"This was such a wipeout psychologically": Mirkarimi tells the story Lee didn't want to hear

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Ross Mirkarimi and family at his Jan. 9 inauguration, days after the scandal broke and four days before charges were filed
Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

As Ross Mirkarimi and his legal team prepare for a trio of legal hearings that could determine the future of his career, the suspended sheriff sat down with the Guardian for nearly two hours in his first extended interview recounting what happened during that fateful New Year's Eve conflict with his wife, their actions in its aftermath, and whether any of it should cost him his job.

As the story continues to unfold, and the facts come out, it’s becoming more and more clear that neither of two central players – Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, and the neighbor who called the police, Ivory Madison – had any idea how this would play out, or, apparently, any desire for the incident to bring down the elected sheriff.

Mirkarimi has been in a bind for much of the last four months: Because of a pending criminal case, he hasn’t been able to tell his side of the story. And since he pled guilty instead of going to trial, his version of events is only now beginning to trickle out.

And the interview made clear that the man who has in the past been accused of arrogance has lost a lot of his ego.

“This was such a wipeout psychologically,” Mirkarimi said. “It makes me immensely insecure and has left me in vulnerable state.”

He looks it – the elected sheriff’s face is drawn, almost haggard. His once-frequent smile and laughter is almost gone.

>>Read our full Mirkarimi coverage here.

He’s a politician who freely admits he had marital troubles, was in some ways a bad husband, treated his wife poorly and, in an incident sparked by his own anger, physically hurt her. He knows he’s let down his supporters and damaged his once-bright political future.

He’s struggling to keep his job, arguing that the incident has been blown out of proportion and inappropriately used to remove him from elected office, with Mayor Ed Lee showing a reckless disregard for the truth before making the rare decision to institute official misconduct proceedings.

And you don’t have to endorse Mirkarimi’s actions or even agree that he should stay in office to find indications that the mayor’s case against him is shaky and at times clearly unfair.

Judge Harold Kahn will hear arguments today [April 19] that the City Attorney's Office should be barred for overseeing the official conduct proceedings, and the next day he will hear Mirkarimi's main challenges to Lee's actions, including the arguments that the city's official misconduct statute is unconstitutionally broad and that Mirkarimi was denied due process before being suspended without pay.

Then, on April 23, the Ethics Commission will convene to discuss procedures for handling the case.

Some key issues that could affect the outcomes of the city and court processes involve what Mirkarimi actually did – as opposed to what others have suggested he did. The whole thing may hinge on whether the sheriff did anything to hinder the domestic violence investigation, what his plea deal to official misconduct entailed – and whether the mayor made efforts to differentiate between fact and rumor.  

But let's start at the beginning, just before lunchtime on New Year's Eve, with a story that Mirkarimi told in great detail as we peppered him with questions seeking details on what happened, what his motivations and thoughts were at critical junctures, and what it all meant.

Around 11:45 am on Dec. 31, Mirkarimi, Lopez, and their nearly three-year-old son, Theo, got into their red 1998 Dodge Caravan to go to lunch at Delfina Pizzeria. Just before leaving their house on Webster Street, the couple had started talking about how Lopez wanted to take Theo on a trip to her native Venezuela to visit her father, who is battling cancer.

“It was not an unfamiliar topic,” Mirkarimi said, recounting how it had become an issue of increasing concern by him after her three previous trips had each been extended. They had been having marital problems, and he told us he was concerned that she might not come back – or that Theo could be at risk of kidnapping.

“We didn't have a plan and there was no permission,” Mirkarimi said, with “permission” meaning his written permission to take their son out of the country, which he had learned from a lawyer was required. “The body of our quarrel on Dec. 31 is we need a plan.”

But Lopez told him in the car than she had also talked to an attorney and she contested that it was as clear-cut as Mirkarimi claimed. He later learned that the “attorney” Lopez was referring to was their neighbor, Ivory Madison, a writer who had attended law school and noted her “legal training” on the www.redroom.com website she ran with her husband, lawyer Abraham Mertens. But Madison hadn't taken the bar exam and wasn’t licensed to practice law in California.

“This was a sucker punch, it really walloped me,” Mirkarimi said of the news that Lopez was speaking with an attorney, and it made him angry. “I was acting inappropriately, I swore at my wife and said ‘where is this coming from?' So I could have handled it better.”

“I decided, because we were quarreling, to make the unilateral decision against Eliana's wishes to turn the car around,” he said.

This, he contends, was the act that constituted false imprisonment, the misdemeanor charge that he pled guilty to last month in exchange for prosecutors dropping misdemeanor charges of domestic violence, dissuading a witness, and child endangerment. Mirkarimi contends this was the only point in their conflict in which he restrained his wife's freedom. Other reports suggest that he didn't let her leave the house shortly after the conflict, which he denies.

