Avalos, Campos, Kim, Olague: Four profiles of courage at City Hall


Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim, and Christina Olague earned profiles of courage for their votes to reinstate suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi up against enormous pressure for a political assassination, accelerated by Mayor Lee’s demand for a pre-election vote.

And the other seven supervisors, well, they helped answer the question, who’s afraid of Willie Brown? Who’s afraid of Rose Pak?

Note to Mirkarimi: It’s time to repair the damage and get back to work implementing the ambitious program of rehabilitation outlined in your splendid inaugural address as Sheriff.

Unsolicited advice to mayor Ed Lee: Stop taking bad advice.

See my “Profiles of courage” blog for the context of this crucial vote.


Please go away.

Posted by Chromefields on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 11:28 am

"It was only a bruise!"

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

La Casa de las Madres??? Check out charity navigator..

six figure salary for miz black...123,345.00 a year..
that could actually help some actually beaten women.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

director for not helping "beaten women?"

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

and she voted to reinstate as she thought his termination wouldn't hold up in court. So there's your courage for you.

LOL at you giving advice - to anyone - about anything. Your paper has been backing losers consistently for years, and it's gotten progressively worse (no pun intended).

Posted by Lurker on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 1:37 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

I didn't see it at first, either, but after thinking about it, i'm certain this is Ed Lee/Rose Pak/Willie Brown long game rather than an act of courage on the part of Olague and Kim.

It's not possible that Kim and Olague would actually go rogue on the mayor, as it appears on the surface with this vote. Enrique Pearce (founder of the Run Ed Run campaign, and the political consultant / architect behind Kim and Olague) and his cohort, David Ho (burgeoning Chinatown power broker), are connected at the hip to Rose Pak and by extension Mayor Lee. Kim's and Olague's votes were absolutely cleared by the higher ups, Pak and Lee, not acts of courage.

It was never important that Lee win the Board vote on the Mirkarimi issue. The real point of the Mayor's crusade to bring a vote to the Board was as an election season wedge issue, one that would have been brutal for the likes of John Avalos, had his Pak/Lee-backed opponent not turned out to live outside the district. Perhaps it was when it became clear that Pak/Lee were in danger of losing Olague's seat in District 5, that they realized they could make the whole situation work to their long term advantage in an even bigger way by actually losing the vote at the Board.

With the Mirkarimi matter not being put to rest at the Board on Tuesday, and with the recall campaign set to begin any moment now, the Mayor and his downtown backers will have the gift of a very potent wedge issue that keeps on giving. The Chronicle, in particular, will be able to talk about the "wife beater" and his progressive supporters for the next several months -- through the November 2013 election, at least. Now this issue will be an albatross around the neck of progressives for much longer than it would have had the mayor won his vote.

Sure the loss appears embarrassing to the mayor. But how bad will it actually hurt him? Very little, if at all, I suspect. He still got the majority 7 votes. It's early in his term. He gets to claim "he's above politics" while the "crazy progressives" on the Board are supporting "wife beaters". The cops, the realtors, and the developers will pour tons of money into a recall campaign. There will be a relentless barrage of mailers and TV ads painting Avalos and Campos as monsters and the mayor as a principled humanitarian.

Meanwhile, Olague, for the first time, actually gets to look truly independent of the mayor and may have a fighting chance to win in D5. Her vote, of course, totally helps her in D5, a district that voted overwhelmingly against Ed Lee last year and almost never votes for machine candidates. She would have been toast had she voted with Lee. The "cruel" texts from Winniker calling her ungrateful are media plants designed to convince us that Olague has really broken off from the mayor. It simply isn't true. It's a ruse.

Kim voted with Olague (with her *very* carefully-worded legal rationale) to give Olague cover so that she wouldn't be the only woman who voted against the domestic violence advocates, etc. Again, Kim and Olague are directly linked to the Enrique Pearce/ David Ho power circle, and all of them are allies with Rose Pak and the Mayor. All strategy is coordinated. We all know this.

You'll notice Kim has publicly called for a recall campaign, which of course is the whole goal here, to have a recall campaign that hurts the Mayor's opponents for months to come. Kim's call for a recall campaign is also how she successfully distances herself from the progressive "wife-beater supporters," Avalos and Campos. She can say she voted to reinstate Ross, but only because of her legal obligations. Through this she implies that unlike Avalos and Campos, she really is against domestic violence and wants to see Ross out of office, but based on legal principles, she couldn't, out of good conscience, vote him out at the Board.

See how this works? Brilliant. And it's tough to recognize unless you actually know the characters in this scheme and the power relationships behind the scenes.

