Guardian Op-Ed: Domestic violence, a Latina feminist perspective

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By Myrna Melgar

Myrna Melgar is a Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and the mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.

Eliana Lopez is my friend. I have asked for her permission to put into words, in English, some observations, thoughts and insights reached during our many conversations these past few weeks about her experience with San Francisco's response to the allegation of domestic violence by her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. We hope this will lead to a teachable moment for law enforcement and anti-domestic-violence advocates about cultural sensitivity — and will lead to honest discussions about the meaning of empowerment of women.

We hope that Eliana's experience, and our shared perspective, will prompt some analysis among feminists, advocates, and the progressive community in general about the impact of the criminalization of low-level, first offenses of domestic violence on this one immigrant woman — and the implications for all immigrant women and other women of color.

Eliana Lopez came to San Francisco from Venezuela with hope in her head and love in her heart. She decided to leave behind her beautiful city of Caracas, a successful career as an actress, and her family and friends, following the dream of creating a family and a life with a man she had fallen in love with but barely knew, Ross Mirkarimi.

Well-educated, progressive, charismatic, and artistic, she made friends easily. She and Ross seemed like a great match. Both were committed environmentalists, articulate and successful. They had a son, Theo. As they settled into domestic life, however, problems began to surface. The notoriously workaholic politician did not find his family role an easy fit. A bachelor into his late forties, Ross had trouble with the quiet demands of playing a puzzle on the floor with his toddler or having an agenda-less breakfast with his wife. Ross would not make time for Eliana's request for marriage counseling, blaming the demands of job and campaign.

On December 31, figuring that the election campaign was over and Ross would have a little breathing room, Eliana broached the subject of traveling to Venezuela with Theo. Ross's emotional reaction to her request led to the argument that has now been repeatedly documented in the press — and for which he was eventually charged.

According to Eliana, the context of what happened between them on December 31 actually started much earlier. Ross grew up as the only son of a single teenage mother of Russian Jewish descent and an absent Iranian immigrant father. Pressured by the opposition of her family to her relationship with an Iranian Muslim, Ross's mother divorced his father by the time he was five. Ross was raised on a small, nearly all-white island in New England, with no connection to his father. When he had the opportunity, Ross traveled to Chicago, where his father had remarried and built a new family with two sons. Ross's father turned him away. In Eliana's analysis, Ross's greatest fear is that his painful story with his father will be replayed again with Theo.

Eliana's version of what happened next has never wavered. She went to her neighbor Ivory Madison, as opposed to anyone else, because she thought Ivory was a lawyer and could advise her if her troubles with her husband resulted in divorce. Documenting Ross's reaction to her request to take Theo abroad would be ammunition — targeting his greatest fear. Making the video was Madison's idea, and Eliana agreed to it, thinking that it would be useful to her if a custody dispute ensued. But in Eliana's mind, the video was her property, her story.

Eliana insisted that Ivory did not have her permission to share the video or the story with anyone, that she was not in any danger, and that she was working on her marriage with Ross. Unbeknownst to Eliana, by the time Ivory called the police, she had already shared the story with Phil Bronstein, then the editor at large of Hearst Newspapers, the publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Let's stop for a moment to consider the question of the empowerment of women. The disempowerment of Eliana began on a very small level when her husband grabbed her by the arm during an argument. It was exponentially magnified by the neighbor in whom she confided, who decided that Eliana's strongly held desire to handle her problems with her husband herself was inconsequential. The disempowerment of Eliana was then magnified again and again, by the police, the press, the district attorney, and finally even anti-domestic-violence advocates.

How did it come to be that a system that was intended to empower women has evolved into a system that disempowers them so completely?

Unquestionably, there are women in deeply abusive relationships who need assistance getting out, who may not be able to initiate an escape on their own. Eliana's relationship with Ross did not even come close to that standard. Yet in the eyes of Ivory Madison, Phil Bronstein, District Attorney George Gascon, and even the Director of La Casa de las Madres, once her husband had grabbed her arm, Eliana was simply no longer competent and her wishes were irrelevant.

