Lee's charges against Mirkarimi leave questions unaddressed

Mayor Ed Lee ignored questions during his brief announcement yesterday that he was removing Ross Mirkarimi from office
Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

UPDATED BELOW WITH "RESPONSE" FROM LEE'S OFFICE: Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was formally suspended today and served with “Written Charges of Official Misconduct” that for the first time outline why Mayor Ed Lee believes Mirkarimi should be removed from office, although they leave unaddressed many questions that Lee has been so far been avoiding answering.

The eight-page legal document prepared for Lee by the City Attorney's Office briefly lays out the process (a hearing before the Ethics Commission, its recommendation, then action by the Board of Supervisors within 30 days thereafter) and the definition of official misconduct, focusing on this phrase: “conduct that falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officers.”

That vague language is fairly new and has never been considered or interpreted by any court, and the city acknowledges there are at least “two reasonable interpretations” of its meaning: “This phrase could be either (a) an example of misconduct that, by definition, relates to the duties of all public officers, or (b) an independent, alternative category of official misconduct that does not require a connection to an officer's official.”

Lee's attorneys argue that they don't think a direct connection to an official's duties is required, but they acknowledge that's how it could be interpreted, so they try to make that connection as well, often by relying on evidence and testimony that hasn't been vetted by the courts or by making connections likely to be challenged by Mirkarimi's new attorney, David Waggoner.

The document recounts the “Wrongful Conduct by Sheriff Mirkarimi,” starting with his “acts of verbal and physical abuse against his wife, Eliana Lopez” on New Year's Eve, continuing through the criminal charges filed against him on Jan. 13 with a focus on allegations that he dissuaded witnesses and “encouraged them to destroy evidence” and with his March 19 sentencing for false imprisonment, concluding the section with a reference to the newspaper quote from Don Wilson, president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff's Association, that the plea had hurt morale in the department.

The DSA actively opposed Mirkarimi's election, just as it did his predecessor and mentor, Michael Hennessey, in every contested election in the legendary progressive sheriff's 32-year career, so it seems a little strange to rely on such a self-serving assessment. But that isn't the only point that raises questions and potential challenges, particularly as they try to argue that Mirkarimi's actions related to his official duties.

Part of Mirkarimi's sentence included one day in jail, for which the judge said his booking qualified, meaning that he never actually was inside a cell. But Lee's attorneys argue without explanation that, “Sheriff Mirkarimi's one-day sentence to county jail undermines his ability to receive inmates and to supervise the County jails.” It certainly didn't seem to for former Sheriff Dick Hongisto, who was jailed for several days after being held in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the International Hotel evictions, but who never faced sanctions from the mayor.

The first and seemingly strongest connection it makes between his actions and official duties listed was, “Sheriff Mirkarimi misused his office, and the status and authority it carries, for personal advantage when he stated to Ms. Lopez that he could win custody of their child because he was very powerful,” a charge taken from the videotaped testimony that Lopez gave to his neighbor Ivory Madison.

Lopez's attorneys have noted that she made the video to paint Mirkarimi as abusive in case there was a custody battle, as she says on tape, and that she was seeking confidential legal help from Madison and never intended for it to be released. But her and Mirkarimi's attempts to retrieve it are labeled in the charges as efforts to “encourage the destruction of evidence regarding criminal activity,” which they argue also relates to his duties as a law enforcement officer. This issue is likely to be a matter of serious debate during the Ethics Commission hearing.

Finally, the document argues that because the Sheriff's Department can enforce protective orders in domestic violence cases and funds programs for domestic violence perpetrators – and because it sometimes interacts with the Adult Probation Department, given Mirkarimi's three-year probation – that the charges directly relate to his official duties.

Clearly, these are complicated issues that raise a variety of questions, which is why it was disconcerting yesterday when Lee announced the charges to a room packed with journalists and refused to take any of our questions. City Attorney Dennis Herrera didn't speak at all, simply standing behind Lee looking stone-faced and perhaps a bit uncomfortable.