Mirkarimi’s criminal attorney, Lidia Stiglich, told us false imprisonment is a very broad term, and because it was such low-level charge, there wasn't a specific action it covered. In other words there’s nothing factual in the legal record or anywhere supporting the notion that Mirkarimi actually held his wife against her will.

“You don't need to agree to a factual basis to plead to a misdemeanor,” Stiglich said, noting that Mirkarimi's interpretation is reasonable, but prosecutors might mean something different by it. “We can agree to disagree,” she said, although she acknowledges that vagueness has opened him up to a variety of interpretations in the political arena.

In other words, the notion that a sheriff, who oversees the jails, has pled guilty of false imprisonment looks just terrible, and has been been played up in the press. But it’s not clear that he actually imprisoned anyone, beyond refusing to take his wife and son to lunch. It’s an oddity of law, and the nuance doesn’t play well in a scandal-crazed media.  

But back to the day of the incident.

“I was loud, I was gruff, I was just pissed off, and I am ashamed of my behavior,” Mirkarimi said. By the time they got back home, the sheriff-elect had calmed down, but Lopez was getting increasingly angry at being mistreated.

He said she quickly got out of the car and was brusquely trying to remove Theo, who was crying and upset over his parents' conflict, from his car seat. “I got scared because Theo was in danger a little bit,” he said, his voice choking up and eyes filled with tears, saying that he reached back and grabbed Lopez's right arm, with three fingers under her arm, while he was still seatbelted into the front seat.

“Eliana reacted like, get away from me, and she tugged her arm,” he said. “The incident was minutes.”

Inside the house, tensions quickly de-escalated, he said, and they didn't discuss the conflict again that day. They went grocery shopping together, brought home takeout for dinner, and Lopez went out briefly that night while Mirkarimi stayed home with their son.

But the next morning, she showed him the bruise that had formed on her right bicep where he grabbed her. “She said, 'Look,' and it just crushed me,” Mirkarimi said, adding that he apologized for hurting her and that he agreed to go to couples counseling.

Lopez had been asking her husband to seek counseling for some time, he acknowledged, and he’d been putting it off. “I take full blame that that didn't happen earlier,” he said.

Then, mid-morning, Lopez told him that she was going to talk with their neighbors, Madison and Mertens, who Mirkarimi considered “nice people. They were supporters during my race, but I didn't know them that well.” He said that he didn't think much of it or worry that she might talk about the previous day's incident, although he said he did make the connection after she left that perhaps this was the “lawyer” Lopez has referred to the day before – something she later confirmed.

From Mirkarimi's perspective, the next few days were uneventful. The family left for a long-planned vacation to Monterey the next day, staying at the Intercontinental Hotel and taking Theo to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He said they talked “a little” about their New Year's Eve conflict. “We were trying to gauge each other and our comfort level in talking about this,” he said. 

But Mirkarimi didn't know about the storm that was brewing. He said he had no idea that Lopez had heeded Madison's suggestion on Jan. 1 to make a video in which Lopez tearfully recounted the grabbing incident and displayed her bruise. Lopez, a former Venezuelan soap opera star, has consistently denied publicly that Mirkarimi ever abused her and has said, directly and through attorney Paula Canny, that the video was intended solely to be used in child custody proceedings if their marriage continued to devolve and that Lopez assumed she was getting legal advice and that the communications were private and subject to attorney-client privilege.

But Madison, who has not returned calls from the Guardian or other media outlets, wrestled with whether to go to the police and sought counsel on the question from several people, as information obtained by Mirkarimi's team during discovery showed, including Phil Bronstein, the former editor for the Examiner and Chronicle who now chairs the board of the Center for Investigation and Bay Citizen.

Madison had two phone conversations with Bronstein, the veteran journalist told us. He said he knew Madison socially and “she gave me a brief narrative of the events.

“I said you should do whatever you think you should do to keep Eliana safe,” Bronstein told us.

Bronstein said he doesn't know what happened between Mirkarimi and Lopez, but he understood from Madison that she was acting on behalf of Lopez, that the two women were communicating by text and e-mail, and that “I got the impression that Eliana was still trying to figure out what she wanted to do.”

“Eliana was continuing to e-mail with Ivory, saying he was being nicer now,” Bronstein said, but Madison was still concerned enough that she didn't want to let the incident go, so Bronstein said she decided to call the San Francisco Police Department on Jan. 4 to get information on whether domestic violence incidents could be reported several days after they occurred, a decision he learned about after the fact.