In other words, an action done by a man, over which a woman has no control whatsoever, renders the woman incompetent and irrelevant, and empowers a long list of people — most of whom are male — to make decisions on this woman's behalf, against her consistent and fervently expressed wishes. No one in the entire chain of people who made decisions on Eliana's behalf offered her any help — besides prosecuting her husband.

Eliana was only consulted by the district attorney in the context of seeking her cooperation in relation to the criminal charges against her husband. Eliana never gave her input or assessment in the situation, was never consulted about the plea agreement.

Now the disempowerment of Eliana has taken an even more sinister twist. In an opinion piece published in the Chronicle, Ivory Madison's husband, Abraham Mertens, charged Eliana with intimidation for allegedly pressuring his wife and himself to destroy the video that Ivory conceived and recorded of Eliana's moment of distress. The same day, Mayor Ed Lee announced that he was suspending Ross as sheriff, and the charges, as written up by the City Attorney, included the Mertens accusation. This had the effect of silencing and disempowering Eliana — but this time, she is being threatened with criminal prosecution. The victim has somehow become the criminal.

Mertens, the mayor, the D.A., the city attorney, and the newspaper editor are all men. All men acting on behalf of a very educated and articulate woman who has repeatedly, passionately, asked them to give her her voice back. And for that they are threatening to criminally prosecute her.

Kathy Black, the director of La Casa de las Madres, called Eliana twice. At the same time, Black and other domestic violence advocates were calling on Ross to step down, raising money to put up billboards, and mobilizing for the anti-Ross campaign, trying him in the press. Seeing all this, Eliana never trusted Black's motives and never took the call. Had Eliana thought assistance would be available her and to Ross without a threat to her family and livelihood, this all would have been a very different story.

During Ross's initial preliminary hearing, Eliana Lopez famously told judge Susan Breall "this idea that I am this poor little immigrant is insulting, it's a little racist." And yet, what middle class, successful, educated Eliana was exposed to is exactly what we as a city have forced victims of domestic violence to face by our emphasis on criminal prosecution.

In San Francisco, we concentrate on saving victims from domestic violence situations. Our efforts in communities of color, immigrant communities, and teens is geared to make sure that victims get away from their abusers.

It's inarguable that women in dangerous situations need to be provided options to get out. But concentrating on these alone — rather than on the array of options that are needed in less severe cases — is the equivalent of treating disease at the emergency room. In fact, this approach undermines prevention efforts because it puts women in the position of choosing between seeking help through counseling and therapy to modify the behavior of their partners — or exposing them to criminal prosecution. It has the unfortunate outcome of disempowering women, particularly low-income immigrant women and women of color, whose economic realities, position in society, and relationship to law enforcement both real and perceived is very different than for white middle-class women.

It's not hard to see that, for immigrant women and women of color, exposure to law enforcement is perceived as dangerous. Many immigrants fear law enforcement based on their experiences with repressive regimes in their own countries. In the past couple of years, the mandatory referral to federal immigration authorities has created panic and fear of police in immigrant communities across America. Immigrant women, already on the edge economically, face the real threat of the loss of their partner's income if the partner is accused of a crime and the boss finds out. Many black women understandably doubt the criminal justice system's capacity to treat black men charged with any crime.

So here is the challenge to domestic violence advocates and progressive folks who care about women: A more progressive approach to Eliana and Ross's particular situation, and to domestic violence in general, would be to work on emphasizing early, non-law enforcement intervention and the prevention of violence against women in addition to the necessary work of extricating women from dangerous situations.

Professor Laureen Snider at Queens University in Ontario has argued that criminalization is a flawed strategy for dealing with violence against women. Snider argues that feminists and progressives have misidentified social control with police/governmental control. In other words, we are substituting one oppressor for another — and glossing over the fact that in the judicial system, poor people of color fare worse than white middle-class people. We have punted on the hard work education, and of shaping and reshaping men's definitions of masculinity and violence, of the social acceptance of the subjugation of women, of violence against children. We have chosen to define success in the fight against domestic violence by women saved from horrible situations and incarceration rates for their abusers — rather than doing the difficult work of community and individual change necessary to prevent violence from happening in the first place.

