An Interview With Kim Burton
|Kim Burton is our current endorsed candidate for San Francisco Public Defender. She is a native San Franciscan from Potrero Hill. She attended Everett Junior High School and graduated from Lowell High School. She went on to college at UC Davis and then attended Hastings Law School. On January 26, Mayor Brown appointed Kimiko Burton San Francisco Public Defender.
Q: What was it like growing up in a pro-Union family?
A: There was a strong commitment to working people and to social justice on both sides of my family. My maternal grandfather was a labor organizer in Hawaii in the 1940s and 1950s. He was tried and convicted for violating the Smith Act. I also remember marching with the unions at an early age. Growing up, I was not allowed to eat grapes because of my familys support of the farmworkers. They told me various stories to prevent me from thinking that they were even available. I remember going to friends houses and being amazed that they had grapes! I also was taught at an early age never to cross picket lines.
|Q: Where do you stand on Union issues?
A: I believe in Unions and the protection that they provide to workers. It is different to be in management though, because it is not always as clear. I definitely support the firefighters even though there is not much direct contact between the Public Defender and the Fire Department.
Q: Your father sponsored a Senate Bill that gave additional retirement benefits to Police and Firefighters in California. Where do you stand on additional retirement benefits to keep SF Firefighters in parity to the rest of the State?
Q: What were you doing prior to your current position as Public Defender?
In 1996, I was appointed Director of the Criminal Justice Council for the City. In this position I was responsible for working with the various public safety departments and coordinating collaborative efforts around criminal justice. I did a lot of work with community based organizations that work with juvenile delinquents, drug treatment, and rehabilitation programs. I oversaw the disbursal of millions of dollars and worked hard to get more state and federal dollars for San Francisco. I am responsible for getting money to rebuild the Citys juvenile hall.
One of my proudest achievements was the Life Learning Academy out on Treasure Island. The Life Learning Academy is a charter school run by Delancey Street for 14 to 18 years olds. The program was designed to fill one of the most critical gaps in San Franciscos juvenile justice system, the school provides intensive services for youths at risk as well as youths already involved in the juvenile justice system. Mike Delane, Local 798 teaches fire science at the Academy.
Q: What is your role as the Public Defender?
Q: How is your job similar in values to the Firefighters?
Kimiko Burton will be running for the Public Defenders office in March 2002. As per our Union meeting on April 12, 2001, she is Local 798s endorsed candidate.