Sequoia told "NO"

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Wed Feb 14 2007 - 23:56:05 CST

Yesterday, I wrote to the OVC announcements list, "We believe we have
blocked Sequoia's $12.5 M contract with San Francisco, unless they include
full public disclosure (no secrets!) in their voting system -- important
press conference tomorrow." Well, this turned out to be true. We had our
press conference just before the Budget and Finance meeting in San Francisco
(local radio and newspaper -- you can probably find a recording on the KGO
radio site and there should be an article in the SF Examiner tomorrow). At
the meeting, the Sequoia contract was #9 on the agenda. The Director of
Elections argued in favor of the contract. They had inserted some
compromise language in response to our request for full public disclosure --
too weak; it wasn't our language. It was obvious that there was some strong
Sequoia campaign to get this accepted.

During public comments, I guess that over 20 people spoke out against the
contract unless it had the technology disclosure provision that OVC wrote (I
drafted the general idea, then OVC counsel Dow Patten finished it). No one
from the public supported the contract as-is. A few said the contract
should be rejected in any case (disclosure or not).

The Chair of the committee, Supervisor Chris Daly, held firm. He said he
could not approve the contract without strong disclosure language. He asked
the Sequoia rep, Steven Bennett, to come up and answer a question. Daly
asked if Sequoia would agree to now insert our language in the contract.
Bennett said they "would discuss it." Daly gave him another week.

It's clear that Bennett said what he was authorized to say. I don't think
he was surprised by the decision especially after hearing such a stream of
excellent speeches against. Jennifer Hammond of DemocracyAction (our main
partner in this project) and Brent Turner were outstanding. Actually, all
the speakers were great.

We'll see if they agree to it now.

Alan D.

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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:18 2007

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