Putting up billboards in Spanish telling women that domestic violence is never a private matter might make people feel like they are doing something useful, but it will do nothing to help Eliana, and it will do very little to prevent domestic violence against women in the Spanish-speaking community.

My own experience with the community's response to domestic violence was very different from Eliana's. My father was physically abusive. The most violent period of my life was during high school in the 1980's, shortly after we had immigrated to the United States from war-torn El Salvador. Our economic realities and shaky legal situation placed a level of stress on our family that made violence an almost daily occurrence.

I ran away from home, and eventually got connected with the services offered through the Redwood City YMCA. We entered family counseling, and the intervention was successful — my father was able to stop his violent behavior and our family survived. Had the police intervened, my father would have likely been charged, very possibly deported, and the whole family would have been sent back to El Salvador — back to the civil war.

In the case of my family, in which violence was a severe, everyday occurrence, there was a successful intervention. In Eliana's case, which was limited to her husband too forcefully grabbing her arm, the family was destroyed and it will take years before the victim and her child will be able to (maybe) put their lives back together.

I challenge the progressive community and anti-violence advocates to reexamine this criminalization-heavy approach and its impact on my friend Eliana's family, but also to examine how it affects all victims of domestic violence in San Francisco, particularly women in immigrant communities and women of color who rightfully have a distrustful relationship with law enforcement. Although it might make some feel better, all of this energy and effort spent demanding Ross Mirkarimi's resignation only serves to reinforce the dominant model of criminalization — to make an example out of him. It won't help Eliana, and it won't help people suffering from violence in their intimate relationships.

Myrna Melgar is Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and a mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.

 

Comments

If Ross had been convicted of a DV crime, then Ross would have been relieved of his firearms for ten years.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

The charge was surgically altered to prevent that, but the rest of his sentence is identical to a DV sentence and, moreover, the crime he's admitted was committed as part of a DV incident, as everyone knows.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

Grabbing arms in an argument is not DV, otherwise we'd need to be building many more jails.

You all took your best shot and it appears that you all were off the mark, the election results of November 2011 apparently will stand.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

Ross is doing the standard DV punishment.

Jail is not usual for misdemeanor DV so new new jails would be needed.

The 2011 election results stand a historical record. That doesn't mean Ross will or should get his job back. Over 70% of voters now say he should not.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 5:37 am

Yet another reason this hot-head Mirkarimi should not be allowed to have guns.

Posted by Guest 51 on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

Ross can not now be Sheriff because he would be guilty of a crime that as the head lawman in this town would be incarcerating other citizens who have committed this crime and he can not ethically now hold this office in any municipality.

Posted by Guest 51 on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

Very well said.

PS: the DA was a Latina immigrant from Guatemala - I'd say about the same time that Myrna immigrated from El Salvador (illegally it sounds- which doesn't seem like a person to contest the American upholding of laws.

Posted by Guest4 on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

Sorry, this story doesn't hang together--Eliana set Ross up for a custody fight, but this "intelligent" woman is now everyone's victim? It's OK for her to (mis)use a DV claim to blackmail her husband, but when hard-fought DV laws meant to protect real DV victims come into play, she cries racism. What's happening to Ross and the child is a tragedy, yet she takes no responsibility for her part in the drama she created.

The issues of racism and poverty in the criminal justice system are very real, and Ross has many political enemies; however, Eliana lit the match and now whines because she couldn't control the prairie fire! She does women of color and real DV victims a huge disservice. But she certainly achieved her goal--to take the child out of the country regardless of the objections of his father.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 5:10 am

more in the justice system. The real point is that poor folks get a rough deal. If one of Obama's kids gets into legal trouble, do you really think their skin color will prevent them getting superb representation and every chance of getting off?

