July 24th: Melinda Haag, United States Attorney, Northern District of CA


JUL 24th: US Attorney, Melinda Haag
 JUL 31st:  Gerard Choucroun, NCIRE
AUG 7th: TBA


Melinda Haag is serving her first term as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California. She was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate in August 2010.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Haag spent seven years as a partner with the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, where she specialized in litigation and trial work. Before that time, Ms. Haag had nine years of experience as an Assistant United States Attorney, with half of that time spent in the Central District of California and half in the Northern District of California. Ms. Haag served most recently as the Chief of the White Collar Crimes Section in the Northern District, where she supervised the prosecution of white collar, environmental, child exploitation, and civil rights offenses. As a supervisor, Ms. Haag worked closely with federal and local law enforcement agencies, and acted as a liaison and representative of the United States Attorney with civil rights and environmental community groups.

Ms. Haag is an experienced trial lawyer with 26 years of prosecutorial and private sector experience. She has personally handled cases in the areas of securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, antitrust, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, environmental, civil rights, defense contractor fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, and child exploitation. Ms. Haag’s trial experience includes more than 19 jury and bench trials, including a number of complex white collar and civil rights cases.

Ms. Haag is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. She has been included on many lists of top lawyers, including, among others, being named by Chambers USA as one of America’s Leading Lawyers in White Collar Crime and Government Investigations (2006-2010), identified by Lawdragon as one of 500 Leading Lawyers in America, and selected by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers (2009 and 2010) and Top Women Litigators (2005-2009) in California. Ms. Haag received the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Public Service Award in 2003.

Ms. Haag received her J.D. in 1987 from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and her B.A. in Political Science in 1983 from the University of California, San Diego.



President Harvey called the meeting to order right on time.  Our attendance had quite a rebound from last week’s dismal showing.  I’d like to think it was due to my chiding of the membership in my column for last week.  But, I think there was considerable interest in this morning’s program, which motivated the membership to make it to breakfast.    

Forty-two members, one guest and three speakers for a total of forty-six.  A full dozen more than last week. 

Our three speakers, Cooper Dressler, Solomon Krevans and Vince Casalaina did indeed provide an excellent presentation on the American Youth Sailing Force.  Their team will participate in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.  Ten teams, with all crew members between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four, sailing identical AC45 catamarans will compete for the title.  This event actually sounds to be more exciting than the “real” America’s Cup.  Don’t you think Cooper Dressler and Solomon Krevans sound like a couple of law firms?  Mike Mustacchi mentioned that Solomon’s Grandfather was a close Mustacchi Family friend and served as the Chancellor of UCSF.       

Our lone guest this morning, Alex Mozes, was hosted by J. J. Panzer and is making his second visit to the GGBC.  Alex has already turned in his application to Membership Chair Wayne Veatch and was already published in last week’s bulletin.  So, one more visit as J. J.’s guest, one more appearance in the bulletin, and Alex is on the fast rack to membership. 

Excuses requested for this morning; I will excuse Mike Hanlon, Alex King and Antonio White.  Mike reports he has finished all his required rehab and his shoulder is back to 100 percent.  Now Mike has to catch up on all those arbitrations he had postponed.  Mike does promise, again, to return for sure next Wednesday.  Since Mike wasn’t here he couldn’t excuse Alex, so he asked me to do it.  Alex is teaching a class this morning for wife Karen at Dale Carnegie.  Karen must be short handed if she had to press Alex into duty.  Antonio is in Seattle visiting his In-Laws.  Reg Young excused Jim Simpson.  Jim has early patients to torture. Bill Buchanan requested an excuse “until the fall” for new member John Bell.  Bill doesn’t know why John needs that lengthy of an excuse though.

Excuse requested for the future; even though Patricia Fripp just flew in from England last night, Fripp will be gone for the next two Wednesdays, as she will be attending the National Speakers Convention in Philadelphia.  Fripp also gave us a snippet of wisdom; “be useful, not helpful”.  Or you can do like me, don’t be useful and don’t be helpful.  That way you don’t have to do anything.     

