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Effort to establish honesty oath at SF City Hall defeated

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Supervisor Aaron Peskin (Examiner file photo)

Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s effort to allow the board’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee to vote to force public testifiers to take an oath to tell the truth under the penalty of perjury was defeated in a 7-4 vote Tuesday.

The proposal required eight votes; supervisors Hillary Ronen, Jeff Sheehy, Katy Tang and Mark Farrell opposed it.

Peskin came up with the idea after holding a number of hearings over the sinking and tilting Millennium Tower, but he noted that it would likely be useful in the future and yet used sparingly.

But Supervisor Katy Tang said she wasn’t keen on “turning our body into something that is almost like a court setting.”

And Supervisor Jeff Sheehy called it “very chilling for public participation.”

Peskin responded that perjury prosecution is difficult to prove, “but the message that one ought not lie in a case of great gravity to this board with its unlimited powers of inquiry I think [is] manifestly important.”

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