The circus begins

Mirkarimi removal efforts are already getting ugly — and there's still much more to come

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A large crowd came to support Ross Mirkarimi at the May 29 Ethics Commission hearing.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY STEVEN T. JONES

steve@sfbg.com

Mayor Ed Lee and his attorneys are presenting a voluminous yet largely speculative case against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in their effort to remove him for official misconduct, broadening the case far beyond their most damning core accusation -– that Mirkarimi dissuaded witnesses from telling police that he bruised his wife's arm during an argument on Dec. 31. And so far, there's no evidence to support that key allegation.

In fact, Mirkarimi and his attorneys insist there was no effort to dissuade witnesses, one of many unsupported aspects to a case they say should never have been filed without stronger evidence. And they say the mayor's team is now compensating for the weakness of its case by piling on irrelevant accusations and witnesses in an effort that amounts to character assassination.

There are even signs that the city is nervous about its case. Knowledgeable sources told the Guardian that the City Attorney's Office last week offered to settle the case with Mirkarimi, offering a substantial financial settlement if he would agree to resign, an offer that Mirkarimi rejected.

It was one of a series of rapidly unfolding developments that also included a raucous Ethics Commission hearing, the disclosure of phone records by Mirkarimi's side, a new list of charges, and the city's release of the video Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, made with neighbor Ivory Madison, documenting the bruise in case of a child custody battle over their son.

Lopez has maintained that Mirkarimi never abused her and that she's been hurt most by the efforts to prosecute him and remove him from office.

"I hope they realize after reflection that what they have done is irreparable and perpetually damaging to me and my family," Lopez said in a statement condemning the city's release of a video that she fears will remain online for her children and grandchildren to see.

Yet all indications are this spectacle is only going to grow more sordid, divisive, and sensational as it moves forward — belying the statement Lee made last week as he introduced his annual budget: "As many of you know, I'm a person who does not like a whole lot of drama."

SIMPLE OR COMPLEX?

The May 29 Ethics Commission hearing to begin setting standards and procedures for the official misconduct proceedings against Mirkarimi illustrated two sharply divergent views on when elected officials should be removed from office. It also displayed the increasingly bitter acrimony and resentments on each side, emotions only likely to grow more pronounced as the hearings drag on for months against the backdrop of election season.

Both sides would like to see the decision as a simple one. Lee and his team of attorneys and investigators say Mirkarimi's bruising of his wife's arm and his unwillingness to cooperate with their investigation of what followed make him unfit for office. Mirkarimi and his lawyers admit his crime, but they say that's unrelated to his official duties and that the rest of Lee's charges against him are speculative and untrue.

Yet there's nothing simple about this official misconduct case — or with the implications of how each side is trying to counter the others' central claims. So despite the stated desires of some Ethics commissioners to narrow the scope of their inquiry and limit the number of witnesses, San Franciscans appear to be in for a long, dramatic, and divisive spectacle, with Mirkarimi's fate decided by the Board of Supervisors just a month or so before the five supervisors who have been his closest ideological allies face reelection. Nine of 11 votes are required to remove an official.

Comments

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

by those who defend wife-abusers. Let's put it to a vote of the people - shall we? Settle it once and for all. Unless Ross gets slap-happy again.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

Can't wait to see you and your likes at local grocery stores trying to gather the 50,000 signatures needed for a recall.

You say: " Unless Ross gets slap-happy again."

Grow up kiddo. Nobody was slapped, and you know it. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 11:45 am

now think that Ross should get his job back. I've never seen such a low approval number in 20 years of following this stuff.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

Who paid for this poll? as reported by Matier and Ross it was paid by an unknown source.

Would that unknown source be a Mayor supporter? Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 9:45 am

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/03/14/cbs-5-poll-san-franciscans-t...

OK. Now are you going to tell us that the local CBS affiliate is going to risk its journalistic reputation with a biased poll because it doesn't like Mirkarimi?

I know that it makes no difference what the polls say. Everyone reading this knows that there are only two types of polls. Those that support the Progressive camp and those that are flawed.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 10:31 am

There could be a 100 polls showing a 99% disapproval rating for Ross and he'd claim they're all wrong for no reason other than Ross and JC share the same politics.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 11:05 am

@Guest. Good luck with your recall petition. 50,000 signatures is what you need.