“Ivory called the police hotline hypothetically to get information on when they can file,” Bronstein said, recounting a phone conversation they had on the afternoon of Jan. 4. But he said Madison was told by police that she could be charged with obstruction of justice for not reporting a crime – which isn't exactly true under California law – and that SFPD had sent officers to her house to discuss the matter.

Shortly after that visit from police, Madison called Bronstein to tell him the story. “She was surprised that an inquiry had triggered a police investigation,” Bronstein said. Madison's initial refusal to turn the videotape over to police, who needed a court order to seize it, is another indication that perhaps she didn't want this case to explode the way it did.

In one version of events that Bronstein has discussed, Madison told him she wanted to help Lopez get in touch with three people who might be able to talk to Mirkarimi and convince him to seek counseling. Madison asked Bronstein if he had phone numbers for Aaron Peskin, Mike Hennessey and Art Agnos.

The odd thing about that is that Lopez already knew the three, and that their contact information was in the couple’s house.

But Mirkarimi had no idea any of this was going on, or even that his wife had discussed their conflict with Madison and made the videotape. “Everything happened on the 4th of January and literally I was the last one to know,” Mirkarimi told us.

Months later, Mertens wrote an op-ed for the Chronicle (“A neighbor's side of Ross Mirkarimi case,” 3/20) in which he alleges Mirkarimi “paid a team of lawyers to relentlessly attempt to discredit, dissuade, and harm my wife,” although he didn't return Guardian calls seeking comment or clarification of what he meant.

“The last time I spoke to Eliana was when she called me on Jan. 4. I recognized what I thought was Ross' voice in the background as Eliana pressured me to destroy evidence and lie to the police. Then she repeatedly called Ivory, demanding that Ivory destroy the video, e-mail and texts from Eliana about the incident,” Mertens wrote. The allegation was parroted in the city's official misconduct charges against Mirkarimi, which claim he “or his agents” sought to destroy evidence and obstruct the investigation.

But Mirkarimi and his lawyers say the charge is simply untrue. “The idea that he sought to get the videotape back or destroy it is nonsense,” Waggoner said, noting that Mirkarimi wasn't even home as these events unfolded – on that fateful January day, he attended a ceremony marking the demolition of the old jail and then was in a long Budget Committee meeting, followed by a farewell celebration from the Local Agency Formation Commission. In other words, he couldn't have been “in the background” during that call.

In fact, as far as we can tell, there is no evidence anywhere that Mirkarimi ever contacted Madison or Mertens. “I never talked to Ivory Madison and I never talked to her husband, Abraham Mertens, after any of this happened,” Mirkarimi said.

Mirkarimi said that Lopez first told him that she had told Madison about the grabbing incident by phone on the afternoon of Jan. 4, shortly after Madison told her in the street that she had called the police and they were on the way. Lopez didn't know what to do and wanted to come meet her husband near City Hall. The officers that came tried to talk to Lopez, but she refused.

“She was panicked because she thought things were getting out of control with this neighbor and she asked for my recommendation,” Mirkarimi said, noting that Lopez literally ran from their home to City Hall and met Mirkarimi outside on Grove Street. It was then, he said, that Lopez first told Mirkarimi about making the videotape.

Mirkarimi said he greeted the news with stunned disbelief, and that his first instinct was to try to help his panic-stricken wife, but that he didn't know what to do. “She was petrified about what was going on...She was frantic and I was getting frantic too,” he said. “I didn't have a remedy, except oh my God, I think we need an attorney.”

They made a couple calls to find an attorney, and he said Lopez had the idea of having their friend, Linnette Peralta Haynes, a domestic violence advocate with the Our Family Coalition, reach out to Madison about why she had gone to police and what could be done at that point. “I had no idea what they were going to talk about,” Mirkarimi claims. Peralta Haynes didn't return our calls and she is reportedly being sought as a witness by the City Attorney's Office in the official misconduct proceedings.

Mirkarimi is adamant that he never did anything to gain possession of the videotape, dissuade his wife or any other witnesses from talking to police or prosecutors, or otherwise interfere with the investigation, even though Lopez was appealing to him to do something.

“She really wanted me to stop it, and I was like, dear, this bell has already rung and I don't think we can unring it,” Mirkarimi said.

Lopez has said publicly that she felt betrayed by Madison, and Canny filed motions to suppress the video on the grounds of attorney-client privilege, conflicts that seem to have soured the relationship between the two women and fed feelings by Mertens that Madison was wronged for doing the right thing during the media circus that followed.

As a result, as part of Mirkarimi's plea deal last month, the District Attorney's Office insisted that Mirkarimi publicly apologize to Madison. It was an odd demand, since nobody (other than an op-ed writer in the Chron who gave no substantiation for his charges) had ever said that Mirkarimi had any contact at all with Madison.