Earlier today, I sent Lee and his Office of Communications a list of questions that I think he has a public obligation to address given the drastic action that he's just taken against an elected official. I haven't received a reply yet, but I'm including my comments here for you to consider as well:


I was disappointed that Mayor Lee took no questions during yesterday's press conference, because I had several that I'm hoping you can address for a long story we're writing on the Mirkarimi affair for our next issue. I'm hoping to get answers by the end of the workday on Friday.
- Will Mayor Lee release the memo he received from the City Attorney's Office on Ross Mirkarimi and whether his crime rises to the level of official misconduct? [Note to reader: That advice memo is different than the charges I discuss above.] It is solely under Lee's authority to waive attorney-client privilege and release the memo, as even Willie Brown urged him to do in his Chronicle column on Sunday. And if he won't release it, can he explain why?
- Lee told reporters last week that he would explain why Mirkarimi's action rise to the level of official misconduct if concluded they did, but Lee didn't offer that explanation yesterday. Why does Lee believe actions that Mirkarimi took before assuming office, which were unconnected to his official duties, warrant his removal from office? Is Lee basing his decision primarily on the crime Mirkarimi committed on New Year's Eve or his actions and statements since then? What specific actions or statements by Mirkarimi does the mayor believe rise to official misconduct?
- Why didn't Lee consult with Eliana Lopez or her attorney before making this decision? None of the purported evidence in this case has been scrutinized by the courts as to its veracity or completeness (that would have happened at the trial). The only two people who know for sure what happened that night are Ross and Eliana, so why hasn't Lee asked either of them what happened?
- Why did Lee set a 24-hour deadline for Mirkarimi to resign or be removed? Did Lee offer Mirkarimi anything in exchange for his resignation, such as another city job?
- Who did the mayor consult with about whether Mirkarimi should be removed before making this decision? Were any members of the DSA or SFPOA consulted? How about Rose Pak or other members of the business community? How about Michael Hennessey? Did he seek input and advice from John St. Croix or anyone from the Ethics Commission?
- It's my understanding that the mayor wasn't required to remove Mirkarimi from office without pay pending his official misconduct hearings, that Mirkarimi could have either remained in the job or been suspended with pay. Why did Lee feel a need to place this additional financial pressure on Mirkarimi to abandon the office that voters elected him to? Is he concerned about the impact of his decision on Eliana Lopez and Theo?
- Mayor Lee has prided himself on being someone focused on "getting things done" without creating unnecessary political distractions. So why does he want to drag out this distracting political drama for another few months? Why does he believe that it's a good use of the city's time and resources to be a forum for airing details of a sordid conflict that has proven to be a divisive issue? Is he worried about exposing the city to liability in a civil lawsuit if his charges against Mirkarimi are later found to be without merit?
- Does Lee intend for Vicki Hennessy to be the permanent replacement for Mirkarimi if the official misconduct charges are upheld? Will he take into account the will of the voters in electing Mirkarimi, someone who had pledged to uphold and continue the legacy of progressive leadership of the Sheriff's Department as embodied by the long career of Michael Hennessey? Given that the DSA consistently opposed Hennessey at election time, and that in this election voters rejected the DSA's choices, why is Lee substituting his own judgment and political preferences for those of San Francisco's voters? Why did Lee feel a need to take preemptive action against Mirkarimi rather than simply allowing voters to launch a recall campaign, which is the typical remedy for removing politicians who have gone through some kind of public scandal?

UPDATE 3/26: Mayoral Press Secretary Christine Falvey told the Guardian that we would have answers to these questions by Friday, but then sent the following message as a response late Friday afternoon: "Steve, After looking at your questions, it seems Mayor Lee addressed much of this in his comments on Tuesday. After Sheriff Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a crime of false imprisonment, Mayor Lee made a thorough review of the facts, reviewed his duties under the Charter and gave the Sheriff an opportunity to resign. When that did not happen, he moved to suspend the Sheriff. For any information regarding what is in the charges, I will refer you to the City Attorney's office and their website that has all of the public documents posted."

For the record, Lee has not addressed these questions nor made any public statements on whether he will release the advice memo (as even Willie Brown publicly urged him to do) or explained why he's keeping that document secret. And we haven't even had the opportunity to ask the mayor these questions directly because he hasn't held any public events since announcing his decision to remove Mirkarimi.


Homeschooled idiot.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

You take over Greg's identity and then complain about being called a troll. What else shall we call you -- Class A Harasser?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

Of course you are defending Ross. That is all you have done from the day this disaster of a story broke. You have blamed everyone but the guy who pled guilty. I think you guys are so wrapped up in this that you can't really see what you're doing. You should go and read all of your editorials since day one. Then you should read the SF Weekly's satire of your editorials because it is spot on.