Now OK, maybe more non-whites are poor. But that's a second order effect - the real issue is that it is being poor that sucks. And on what planet is not having money great?

And anyway, in this case, a "powerful" white male was convicted while a rather shrewd and sneaky hispanic woman got the trip home she wanted, and all the "power" in this situation. So I don't have a shred of sympathy for either of these spouses but I do think they deserve each other.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 6:34 am

Very well said.

Posted by Guest4 on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

I read everything regarding my son Ross. The family is still in shock over this whole episode that began as a "personal, family matter." A sensitive, intricate, complicated event took place that has destroyed our family.

We met Eliana many times when we visited or they came to visit us. I felt that their marriage had as much chance to survive as other marriage. They had much in common and they truly loved each other and Theo is their shining star.

Ross has worked very hard to become the successful man that he is and always will be, but one small infraction, yes, "small" meaning something that has been taken out of proportion by the press and over-zealous groups has been magnified in such a way that has never been seen before.

He deserves to be sheriff; he won over two people who didn't have what the voters wanted in a sheriff. .He was committed to carry out Michael Hennessey's popular method of dealing with prisons and prisoners in a caring intelligent way.

Ross did not hurt Eliana physically. There was bruise in a picture; we only know that he was trying to prevent her from hurting herself. He did not hit, smack, poke, trounce, beat up his wife. Other than that, he has stood up for Eliana while women's groups have only tried to use her for their own causes. There was no bruise on her very sleeveless arms four days later at the inauguration.

Now my son's family is gone; the job that brought him a purpose for himself and the City, has been taken away, and he can't even return to his own house. Is that really what you wanted to do to someone who has only worked (too hard) to be there for SF? Only mean people with their own agenda want a man to lose his wife, job, and family

Imagine not seeing your baby for months at a time and everyday is a new day in a baby's life. That has been hard on Ross but they had and would have worked it out. I am certain that Eliana didn't realize what kind of havoc she could cause by talking to a callous lawyer-family/next door neighbor "friend." Ivory Madison knew she had something good going with a Latin American soap opera actress whom she could manipulate for her own causes. I do not wish those two neighbors any good luck.

Give him his job back. Let him do what he was elected to do. His wife and son will come back and they will try to make the institution of marriage work like we all try to do.

By the way, Ross' father was Catholic, not Muslim (and I only say "not Muslim" because there is a religious conflict inferred in this article.) He was a wonderful person. My parents did not interfere with our marriage. I was very young and Ross was my rock.
.

Posted by Guest Nancy on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 7:54 am

Hi Nancy, I am sorry I got that detail wrong! My source of information for all this is strictly hearsay. I'm just stating my opinion - and I love your family very much. I very much relate to all this, as I say - my mother was also a teenager when she had me- same age as you. Being human, being a mother, being a husband, being a wife is all so difficult. We do the best that we can and need the help and support of others. Best to you, and by extension much love.

Posted by Myrna on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 8:58 am

Myrna, you need to fix this detail in your story.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 6:21 pm

C'mon Nancy, nobody is buying that and even Ross didn't have the gall and temerity and try and pull off that lame excuse.

Perhaps it is asking too much from people like you and Myrna, who obviously personally know the players, to be detached and objective enough to see that there are no innocent parties or victims here. But ross is the worst of the lot.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 11:34 am

in our private family matters so stop whining when the authorities do their thing.

Posted by Guest 51 on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

Nancy, that was very touching. I hope all works out well for you, Ross, Elena, and little Theo.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 11:20 am

Throughout this entire circus the media has focused on what Ross had to say, what Ross did, what Ross wants, etc. etc. I have often wondered who, if anyone, was speaking for Ms. Lopez. My heart goes out to her on many levels and I truly wish her nothing but the best. Here is my problem, Ms. Melgars states in her article

"So here is the challenge to domestic violence advocates and progressive folks who care about women: A more progressive approach to Eliana and Ross's particular situation, and to domestic violence in general, would be to work on emphasizing early, non-law enforcement intervention and the prevention of violence against women in addition to the necessary work of extricating women from dangerous situations."