DA's spokesperson Stephanie Ong Stillman explained the insistence to us this way: “Ivory Madison's actions were courageous. She found herself in a difficult situation trying to protect a friend who was in danger. In a surprising and disappointing turn, she was vilified for this act of courage. She suffered much unnecessary public scrutiny.”

Stillman wouldn't deviate from that prepared statement when we asked specifically what Mirkarimi had done to Madison – or if there was any indication that the sheriff had ever done anything to “vilify” her – but she did said that the insistence on that direct apology was about encouraging witnesses of domestic violence, an underreported crime, to come forward. “We didn't want other witnesses to be discouraged from reporting crimes after seeing what Ivory Madison went through,” she said.

Yet Stiglich said Canny's motions and the divisions that developed between Lopez and Madison had nothing to do with Mirkarimi: “There were lot of actions taken by Eliana's lawyers that caused a backlash that affected Ross.”

It’s not a minor issue: The allegation that Mirkarimi attempted to dissuade witnesses and used his official position to gain advantage is central to the mayor’s formal misconduct charges. But Mirkarimi and Stiglich maintain that there is nothing in the public record that supports the charge that he dissuaded witnesses or that he used his position as sheriff to gain advantage either before or after the incident.

“I was very surprised to see the allegation from the Mayor's Office about dissuasion [of witnesses or interfering with the investigation] because there was no evidence of that,” Stiglich said. “He was the last person to know there was a video and that police were involved.”

It appears that Mirkarimi thought his guilty plea would end the case – and it was crafted not to give the mayor any grounds for removal. “I would not have entered a plea in a way that would inhibit my ability to be sheriff,” Mirkarimi said. “This was a very lucid conversation.”

In fact, he said, his instinct was to fight the charges all the way. “We were dying to go to trial,” Mirkarimi said.

But the cops and the DA’s Office did an excellent job of creating pre-trial publicity that made it almost impossible for Mirkarimi to get an impartial jury pool. Jury surveys showed that more than 70 percent of the potential jurors had already formed a negative opinion about Mirkarimi based on news coverage, he said.  

He has belatedly sought to address other oft-repeated misimpressions, disputing telling his wife that he would get custody because “I am a powerful man” (he says he told her the U.S. has powerful child custody laws) and saying journalists have distorted his comment that the conflict was “a private matter.”

In a charge that will be central to the upcoming legal battles, Mirkarimi and his attorneys say Mayor Lee wasn't interested in hearing from Mirkarimi or discovering the truth about what happened before deciding to suspend Mirkarimi without pay and bring official misconduct charges against him. That, they say, denied the elected sheriff his due-process rights.

In his sworn affidavit in the case, Lee characterized his March 19 meeting with Mirkarimi – which he began by asking Mirkarimi to resign within 24 hours or be suspended – this way: “I explained to Sheriff Mirkarimi that I wanted to give him an opportunity to talk to me about this issue. It was a free flowing conversation with no time constraints. Sheriff Mirkarimi told me that he has not yet told his side of the story. I said, Okay, and waited for him to tell me his side of the story. He did not. Instead, after pausing, he asked me whether the suspension was based on his conduct as Sheriff. I responded that it was based on his conduct as a public official. I paused again and waited for Sheriff Mirkarimi to give me whatever information he thought important. He did not. Instead, Sheriff Mirkarimi asked me whether the suspension would be with or without pay. I told him it would be without pay. After giving him another chance to ask questions or give more information, I told Mr. Mirkarimi to consider my instruction to resign over the next 24 hours.”

But Mirkarimi said that narrative isn't accurate or complete. He had sought to talk with Lee the previous week to explain what happened, but Lee refused. And when he showed up to talk to Lee on the March 19, he brought Sheriff's Department legal counsel Freya Horne with him and asked that she be included in the conversation, but Lee refused, so there were no witnesses to the conversation.

“I went into that meeting with the express purpose to tell the mayor everything...As soon as I walk in the door, he gives me a little bit of preamble and then asks me to resign,”Mirkarimi said. “I said I'd really like you to talk to Eliana, can I give you her phone number? Nothing...I was asking questions and I wasn't getting answers.”

Asked why he didn't just start telling the full story, as Lee's narrative indicates he was ready to hear, Mirkarimi insists that Lee simply informed him of the decision he had made and didn't want to hear anything else. “He wanted the meeting to end after a minute, and I dragged it out by asking questions,” Mirkarimi said of the 15-minute meeting. Asked why he didn't take a more forceful position, insisting on Horne being there or telling his full story, Mirkarimi said, “I'm the guy who's trying to be contrite, not the one to walk in there with muscle.”