Posted by Ryan C on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

No, Ryan, you should go back and read them and then you'd know it simply isn't true that we've defended him since day one. Both Tim and I have consistently said that if he's guilty then he should be punished, and that we expected him to tell the full story of what happened once the cloud of prosecution was lifted. We are the only ones now seeking to report what actually happened that day -- Mayor Lee didn't even ask the question -- so we can have a real discussion about its implications to his role as sheriff. Instead, what has happened is an angry mob that is calling him a wife beater (grabbing and hitting are very different acts) and taking his legal defense (against losing his family and going to jail for a year) as a sign of his lack of fitness for office. And on top of all that, there are legitimate questions about whether his crime constitutes official misconduct and whether removing an elected officials and cutting off this family's livelihood is fair or an overly coercive and perhaps even negligent action. These issues are more important than one man. You can think Ross Mirkarimi is a complete asshole who deserves whatever he gets and still look at the bloodlust and self-righteous statement that are now driving this process and find it a bit unseemly and worthy of a few questions. The Weekly can write satire and draw cartoons and make fun of San Francisco, but we're going to continue doing journalism, undaunted by the mob mentality being exhibited by many of those demanding Ross's head. 

Posted by steven on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

Bay Guardian and journalism? You are the same type of "journalists" as those employed at Fox News.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

I don't think Mirkarimi is an asshole, nor do I think he deserves "whatever he gets". I think he is a somewhat arrogant man who failed to treat this issue with the seriousness it deserved and I think he continues to do so by complaining about being "piled upon" when he has absolutely no one to blame but himself for what has happened. I voted for him. But I don't want a sheriff who is guilty of false imprisonment of his wife and who has acted with arrogance and very little remorse. He is the one wasting city time and resources and causing the circus. The Bay Guardian has focused all of its opinion pieces on conspiracy theories and, like Mirkarimi, trying to blame everyone except the one person who should be blamed. You are doing that solely because he is a beloved progressive and it is so transparent that it is laughable. The SF Weekly satire is completely spot on - that is why it is really funny.

Posted by Ryan C on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

Thanks for your thoughtful response, Steven.

Posted by RamRod on Mar. 24, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

Calling "GREG" and his racist clique. Cat got your tongue. Are you busy working on the "Free George Zimmerman" site.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

Mirkarimi's New Year's eve outburst for which he abundantly and earnestly apologized is eminently forgivable as a first-time offense especially given his wife's reappraisal of the issue. The offense in any case is not connected to his official duties. There is no doubt the whole affair reeks of Political entanglement. Mayor Lee will have to be especially cautious of his own ethical conduct in the future having set the bar so high. William Nathan Hale

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

Lee thinks this is just the way things are done in this politically corrupt town. Look how he won election after a sweet appointment by Lt Gov. Bonk. I think after so many years of government work he probably doesn't have a brain in his head or a shred of common sense, and certainly no sense of morality (real morality, not the phony crocodile tears type he cries over the "harm done to the city"). Just look who's pulling his strings: the Brown/Pak/Chronicle axis of evil, abetted by the Cunnie forces who can't stomach their man's loss in a three-way, then two way, then three way at the last minute race. That's their dog in the fight and they don't give a damn what they do to promote it. Bad morale in the LE community over this? Bullpucky. Self-serving bullpucky put out for the politically naive. Check out the campaign contributors to the Cunnie campaign: cops, mucky mucks in the DA's office and also from various strata in the state, city and national level, some interesting political names. You can find it all on EthicsCommission.org. George Gascon cares only about GG, GG, GG. Look into his career as a cop and you will see the truth of that. He only eased off because the NY Times was on to his conflicts of interest in this case and people were starting to notice. The anti-domestic violence "non-profit" community besmirches it's very valid cause by the way they've seized on this case to promote their agenda, facts be damned. The general public is being fed a load of crap and many are naive enough to accept it unthinkingly. But we don't have to take it anymore. The arrogant machine politics of the Willie Brown era is over, they just don't know it yet. Ed Lee is a dinosaur and should be made to pay for what he's done to San Francisco. Honeymoon's over Little Ed. You blew it.

Posted by barry eisenberg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

post me please. are you censorial or what? now i'm on, then i'm off. WTF

Posted by barry eisenberg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

I dont agree w Ed Lee on this-but the process now must play out- where is the path of redemption? Official misconduct? It looks like a stretch-powerful friends? an official threat? not really. I hope members of the BOS board stands w Ross based on his official record.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

Steve's right.

