First, he said, "one of the hardest parts of any law enforcement management job is maintaining discipline in the ranks. And that's very hard to do if you're an insider. I've always considered myself a citizen more than a peace officer, and that's allowed me to do the job."
Second, Hennessey told us, "One of the reasons I was successful is that I've been an innovator. I see Ross as having that spirit. And I don't see that in the other two candidates."
If John Avalos isn't elected mayor, Mirkarimi could become the only truly progressive person holding citywide office in San Francisco. In seven years on the Board of Supervisors, he was not only a leader on environmental and public safety issues but was an utterly reliable progressive vote. He represents part of the next generation of progressive leadership in San Francisco, and we're proud to endorse him for sheriff.
There are two other candidates running — Chris Cunnie, a former San Francisco cop and head of the Police Officers Association, and Paul Miyamoto, a captain in Hennessey's department. Both have experience, and both vowed to carry on Hennessey's progressive legacy. But we can't support either of them.
Cunnie was head of the POA when that union opposed the police reform measure that gave the supervisors three appointments to the Police Commission. He made a habit of blasting progressive District Attorney Terence Hallinan for not being nice enough to the cops. And under his leadership, the POA opposed a promotions plan designed to bring more women and people of color into leadership positions in the SFPD. He's done some good things, and told us he wants to work to get people with substance abuse problems out of the legal system and into treatment (he was a very successful executive at Walden House, the treatment facility). But he's endorsed by POA President Gary Delagnes, who has been a major obstacle to police reform.
Miyamoto spent his life in law enforcement and has the management experience, but lacks the kind of innovative agenda that Hennessey told us the next sheriff needs.
The bottom line is simple: All three candidates spend a lot of time touting the legacy and great work that Hennessey did, and all of them vow to continue in his footsteps. But Hennessey himself says the only candidate who can continue his legacy is Ross Mirkarimi.
That's a pretty clear choice.
San Francisco ballot measures
A lot of the educational facilities in San Francisco are in need of repair and renovation, and some of these improvements are critical for meeting health and safety standards. They include elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and child development centers, many of which are located in the city's southeastern neighborhoods. This measure would allow the San Francisco Unified School District to issue $531 million in bonds to repair and rebuild facilities.
The expenditure comes with a number of safeguards and strings attached. SFUSD is required by law to conduct an annual financial audit to ensure that funding is being properly used, and an independent citizens' oversight committee will be created within two months of approval to inform the public about how the proceeds are used. Vote yes.