We have an overall accountability problem in San Francisco that won't be cured quickly. Our district attorney is a buffoon who does not appear to understand that a public prosecutor is supposed to investigate and prosecute obvious public corruption. Even before Sept. 11, our local U.S. attorney and FBI showed remarkable ineptitude in public integrity matters. Now, we should expect nothing from the feds, and until now, could expect nothing from a city attorney who, despite her several good points, had the infuriating propensity to duck, mumble, and do nothing important when asked to address the array of municipal corruption on daily display in San Francisco.
But there's an election Tuesday for a new city attorney, and a candidate, Dennis Herrera, who I think might actually begin to reintroduce some aspects of public accountability to City Hall. He won't be able to fix a massively broken system on his own, but I believe him to be a decent man. He has promised to form a public integrity unit in the City Attorney's Office, and -- who knows? -- if 5,000 more citizens vote for him than for his opponent, he might even be found, five or six days after the polls close, to have won a cliff-hanger of an election.