But now that those lines have been drawn, Mirkarimi says he intends to mount a vigorous defense, and he has some serious muscle on his legal team, including Waggoner and Shepard Kopp, who has worked on a variety of high profile cases.

Waggoner said the mayor's affidavit, which he made under penalty of perjury, “is not truthful,” noting the inconsistency between telling Mirkarimi that he had made a decision to suspend him and saying he wanted to hear his side of story.

“That claim is undermined by his statements after when he describes how the meeting went down,” Waggoner said, saying he's hopeful that the courts will agree that Lee acted inappropriately. “All that language undermines his initial claim that the purpose of the meeting was to gather information.”

That’s a central question: Did the mayor give the sheriff a chance to defend himself before making the highly unusual decision to suspend him? Or did Lee base that decision on evidence (like Mertens' opinion piece) that lacked substantiation without giving Mirkarimi a chance to rebut it?

In other words, was Lee’s decision already made when he met with Mirkarimi? And if so, did the city’s chief executive deny another elected official the basic legal right to a fair hearing?

That’s what the courts will address.

Then if the case moves forward, the Ethics Commission will hold hearings –and again, Mirkarimi is at a disadvantage. The Mayor’s Office, through the city attorney, is already sending subpoenas to witnesses and preparing testimony. The defense can’t do that – because there are, at this point, no rules of evidence, no rights for the defense to compel testimony and, frankly, nothing for Mirkarimi’s lawyers to go on.

Four of the five members of the Ethics Commission are lawyers. At some point, they’re going to have to find a way to make this case comply to the rule of law.

Comments

So what, HE CHANGED HIS MIND. Like you have never changed your mind on which way to handle a complicated and big situation. If it meant all that much to people that he promised to not run and then he did, he wouldn't have been elected.

Posted by Dnative on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

Tim cares because he thinks that if Lee had not stood, a leftie might have won. Just as Gonzales might have won if Newsom had not been such a strong candidiate.

Despite the fact that over 60% of voters rejected a more left-wing alternative i.e. Avalos.

But then, by hook or by crook, the left always manages to lose elections. While even when they occasionally win one, like with Ross, they then self-destruct.

How many times have Bruce et al tried to pass public power? Yet here we are, decades later, and PG&E are still running the show. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

What Tim doesn't care about, at all, is the will of the overall electorate. The fact that Lee changed his mind was out there for all to see during the election in which Lee was the strong favorite out of a group of 15. So what if a politician changed his mind, he was the person that the voters wanted.

In what universe should the most popular candidate have to say 'Sorry, but behind closed doors I told several Supervisors and Tim Redmond that I wasn't going to run, so you'll have to find someone else'.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

Lee even though he changed his mind. Over 60% of voters said they did not want a progressive. End of.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

The majority of voters did not vote for Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee...or anyone. (The voter turnout for that election was 42.47%). The majority of registered voters apparently have had enough of all of it! (including myself).

From the Department of Elections:
Last Updated: November 22, 2011 13:33:42
Total Registration and Turnout
Registration 464380
Total Ballots Cast 197242
Turnout 42.47%

So you can stop continually spamming this site with "Over 60% of voters" rhetoric (implying that Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee has some "majority" in love with him). It ain't true, troll. Nearly 60% of registered voters couldn't care less or are sick of it all (I expect it's the latter).

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

"Despite the fact that over 60% of voters"

The majority of voters did not vote for Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee...or anyone. (The voter turnout for that election was 42.47%). The majority of registered voters apparently have had enough of all of it! (including myself).

From the Department of Elections:
Last Updated: November 22, 2011 13:33:42
Total Registration and Turnout
Registration 464380
Total Ballots Cast 197242
Turnout 42.47%

So you can stop continually spamming this site with "Over 60% of voters" rhetoric (implying that Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee has some "majority" in love with him). It ain't true, troll. Nearly 60% of registered voters couldn't care less or are sick of it all (I expect it's the latter).

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

Well apparently Newsom was not such a strong candidate. You must have a very short memory to not remember that Newsom won by only 6%. That's not the sign of a "strong" candidate at all and he way outspent Gonzalez (and his name is spelled with a "z" on the end, not an "s" as you have it). Do you ever look anything up before you post? You just come here to be your dysfunctional self and to rag on this site that you don't like and the people who run it. Why don't you get out and ride a bike instead as it could help improve your health, disposition and ability to focus and look things up. Is this the last remaining site that will allow you to troll?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

I care. People of substance and ethnics (quality people) do as they say they're going to do. It's called character. (This seems very remedial). Do quality people change their mind? Yes, but not after they've made a promise. That's why it's called a promise. It's supposed to mean something. (Duh). People like you will defend the lowest of lows. Don't you tire of wallowing in the gutter to ram your conservative agenda through by rushing to defend various politicians?

What Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee should have done was not run this time as per his promise, but run later in future years, if interested. Then he wouldn't have broken his promise to the voters and he would look like and be a person of good character then.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

The majority of voters who turned out to vote that day didn't and that is what matters.

Posted by D. native on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

the public statements that I recall him making were simply statements to the effect that he had no intention to run, which might well have been true at the time.

I believe it was only when it was known who the other candidates would be, and the widespread disillusionment with all of them, plus the good ratings that Lee was getting from almost everyone, that led to a change of mind. I think you should grant him that right.

Anyway, why does that matter, if he was the peoples' choice?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

"Anyway, why does that matter, if he was the peoples' choice?"

He wasn't "the people's choice" since the majority of people did not vote. See that Turnout: 42.47% down there? That means the majority of people did *not* vote.

Last Updated: November 22, 2011 13:33:42
Total Registration and Turnout
Registration 464380
Total Ballots Cast 197242
Turnout 42.47%

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

vote than you don't count. Of those whose opinions we know, more than 50% more picked lee over Avalos.

Of those who didn't vote, we cannot know, but I'd need a compelling reason to believe they'd break out any differently.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 10:25 am

If anything, Avalos supporters would have made a greater effort to vote than Lee voters did, since they knew that their candidate was an underdog. Lee voters had reason to be confident that their candidate would win even without their vote.

We've always had turnout in the 50% range, expect for special moments like Obama, when we got 80%. Turnout has been down in city elections ever since we put in ranked choice voting. I guess that people don't think it is very exciting to watch an algorithm run.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 11:22 am

"The way elections work in this country is that if you don't vote than you don't count."

Really? Thank you for those words of wisdom. Duh.

"but I'd need a compelling reason to believe they'd break out any differently."

I don't know how they would "break out" and neither do you. And I wouldn't attempt to assume. You would like to assume---to advance your conservative agenda---that the entire city (nearly all REGISTERED voters as opposed to the 42.47% voters who voted in that election which is a big difference) would choose your Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee.

My point is that you, (are you the same "Guest" that's been spamming this site with that "60% of the voters" rhetoric?) like to imply that Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee has some love-fest with the city and that "The People" have spoken and chosen. Bull shit. If one had not looked up the voter turnout for that election one would think---going by what you deceptively write---that the majority of REGISTERED voters chose Pak-Brown-Lee, but they didn't. The majority of registered voters did not vote at all in that election. "The People" (all REGISTERED voters) did not choose Pak-Brown-Lee or Ross M. You try to spin it using your deceptive language that the majority of people voted for Pak-Brown-Lee, which is not the case. Clear yet? I can't say it any other way.

You're not here to be objective, clear or to be accurate. You're here to Troll for Mayor Pak-Brown-Lee and conservatives, the guy who broke his promise to the city. A promise is not to be broken, that's why it's called a promise. It's supposed to mean something, and a promise does mean something to people of character. Apparently, unfortunately you're not one of them.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

The voters knew that and voted for him anyway. And yes, over 60% backed lee in the fianl analysis.

Your argument relies on huge assumptions about the opinions of those who couldn't even be assed to show up to vote. There is no reason to believe they would have voted en masse for Avalos.

Of course turnover is low. but then if Avalos had won with the same turnout, you'd be claiming he had a mandate. It's a bogus argument.

You lost. Deal.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

The tentative ruling on RM's writ petition is against him in all respects, including suspension without pay. He must be facing a cash flow problem at this point.

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

I wonder if he can use election money for Waggoner, and the disaster manager he has likely hired.

(BTW, didn't Eliana just say she was sick of the press scrutiny, why is Ross getting every single news organization to write about him now?)

Posted by Notalawyer on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

The nature and severity of then-Supervisor Mirkarimi's alleged misdeeds aside, whether they constitute "official misconduct" begs some questions: 1. Did the incident that has given rise to the attempted ouster of now-Sheriff Mirkarimi involve the use of any city-owned items or facilities? 2. Did the incident occur as part of the conducting of business of the people of the City and County of San Francisco?

Posted by A non-lawyer on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

can be removed from office and that would include any factor that would irrevocably disrupt an ability to do a job. It's quite clear here that not only should we not have a criminal running a LE office but also that he no longer commands the respect of either his staff or the voters.

If he can't do his job, then he must go.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

Whether he is right or wrong, he is clearly destroyed by this, and is in no shape to do his job. He should resign.

It's amusing to see all these Redmond articles taking everything Mirkarimi says at face value and defending him to the hilt. Guaranteed, if he were on the opposite side politically, Redmond would have articles just as long and "convincing" saying this guy is evil and should resign.

Posted by Doug on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

Imagine this had happened to Bush, or Newsom, or Arnie, or Willie?

