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Adds St. James: "I certainly wouldn't invest any money with him."

Seal of Approval
As a judge pro tem, attorney Kay Tsenin, candidate for the S.F. Municipal Court bench, gained valuable experience settling small-claims cases as a court-appointed arbitrator the past five years. Tsenin makes the very point -- and fairly so -- in a new piece of campaign literature.

Unfortunately for Tsenin, the flier also suggests she hasn't paid sufficient attention to city law and how it has intersected with local elections recently. And that's a charitable reading. In clear violation of S.F. Administrative Code Section 1.6, Tsenin, wearing her black judge pro tem garb, is pictured standing next to the official seal of the city and county of San Francisco. The code expressly prohibits use of the seal "for any reason whatsoever" without Board of Supervisors approval.

"We believe that a candidate for judge should certainly know the law," crowed Robert Barnes, who is managing the campaign of Tsenin's opponent, Matthew Rothschild.

Familiarity with recent political history might help, too.
In 1994, supporters of a ballot measure to establish a special taxing district to fill the Municipal Railway's annual deficit made the same error. When the violation was raised, the pro-Prop. O forces resorted to a cumbersome solution. They affixed orange dots to their literature to hide the seal.

(No such solution appears readily available to Tsenin. Round stickers attached to the candidate's propaganda would also eclipse her face.)

A year earlier, in 1993, garbage industry opposition to a recycling measure on the S.F. ballot ran into similar trouble with the administrative code. The anti-Prop. Z campaign, which, by the way, was also run by Barnes, had to trash the offending literature.

Tsenin says she's waiting to hear from her attorney about whether she's run afoul of the law. Meanwhile, Barnes says, Rothschild supporters plan to file a criminal complaint with the District Attorney's Office.

Good thing our judicial candidates are taking the high road. Who could possibly entertain the argument that judges' seats should be unelected and free of the stink of politics?

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