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SF supes to reconsider Joe Marshall for Police Commission

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Sonia Melara and Joe Marshall, former members of the San Francisco Police Commission (SF Examiner File Photo)

The Board of Supervisors is expected to decide whether a former member of San Francisco Police Commission will return to his seat this week nearly two months after first rejecting his reappointment by Mayor Mark Farrell.

Joe Marshall, who long served as a commissioner until his most recent four-year term expired at the end of April, will have to pass the Rules Committee on Monday before the full board can vote on his reappointment the following day.

The hearings come after Sonia Melara, another former commissioner whose term ended alongside Marshall’s, withdrew her name from consideration for reappointment last week in a letter to the Mayor’s Office.

“I will always be grateful to our late Mayor Ed Lee for trusting me and appointing me to do such important work,” Melara wrote. “I also thank Mayors Farrell and Breed, and appreciate the support you and the rest of the staff gave me during this process.”

Farrell first nominated both Marshall and Melara in April. The Rules Committee unanimously supported them, but the Board of Supervisors voted 6-5 against their reappointments with Supervisor Sandra Fewer citing concerns that the next mayor should have a say in determining who sits on the Police Commission.

Farrell resubmitted their names May 17, and on Sunday, a spokesperson for Mayor-elect London Breed told the San Francisco Examiner she is backing Marshall.

“Mayor-elect Breed supports Commissioner Marshall and appreciates the service and dedication he has long provided this city, and to the youth of our community in particular,” PJ Johnston said in a text message. “Dr. Marshall is a sensible, experienced voice of reason on the Police Commission.”

In the interim, the Police Commission was left without enough members to meet for until June 6 because Marshall and Melara’s terms ended around the same time that former members Julius Turman and Bill Ong Hing resigned. Cindy Elias and John Hamasaki have since replaced them on the commission.

Marshall, the executive director of a violence prevention program in The City, is expected to draw criticism at the hearing on Monday as the local Democratic Socialists of America have called him a “POA-friendly police commissioner” for supporting the San Francisco Police Officers Association.

Marshall, like Melara, did not sign onto an argument against a June ballot measure from the police union that would have imposed less-restrictive rules for the use of stun guns in the San Francisco Police Department had it not failed.

“His silence on that is sort of emblematic of his approach the last 14 years,” said Alexander Post, co-chair of the Justice Committee for the DSA of San Francisco, which campaigned against Proposition H. “He’s been fairly passive, he’s been fairly deferential to the SFPD.”

Marshall, who previously served as the president of the Police Commission and has said he is focused on anti-bias efforts in the SFPD, did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Melara later came out against Prop H. With her seat still vacant, Farrell could make another nomination before leaving office.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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