It's all a vaste right-wing conspiracy.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:56 pm


San Francisco, CA- Let me preface this article with the foregoing, I loved my mother, a few women in my life, and all of my dogs! That being said, I was stunned that the hierarchy of San Francisco politics run by Willie Brown and Rose Pak's front-man, Mayor Ed Lee, "suspended” Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi after his plea deal with the District Attorney's office run by another one of Willie's puppets, George Gascon. Mirkarimi copped to a charge of False Imprisonment stemming from a New Years Eve altercation with his wife and Venezuelan actress Eliana Lopez-Mirkarimi.

Any male who has gone through a nasty "Custody Battle" knows that the deck in Family Court is stacked against men. There are hundreds, if not thousands of men out there reading this passage and shaking their heads up and down as if they had just acquired Parkinson's disease. That being fact, I will move on and try to paint a picture of San Francisco politics that is stacked against "Liberals," (now Progressives) a term if utilized today is akin to the "N-Word."

Let me roll back the clock for you. Mirkarimi, 48, married the 29-year-old Lopez after impregnating her a few years ago. On December 31, 2011, Mirkarimi and Lopez got into a beef. Ms. Lopez or Mrs. Mirkarimi, threatened her husband by saying she would take their son Theo to Venezuela. That is no joke as Lopez is famous in her homeland as an actress, a place where she has both holdings and property. It is also a country that former President Bush once comically said was part of the “Axis of Evil," along with Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

There are no extradition agreements with President Hugo Chavez's domain, thus if Ms. Lopez was serious, and it appears by her actions after the New Years Eve dispute she was in fact clearly looking to gain "an advantage" in an anticipated battle for custody.

Sheriff Mirkarimi, like a lot of men whose spouse doesn't emanate from an "Axis of Evil" to flee to, Ross apparently thought he was going to get screwed one way or another. During the beef, Ross Mirkarimi grabbed his wife and her arm she was bruised.

The Mirkarimi's would make up a few days later, but only after Lopez-Mirkarimi went to a neighbor’s house where Ms. Lopez, who is as I said an actress by trade, cried crocodile tears while the neighbor videotaped it. Although Lopez said she feared Mirkarimi, she never called the SFPD or an attorney. The sole purpose of this tear-laden session in front of a video camera was to gain an advantage in a possible court battle over son Theo if it ever became reality.

A fortnight ago, Mirkarimi admitted to False Imprisonment, which is usually applied when dealing with a Kidnapping. The plea took the Domestic Violence charges against him away, which were not brought forth by Lopez-Mirkarimi, but by the District Attorney's office run by the aforementioned George Gascon, which in the opinion of many is just another “stooge” of ex-Mayor Willie Brown.

Mirkarimi was the "only" real Progressive candidate in San Francisco's November election that won office. Having clashed with Gascon in his long run as a member of the Board of Supervisors representing the Western Edition neighborhood, Mirkarimi had also sparred both politically and verbally with Willie Brown, whose control over San Francisco politics has remained "iron-fisted" even though the flashy and often-foul mouthed Brown vacated the Mayor's office eight years ago. The two most powerful people in San Francisco politics are Brown and the Asian powerhouse Rose Pak, even though Ed Lee, hand picked and pushed by Pak, is the elected-Mayor.

It's been said that everything is fair in war, custody battles and politics, but is that true? If you read to the chagrin of many as I do, you’ll recall when current San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White's husband, Sean White, in June 2005 called 911 and told the SFPD his wife had "hit him over the head with a pint glass" during a dispute at their Sunset District residence.

Although the hubby would recant later, the Chief wasn't taken into custody, asked to leave the premises; all the SFPD did was take a report and leave. Had this been an alleged male on female attack, you can bet your money that the Chief would have been booked! Then Mayor Gavin Newsom said the "incident was a personal matter" among the White's and closed the book on the matter.

Speaking of Gavin Newsom, now the Lt. Governor and whom the Democratic Party has aspirations of moving into national office, possibly as a Vice Presidential candidate in 2020 or 2024, back in 2007 Newsom had an affair with the wife of one of his closest friends and the head of his second mayoral campaign Alex Tourk. The female cheating on her husband was Newsom's former secretary Ruby Rippey-Tourk. Five years ago this was front-page news, but what the press failed or refused to tie-together was the suspected Drug use of the now Lt. Governor.