Posted by Fool Me Once on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

Great analysis. It's also worth considering that Kim, Olague and Mirkarimi are all former Green Party members, and the most prominent local members of that party since Matt Gonzalez faded from public life. Perhaps there's camaraderie or mutual respect buried in their somewhere -- but I find your explanation more likely.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

Buried in *there, that is.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

The sense the progressives won this battle is highly illusory and self-destructive.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 5:19 am

All we know is that ross lost because of his own ill-advised actions.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 5:44 am

The "far left" does not believe the means of production should be held privately. There are no "far left" in San Francisco government.

"Moderates" are by definition those that hold middle viewpoints; if not majoritarian, then at least centrist. Lee and his cronies are reactionaries who are only in power because of the effects of money and a willingness to benefit from fraudulent balloting.

As for what "we know," I'll make this observation: just about *every* *time* a solitary internet commenter grasps themselves to be distilling mass opinion, "we" are being lied to.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 6:22 am

Did you come up with that all on your own?

And es, the far left exists in SF. It is Tim, Bruce, Steen, Avalos, Campos, you, Greg, Eric, Marcos and that's about it. Collectively you hate anything private and love anything public. No subtlety; no sophistication. And certainly no support.

When Lee beats Avalos 60-40, it is the moderate center trumping the extremists and socialists.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 9:47 am

Apparently, Kim and Olague are women who can't independent think on their own and come to the "correct" legal conclusions without some conspiracy being planned in the background.

Real Explanation: Charges brought by Mayor were faulty and it is the role of the public not the Mayor to determine who stays in office, especially after the misconduct charges can not be sustained with existing charter language. Kim is a lawyer and Olague is a long-time planning commissioner, both with a history of analyzing complex situations. They have their own agency and are smart enough to make a determination that they knew to be true and correct, but not popular by any means.

Possible Explanation: Additionally, maybe, as women of color, they care deeply about domestic violence, and understand the nuances around the treatment of Eliana, silencing a Latina immigrant woman. I hope the DV community and progressives work towards healing, but let's be clear we should not be cheering what happened. I'm happy Ross is back but I can only hope the Mirkarimi/Lopez family show SF what healing looks like.

The four will be targeted, ironic, because I would consider Campos and Avalos, to be the two most feminist men on the board. However, I bet many of you will be quick to abandon the women, Kim and Olague. Some of you, keep showing your true colors as "progressive" men...

Posted by Oh the conspiracies, how about plain ol' sexism... on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 10:09 am

If you’re Ed Lee, what’s more important: saving face and ousting the sheriff, or saving your appointed District 5 supervisor? Word on the street is that Mayor Lee needed Olague’s votes for his big development projects over the next four years. There’s billions of dollars at stake there. Ed Lee’s ego isn’t worth losing those luxury towers.

Posted by Political Realist on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

I never knew what the big deal was about who the Sheriff was anyway. The importance pales in comparison to someone having one of 11 votes. Actually, 1 out of 9 votes since Avalos and Campos are automatics.

So they let her vote for Ross and then she leaked the angry text message for emphasis. Tim Redmond, of course, had a wet dream when he saw the text and couldn't wait to print it, something that they probably assumed (although others did as well).

My only question concerns Kim's vote; did they know in advance how she would vote (or did SHE even know in advance). If they knew that Kim would vote for Ross then letting Olague loose was a no brainer.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

Is Ed Lee short of six votes such that upzonings would hinge on the vote of the D5 supervisor?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

I don't know if 'short' is the right word. He is losing Elsbernd with no guarantee. That means he only has Farrell, Chu and Weiner as sure things. Depending on Chiu, Kim and Cohen is risky.

Posted by Troll on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

so you'll see Kim, Olague etc. occasionally vote against Lee, but they cannot credibly always vote against him. nor in fact do they always disagree with Lee, by any means.

For Olague, this was about trying to save her bacon in D5. Lim probably wanted to appear neutral, and knew the Ross vote was going down anyway. While Campos and Avalos ignored the facts and voted ideology, as they always do.

I'm not seeing any courage there. Just rampant, naked opportunism. They are politicians, after all.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 1:20 am

Breaking it down, I don't see how entitling luxury condos, at least not very many in D7, is threatened by the top three D7 candidates. Yee is in Pak's pocket, Foghorn Leghorn is a libertarian capitalist and FX Crowley is BCT all the way.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