In order for early, non-law enforcement intervention to work both the abuser and the abused have to admit that there is a problem and both have to agree to the counseling necessary. Ross Mirkarimi never gave that approach a chance. His arrogance and refusal to admit that he did anything wrong set this entire circus in motion and her denials and refusal to cooperate did nothing to abet the situation.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 11:49 am

Ms. Lopez seems never to have had a problem speaking for herself during this case. Add loony Paula Canny to the mix, and Eliana's perspective, changeable as it's been, has been the most heard from in this matter.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

Guest, the reason Ross "never gave that approach a chance" is because he was being threatened with jail and the loss of his job and family from the very beginning when the cops and prosecutors leaked this story to the Chronicle and threatened to bring charges. The whole point of this wonderful article was that he should have been given an opportunity to get help and make amends instead of being forced to deny responsibility and defend his family from this attack, which is really what "sent this entire circus in motion." Don't tell me you would have behaved any differently if everything you had was suddenly threatened.

Posted by steven on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

"...forced to deny responsibility..."

WHAT. Who forced him to deny anything?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

Why do you only speak up on their behalf when it is one of your own?

And why would you have said nothing had this been a conservative politician?

You choose issues based on convenience, seemingly.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

I have been thinking what Myrna has stated so eloquently in this article for months - that in this case, ironically and tragically, the DV movement became part of a punitive system that silences and objectifies the victim. I did not feel that I had the credentials or insight to say this, as I am not a DV survivor (though I have assisted a few survivors with government filings).
In this case, in order to feel powerful, DV advocates were all too happy to participate in this circus trial by media. Their focus was on punishment, regardless of whether it bore a reasonable relationship to the offense of the bruise, or of the consequences to the family. What happened to SF's liberal trumpeting about rehabilitation, family unification, etc.? The prize of potentially destroying Ross's political career over this was too tempting to consider such things for the political and law enforcement establishment threatened by his election, but for DV advocates to also lose sight of these priorities was surprising and disappointing. Eliana fled our fair city this last weekend. Who knows if she will ever want to come back to San Francisco after what we did to her life, regardless of what becomes of her relationship with Ross, or their relationship to their son.

Myrna did not directly address one thing in her article, which I will attempt to enunciate, probably in a way that will insult someone - that the media's and the criminal enforcement (cant call it justice) system's overblown treatment of this DV incident (the bruise) is an insult to those who have survived what I personally consider true DV (not a legal definition, I'm sure): a physical act with intention to harm, ie hitting, punching, kicking. Among its collection of lurid articles on this topic, I found the Chronicle article correlating the story of the survivor who had lost a family member due to DV (as in, murder) to "the bruise" to be insulting to that survivor. Great for consciousness raising, and I'm sure some DV advocates will say it is all within the spectrum of DV, but at a certain point it just gets ridiculous.
Ross deserved to be shamed and re-educated, and as a "first time offender" it is likely that 1/100th of what he has been through would have been enough for him to get the point. What the combined powers of our criminal, media, and sadly, DV advocacy systems have done to this family, and to Ross and Eliana as individuals, is indefensible.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

"Ross deserved to be shamed and re-educated..."

Sure, and if he'd admitted that, publicly apologized, and gone into counseling the minute this became public, none of the subsequent sturm-und-drang would have taken place. But he didn't; instead, he claimed it was a private matter and he, Eliana, and his supporters blamed everyone from Ivory Madison to "the machine" to the DV community for what, at the end of the day, was something which he did and could have easily cleaned up. They haven't made one smart choice during this entire fiasco.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

If you really want to assist DV survivors, then please educate yourself so that you learn that the degree of physical punishment inflicted is not the measurement of how "real" DV is, as you put it. This case has really shown who understands DV and who doesn't. Until you do, please refrain from wantonly stating an opinion without merit.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

.. from his very serious anger management issues, and I want him, Eliana, and Theo and all their friends and family to be happy -- whether together or separately.

