Commissioners sharpen Mirkarimi case and select unlikely rep

Ross Mirkarimi, Eliana Lopez, and David Waggoner speak with reporters after today's hearing.
Steven T. Jones

 The Ethics Commission wrapped up nearly six months worth of proceedings on the official misconduct charges against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi today, finalizing its findings of fact and choosing Chair Benedict Hur to make its presentation to the Board of Supervisors even though he was the sole dissenting vote against removing Mirkarimi from office. 

After making the key decisions during a marathon meeting on Aug. 16, today's hearing was mostly about mopping up, and it was the most sparsely attended of the hearings so far. But there were still a couple of tough issues to hash out, and the commissioners who voted against Mirkarimi tried to strengthen their case at the last minute.
The City Charter mandates removal of an official if at least nine supervisors find he committed official misconduct. The commission had earlier discussed how they viewed that finding and the punishment as separate issues, but decided against recommending a punishment after discussing that charter language. 
Commissioner Beverly Hayon today sought to remove any doubt about where she stood, adding a personal statement into the record that she thought the sustained charges -- its 4-1 finding that Mirkarimi's grabbed his wife's arm during a Dec. 31 argument and subsequently pleaded guilty to false imprisonment -- warranted Mirkarimi's removal.
In a sign that the commissioners are paying attention to the political climate that has formed up around their deliberations, she made a reference to a discussion and vote last month by the Commission on the Status of Women and sought to clarify any "confusion" about where she stood.
Commissioner Paul Renne also sought to sharpen the findings of fact by adding language indicating the commission found the testimony of Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez, to be a less credible and compelling description of what happened on Dec. 31 than the tearful 45-second video that neighbor Ivory Madison helped her make days after the incident displaying the bruise on her arm and saying she wanted to document the incident in case they divorced and there was a custody battle over their three-year-old son. 
That language was inserted in the document without objection, a decision that drew a sharp rebuke from Lopez's attorney, Paula Canny, during the public comment portion of the hearing. "My client wants you to know that you're flat out wrong," Canny said, criticizing the commission's hostile treatment of both Lopez and Linnette Peralta-Haynes, Lopez's confidante on the day Madison unexpectedly called the police. 
"It has to be Eliana is not credible to justify your finding," Canny said, accusing commissioners of selecting facts to fit impressions they formed when watching the emotional video. "The only reason Eliana made that video is to be used in a custody dispute."
Mirkarimi attorney David Waggoner tried unsuccessfully to make changes to a commission summary document that he called "very one-sided," including trying to add language indicating that the commission had unanimously rejected most of the charges that Mayor Ed Lee brought against Mirkarimi, such as witness dissuasion, abuse of power, and interfering with a police investigation. 
Waggoner also objected to Hur's suggestion that attorney Scott Emblidge, who is doing pro bono legal work on the proceedings for both the commission and the Board of Supervisors, calling it a conflict of interest given that the commission's role is akin to that of prosecutor. And on that point, he found support from Renne, who was unaware that Emblidge will also be advising the supervisors, a dual role he found troubling. "I'm a little surprised and I don't know why the board doesn't have independent counsel," Renne said.
Emblidge promised a "dry recitation" of the commission's findings, but Waggoner recommended the commission's executive director, John St Croix, when pressed by Hur for an alternative, a choice Hur rejected because St. Croix hasn't been present at all the hearings. Finally, Renne suggested that Hur do the presentation, saying that he has been fair and represented all arguments well during the proceedings so far, something that Hayon and Commissioner Dorothy Liu enthusiastically agreed with. 
It was an unconventional decision given that Hur made strong arguments on Aug. 16 about the troubling precedent that he thinks the commission's decision represents, saying it gives the mayor too much power and opens the door to political manipulation if the official misconduct provisions are construed so broadly.
But he accepted the duty, telling the commissioners: "I'm willing to do it. It is awkward given that I was in the dissenting view, but I'll do my best."The case is expected to be sent to the board by Sept. 18 and it will have 30 days to act, meaning the decision will be just a few weeks before an election in which five supervisors are running to keep their jobs.Mirkarimi's team has sought to delay the transfer of the case until after the election, noting many political interest groups and supervisorial candidates have been publicly putting pressure on the supervisors to remove Mirkarimi.


"I spend too much time looking at this site."

And he should add: "SF Examiner as well. I'm pushing more than 200+ posts a day on both."

Imagine a life spent on General Assistance, living in a rent-controlled apartment, subsisting on food stamps and handouts while endlessly posting on every available Internet board you can reach and after all that - imagining you actually make a difference.

That, dear friends, is the life of our lillipublicans.

Does anything else need to be said?