Strike up a conversation with anyone in any part of the city and people are sick of the BOS and the obvious greed and corruption which has fueled this sudden unbridled growth and the complete dishonesty with which City Hall deals with it's constituents. When it suits them, we live in a transit first city, but when their developer backers want luxury condos on Washington Street, voila, a 400 car parking lot, no problem. There are new condos going up all over the city, almost one construction site per block in the upper Market area. And Weiner wants to issue more licenses for retail liquor stores in the Mission. Who is paying him off now?
More condos that no one but new comers from other cities and counties can afford. An all out war on preservation with Weiner at the helm and the Mayor's right hand man is a Republican. And for the record, no one in their right mind believes that man currently occupying the mayor's office has a 60% mandate, Give me a break, his votes came from one neighborhood and they were collected by his goons from non-English speaking under-educated immigrants from a country where voting never had any real consequences. It's voter fraud is what is it, and the dragon lady that speaks for the six companies in Chinatown is the real power here. She wanted a poorly planned and very expensive subway, which doesn't connect with any other trains, and we got it.
This current batch of political hacks and cronies came in to power suddenly and caught people by surprise, but they have wasted no time in permanently transforming this city almost over night while lining their own pockets and ignoring the lessons learned from the last bubble. The only good thing is that they have awakened the electorate, those of us who go to work on a Muni system that is falling apart, yet they never seriously do anything to fix it, all this in a transit first city. While they go to work in their black SUV's the rest of us are realizing that we have thieves and liars in City Hall. Much more than usual, This is the most corrupt group of people I have seen in power and I have lived here since Feinstein was mayor.
Their time is coming. Soon. But I really wish WEINER was up for reelection now. Weiner is a dick

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 4:55 am

Now can we have some real commentary?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 5:43 am

As for Troll II's comment (posted as "Guest"), it's nothing out of the ordinary. She'll use ad hominem against anyone critical of Lee's policies whether or not you give her the least excuse.

That reprehensible dog characterized a comment of mine as racist because I used a common everyday word; her disgusting allegation revealed her own racism because though it is a word which is sometimes used as a racial epithet, there was absolutely *no* contextual basis real or implied to suggest that was my intent.

Troll II is a truly vile critter.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 6:43 am

It is never your opponent's fault when you lose a political contest, it is your fault for not having anticipated and headed off their offensive. Left unsaid in the above post is that the folks who were supposed to have the neighborhoods' backs, nonprofits and unions, have been coopted into an accommodation with corruption and that is why there has been no pushback against the rampage of the developers except for old school white people of means in D3, both against 8 Washington and the Central Subway debacle.

This is a moment of political transformation where the old alliances and battle lines are dissolving and being replaced with a new configuration of power. As is usual, Brown overreaches because he knows that there will be a backlash. That backlash will not be a progressive backlash, that force is spent and exhausted.

It is not like abandoning the union/nonprofit approach means moving to the "center" and becoming more "moderate." That is a meme that has been inserted into the minds of the progressive residue that denies the fact that there are multiple paths towards progressive ends, paths that are not dead ends like the one in which we've been stuck for the past 5 years are.

One ray of sunshine is the anti Prop B campaign that contests the wisdom of all revenue being good and demands that the honest, non-corrupt delivery of public services be brought to the forefront. It will be this war on corruption that threatens both corporate power in the Conway model as well as the position of labor and the nonprofits in the SF Rising Action fund cooption model. These leftists believe that either we go for the Quezada model of Stalinist vanguard patronizing or we sell out to keep the nonprofits funded and stand down.

It is all about them meeting their immediate needs instead of building viable majorities to empower average folks to come to the bar of democracy at least as equals to corporate power. When the circle of people who can be trusted ideologically, politically is reduced to a pinpoint, the solution to that is not to change political polarities as in if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, rather it is to identify areas of commonality between you and people you've mistakenly dismissed prejudicially based on race, class or other identity as being conservative or moderate.

8 Washington, the Central Subway and Prop B are examples of an emerging post-progressive political formation. Labor and the nonprofits are nowhere to be seen in any of these uprisings and that is a very good thing.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 8:02 am

I totally agree with the analysis by Fool Me Once, above.

Olague's vote was a profile in intelligence, not courage. I'll take it, but let's not kid ourselves. If anything, she voted the way she did out of fear, not courage -fear of having her ass handed to her in November.

As for Jane Kim... when everybody was praising her for doing the right thing, along with her "thoughtful" reasoning, I said from the start that her reasoning sounded more duplicitous than thoughtful. Then she came out with that email to her constituents, instantly squandering the goodwill she just built with progressives. That made no sense at all to me, because Kim is not dumb. She's extremely cunning, ruthlesslessly calculating, and every single thing she does is done with an eye toward her political future. On the surface this made no sense; this analysis is the first one I've heard which actually explains her bizarre behavior in a way that makes sense.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 8:02 am

I'll add that I don't generally come her for the opinions of Tim Redmond or Bruce Brugmann who -- despite a long reign as foremost advocates of progressivism -- seem all too prone to spout off with some conventional wisdom blather which is less than helpful or insightful: I come here Steven Jones articles and commentary from informed and engaged citizens such as Eric Brooks and yourself.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 8:54 am

