The Grid

If only the rest of Hallinan did the things his mouth proposes.
Since taking office, Hallinan has done a wonderful job of ignoring the type of potential public integrity cases his mouth abhors. And there have been plenty of targets to ignore: the host committee sleaze; the conflict-of-interest-ridden UC regents, for approving the theft of public assets constituted by the merger of the UCSF and Stanford medical centers; and even his old nemesis, Maher, in regard to the apparent interference of the mayor in a Parking Department contract award. (It's been widely known since early in Brown's administration that a contract for hand-held, ticket-writing computers was killed and then reawarded to Lockheed-Martin, a firm represented by the mayor's longtime buddy and former Assembly aide, William G. "Billy" Rutland.)

We aren't saying these situations are dead-bang criminal cases -- except, perhaps, for the UC-Stanford merger -- but they certainly beg for preliminary investigation by the DA. And a real public integrity probe or two might make us begin to take Hallinan's mouth a bit more seriously again.

To be fair to our district attorney, we must say that he has taken a welcome interest in an important criminal prosecution in his office. As law enforcement sources and the daily calendar at Superior Court criminal division announce, the so-called "Foxglove" poison-for-profit case -- the one involving four deaths, a family of Gypsies, two alleged femmes fatales, and years-long police blundering of mammoth proportions -- is now being headed up by Hallinan himself. A DA source tells us Hallinan took the Foxglove case file home with him early this year, read it page by page, and insisted it be brought to a grand jury. Moreover, we're told, Tim Armistead, the city attorney's investigator who'd been cut out of the probe because of turf battles with police, has been brought back into the fold, with all his evidence in tow. The prosecution will need every bit of that evidence if it is to overcome the repeated, ridiculous faux pas police repeatedly committed during the early years of "investigating" the alleged digitalis poisoning plot. In fact, those errors are so egregious, Armistead's evidence and Hallinan's able mouth may not be able to save the case.

George Cothran (gcothran@SFWEEKLY.COM) AND JOHN MECKLIN (JMECKLIN@SFWEEKLY.COM) WELCOME TIPS, SUGGESTIONS, INNUENDO, AND COMPLAINTS. THEY CAN BE REACHED AT SF WEEKLY, ATTNo The Grid, 185 Berry, Lobby 4, Suite 3800, San Francisco,

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