Mayor Lee and high ethical standards


If Mayor Ed Lee thinks that a person who pled guilty to false imprisonment can't do the job of San Francisco sheriff, he's welcome to say that. He would hardly be alone in that position, and it's one that a fair number of progressives support.

But I didn't know whether to laugh or puke when I heard his statement on the suspension:

Sheriff Mirkarimi's actions and confession of guilt clearly fall below these standards of decency and good faith, rightly required of all public officials.

"Standards of decency and good faith?" This from a mayor who lied repeatedly about his intentions to seek office. A mayor who promised that there were absolutely no conditions under which he would seek a full term as mayor. A mayor whose campaign has already led to money-laundering indictments. A mayor whose supporters appeared on camera to be illegally collecting ballots. A guy who was caught up in a really sleazy bid deal under Mayor Willie Brown. A politician whose closest allies are powerful people with very checkered ethics records.

I'm surprised I didn't see Mohammed Nuru up there, too, talking about the great high ethical standards in the Mayor's Office.

Look: You can argue that Mirkarimi doesn't belong in law-enforcement, and you can argue that he should resign, and you can argue his fate all day, as people have been doing, mostly in good faith, on this here website. I never have defended Mirkarimi's conduct, and I'm not going to start now.

But please: Ed Lee has no business talking about high standards of decency and good faith. By those rules, we could kick out a sizable part of his administration.


Lets just state for the record that you are defending a man who admitted and apologized for abusing his wife.As people have said time and again, just because some people get away with things doesnt mean everyone does or should.

That your reaction to Lee's statement is to either laugh or throw up ? Well people dont come here for mature well thought out non-provincial journalism.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

If the posters on this comments board are so provincial to you, then leave, Greg! Go back to your office at 250 Sutter with the rest of the craven Eric Jayeites who have made posting on SFGAte their second career.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

Yes we do doug, obviously you do or you wouldn't have commented. Where are you from? San Franciscan's love the Bay Guardian, which is why it is still here..

Posted by dog-sense on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

Tim and Steven will probably tell you that if you get them comfortable enough.

"San Franciscans" don't love the Guardian. A shrinking, aging sect of San Franciscans love the Guardian.

They have gotten to the point that they write stories for shock value, or at least to encourage negative attention. Hence, the bizarre, self-defeating defense of the City's most shamed politician of the last 20 years.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

"Decency and good faith" are just the words used in the section of the City Charter that define official misconduct. Thus, I wouldn't get so upset about the word choice.

Posted by The Commish on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

Here's what she said in the comments at FCJ (Mar. 12 @6:33pm):

"I hope Ed Lee looks into his options with regard to the Go Lorrie’s Vans illegal money laundering investigation, which he’ll no doubt be called to testify in, at the same time."

"Although when the Mayor testified that he didn’t remember, as City Manager, overriding his senior staff’s conclusions that Willie Brown ally General Computer Solutions was a fraud, so as to award them a lucrative Y2K contract, no one seemed to take much interest besides The Guardian, FCJ, and KPFA."

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

Once again, people forget. So I will say it again:

This issue is all about MAYOR LEE. Before that it was all about CHRISTINA FLORES and then it was all about GEORGE GASCON . Of course if you just read the Chronicle you would think that the main focus is Mirkarimi's actions and subsequent conviction, but what can you expect from such a slanted news organization.

If Lee has not lived a life above reproach then he has no business doing his job and should abstain from any issue that involves the conduct of officials that he is legally required to monitor.

Posted by Steroidal Progressive on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

George Cothan has fingerprints on both this case as well as the Mohammad Nuru affair from 2004...

Posted by marcos on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

No one has yet heard the specifics about the heated argument between the couple on New Year's. You see, if hypothetically a husband grabs his wife's arm to keep her from striking him say in front on a child... a bicep bruise could easily be left. DA Gascon wouldn't promise defense lawyers that he wouldn't go after Eliana for the same misdemeanor child endangerment, were she to testify to her presence and participation in such an argument. Now the Mertens-Madisons or are they the madison.mertens are sending cease and desist letters and threatening to sue allkinds of folks for having the temerity to suggest that Mrs. Madison-Mertens's
self-produced legal bio is disengenuous. One wonders why the very, very quite Mrs. Mertens can't speak for herself and address the questions..Did you promise confidentiality to Eliana,. Why did you present yourself as a legally trained super eagle beagle if you've never passed the California bar, why did you wait four days before calling the cops if you were sooooooo concerned about real domestic violence? Who did you talk to about that decision..and how did the news of the arrest make the newspaper(Chronicle) before any charges had been filed....Speak up Ivory...stand on your own two feet for a change.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

a man who beats his wife?