Soon after the affair became public, Newsom entered a facility for what he said was Alcohol Rehabilitation. Prior to that, Ruby Rippey-Tourk went into Cocaine Rehabilitation. Now is it just this ex-Law Enforcement type and Private Investigator that can see through the San Francisco fog here? If a couple is having an under the table tryst, have you ever heard of them not doing the same poison, be it alcohol, cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine?

When I asked members of the SFPD about Newsom and nose candy, nobody wanted to talk much. In itself that made me feel that Newsom entering rehab for booze was a ruse, when in all likelihood I was thinking it was “blow” that he and Ruby Rippey-Tourk were doing together.

Back to Ross Mirkarimi, the duly elected San Francisco Sheriff. Now while I'm not condoning what he is alleged to have done or been forced to admit, but it sure seems like he was thrown under the bus by District Attorney George Gascon and Mayor Ed Lee. Remember that when the Fire Chief cracked her husband over the head with a glass, something she most certainly in my mind did, for if not the husband would have been charged with "Filing A False Police Report." He wasn't and Newsom, another politico on the Brown team, said it was a "personal matter," the same line he used when he was caught banging his best buddy's wife and entered rehab.

In San Francisco politics there are two sets of laws, one for Willie Brown's people, and one for Willie's enemies! In closing, I take you back to The Tonight Show in the late 1960s with Johnny Carson hosting when a guest said, "Never marry an actress, for you’ll never know when they're acting." I guess Ross Mirkarimi missed that show!

P.L. Fernandez
Award Winning Writer
Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host

Posted by PEDRO FERNANDEZ on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

Paranoid conspiracy non sense.

Posted by Matlock on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

Making the Madison video to support a custody battle is inconsistent with fleeing to Venezuela. But other than that it was a great story. I LOVE the part about Newsom and his mistress having to do the same drugs since they were sleeping together.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

If the father put up a stink, she wouldn't be able to take the kid to Chavez-land. But if she gains full custody, Ross couldn't say a friggen thing about it! She admitted that's why she made the video

Posted by PEDRO FERNANDEZ on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

The secret government passed down word that podunk SF non legislating sheriff must not be allowed to let his offspring head back to Chavez land with soap opera star mother and wife.

The wheels of the establishment quickly started to turn, lackeys throughout San Francisco did the biddings of the Bilderberg and Mason's of the FBI to quickly bring a Mirkarimi case to a frenzy. The Ivory Madison sleeper agent was called up, the neighbor drummed up a false story by feeding wife "X" LSD and convincing her to make up stories.

It is all so clear. It is all about Hugo Chavez, and the egg on America's face if the child of a sheriff in San Francisco had his child moved to Chavez land. This has noting to do with SF politics, it is all a trumped up plot to deny Hugop Chavez a win.

Pedro Jones
truth seeker, published and acclaimed horse whisperer

Posted by Pedro Jones on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 1:35 am

Pedro, The Illuminati told you that you were supposed to keep all this stuff secret until the Venezuelan telenovela star was safe in captivity in one of the Axis of Evil nations.

You are in trouble now. Find a good hiding spot, toot-suite!

Posted by Troll the XIV on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 6:41 am

Venezuela wasn't part of Bushie's "Axis of Evil"

The political axis, traditionally, only has three parts.

Just an aside.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 6:37 am

Anyone who prefaces their article with words like, "some of my yes friends are (women, black, Jewish, gay, etc)," you know what comes next is a totally misogynistic, racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

And if I may add, we all know what ethnicity brown is from!

Posted by Geroge Bosh III on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

Frankly, I am glad to see Mirkarimi fighting this to the death. Each day he prolongs the inevitable is one more nail in the coffin of SF progressives. Ross is single-handedly accomplishing what ten years of moderates were unable to: the dismantling of the SF progressive joke-a-thon. In the words of one former progressive stallwart, "fuck you motherfuckers!"

Posted by el Greco on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 5:40 am

I haven't lived in SF or CA in over 10 years but I first met Mirkarimi as a much younger and idealistic Green Party actvist in the late '80s. He had charisma and plenty of women liked him...until they got to know him. He was a womanizer and some women complained of being harassed by him. I remember getting a ride home after a Green Party meeting and they dropped Ross off first. I asked the driver, "is that where he lives?" The driver said "no, he sleeps around." This was the early '90s. A few years later, working on a campaign, I had a phone conversation with him that I thought was to be straightforward conversation asking him to attend a meeting, and he shot back something in an angry voice something like, "is it that you want me to attend" as if he felt I wasn't his first choice...what an ego. I had liked him up until that point but then I realized how arrogant he really was. I know, minor stuff compared to his life in 2012 but his arrogance and ego were evident way back when...