Tim would be so sanctimonious about the horror of DV and how it renders any politician not fit for purpose.

Credibility always suffers when one's views are so malleable and opportunistic.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

ur argument reveals you to be. Just imagine. Right.

Just imagine fibbers like you have some epiphany and quit imputing the false morality you suffer from onto others.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 12:11 am

He's a broken husk of a man, brough down by arrogance and hubris.

Ross should be learning from his mistakes rather than trying to cover them up.

We need a sheriff who can command trust and respect, and not a flawed has-been of an ideolog. Mayor Lee has my full support and 70% of SF voters poll as agreeing with him and me.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

He said she got the bruise when while he was sitting in the driver's seat and his seatbelt buckled. My wife is not a sheriff or other law enforcement officer but she quickly figured out (from her experience sitting next to me in the car) that it would be impossible for him to reach across her, from her left to her right, to grab her right arm. Something else must have happened

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

She had gotten out of the car and was unbuckling her kid from his car seat, genius. In all likelihood, her body was turned somewhat to the right as she unbuckled Theo. Deduction is not your strong point, Sherlock.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

clear to me what you seek to achieve by calling your "hero" a liar.

And anyway, we already knew that.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 21, 2012 @ 8:18 am

Mirkarimi is dealing with Feinstein's daughter's court. The only way he will get a fair hearing is to get it out of SF Superior Court and into an upper level.

You don't have to believe it.

You just have to watch it happen.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

It was Thursday night at Joe's Bar, and the usual trolls were there, don't confuse me with facts they say, makes you wanna tear your hair, I really got better things to do, Mirk will win in the end, throw the rascals out once and for all, Occupy City Hall

Posted by barryeisenberg on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

Tim & Steven - you've published a good article here. In any other city, it would be enough to give readers pause, even if they had already made up their minds about what "really" happened. But this is not any other city, as you well know, so I doubt you'll sway anyone. Here's why...

The Progressive leadership of San Francisco (of which I am including both of you, Tim & Steven) has never learned to muzzle it's dogs. Long ago, you discovered the effectiveness of unleashing rabid personal attacks by proxy through certain unstable, vitriolic community-activist mouthpieces. You have been able to remain aloof and dignified (to a certain degree, at least) while your hatchet men eviscerated anyone holding an opposing view, no matter how sincere or how willing they were to discuss a problem and reach a compromise. You've managed to take a city full of LIBERAL San Franciscans, people who, for years, bent over backwards trying to reach some kind... any kind of compromise with you and your minority of beyond-radical fanatics, and turn them against you forever. And not just against YOU, but against ANYONE you support. This is why, when you did a Paul Revere and sounded the alarm about SF's moneyed political faction (or, "Downtown", as you like to call them) taking advantage of Ross' predicament, very few have come running. You expected people to rise up in outrage, but no one gives a shit. Wonder why? You might want to write this down... nobody likes being called a fascist just because they're worried about their families a little bit more than they're worried about fully grown adult drug addicts. That's why most of the city is just shrugging their shoulders while your boy gets crucified.

No it's not fair. But that's reality. If you keep talking shit to someone and jabbing them with your finger, eventually even a tree hugging hippie is going to give you a bloody nose.

Posted by RamRod on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

Are you sure you're not channeling "mods" like Wade Randlett and SFSOS? They played the dirtiest games ever played in SF politics. It got so bad that Dianne Feinstein and Warren Hellman were forced to distance themselves from the group. But not all was lost. Apparently, they got together a nifty little band of trolls to continue their slanderous work. Frankly, it's hilarious to watch you project your own foibles on progressives, but in the real world of politics it was/is a disgrace.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

Progressives are a self selected group, the rest of us are not, your generalisation and free association is plainly weird.

By self selection the progressives have lumped themselves together as, intolerant, naked opportunists, boys who have cried wolf to the point that no one cares.

The citizens are not going to rise up and surround city hall with pitch forks, no matter how much Mirkarimi rhetoric is steeped in, class, race, immigration status, or any other played out string of buzz words and conspiracy theories.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 21, 2012 @ 1:22 am

I feel sorry for theo, the three-year-old. It's not his fault his parents are less than perfect. :( poor little one.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

I'm so happy because you and your parents were perfect.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 12:05 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... ETHICS at the ETHICS commission ... wasn't St. Croix found guilty of "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" by the SUNSHINE TASK FORCE? What about all the ORDERS of DETERMINATION for "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" that get shot down by ETHICS? They seemed to have "GROUND RULES" to do this ... so how this is ROSS matter any different? Don't the same GROUND RULES apply? Will all prior cases that the ETHIC COMMISSION shot down from SUNSHINE be RE-OPENED ? Many many many many questions ...