You are a disgrace to women everywhere, "Christine".

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

The example that you provide is not the only example of how that bruise could have been caused.

There were powerful sun flares during that period. Suppose a flare was heading right for the child's eyes at the speed of light. His mother would have had to jump very quickly to protect him and could have bruised her arm in the process.

This hypothetical also proves Mirkarimi's innocence, as does yours.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

Lee changed his mind.

That is totally different from lying.

And even more different from absuing your wife.

The people support Lee and want Ross gone. It's really that simple.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

Last year, the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and the Ethics Commission notified Mayor Lee of official, egregious misconduct on the part of Library Commission President Jewelle Gomez and urged that he fire her from that body. To the best of my knowledge, he has been silent on the matter. And her reign continues.

And for what it's worth, he has not responded to requests to fill the mayor's ex-officio, non-voting seat on the task force. I'm not holding my breath for it.

Posted by Richard Knee on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

librarian gets up to is a little different from the chief sheriff abusing and falsely imprisoning his wife, ya know?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

...first, Jewelle Gomez is not a librarian. She chairs a commission whose members are appointed by the mayor.

Second, and more on point, Ms. Gomez's transgression was a clear, willful violation of the First Amendment, and of state and city open-meeting laws, and it occurred well before the incident involving Sheriff Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez.

The two episodes are separate and distinct. For Mayor Lee to be selective in his prosecutions does not speak well of his own conduct.

Posted by Richard Knee on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

Everyone cares that the guy in charge of prisons has pled guilty to faulty imprisonment, you dig?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

Libraries = Knowledge. You should visit one at least once in your life.
Prisons = Restriction of Freedom. Pretty obvious which is your natural habitat.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

Mr Mirkarimi does not serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. The sheriff
is an ELECTED OFFICIAL! What right does the Mayor ( another elected
official) have to fire the Sheriff. If the voters are so offended by the
Sheriff they can Recall him.

Posted by Barbara Greaney on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

Hear hear! Lees acting like there is some process in the city charter for removing a city official that is guilty of official misconduct.

Posted by Grig on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

True, the City Charter does have these provisions for the removal of the duly elected Sheriff. But show me where it says that you can remove a PROGRESSIVE Sheriff.

I'm waiting.....

Posted by Steroidal Progressive on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

Mr. Mirkarimi should have shut up, lawyered up and gone to trial. Now, he should consider filing a Declaratory Relief action in SF Superior Court on the meaning of "official misconduct" in the context of the present controversy.

Posted by AG on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

Greetings good to see you at Michael's memorial. Don't see you post here often, a word of warning; there was a "Greg" who for years has contributed to discussions here; either 'he' has succumbed to senility or, hopefully and more likely, retarded sophomoric tea party trolls are posting as "greg" - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, especially for those who have nothing to say.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

Mr. Mirkarimi does not serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. The sheriff is an ELECTED OFFICIAL! What right does another elected official have to fire
him. If the voters are so worked up about than let them Recall him.

Posted by Barbara Greaney on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

Calling "GREG" and his racist clique. No reponse. To busy working on the "Free George Zimmerman" site.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

articles is very annoying Patrick. You were heard the first time. Now stop.

Don't be a troll.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

Point well taken, I don't do it often, but when some ignorant racist dipshit like "GREG" doesn't have the balls to respond and back up his bullshit, I sometimes get pissed, 'specially when I'm cruising for a bruising. I am somewhat consoled in that I have made 'him' STFU, but it deprives me of the opportunity to post a final riposte and gut the contemptible little capon.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:59 pm


Posted by Geroge Bosh III on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

I have NEVER defended Mirkarimi's conduct. All I've said is that there are a lot of unusual, curious things about this entire case. Ross Mirkarimi did a bad thing, and I've always said he needs to be held accountable. Does that mean a sentence handed down by a court that has effectively ruined his life and political career? Yes --that's what happened, and I'm not disputing it. But it's fair to say that very, very few chief executives have the authority to remove another elected official -- and it's a power that should be used carefully, and it's all of our responsibility to make sure it's not abused.

It's easy for reporters to pile on and say what everyone else is saying. I'm still willing to ask questions. Why is that a problem?

Posted by tim on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

It shouldn't be allowed for a "chief executive {to} have the authority to remove another elected official."