Members that have returned;  Larry Jacobson figured he better make an appearance this morning since he now works for the America’s Cup shepherding the VIPs around the race course.  Dan Negron spent two weeks with his son Kristopher, who plays for the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Red’s AAA affiliate.  So, Dan got to see all the high spots the Bats visit like Indianapolis, Columbus and Toledo.  Still, no matter where Kristopher plays, it has to be exciting for his Dad.  Finally, new member Dennis Mandell made his first appearance as a member and received the requisite new member round of applause.  Dennis has been working in Alaska with the City of Anchorage looking to improve their solid waste collection efforts.  Dennis says Anchorage isn’t like San Francisco and it’s the City that provides all the collection services.         

Since Betty Taisch is on vacation, Mike Mustacchi had to breakout his camera and take the photos for the bulletin.  Mike also mentioned he has a doctor’s appointment this morning, but since it’s with his oncologist, Mike figured his breakfast of biscuits and gravy wouldn’t get him into trouble.  

 J. J. Panzer’s word of the day; Ariga-meiwaku (Japanese).  An act someone does for you that you didn't want them to do and tried to prevent them doing, but they went ahead and did it anyway, determined to do you a favor, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude.  Only the Japanese would actually have a term for this.

A couple of weeks ago, Rich Corriea mentioned to Alex King how much he liked the silver highlights in Alex’s hair.  At 6:00AM the following Monday Alex called Rich to let him know he had two bottles each of shampoo and conditioner for Rich and would bring them to breakfast on Wednesday.  But, Rich wasn’t at breakfast on Wednesday, so Alex delivered the shampoo and conditioner to the Airport’s Fire House and asked if the SFFD could bring it to Rich’s office.  Next morning when Rich walked into his highly secure office, the shampoo and conditioner were on his desk.  I guess nothing’s secure from the SFFD.

Jackson Talbot said that couldn’t happen at his office in the Transamerica Building.  Sounds like a challenge to me.

A mini movie review from Robin Brasso, see “Girl Rising”, a documentary about the empowerment of young women through education.  Robin’s says it’s a very moving film.  Robin then handed the microphone to Stan Ellexson who’s first words were “getting back to reality”.  So, Stan has managed to alienate one of his table mates for two weeks in a row.  Last week it was Ken Brown’s guest, Kelly Strain after Stan told his rubber chicken award winning blond joke.               

Bert Hill is still lonely, as wife Lorna is at the big National Boy Scout Jamboree for her second week.  This is the first time gay Boy Scouts can attend the Jamboree.  Unless they’re fat gay Boy Scouts.  The Scouts feel that’s not discriminatory, since fat straight Boy Scouts are banned too.           

I guess the PUC hasn’t learned from their past mistakes.  They just hired Terry Cowhey again.  This time to drill wells in San Francisco.

According to Jim Lazarus, the Chamber will soon be introducing a new tag line.  Jim should run it by the GGBC first to gauge our reaction.  If the GGBC likes it, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Our newest member, Antony Mills had a flooded office on Monday.  A pipe broke in a bathroom on the third floor of his building.  I hope Antony has Jaclyn Carpenter on speed dial.

All this talk of sailing and sewage prompted Ed Flowers to mention as a child he used to go sailing on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.  I asked Ed if there is any water in the Gowanus Canal and Ed replied, “it can pass for water”.

Steve Shain received a call from one of our old members, Jeanine SpencerJeanine moved to Orange County a while back and called to let Steve know she just got married.     

Still in the process of remodeling his historic house, Tom Jacobs has to go back to the City of San Rafael to get his permits renewed.  The City told Tom to get rid of the porta-potty and the giant sea container used for storage.  The City figured that porta-potty has been there so long they just issued Tom a permit to build a permanent “facility”.  Tom also wanted to give me his latest Recology traffic report, but shockingly, today it was all good.  Truck #14471 was picking up on Lombard Street, was pulled over to the curb, all lights flashing, and all lanes open.  With some alert driving, roll-off truck #12026 avoided a potential accident on Bush Street.  See, every once in a while we do something right!  

Only two jokes today.  From Bill Buchanan, about a newly married couple, the punch line; the wife says “I like sex six times a week”, her husband replies “sign me up for Friday”.  From Joel Panzer, the worlds longest joke.  Joel started telling me this joke last Wednesday then gave me the middle on Saturday and finished this morning.  The punch line; “once or twice a week, not bad for a priest”.  Joel also mentioned, if you’re looking for a part time job, BART needs train operators in the event the regular operators go back on strike.  All you need is a valid driver’s license, a high school diploma and three years experience in working with the public.

