Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jeff Adachi

Attended SPUR meeting with Public Defender Jeff Adachi. A very elegant, gracious, engaging person. Obviously cares about justice. He explained that his parents were interned in California during WW II for four years. Did not know about this until he heard about it in school. Ask his parents if any Germans had been put in jail at the same time. As a teenager for seven year's worked with others to get someone off Death Row and won. Jeff Adachi had just come from a meeting opposing gang injunctions stating that it would unjustly include non-guilty people in these injunctions. Public Defender helps 25,000 people a year (not all just homeless, poor people). He explained the history of the Public Defender's office including the first Public Defender going to jail for murder!!!! Talked about the office not having computers until 1997! He believes in aggressive defense and not always settling ahead of time. There were more murders in the 1990's because of crack (we just don't remember this). One of the reasons for the increase in deaths he said might be generifacation with different communities ending up in the BayView in a smaller area. Jeff Adachi believes in more police but that they should be well trained with increased morale. Applauds community police. Over a 1,000 applicants are received every year to work in the Public Defender's Office. They have over 100 interns every summer. 55% of the staff are women. Adachi believes in community courts but wants to make sure that the person involved does not have to say they are guilty before the court is put into effect (the New York model). He talked about the Clean Slate Program where people can apply to have their records expunged (2,500 last year). This way people have a easier time obtaining a job. Have a program called Magic to help kids in BayView including handing out backpacks. Have helped increase Computer Labs in the BayView. People in the audience were very interested, the discussion was not boring and Jeff Adachi thanked people for their questions. San Francisco Public Defender's Office, 555 7th Street, San Francisco, Ca. 94103 415-553-1671
The Emperor's Children- Claire Messud - Novel - 30 year old's in New York just before 9-11. This book received rave reviews. I always go to Amazon to see how other people felt about the books I read. Many people mentioned that they had a hard time getting through it. Which I agree. Too long. It reminded me of Thomas Wolfe's Bondvit of Vanities. But this book was more serious and made me unhappy and dreading the 9-11 part. But actually this part was at the end of the book and well written. A different type of ending then what you expect. It was one of those books that you were glad that you were finished because there is so much angst but that lingers on and keeps coming back to you and you realize you are still thinking about the book and understanding what the book was about. Every once in a while some big words are in the book that I didn't know. Usually this doesn't bother me because you can usually understand what the meaning is by how the word is used. But in this case I couldn't figure them out. I started writing them down. None of them seem very important - sort of descriptive: insalubrious, detrictus, amanuensis, helitropicaly, urnormel, benison, anorak, prelapsarian, prosecco.
Down Town - beautiful evening, hot, lots of tourists walking around - all looked very rich. Around 7 0'clock there were sounds of construction with loud machines (I guess they start after people get off work) - strange sounds - echoing off the streets.

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