I now see why he has been able to get away with his abuse of some many people for so many years -- his loving family enabled him. We all deserve to have family -- parents -- that love us, but they should also help nurture us to be the best, most effective, and respectful people we can be. Ross Mirkarimi just isn't, and in denying his anger management issues, which are well-known in City Hall, we enable him. I do not doubt that the rages so many people were subjected to in City Hall come from the same mental place that the anger he subjected Eliana to came from.

I wish them the best, whether or not Mirkarimi gets his position as sheriff back. But whether or not he gets his job back, God help us all -- and especially Eliana and Theo -- if he does not recover during his 52 weeks of DV counseling.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

Who are you, that you know Ross's "very serious anger management issues?" I'm sick of you posting here on the guise that you care. You're nothing but a hater, "guest," and I hope you crawl back to your little hole and shut the f up.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

But, for the sake of the child, that is it. He still should never to be Sheriff or any other elected public office again, but don't worry about his financial situation, his pal Art Agnos will find him a patronage job somewhere which will pay 100K a year with benefits minimum.

Posted by Guest 51 on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

As an immigrant woman myself, I find this story absurd, very political in nature, and sad all at the same time. This is hardly a case of domestic-abuse-poor-woman-crying-for-help. If not, why don't you ask Eliana?

This thing has been blown out of proportion and is totally political and I am sensing some kind of internal conflict or racism within San Francisco's own Police and Judicial systems. It looks like they want to bring down Karimi for some reason. The SF police is not so innocent when it comes to racism and violence. Remember the BART shootings?

This was a private matter and should've remained that way. This is not a story of an abused incompetent poor little immigrant woman--Eliana is no where near that. This is interference in Karimi's private life as an excuse to destroy him.

Posted by sheila k on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

So where does the racism come in here? Are you suggesting there is an anti-white bias amongst the officers of the SF Sheriff's Department?

FYI. The BART shootings were carried out by BART officers who are an entirely separate law enforcement department not affiliated with either the SFPD or the SF Sheriff. And Mirkarimi was/is sheriff - which is itself an entirely different department than the San Francisco Police Department.

It's obvious you don't live here and know next-to-nothing about our city.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

At least not in the sense that he is of a priveleged racial background as far as American society goes. Perhaps he can be considered "white" under some definition, but I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that the priveleges that come with "whiteness" extend to Iranians.

That said, in this case the bias wasn't so much against his middle eastern background, as against his progressivism. The Sheriffs couldn't stomach the fact that the good people of San Francisco elected a progressive citywide, and to a law enforcement position at that. And over one of "their own" no less! The ruling elites saw an opportunity to destroy a prominent progressive who could one day be mayor, so they took it.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

he had to suffer the same as everyone else who has a political ideology?

Or you are saying that because of his politics he should have got a pass for all of idiocy?

Ross as supervisor was a member of the ruling elite.

Again, the woman that reported all of this was a Ross supporter. It was his wife who went complaining to the lady next door.

Your racialist obsessions are repulsive. You would have made a good George Wallace campaigner.

Posted by Matlock on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

"Again, the woman that reported all of this was a Ross supporter. It was his wife who went complaining to the lady next door."

This can't be mentioned often enough. It will fly over the heads of most of commenters here who think that everything in San Francisco can be attributed to the valiant progressives being oppressed by "the machine."

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 7:39 am

Hmmm? Her carefully-groomed campaign to get Ross elected was clearly all a front for a much deeper, long-term plan to then humiliate him and remove him from office and to strike a body blow against the progressive movement from which it will never recover!

I want to see records of Madison's phone calls going back at least 5 years, because I have a strong feeling this plot has been underway since then. They groomed Ross for the sheriff's office just so they could set him up. Eliana may be part of it too - a classic honey trap, set up in a foreign country to remove culpability. Everyone wears two faces in this type of long-term plotting!

