By Sarah Phelan
“I thought this was going to be about Newsom resigning,” said a bicyclist, who’d screeched to a halt to see what yesterday’s noon-time commotion at City Hall was about.
No such mayoral luck (for now) and definitely no sign of the disgraced Newsom as demonstrators gathered on the steps of City Hall to protest the continuing incarceration of freelance journalist Josh Wolf.
At 169 days inside, Wolf has made it into the Guiness Book of Records as the longest-imprisoned journalist in U.S. History. It's a record that anyone who’s serious about gathering, spreading and accessing information in this age of faux news and spin control can’t help admiring and respecting the 24-year-old Wolf for setting, because handing over your notes, photos or video footage to the feds is not OK, at least not if you want your sources to take you seriously whenever you interview, tape, film them, or promise them confidentiality.
It’s a point Sup. Ross Mirkarimi evidently gets, as witnessed by the impassioned speech the Mirkster delivered at the Feb. 6 Free Josh Wolf rally. Incensed by US District Judge William Alsup, who’s holding Wolf in contempt for refusing to handover video outtakes of a July 2005 anarchist protest turned violent, and outraged by the US Attorney’s Office, who claims Wolf isn’t really a journalist, Mirkarimi encouraged the crowd to join in “loud solidarity against thuggery.”
“Judge Alsup is the ‘alleged’ judge. He should not be on the bench adjudicating,” declared Mirkarimi, flanked by Sup, Tom Ammiano and Jake McGoldrick.
As for the missing Mayor Newsom, Mirkarimi gave the Gavsta a piece of his mind, too, observing that when the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of Wolf and the need for federal shield laws Newsom didn’t sign the resolution. (Hiss! Boo! Buck buck buck.)
Mirkarimi spoke in equally scathing manner of District Attorney Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, neither of whom advocated for Wolf in the wake of his incarceration last fall.
“At the very least, they should use their bully pulpit, even if they don’t have the legal reach,” Mirkarimi intoned. “ It does not speak well of the city with the progressive values to stand back in this case. This is not a fringe movement. I don’t care if Josh Wolf s a journalist, a freelancer or a blogger. He’s part of the wave of the future. I’m angry as hell about this. At 169 days inside, there should be a serious outcry.”