No joke from Marty Mijalski as Marty was too disappointed with his team’s poor finish in the GGBC’s annual Dick Pohli Memorial Bocce Ball Tournament.  Marty’s team, the Special Victims Unit, finished second to last.  Marty did say the SVU’s captain, Gracie Elam, played very well.  The rest of the team just didn’t perform up to the same standard.

John Mathers, who is well acquainted with scammers, is sure the GGBC Bocce Ball Tournament is a scam.  Organized by Joel Panzer, the winning team captained by J. J. Panzer and then the first place prize is awarded by papa Joel to son J. J.  Yep, looks like a scam to me.  I’ll also point out in years past, the prize was awarded for the Most Valuable Player.  Of course, if we did that now, it would mean Chuck Mills would be presented with a new set of Bocce Balls every year.  Chuckles has been playing at Marin Bocce since it opened, knows the courts better than the back of his hand, and the only way to keep Chuckles’ ball away from the pallino would be to build a wall in front of it.  A very thick and high wall.

The results of the Tournament may have been different if the Italian Team was able to play.  Unfortunately, we arrived after the start of the Tournament and were disqualified.  My side of the court mate, Mike Mustacchi, was a bit disappointed with the play of our teammate Ricardo Wilsoni, and felt we should replace Ricardo with Mike’s translator, Eduardo Fiore.  That would give the Italian Team two northerners, me and Mike and two Sicilians, Eduardo and Reginaldo Giovane (Reg Young for you non-Italians). 

Still, even with our disqualification, we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful day, we had a great lunch, some time to socialize, drink a little wine, and greatly exaggerate our Bocce Ball prowess.  What more can you ask for?  Our thanks to Joel for a great event.  R

Remember any surplus earned from the Tournament goes into the GGBC Treasury, and as long as you all come to breakfast so we continue to have a surplus in our Treasury, will be dispersed to the charities we support at the end of the year.      

This morning our self-introductions ran a bit long, so President Harvey dispensed with minutes, announcements and birthdays.  So, I’ll wish a Happy Birthday to this week’s honorees; Harold Hoogasian on Sunday, Wayne Veatch, today (although Wayne did get to wear a hat last Wednesday), Joel Panzer on Friday and Christine Torrington on Saturday.      

Knucklehead this week:  as alluded to by Past President Hugh Tuck earlier in this morning’s meeting, the KTVU producer, director or news writer that popped four racist, fake names as the pilots of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 on news anchor Tori Campbell’s teleprompter.  First off the staffers at KTVU should have realized the pilot’s names had been announced days previously, and had even been reported on KTVU.  They didn’t take the time to carefully read the names out loud; Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk.  The “Fuk” alone should have been a tip off.  Unfortunately, now Tori Campbell, who I think is a total pro, will now be forever tainted as the newscaster that announced those names.  And thanks to You Tube, that clip will never go away.             





From the Wall Street Journal to Time online newsfeeds, our City Permit Masters’ reversal of their paper persecution of “Bacon, Bacon” in the Haight is earning its place in the frontline fight for “Freedom to Fat!”  I think I may need the greater experience of a foodee like Antonio White to help choose between “grilled cheese with a healthy dose of bacon, all smothered in bacon jam,” and the “coup d’état” that reportedly inspired 3000 signatures on a petition to reopen.

Restaurants can’t buy the kind of publicity that the recent furor over the competing “smells” of bacon and bureaucracy.  I might never have heard of “Bacon, Bacon,” and would certainly never have had interest in lunch there, were it not for our Building Permit inspectors.  No I want to check it out.  I seem to recall my Dad telling me how a movie release of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” had attracted little audience attention until conservatives denounced it as something like “immoral.”  Soon after, I noticed how much more interest “”Midnight Cowboy” generated when the rating industry insisted on holding out for an “X,” instead of the requested “R.”  I laughed at a comedian advising parents leaving for a night out not to tell their kids, “Don’t stick peas up your nose!”

Could shifting public pressures fueled by media attention explain why “Bacon, Bacon” is being given a second chance, just as Putin critic Alexei Navalny is being released on bail immediately after criminal conviction?