If we dig deep enough we may uncover things which were never meant to be seen in the light of day. This is a conspiracy which reaches the highest levels of our government and maybe Venezuela's government too!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

sounds like a classic troll maneuver designed to discredit progs (see Guest comment @12:36 pm). the tip-off is the use of the word "conspiracy" served with a slick slice of hyperbole. I don't know any progressive who talks like this myself.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

Dude, it was an obviously over-the-top, extremely funny example of hyperbole. But I bet some of the commenters here think it has a ring of truth.

Guess what? Madison and Mertens were friends of Mirkarimi and Lopez and materially supported Mirkarimi's campaign. Deal with it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

Ross's treatment has been normal and, in fact, he has gotten away quite lightly by avoiding a formal DV conviction which would have banned him from having a gun for ten years.

So your post is wide of the mark. It shows in fact how much a rich white male can get away with if he is "a powerful man".

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

He has gotten off quite lightly? Ridiculous!!!! You must work for Gascon or worse, Eric Jaye. Ross has been persecuted as if he had committed a felony. Holding your hysterical wife's arm, which caused a bruise, which she had videotaped as "evidence" in a custody fight, which the neighbor then decided, upon conferring with who knows how many people over four days--we know Phil Bronstein was one, that fine upstanding serial philanderer and disgusting womanizer who calls himself a sex addict--to call the police.

Ross has not gotten off lightly. Two days into the D.A.'s "investigation," the office had six investigators knocking on neighbors' doors. Six!!!! The D.A. does not even use six investigators in a homicide case. And you say he got off lightly? You're a fool.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

You know whom she conferred with more in those four days than anyone? Eliana, that's who. That's what all the texts and emails that we weren't allowed to see because of Ross's plea were all about.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

he didn't plead to actual DV, enabling him to keep his guns. Most normal guys, who could not have afforded 100K on lawyers, would have gotten the DA rap.

If Ross had been innocent, none of this would have happened. Blame the perp here and not the DA for doing his job.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 5:40 am

Thank you very Myrna for writing such a level headed and effective analysis of the case. I agree with your assessment and recommendation. No surprise that this great assessment did not come from the corporate owned mainstream media. Thanks again to you and Bay Guardian.

Posted by Guest Magic on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

Thank you for a realistic view. It really angers me that three lives have been turned upside down by the overreaction of the press.
I too suffered domestic abuse years ago and have taken an interest in prevention ever since.
This was not the way to handle this problem.
For their own selfish reasons a number of people have exploited the situation and made it a disaster.
I feel very sorry for the Mirkarimi family.
Everyone makes mistakes; they can learn to change.
But the powers that be in San Francisco did not want Mirkarimi for Sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

He committed multiple crimes, perpetrated violence on his wife, sought to cover it up, lied and manipulated.

And if he were a right-winger, you'd be cheering the system not criticizing it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

we don't believe he committed "multiple crimes." arguing with his wife? holding her while she went hyserical, causing a bruise? oooh, lock him away for 10 years!!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

subsequently evidence has emerged that he also sought to suppress evidence and interfere with witnesses.

The bruise was significant because it was undeniable evidence.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 5:41 am

The couple said in court documents that after Ross grasped his wife's arm, Eliana yanked her arm away. So that's how she got the bruise. (If she hadn't yanked her arm, it is unlikely that she would have been bruised.) The couple denies that there was ever any physical abuse. And the only two witnesses were Ross and Eliana.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

She yanked her arm away - why> because he was really hurting her. DV

Posted by Guest4 on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

you and Ivory Madison, along with "feminist" furies Upton and Black, none of whom witnessed the incident, are the only ones repeating this lie.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 29, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

All this is True but Ross is on our side so it doesn't count for him.

Posted by Guest 51 on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

Thank you to Myrna Melgar!

"Danger has been a part of my life ever since I picked up a pen and wrote. Nothing is more perilous than truth in a world that lies." Nawal El Saadawi

Posted by Maryam Louise on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

Or just enjoy bracketing your inane comments with them here?

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 4:07 pm