Interestingly enough if you type my name into a google search engine you read here at SF BAY GUARDIAN an article where I received a NURSE RATCHED letter in response to a record request thru SUNSHINE that was sent to ETHICS ... want to bet the OUTCOME ??? What is the difference? You could also ask about the referral on case # 10038 from SUNSHINE that went to SUNSHINE ... would you like to see the OUTCOME? Nada, zip, zero ...

Yes, VIRGINIA ,,, SANTA CLAUS is NOT ONLY VERY MUCH ALIVE ... the ETHICS COMMISSION has ETHICS ... shall I tell you about writing them (ETHICS) with the CITY ATTORNEY"S HANDBOOK definition of "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT' in my NURSE RATCHED case and what response I got? Would you believe NOTHING, NADA, ZIP. So if Ross is entitled to "DUE PROCESS" at ETHICS what about ALL of us that did not such as my cases that got referred and all the others that got shot down AFTER a finding of "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" by the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE by ETHICS?

Isn't Scott Wiener's Office interested in SUNSHINE's cost ... what about the MONEY that the city saves ( since SUNSHINE and ETHICS are a FARCE) and when the individual uses these "RIGGED" process ... they give up. GREAT "RISK MANAGEMENT" SHILL action ... FALSE HOPE, FALSE PROCESS and FALSE OUTCOME sort of like GARBAGE in , GARBAGE out. Wasn't there an article in the BAY GUARDIAN regarding ETHICS, the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE and the constant GOING NOWHERE with the MINISTRY's ORDER of DETERMINATION for "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT' that is sent to ETHICS for ENFORCEMENT ??? Yes, the BIGGER the LIE ... the MORE the (sheep - people) will believe it. Isn't it UNETHICAL not to ASK THESE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ??? Why ISN'T the BAY GUARDIAN asking these questions or pointing this out?

Please type my name into a google search engine and read how the city BROKE FEDERAL LAW, had my case dismissed in FEDERAL COURT (C02-3485PJH) by TESTILYING only to sign a confession (settlement agreement) years later with the OFFICE of INSPECTOR GENERAL to whom they paid a FINE yet LEFT their INNOCENT VINDICATED VICTIM for DEAD. NO JUSTICE, NO REMEDY, NO HOPE and NO HUMANITY. Any more questions ...

So where are ... were the ETHICS ... will the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE ask why their referrals are STRUCK DOWN and how this (Ross') Official Misconduct is any different than NURSE RATCHED, or ST. Croix and I believe Ms. Gomez from the Library?

Just thought I would ask the question for "REASONABLE" men.

It is JUST TOO BAD I didn't have the $$$ for JUSTICE ... yes, Virginia ... JUSTICE for ALL (if you are rich) and JUST THIS for you and me if you are poor and correct since JUSTICE is NOT BASED on truth but having enough $$$ to get into the process and if you do NOT ... well maybe we should wait and ask ROSS what he'll do without paycheck to support his JUSTICE.

WHEN JUSTICE COSTS ... we all LOSE ... and when we've lost out sense of JUSTICE we are NO LONGER HUMAN ... ask anyone in GUANTANAMO. Fortunately we are a LAND of LAWS ... ha, ha, ha. (see the prior LONG LONG LONG list of ETHICS denials over SUNSHINE for "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT."

But it warms my heart to know that ROSS might get JUSTICE with $$$ and all of us who went to SUNSHINE and got an "ORDER of DETERMINATION: for "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" were played, harmed and badly badly MISTREATED by the RIGGED SYSTEM and FALSE HOPE. Will it continue at the SUNSHINE TASK FORCE offering false hope .... WHY NOT??? Yes, Virginia there is a SANTA CLAUS.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 10:11 am

The KQED inverview was interesting.

Ross sald he has been too "testosterone-packaged."

Good term. Good way to describe a man who says goodbye to his girlfriend at the airport, attends an environmental conference in Brazil, and comes home with a pregnant Venezuelan soap opera star.

He also said he thinks about "evaporating as a person."

Is he hinting that he may committ suicide.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Apr. 20, 2012 @ 11:13 am

Mirkarimi has reached major gadfly status. He is like the obnoxious last house guest that won't leave.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 21, 2012 @ 12:06 am

....Is he has talked to members of the BOS and he thinks he has the votes. Maybe Campos and Mar (Mar is nutty enough to support him) have already told him they're supporting him and he thinks he needs just one more vote...? I believe he needs three...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 21, 2012 @ 8:34 am

Ross, be gone. You are not fit for the office. You never lay your hands on your family in violence. Never.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

Troll, be gone! You are not fit for anything. Never poison this site with your pernicious slander. Never again.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

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