Now hang those poll results on your wall and celebrate. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

holding public office again, given the poll numbers.

Even assuming that a recall vote is necessary given the evidence that the supes are hearing

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

jcccourt, you see skulduggery whenever a result doesn't match your preconceived, "progressive" agenda.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

Ross is allowed to stand? And with a 76% voter approval rating for Ross standing down, doesn't that seem inevitable?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

And I don't believe the BOS is going to find the votes necessary for his removal. Avalos and Campos are hard-left ideologues who see the progressive movement's power rapidly diminishing and thus will never vote to remove one of their own - under any circumstances. Mar is more questionable but he's weak-willed and once the cult-like Mirkarimi followers get to him he'll prolly be way too intimidated to vote for removal.

It would be better for Ross to be removed by a vote of the citizens of SF - and he will. Oh he'll fight, like a drowning man fights for life, but in the end he'll be overwhelmed. It's inevitable.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

"Personally I believe a recall has more legitimacy."

I disagree with you there, Troll II. The Charter has a specific process outlined for this kind of thing, and putting it to a vote of the masses violates sound principles of representative democracy. This shouldn't be a popularity contest, which is what most elections end up being.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

We've recalled CA governors and impeached US presidents, and they didn't even commit violent crimes like Ross did.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2012 @ 4:15 am

They're a part of our democracy that should be used sparingly. The recall of Gray Davis was an embarrassing travesty. Of course, neither of the two impeachements of U.S. presidents had anything to do with democracy, representative or direct, or justice of any kind.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

I know this sounds like semantics, but Lee didn't and can't fire the Sheriff. Only the BOS can do that.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

I had two badly bruised arms resulting from a violent felony that was committed against me when I was attacked on the streets of San Francisco. I was denied justice by the very same government agencies who are now claiming the moral high ground in the name of public safety.

We need Mirkarimi's leadership in our criminal justice system, and we need it yesterday.

Ed Lee is a longtime City Hall insider who was initially appointed to his position as mayor without anything remotely resembling a public process. Despite being an appointed incumbent, Ed Lee received 2000+ fewer voted than Ross Mirkarimi did in the November 2011 election.

If Mayor Lee has an ounce of integrity left, he will end this charade and give this city our sheriff back.

Posted by Erika McDonald on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

I am sorry about your bruises but not surprised they did nothing. There is only once I got attacked by a person in my life and that was in San Francisco. Nobody specially the police did anything.

Regarding Mayor Lee, please don't hold your breath! He's got no integrity and never will. So you are wasting time if you think he will do anything right. The only solution is to recall or vote him out.

Posted by Avkanediv on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

Sounds like we have another dramatic actress here like Steven said earlier.

Posted by greg on Jun. 06, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

it wasn't any more credible then either.

I just wish these people whining about the implications of abusing one's spouse would be honest and admit that they would be arguing the exact opposite if this had been a republican who was convicted of a violent crime.

Pure hypocrisy.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 6:06 am

Guest you say: "and admit that they would be arguing the exact opposite if this had been a republican who was convicted of a violent crime."

Under the same circumstances, the exact opposite would not be argued regardless of the person political affiliation. In order to do so you would have to lie to yourself first and than to everyone else.

When you say: "convicted of a violent crime."

It is a flagrant lie. Try something else. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 11:54 am

Even if the result had not been a bruise.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

That would be an interesting question to ask Eliana Lopez, did you at any time felt imprison by your husband?

You would certainly get laughter as a reply. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

that is your only response to it. If you tell someone they cannot leave you vehicle, home or presence, that is an act of violence, and is very real to many abused women.

Maybe you can afford to be cavalier about it but that doesn't make it anything other than a serious crime, and one that Ross has already admitted to and apologized for.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

And this is no laughing matter.

@Guest you say: "If you tell someone they cannot leave you vehicle"

Was Eliana Lopez told that she could not leave the vehicle? Was Eliana Lopez consulted about this, or is it that those charges were brought up from hearsay that came from Ivory Madison?

