Guardian editorial: The real Mirkarimi question

Do you believe Eliana, or not?


EDITORIAL After more than five months of legal and political wrangling, after criminal prosecution and a guilty plea, misconduct charges that are costing both sides hundreds of thousands of dollars, and lengthy hearings at the Ethics Commission, the case against Ross Mirkarimi comes down to a simple question: Do you believe Eliana?

Because if you believe Eliana Lopez, and, tangentially, Linette Peralta Haynes, and take the testimony the two women have given under oath as credible, then the entire prosecution turns into something between a misguided disaster and a mean-spirited political vendetta.

That's what the Ethics Commission and the Board of Supervisors need to consider as they decide Mirkarimi's fate.

The way Lopez tells the story, Mirkarimi was never a wife-beater (as Mayor Ed Lee insisted). He didn't have a history of physical violence or abuse. He grabbed her arm during an argument, and left a bruise. Inexcusable, for certain, but not necessarily a sign of serious assault — Lopez testified that she bruises so easily that just playing around with her three-year-old son can leave marks on her.

Lopez says that she made the infamous video purely as a tool to keep around in case the couple divorced and Mirkarimi attempted to use his status as a US citizen, whose son was born in the US, to gain custody of the child. She thought at the time that her neighbor, Ivory Madison, was a lawyer who would keep the video confidential. She testified that she never wanted to go to the police — and never felt afraid of or threatened by Mirkarimi.

She and Haynes also testified very clearly that Mirkarimi never even came close to trying to discourage witnesses from coming forward, to dissuade anyone from telling the truth to the authorities or in any way to try to interfere with a police investigation. That's consistent with all of the phone and text records.

The sheriff pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment, and that alone, the mayor argues, should be grounds to kick him out of office. But let's remember: It's common to plead to a crime you didn't commit in order to avoid a trial on a more serious charge. Nobody really thinks Mirkarimi imprisoned his wife. The plea was the result of a deal that allowed him to keep his right to carry a handgun (necessary for his job) and to prevent all of this nastiness from coming out at a domestic violence trial at which a guilty verdict would have ended his career. (Although given Lopez's dramatic testimony, it seems likely to us he might well have been acquitted.)

The primary witness on the mayor's side is Ivory Madison, the couple's neighbor, whose 22-page written statement was so full of hearsay and irrelevant information that the Ethics Commission tossed nearly all of it out.

Is it possible for someone who copped to a misdemeanor to remain in an office of public trust? Former Sheriff Mike Hennessey, who was a big fan of rehabilitation, thinks so — and it seems a stretch to say that Mirkarimi's guilty plea, in and of itself, is grounds for removal.

No: The only way the commissioners and the board can reasonably call this official misconduct, and credibly determine that the sheriff is unfit for his job, is to dismiss the Lopez testimony and accept Madison's competing narrative — one based on second-hand stories never subjected to cross-examination.

Lopez has an interest in her husband keeping his job (although she's probably better off financially living in Venezuela and making movies). But it would have been hard for the two of them to conspire on her version of the story; Mirkarimi has been forbidden by court order from talking to his wife since February. And they have consistently given very similar accounts of the events.


the measure required handgun owners to turn in their guns to the nearest SFPD office and did not apply to law enforcement personnel - of which Ross was (at that time) not one.

You know, I don't think you've ever once been right here yet you just banging on and on and on. Poor dear - give it a rest sometime.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 04, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

he does not need and has not used in years.

I were to meet him, I'd be sure to tell him that.

In fact, I think most people could stand to hear it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 04, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

The law did not take into account for that.


Posted by matlock on Aug. 04, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

it was to have taken effect -- as was expected by most analysts, by the way.

When asked about the proposition, which was placed on the ballot before he was supervisor, Ross was on record calling it "symbolic."

"Toadie" eh? I suppose to you that means anyone not using lies to suck up to the Brown political machine.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 05, 2012 @ 8:39 am

seeing that they prolly understood it was "symbolic" because it was eventually going to be struck down anyway.

Lilli's grotesquely breezy explanation of the repeal of constitutionally-guaranteed rights is just that - grotesque. Using that logic I can support anything under the vague explanation that I thought it was all "symbolic" anyway. "I voted for the Briggs Amendment because I knew it'd be struck down anyway - it was all symbolic you see."

One thing this creature doesn't seem to understand is that a higher standard is supposed to apply to politicians because they are the trustees of rights and freedoms. Even "symbolically" joking about taking away rights is wrong.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 05, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

There was plenty of space pre-Heller to say that the second amendment should provide for firearms in the context of a well regulated militia and that it is probably a good idea to try to control access to handguns in cities.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 06, 2012 @ 10:04 am

but -- correct me if I'm wrong -- Prop H got invalidated solely within California courts because it contravened state law.

Just for the record, I voted against it and have always been ambivalent about most gun control measures.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 06, 2012 @ 11:09 am

I am not a gun nut and am not familiar with whether Prop H was disposed of via state or federal law. But I voted against it on general principles although I can see honest and good motives behind those who supported it.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 06, 2012 @ 11:13 am

It is recommended to go for the Oracle Certified Professional program,
which seeks to help residents find jobs, said Dominic metropolitan nursing school jersey city nj Robinson, the collaborative's program director.

Posted by nursing schools in Washington state on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

are simply grasping at whatever this straw you think you can put to work bolstering this bogus and wholly political assassination of the sheriff.

If you aren't feebly trying to highlight supposed inconsistencies with regard the sheriff's gun ownership, you'll be harping on how Lopez is either telling the truth -- or lying! -- depending on what suits your aim.

Why not just simplify it for everybody? You are *against* Mirkarimi and you are *for* Willie Brown Cheney-like dominion over SF Politics. You are *for* big box stores and you are *for* privatization of the waterfront and government services.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 04, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

If a right-wing pol beat and abused his wife, you'd demand his resignation.

Hopelessly transparent bias.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 05, 2012 @ 10:50 am

noticed: its some Troll #II. Scrape it off on a curb and a brisk walk through the grass ought to take care of it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 05, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

One of Lilli's classics.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 05, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

An economically right wing pol boned his underling's wife who was his also an underling, broke up their family and skated to a promotion.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 06, 2012 @ 10:00 am

It's all about power. Rightists want it to be focused in fewer hands. They may approach that goal in a variety of ways, but the goal remains the same.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 06, 2012 @ 11:01 am

and no "abuse"..Just an arm grab for which they have both paid an horrific price. enough already.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 12, 2012 @ 6:34 am

A small bruise under arm is not a DV. some people get bruises for no apperent reason. I am one of them.
If some one wants to attack, doing it to the face or other part of body.
not going under arm and pinch it.
This case is politicly motivated.and absolutly has nothing to do with DV. ,donot kid yourself.
Spending all these money and time to destroy a family.
is any one thinking about his boy and his future.
Is no other crime( kiling, robery and ext...... ) in the city to be taken care of

Shame on all of you who hanging to BS for your own personal gain.
Shame on The people who are so closed minded, not be able to distinguish between facts from fiction.

Posted by Guest Nina pars on Aug. 15, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

Related articles

  • Elevating the issue

    Domestic violence groups push for policy change

  • Sorting through scandal

    Mirkarimi's case moves from the courts to City Hall -- raising tough political and logistical questions

  • Former girlfriend defends Mirkarimi

  • Also from this author

  • Arguments against minimum wage increase are out of touch

  • Housing ballot measures would weaken city policy

    With market-rate housing construction booming, Kim abandons effort to balance it with more affordability 

  • Appealing to San Francisco values