THC catches the Bureau of Building Inspection tossing out what an anonymous tipster said were code violation complaints.
One or more scans of original printed documents are included here. To read the text of these documents, please activate the Read the Text tab.
BBI Dumps Records
City attorney to sift through dumpster, memo departments
As scores of city departments prepare to pack up and move from earthquake-damaged offices to temporary digs near the Civic Center, the issue of how to winnow public records has arisen.
On March 23, the Bay Guardian received an anonymous tip that San Francisco Bureau of Building Inspection staffers had been ordered to dispose of a number of department records, including building code violation complaints.
When called the same day, Blaine Brassfield, the director of housing inspection at BBI who allegedly gave the order, denied that he told building inspectors to toss records. “I did not tell anyone to throw away complaint records,” he told the Bay Guardian. “I told them that anything we haven’t followed up on during the past two years should be filed with a notation that it is no longer active.”
Deputy City Attorney Judy Boyajian responded to a question concerning the records-dumping by saying that the Bay Guardian’s anonymous tipster “had it all wrong.”
But the next day, staffers from the Tenderloin Housing Clinic saw a dumpster filled with documents outside BBI’s offices at 450 McAllister Street. They confronted Brassfield, who called a meeting with Boyajian and BBI staffers.
Boyajian later confirmed that sizable quantities of documents had been tossed out. “There are some dumpsters with stuff in them,” she said. “They are not official records, as far as I can tell. They told me they were duplicates.”
Boyajian said the dumpsters will be retained until she can review the records to see if any were improperly discarded. “We will go through them systematically,” she said.
According to Terry Francke, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition and an expert on public records law, no city department can unilaterally decide to purge records, no matter how old they are.