The DA concocted this plea deal so that every one would save face.

Guest you say: "Maybe you can afford to be cavalier about it"

Really. I bet you couldn't resist saying that. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

STOP POSTING EVERY SUBJECT IN ALL CAPS. It doesn't make your posts more interesting.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

The subject line is the headline. Nothing more. Thanks

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 10:59 am

and being on the wrong and losing side of any squabble is always distressing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 11:16 am

"progressives" now you are whining that they are abused?

Paranoid and bizarre ravings, that is the laughing matter. If Ross was not a progressives the nutty left would be proclaiming the greatness of these laws.

grow up!

Posted by JCcourt - Jesus Christ on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

Talking about growing up. look in the mirror. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 11:03 am

Liberals drew up these laws and yet when they are used against a liberal, you cry foul.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 11:11 am

"...or conduct that falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officers and including any violation of a specific conflict of interest or governmental ethics law."
That would pretty much end government as we know it.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 9:40 am

call this a "circus"?

Right there, you imply there is no basis for the charges against Ross.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

degree to which mendacity to the contrary has flourished is a testament to how pernicious and virulent this disease which afflicts San Francisco politics has become. You lying filth disgust me.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 10:30 am

Let's just say Ross wouldn't win an election now, and therefoe his mandate seems questionable regardless of whether he can winkle out of this mess on some technicality.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

what Mirkarimi got from last election -- which isn't supposed to be overturnable by whim of the mayor who has grossly overstepped himself under the influence of the narcotics of power.

Your claim to know of "at least two credible polls" certainly reflects well on your own credibility. There have been *only* two polls, one of which is completely incredible with unknown questions, sample, results, and sponsor, and the other of which was on its face a push poll and predated Mirkarimi's ability to defend himself since his court case was still pending.

You anti-Mirkarimi cohort go on and on blathering about how Mirkarimi wouldn't win an election if held today, but that's meaningless. Time will tell and the only sure thing is the enemies of freedom will continue to agitate for corporatism in a myriad of ways.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

Thanks Lilli, for setting the record straight about there being no legitimate polls! Okay, you can stop reading now, I'm just going to make some comments to the other 'lying filth' out there who mistakenly say that there are polls that have proven to be fairly consistent. Thanks!

---

Ok, this part really cracks me up:

"the other of which was on its face a push poll and predated Mirkarimi's ability to defend himself since his court case was still pending."

Apparently CBS TV did a push poll where they factually stated what he had already pleaded guilty to and then asked

"Should Mirkarimi remain in office or resign from office?"

"If Mirkarimi does not resign from office should the City take steps to remove him from office".

That's the 'push pull' that CBS did. And then, of course, now that the public has heard Mirkarimi's brilliant defense and other details they would be sure to swing the other way.

Over 60% of the people who voted last November wanted someone other than Mirkarimi to be Sheriff (that is the 'mandate' that Lilli referred to) which makes the poll results completely believable. How many of those 60% want him to be Sheriff now?

You can't make this stuff up. It doesn't matter if there were 2 polls or 200. As long as they don't say what the progressives want to hear they are all flawed.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

The push poll that CBS commissioned was conducted in the day or day immediately following the surprise plea deal. What makes it a push poll is that they prefaced their question regarding the plea deal by stating that the deal was made in lieu of "far more serious charges." Based on what the district attorney said on the exact same topic, what the pollsters were feeding the subjects was a propaganda. (And there were other problems with this Survey USA poll.)

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollPrint.aspx?g=433869fb-1a4b-4a46-ab9d...

As for the "second poll," there is no record of it to allow the least degree of analysis but rather it is secret and we have only allusions to it. Prove me wrong rhetoric boy.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 11, 2012 @ 12:48 am

Yup, CBS obviously conducted a push poll as you clearly point out, Lilli.

The question should have been worded:

"Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to the lesser charge after the Brown/Pak/Maddoff/Lee oligarchy used all of their nefarious resources to overblow an incident where Mirkarimi gently guided his wife's arm to help her out of the car one day".

See, even an "inveterate liar and intellectual butterfly" like me can learn, albeit slowly!