This whole sad affair was never really about domestic violence, at issue was yet another incidence of selective law enforcement and an egregious abuse of political power that could have set a dangerous precedent for future such machiavellian manipulations. Hopefully the legislation will now be revisited and revised in order to prevent a recurrence of this particular type of attack on the democratic process, what little remains, and the right of the voters to elect their representatives. Like many of us, I think, our reaction was not primarily in defense of Ross Mirkarimi personally or of his actions; violence of any kind, foreign or domestic, is not acceptable; but rather an attempt to ensure that there is equality and justice for all. Regardless of our political persuasions we all benefit from this guarantee, except maybe those few who have the power to manipulate the law in their own self interest. The final vote was a little surprising. There was never much doubt as to which way many would vote. Chiu simply clarified that he knows which side his bread is buttered. Farrell, to his credit, at least acknowledged the 'slippery slope'. Cohen... how the hell did she manage to get elected!!. I think it was fortuitous that Olague was up first. Her statement was powerful, thoughtful and she probably had the most difficult challenge. She rose to the occasion. She also 'gave cover' to all those following, which made Mar's vote even more disappointing. However I still hope for his re-election as the alternatives are disturbing at best. The latest rumors of David Lee's possible violations of election law are troubling, but then he's just following his namesake's example, maybe they can recycle the stencils. Avalos and Campos were steadfast in their votes and appropriate in their criticisms. Kim was 'surprising', her questioning of the lawyers was impressive, as was her pre-vote statement. Her subsequent support of a re-call was consistent with the views she expressed.
To all those who voted in favor of removing an elected official on the grounds of 'official misconduct', I hope they will demonstrate that they made their decision based on ethical principle and not political expediency. There is a backlog of complaints that have been buried and never seen the sunshine. I suggest they might start by requesting an investigation into possible perjury committed by the Mayor in the course of these proceedings; also documented video evidence of probable violations of election law that occured during his election campaign. But I'm not making book on it happening.
Once again many thanks to Ben Hur, probably the only one coming up smelling like a rose from this cesspit down at the Hall of Smoke and Mirrors.
Just my thruppence.
GO 49ers.
A's look good for next year.
Overturn Citizens United.

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 9:09 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... wow, NOW that this is OVER ... what about case # 11048 http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=11889 where FOUR (4) supervisors were FOUND GUILTY by the DEFUNCT MINISTRY of SUNSHINE (Sunshine Task Force) ??? Will it EVER GO BEFORE ethics? Why did it NOT PROCEED ROSS' witch hunt?

Will these same four supervisors resign since they were found GUILTY or will the PONY SHOW restart at the ETHICS HEARINGS? Many interesting questions ...

So let me see ... shouldn't those four supervisors have recused themselves from ROSS' vote? Wasn't it BAD FAITH, UNCLEAN HANDS, NOT ABOVE REPROACH and NOT RIGHT ACTION or CONDUCT? Aren't these and the SUNSHINE finding more than enough to FIRE over "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT?" You know what the CITY ATTORNEY argued so passionately about concerning ROSS even while he WAS NOT IN OFFICE ... these supervisors were.

Shall we see the RUSH to JUSTICE ... we did with ROSS ... what is the DIFFERENCE with the OTHER supervisors?

Why is NO ONE ASKING ????

So let me do the math (4 supervisors who should have recused) would have left ....

Four votes for ROSS and
Three votes against ROSS ...

clearly, if done above reproach ... ROSS would have had the MAJORITY ....

I await the CITY ATTORNEY'S SPIN (Interpretation) OPINION ....

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 5:35 am

You actually support a RECENTLY CONVICTED violent criminal offender being Sheriff of San Francisco ?? Are you insane ??

The man pleaded guilty to a charge of false imprisonment ! And that only to worm out of being CONVICTED for domestic violence, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness charges.

We don't need that kind of trash in any public office, CERTAINLY NOT in law enforcement.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2012 @ 1:01 am

Guest, please. Yes, Ross committed a "violent act", but what other minds try to do (thankfully) is take a careful look at what, exactly, went down. I really hope you have some idea of the *facts* of this case. The *facts*. Because your comment reeks of LABELS used merely to libel someone. And nothing more. You do a disservice to all by spouting (yes spouting) actual alleged things that were THROWN OUT for lack of evidence.

Try to learn love in the form of taking the time to understand. Try to learn compassion in the form of realizing that we all have moments of transgression, and that that can take many forms. Try to learn humility, in the form of understanding that human beings can be allowed to be less than perfect sometimes (that would include you and your mistakes) so that we can all learn (including you, apparently), move on, and actually heal and come together.

PS You know in my book, calling a man "trash" and disregarding his dignity completely is its own kind of violence. I can only imagine how you treat yourself when you make a mistake.

Posted by Daniele E. on Oct. 19, 2012 @ 6:24 am