The charter should be changed to allow for quick election recalls and/or another type of mechanism to allow for the removal of an elected official, one which doesn't allow for the removal at-will, by the mayor, of an elected office holder.

Better to allow Mirkarimi to be removed by a recall vote.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

You both realize, of course, that Lee does not have the authority to remove Mirkarimi, at least not permanently. The civilian Ethics Commission has to have their say as well as the legislative branch. Sounds like a pretty good system of checks and balances.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 12:29 am

....he did it all by himself due to his arrogance and inability to control his anger.
Had he been upfront from Day 1, this was a very manageable crisis.

How would you hold him "accountable?" with a slap on the wrist? some nominal fine and probation?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

So lemme get this straight: Gavin Newsom, who slept with his best friend's wife/office subordinate and admitted to substance abuse while being mayor, nominates Edwin Lee to be Interim Mayor, who in turn L I E D to our faces to take advantage of incumbency to become our next fair mayor, then takes it upon himself to throw out a man who had a fight with his wife gone awry and who in fairness had anger management problems. We still don't know what exactly happened in this fight. Allowing for Mirkarimi's admitted bad temper which he is making amends for—and a bruise—we still don't know if perhaps Eliana Lopez, feeling vengeful and fearful, possibly exaggerated or distorted the events in the video that she after the fact and understandably if this were the case, wanted destroyed. (Maybe, just maybe, this is why she wanted immunity). Were this the case, could it be that this "evidence", this foundation to this whole case, might have been indeed...flawed and unfair to begin with?

In the end, I hope justice is served by the ethics committee and the board of supes. And I hope compassion and fairness rules in this fair city. Not "gotcha politics" and reactionary vengefulness.

And one more thing I want to say to Anti Domestic Violence advocates: While it's true that domestic violence is serious and not a private matter, I also want a more nuanced approach to judging someone to the point of banishing him from his work.

I want San Francisco to be the compassionate city it is known to be. Not a vengeful one. Not a short-sighted fearful one, who in the name of Anti-Domestic Violence Advocacy loses sight of the very virtue these organizations seek to represent: nonviolence and compassion. And by nonviolence in this instance, i mean the kind of internal nonviolence of spirit whereby you chose not to hate your perceived adversary.

Posted by Daniele E. on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 7:44 am

That Tim Redmond is so bent out of shape because a politician lied is breathtaking. Not because of the lying but because the nature of the lie: A politician who intends to run says he/she won't. Look at Mayor DF and her "promise" to QKopp. Btw, look out for Jeb Bush for more fodder for your uppity position, Tim.

Posted by DanC on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 11:55 am

It is scary enough that one of goons stumbling towards the republican nomination could actually become the next POTUS. What is even more horrific is what is lurking in the Bushes waiting for a 'brokered' convention.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

This is pathetic journalism. You're equating a sheriff convicted of false imprisonment and who allegedly beat his wife, with a decision about running for office?

Shame. Shame. Shame. Honestly, Redmond, your opinions disgust me. It's sad to see the Progressives falling apart over this scandal. You attack Ed Lee for doing what most SF citizens want: for Mirkarimi to leave.

Posted by SMB on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

He was charged with false imprisonment because he grabbed her arm - that's all one needs to know to know there's a lot of questions about how this whole thing went down (meaning the prosecution of it). In Gascon's warped world, someone grabbing another's arm equals "false imprisonment."

Really Gascon, false imprisonment? Isn't that like really really really really stretching things to the point of absurdity? As if the phrase "false imprisonment" could mean almost anything? If I step in front of someone so they have to go around me, I guess I could also be convicted of false imprisonment too then.

It's good to be king, or DA. You get to decide who you prosecute (like your enemies) and who you let go and give some convenient excuse for (like "still investigating" when cops are caught on camera stealing things from a "criminal's" residence which would require something like 45 minutes of "investigating").

Is there any legal (legitimate) reason why Gascon hasn't released the tape of the interview with Lopez?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

San Franciscans have this really strange idea about how things work. I assume since there is a long history of activism changing the political landscape, there is a feeling among the populace that they should be involved in things like prosecution - that instead of a judge and jury, the public should be the ones vetting the evidence.
We seem to be particularly perturbed when someone in a position of power exercises that right without consulting the people - even if he is fully within his legal rights to do so.

People are calling what Lee did "illegal" , and saying that Gascon has a duty to turn over whatever evidence we would personally like to see to the public.

very very strange ideas

Posted by Greg on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 6:25 am