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 7:54 am

that unmarried , unattached men shouldn't have sex lives? really?

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:04 am

assets and trophies rather than as individuals. And sadly, that is the type of flw that endures over the decades, as we have seen with so many fallen politicians.

Often it is their personal failings that bring them down, not their political ones. Maybe in France that wouldn't matter, but here it does.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:31 am

I'd been hearing similar reports from a lot of people. He was aggressive with women and a flaunting playboy.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 8:14 am

That anecdote was an attempt at humor. I've forgotten how everything is interpreted as a political statement in SF.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:16 am

This article is hysterical. The list of questions are loaded like a cross-examination. And there are about 40 of them with all the subparts. I can only imagine the Mayor and his staff receiving the list and saying "we need to order in some pizzas and stay late tonight so we can respond to all these questions and get back to the Guardian."

Posted by The Commish on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 9:00 am

Ironically as usual, the only person here acting with any kind of integrity or honor is the accused, considering how that toad Bevan Dufty is in his cush city job after taking that weird phone call to change his vote from Hennessy to Ed Lee, and that corrupt lying vulture Ed Lee who no one will deny is the most openly dishonest man to ever lie his way into office.

The way this last election played out still has people stunned into numbness, so maybe the positive effect of all this will be that we finally wake up like some puppy in the shelter kill chamber that survived the gas.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:25 am

Over 60% of them voted for Lee in the final analysis, and his support would be even higher now. People like his business-like, non-ideological, pro-jobs approach to the job.

And Lee never lied about anything. He initially said he had no plans to run and, later, was persuaded by his many supporters to change his mind. Changing your mind is not lying. It's what you do when the facts change.

RossGate has shown us the risks of having a liberal in a city-wide leadership role. While Lee exudes a quiet competence that is reassuring.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:36 am

Lee went against his word. A more accurate way of framing it. And it was understood that the fact that he would not run was grounds for voting him in as Interim Mayor. To be exact.

Posted by Daniele E. on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

Lee merely said at one point in time that - at that point in time - he had no intention to run.

He didn't lie or break a promise - he merely changed his mind.

Very different.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

Then how come I seem to remember a video of a journalist asking him if he will ever decide to run, and he said no? No, I won't. Of course when he said that, the body language was telling, which, as a visual person, I remember more than anything else.

Posted by Daniele E. on Mar. 24, 2012 @ 8:34 am

Mirkarimi is the one showing integrity and honor?
By lawyering up and attempting to have legitimate evidence thrown out?
By refusing to take ownership until he was literally forced to?

It is extremely ironic that anyone would say Mirkarimi has either integrity or honor after all of this.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:42 am

"Lee's charges against Mirkarimi leave the Emperor undressed"

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:41 am

what dont you understand...? he is a sworn peace officer and tried to bribe and threaten his way out of a criminal charge--both to his wife and his neighbors. He tried to dismiss the criminal charge by saying it was 'a private family matter', which it certainly is not, it is a crime. He did not understand that until it was pointed out to him. He pled guilty to a criminal charge and he has a past history of domestic violence not only with his current wife but at least one former girlfriend. He has anger manangement and arrogance issues. He has verbal and physical abuse issues dating way back and was formally censured for such verbal abuse against his staff when he was a Supervisor. As a peace officer, if he remained one, he carries a FIREARM...this is...not safe, not prudent and DOES below a standard of conduct and ethics that one would expect for the position of Sherrif. He needs to go and end this circus. What an embarrassment.

Posted by starcycle on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

It's never just one thing that brings down a politician. It's a series of incidents that represents a pattern of erroneous behavior, coupled with a deluded and ill-fated attempt at a coverup.

I wonder if, even now, Ross really thinks he did anything wrong, rather than just being shrewd enoigh to sound like he is.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

He was elected to a Law Enforcement position, the top one. Would a man who had just pled guilty to false imprisonment been hired as a Sheriff's Deputy ?? I don't think so. Why then, should he be the top cop after his plea ?? Case closed.

