Endorsements 2011 - Page 5

Avalos for mayor. Mirkarimi for sheriff. Onek for district attorney. Yes on C, No on D, E, and F ... complete endorsements for the San Francisco election

The Guardian endorses Ross Mirkarimi for San Francisco County Sheriff

There are reasons that no police chief in the United States has become a district attorney — certainly not in modern history. The D.A. and the cops have to work together, but they also have to have a certain degree of separation — or there are inevitable, unacceptable, unworkable conflicts of interest. And while Gascon talks about transparency, he's fighting the release of a crucial memo on problems in the crime lab.

So we're looking for a new district attorney, and there are three contenders, each of them with strengths and weaknesses.

Our first choice is David Onek, whose career in nonprofit and academic work leaves him short of the courtroom and management experience we'd like to see in the next D.A. but who has by far the strongest credentials and agenda for reform. He starts off every interview and discussion by saying that the criminal justice system in California is broken — not bent, not sprained, not in need of a little attention, but utterly broken. The entire premise that's driven criminal law in the past several decades — that offenders, including nonviolent and drug offenders, need to be sent to prison for longer and longer terms — has proven a failure. "We're arresting and prosecuting people just fine," he told us. "We need to reform the system." And San Francisco could make a national statement by electing a district attorney who wants to change criminal justice, not just make it work better.

Onek's strong focus on juvenile justice would be a profound policy shift — juvie is typically a secondary thought in the justice system. Onek promised never to charge a youthful offender as an adult without going before a judge first — and would do that only in rare cases. His plan is to get kids out of the justice system before they become hardened criminals. He's also talking about working on employment opportunities for ex-offenders. He has always been opposed to the death penalty, and we think he's taking seriously the need for more aggressive investigation and prosecution of political corruption.

Onek has never tried a case — a major drawback. On the other hand, neither has the incumbent. We acknowledge that putting someone with negligible prosecutorial experience in the top job is a stretch — but the justice system is such a mess that we're willing to gamble on an idealistic reformer.

Two qualified, experienced prosecutors are also in the race. We give a slight edge to Sharmin Bock, who has spent her career in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. Bock's spent a lot of time working on crimes against women and portrays herself as in independent, which is both good and bad: Good because it would give her an outsiders perspective on the office, bad because, unlike Alameda County's D.A., San Francisco's prosecutor is part of the local political infrastructure. But she does have some background prosecuting bad cops — she was part of the office that went after Oakland's notorious Riders.

Bill Fazio, who was a San Francisco prosecutor and is now a defense lawyer, shares Bock's courtroom experience. And his days on the defense side of the aisle have changed some of his perspectives — the one-time tough-on-crime guy who in 1999 ran for this office as a death-penalty advocate now agrees that executions are a terrible mistake. He's a little shaky on drug crimes ("it's only a problem when it's a problem") and to this day, he says the prosecution of the Fajitagate cops was "ridiculous" (wrong, Bill — there was a systemic cover-up, and it's too bad the top brass got away with it). But we'll give him our final nod.



1. Ross Mirkarimi


i'm white from another country. i agree. this is an extremely exclusive and individualist city. what is true is that this is a new age city, so you'll see some hipsters yuppie doing some yoga, that's what they call being open-minded. just like the burning man community (an icon of SF culture), it's a big joke, it's all about an exclusive club of neo-hippie new age rich and/or young AND white, the open-mindedness is all about being able to wear any kind of costume you want, while saying it's open-minded.

nevertheless, John Avalos is the guy for SF. But we need to help him go in the right direction. He's ready to listen. None of the others are.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 02, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

No idea where you're from or how long you have been 'here', but as a honky originally from another country (been here for over 40 years) I have to say that you have pretty much nailed the yuppie/hipster/trust fund/1% arrivistas who have been steadily homogenizing San Francisco for the past 10+ years. Enjoy what's left while you can, before they turn it into the wasteland they deserted.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 08, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

Avalos short Documentary. You should post this with the endorsement under his name:

Posted by Guest on Nov. 02, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

It is a weird position: I am for the purposes of the bonds, but when I read how they will be funded I got nervous. They are funded in installments with a presumed interest rate. Those installments are years apart. The statements are predicting the interest rate for these future times as a cost for these bonds.

No one can know the interest rates six months from now, much less years. Although rates are low now, there is a real possibility they could increase. The bonds could cost much more to fund than the statements say.

Better to have fixed costs.

Posted by Guest Mr. Cranky on Nov. 07, 2011 @ 9:33 am

I wish the hell SFBG would bring back their "Who's supporting Whom?" section, which laid out on a grid what groups and individuals of note were supporting which candidates/props. I guess they don't want us to have that info as it might conflict with the SFBG brass. Some alternative press.

Oh, and I agree with the earlier poster: Leland Yee?

Posted by Dana on Nov. 07, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

John Avalos spoke up loudly when the Israeli military attacked the Gaza peace flotilla
on the high seas, assassinating 9 passengers one of whom was an American citizen, like lawless pirates of a rogue nation and the putative Federal representatives of the American people said nothing against the actions of the murderous Israeli state but counted their
AIPAC sheckles and said Israel alone has the right to disregard law and life at will.

The S.F "Jewish community" made a pro-Israel allegiance a prerequisite for it's AIPAC like endorsement stressing antipathy for the boycott Israel movement sweeping the world.
Herrera, so quick to boycott the American State of Arizona committed publicly to
be against the boycott of thegenocidal rogue state of Israel. If Arizona was to change
it's law to gulag and gradually exterminate the putative objects of it's disapproval would
Herrera then condone Arizona? Or is it just a matter of shekles?
We are very fortunate to have the option of choosing a man of integrity: John Avalos,
for Mayor of San Francisco.

Apparently the two Jewiish Billionaires caused the city pension attack to be on the ballot.
Just as the Judaic Koch billionaires are meddling in Wisconsin's government.

How is it that there ar so may of these Billionaires and the public is ever more impoverished?
What we have is a pattern of billionaire oppression emerging from the purposeful destruction of the US economy. Do we want them to tell us what to do on the local level which is the level
we are most likely able to have a voice that competes with shekles?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 08, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

Just FYI.

Maybe shut the f*ck up next time, as opposed to spouting mass generalizations that do nothing to benefit your candidate?


Posted by Guesty-Westy on Nov. 08, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

Given Yee's authorship of a bill that attempted to strip first amendment protections from video games, and Herrera's statement that there is nothing wrong with Proposition L, I'm altogether disturbed by the Guardian's endorsement of them. Is the rightward tilt of the media now infecting the once-progressive Guardian as well?

Posted by Deekoo on Nov. 08, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

Terrible web site! C'mon man! Get your typography and editorial design together. A reader can't put the proposition and its editorial together! Confusing. :(

Posted by Guest on Nov. 08, 2011 @ 4:21 pm
Posted by marke on Nov. 08, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

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