campos, and Sparks.
Voting for Marshall were Commissioners Marshall, Louise Renne, and Yvonne Lee.
Sparks is the first transgendered person to be elected president of a Police Commission in the United States.
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.