Posted by Robert on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

lucky to get 2% of the vote. His "mandate", which was never that impressive to start with, has vaporized with his credibility.

The calls for him to go have become deafening and almost universal.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

Actually, Sheriff Hennessey hired people who had been convicted of murder and other serious crimes into top position in the department and still made it one of the greatest Sheriff's Department in the country.  http://www.sfbg.com/2011/12/20/unlikely-sheriff

The world is far more complex than many of you seem to acknowledge.

Posted by steven on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

I simply cannot wait to see this next headline. "Hire me! I am a murderer! Having a murderer on staff makes everything better!"

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

The internet definition of 'Troll' is someone who goes onto a board with the express purpose of starting a flame war. For example a Dodger fan might go onto a Giants' board and say something like 'That Pablo Sandoval is so f* fat, he won't last another season'.

Tim uses it as a derogatory term for anyone who disagrees with him. Most of the time we make pretty logical arguments against what Tim is saying and he seems to have a lot of trouble dealing with it, hence the derogatory term. But it is important that people point out the nonsense that gets published here because the Progressive movement is still breathing, if barely. Besides, it is pretty funny sometimes.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

How did the San Francisco "left" become so godawfully conservative on issues of gender? I'm having trouble seeing what more direct evidence you could have of domestic violence than the video, the bruises, the corroboration from exes, the source of the evidence. Personally I did work for an opposing candidate many years ago, and thought the race had a lot to do with gender. Ross was a little suspicious back then, talking in the low voice, mispronunciating and misusing words to sound smart, while getting props for being the real progressive. One of his supporters back then told me about how our trans man candidate just didn't "feel like a leader" when she looked at him. Whatever you think about Robert, electing him would have opened up gender roles a little for all of us, period. There was an obvious feminist cost to electing Ross.

Like many of you I didn't have a lot of complaints with Ross as a supervisor. He was good on my issues and polite to me in person. I have sympathy for this activist peer of mine who's ended up in such an old sordid story because of personal failings. Life is complicated, shit happens, people do bad things, for which they can always still atone. It'll hurt, and he'll get over it--most people don't have successful political careers anyway. But politically I have no sympathy for defending the idea that it's ok for the "progressive" sheriff to have been involved in domestic violence, clearly shown to be throwing his position around in a domestic dispute, and then have him be the guy running the institution putting people in jail for those same offenses. Are yall to the right of 1970s moderate feminists, considerably to the right of the speaker of the house and the moderate democratic mayors, or not?

Little story from the old days. In the Haaland vs. Mirkarimi campaign, some of us tenant radicals got out of hand and started saying "lower the rent" as a slogan along with handing out Robert's literature. Fine if you think that's kooky socialist theory, we'll see how the economics of bleeding up all the profit from the tech industry in nonproductive housing price increases works out in the long run. But directing this more at the progressive choir, Steve Jones, a Mirkarimi supporter, called up our campaign office and complained about this being unfair, as if positioning ourselves to the left of Ross and tempting them with an idea of a better future was a kind of cheating.

Put all that together. This isn't defending the leftist guy because the revolution is more important, this is being upset because you picked the wrong horse, not being super concerned with the big issues of your time, and as a bonus fundamentally not having a problem with "I'm a powerful man, and I can take your child."

Posted by Greg Shaw on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

Greg, I don't recall the incident from the 2004 campaign that you're referring to, but I can tell you that I would never complain to one campaign on another's behalf or take issue with advocating pro-renter policies because they are too far to the left. Perhaps I thought your claim wasn't supported by the facts, I honestly don't remember, but if you'd like to discuss this, call me. Furthermore, I've always admired the work Robert (now Gabriel) has done, which is why he got our second place endorsement in that race and why I still have a good relationship with him (go on, ask him). And just to be accurate, the "evidence" on that video was a bruise, not bruises, and the actress who tearfully told the tale was clear on that tape and since that it was being made as evidence for a possible custody fight. That said, I can understand how it led to criminal charges and why he pled guilty. But it's not a conservative position to raise questions about a powerful prosecutor and chief executive unilaterally forcing an elected official from office. It doesn't even matter that Ross is progressive, what matters is that the reasons make sense, that the government isn't coercing confessions or resignations, that we keep the interests of the victim (which Eliana, remember her?) in mind, that we don't completely disregard the will of voters (which is why recall is how disgraced elected officials are usually dealt with), and that we act like civil society (valuing due process, rules of evidence, etc.) instead of a lynch mob, all of which are progressive values.  