Posted by Troll on Jun. 11, 2012 @ 7:47 am

There have been several polls, all with similar results. Here is one from the local CBS television station, which obviously isn't going to risk its reputation just because it doesn't like Mirkarimi (if it even cares about him):

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/03/14/cbs-5-poll-san-franciscans-t...

But don't bother pointing this out to Lilli or the others (because they define 'Legitimate poll' as something that backs their position). They'll just throw a tantrum and call you a 'lying filth' or something worse when you prove them wrong.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 11:11 am

of the results, which indicates to most reasonable observers that they are in the right ballpark. It would be stunning if the voters supported a guy in charge of the prisons who has admitted false imprisonment.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

cite (typically considered to be plural by the anti-Mirkarimi talkers) had significant problems. Not only the leading question and false information to suggest to the respondents that Mirkarimi had gotten off with a light sentence, but there was another troublesome aspect of the poll.

Respondents who answered "no" when asked if they were following the Mirkarimi news stories were eliminated from the response pool -- something like 38 percent. Is it not likely that a significant percentage of these were actually signalling their disdain for the contrived political hatchet job Ed Lee and his allies are engaged in?

The "other" of the "several" polls does not merit one bit of consideration since it is a secret poll and the methodology is unknown.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 11, 2012 @ 1:14 am

Let's get it all out of the way and have a recall election - I could care less about the "polls" at this point. We vote on whether we want Ross Mirkarimi as sheriff or not. The winning side wins. End of story.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

You guys, he's *FUCKING DONE*.

I don't know if this is Ross himself or his 3 remaining friends or what, but seriously?

We are so, so far beyond the point of "this isn't going to end well". It DIDN'T end well. It's over. Totally over. And if you morons had any sense you would realize this guy is a massive anchor dragging down your entire progressive scene.

Good lord... really? I feel like I'm at a John Edwards campaign rally or something. You guys are on the same level as the five fucktards who still attend Ted Haggard's sermons. If it wasn't so funny it'd be kind of annoying, but please... go on.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2012 @ 11:23 pm

otherwise, you are right, this is a dead issue and has been decided by the courts, the mayor and the voters.

And meanwhile we have a stand-in sheriff doing a great job and without any ideology or controversy.

Nobody would want to go back to drama queen Ross. Time to move on.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 11, 2012 @ 7:38 am

Honest, open government has always been a stalwart of Liberal/Progressive people. But it is not only a Liberal ideal, it is an American ideal. Ross is acting too Nixionian for my tastes. Whether an accused is a fellow Liberal or a fellow Conservative, we deserve to get as much information as possible. Only the guilty have something to hide. Ross is apparently guilty of something.

Posted by Guestevangore on Jun. 12, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

of open government, you go on to "clarify" that it is also an "American ideal" -- obviously the concept that this country was founded on liberalism is foreign to you -- and then you go on to brand Ross Mirkarimi as "Nixonian" for asserting his rights as an American.

Guestevangore, Nixon did not earn his deserved reputation for defending his rights through legal means, Nixon presided over payoffs and cover-ups of illegal break-ins and such. There is nothing "Nixonian" about Ross Mirkarim and for you to claim such is absurd.

How clueless of you to disparage the *American* values such a right to a fair trial and the right to be free from capricious prosecution and to suggest that those who assert their American civil rights are somehow advertising their guilt "of something."

Guestevangore, based on my assessment of your writing, you need to practice being humble until you are a little older and wiser.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 12, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

which is very far removed from those who now call themselves "liberal". The FF's wanted minimal central government, for instance, which modern liberals hate, seeing government involvement and regulation as solving every problem.

Suggesting any kind of analogy between Jefferson, Adams etc and an abusive, arrogant, opportunistic loser like Mirk is very un-American, as is beating your wife.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2012 @ 6:48 am

Guest, you don't even come close to knowing enough history to act like you are lecturing me, and in particular your linking Adams and Jefferson together is absurd.

Whigs didn't even exist under that name in the US and associating them with liberalism is more than a bit dopey; actually, they were the bad seed from which sprang your modern Republicans.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 13, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

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