Posted by steven on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

bruise or bruises. Why does this matter? how about if he hit her with a hockey stick would that change your mind? How about if he tied up some random woman with bondage equipment and beat her?

What would you have said if it was the DA (who you hate) who did this? [And we all know the answer, you would be calling for his head.]

We might be having this discussion if RM was on the board of sups, or perhaps even the school board... but he is the sheriff He ran for that office, not some other. He ran for a law enforcement office.

Hell I might even agree with you if he was a convicted wife beater on the status of woman commission, but he is the sheriff.

Like it or not, those required to enforce the law are judged by different standards.

trying to turn this into a conspiracy or an enemies plot is silly. He is done, and you just lower your own personally credibility by defending him. And I might add that the board progressives will vote to remove him, they know its political poison not to.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

bruise or bruises. Why does this matter? how about if he hit her with a hockey stick would that change your mind? How about if he tied up some random woman with bondage equipment and beat her?

What would you have said if it was the DA (who you hate) who did this? [And we all know the answer, you would be calling for his head.]

We might be having this discussion if RM was on the board of sups, or perhaps even the school board... but he is the sheriff He ran for that office, not some other. He ran for a law enforcement office.

Hell I might even agree with you if he was a convicted wife beater on the status of woman commission, but he is the sheriff.

Like it or not, those required to enforce the law are judged by different standards.

trying to turn this into a conspiracy or an enemies plot is silly. He is done, and you just lower your own personally credibility by defending him. And I might add that the board progressives will vote to remove him, they know its political poison not to.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

You keep mentioning the videotape and how it was made in the event there was a custody battle. Who cares why it was made? It shows evidence of a crime. It doesn't matter why it was originally recorded.

We're all looking forward to the SFBG duly reporting Ross and Eliana's sordid story next week. Although it's not going to help Ross' case that he's choosing this paper to finally explain what actually took place that night and afterwards.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

The point of my last comment was to note that the mob isn't being accurate (saying he beat her and that she was covered in bruises and he pled guilty to it, as opposed to having one bruise on the arm where he grabbed her one time and pleading guilty to momentarily limiting her freedom) and to note that Eliana wasn't having a spontaneous reaction to a violent event, she was creating a video to be used in a possible custody fight, as she said on the tape. And yes, she was a soap opera actress before marrying Ross, someone who could command tears and play to the audience. So maybe she was embellishing the incident and this "evidence" isn't what you all simplistically believe it to be. That's certainly what she's been saying ever since, despite the mob's utter disregard for Eliana and what she wants and needs. All I'm saying is this situation isn't as simple and clear as many would make it out to be, and I've been a little surprised at being so harshly criticized for laying out a long list of questions that the mayor should answer. Don't any of you want to see the advice memo from the City Attorney's Office? It would lay a fuller discussion of the arguments for and against bringing official misconduct charges, giving us better insight into the strength of the case and whether Lee's actions have created a liability for city taxpayers. But I suppose it's easier to just feed off the mob mentality and self-righteously believe we live in a black-and-white world where everyone's motives are pure and clear and you're all just smarter than me because you've so easily discerned the truth. Personally, I think life is a bit more complicated than that.

Posted by steven on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 10:16 am

This much is black and white: The sitting Sheriff was legally convicted of Wrongful Imprisonment. I share your concern about creating "a liability for city taxpayers" but I'll take my chances with defending due process rather than having the city not fully investigate the charges of Wrongful Imprisonment by their Sheriff. You don't see any liability there I guess. No lawyer would pick up on that if they claimed that their client had been abused by the Sheriffs Dept. Really?

In terms of the Advice Memo and related stuff...nobody said that everything has to be put out on the table on day 1. Again - Due Process should prevail and Mirkarimi can request items like that to be made public during the two hearings. And what do you think it said, BTW. Did the City Attorney tell the Mayor that he had no legal grounds?

And you and Tim should stop lowering yourselves (if that is even possible at this point) by saying that you're not defending what Mirkarimi did. I guess that's technically true. You're just saying that it shouldn't be investigated. If it was Ed Lee's volunteers improperly collecting ballots on the street in Chinatown, something that made no sense whatsoever for him to condone given his imminent landslide, you'd be screaming for the DA to go medieval on him.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 10:47 am