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

You know, I was strolling past the People's Cafe on Haight Street when I caught sight of Troll II for the first time. She was dressed in filthy rags, and was pushing a stolen shopping cart filled to the brim with bits of discarded paper. I saw her chewing the nub of the pencil she had cadged from the library, and I thought, "Oh, she must be a poet. I should tell her about the Homeless Poets Cafe." But alas, she is no Julia Vinograd. However, I trailed after her as she made the rounds of SF cafes, begging patrons for "just a moment of your time" to post her ugly rants online. At Cafe Cole, she even helped herself to someone's lap top when he wasn't looking. From then on, it was "lillipublicans this" and "lillipublicans that". It appears she is quite obsessed with Lillipublicans. She had a sad, miserable face and a slightly crazed expression. And she seemed kind of lonely. There was this bitter, pinched look about her. "Poor Esther!" I thought (for that is her real name). You know, I felt kind of sorry for her. But then I happened to look over her shoulder and was shocked to read the filth she had scrawled online. Oh, the sneers, the insults, the outrageous lies! That, and a continual barrage of swipes at anyone who was the least bit perceptive or progressive. Nothing remotely intelligent or thoughtful move on. But I hear that on a good day, she earns enough from her hustling for downtown interests to bed down in a squalid SRO in the Tenderloin, paid for by Rose Pak as a favor for her delirious screeds @SFBG. Obviously, a woman consumed with bitterness and regret over lost opportunities and love affairs gone bad. Pity.

Posted by C'est dur la vie de chien on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

Thanks for that. Had a chuckle.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

That was actually quite humorous - Esther approves.

Posted by Troll II on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

I like Hur. Thought he was fantastic in his job. Glad he'll be the spokesperson, for what it's worth. Also liked the conclusion he came to.
Images are powerful. Too bad a video was made that was subsequently mis-interpreted and used as ammunition for.....fill in the blank.
But Mirk nor Eliana deserve this overblown craziness. Their fight was just a fight, and yeah, a bruise ensued. A shame, but to make such a big deal as we've seen is over the top. Life happens, you know, and sometimes we do things we're not proud of. Can we all just move on?

...want my sheriff back. Thank you very much.

Posted by Daniele E. on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 5:25 am

more appreciative of Ben Hur's degree of even-handedness given the performance of his associates on the EC, but I honestly don't see his performance as "fantastic" -- but rather simply adequate.

Remember, that when Paul Renne took the lead is dispensing with such "evidence" which consisted of pages and pages of Ivory Madison's suppositional ramblings, many -- including myself -- were led to think quite hightly of him; in the end he took the most radical interpretation of the ethics clause in the city charter; one which negates -- again! -- the intent of the voter, when they passed a law which was synopsized in the ballot digest as not making any substantive changes in the law.

Renne's take on the clause where the "impliedly required" language appears -- that it need not apply *only* to the "official duties" specified in the paragraph merits a recall from the commission, I believe, but was Hur's repeated and highly acerbic takes on the event which you describe with the words "a fight was just a fight" any less exorbitant?

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 7:02 am

I think Hur's characterization was a proper admonishment. Like saying: "lay your hands off of your wife." I think that's fair. We have to be clear-eyed here and see that something did in fact occur. But he doesn't come to the conclusion that it was "official misconduct" and neither do I.

It's a warning, saying it's not okay, and that's good, in my opinion. But still, we are human beings with flaws. It wasn't so unbelievably egregious as to call for his ouster...

So, in the end...and now I'm just being me...I'm hearing the last words of the last Beatle song: "the love you take is equal to the love you make"...In the end, at this final juncture, I hope the BOS will make a strong statement around DV and the seriousness of it (along w/ a heck of a lot of other forms of violence in our society), but see that this was an unfortunate occurrence and let Ross do the job he was elected to do. That's love, to me. Not to be taken lightly.

And PS lillipublicans, I'm out of town and haven't had a chance to read all the comments for this story, so didn't see anything you wrote about Hur yet...

Posted by Daniele E. on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 9:30 am

more hopeful that the human race would evolve and leap to a new plane of conciousness together.

As for Hur's admonishment, yes, I can see it. It is *damn* wrong to use physical force in an argument -- much more wrong than shouting which is itself perhaps an underappreciated form of violence. And perhaps my even more forgiving -- yet not certainly *not* exculpatory -- perspective is too much based on my disgust at the workings of the political machine in this matter so that I that imagine possible scenarios which don't apply; but I tend to easily imagine how Ross the father might driven by the intense fear that he might be separated from his son, just as his own father seemed to have been taken away when he was a youngster; that he reacted wrongly in grabbing Eliana's arm, but in a moment of panic as Eliana turned away from him with Theo in tow... I don't know... it seems much more "justifiable" than Hur's acerbic tone would indicate.

If Ross had ever hit Eliana... if it had been demonstrated that he'd ever *intended* to harm her.... Let's just say that as a youngster, I saw domestic violence first hand, so I *know* what it looks like: I wouldn't be here writing in his defense.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 9:56 am

i hear ya, lilli...

Posted by Daniele E. on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

"My agenda is to foster education that will build community, and community that will foster liberation. For example, one pet project of mine is the creation of a global feminist law database, offering a cohesive charting of the often-jagged trajectory of women’s emancipation. I believe, from my familiarity with your Biography Project and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell online library, that Stanford is the perfect university to encourage my efforts to create important, populist educational resources like this to support progress in the global legal arena. I know that my life’s work is to not just talk about the law, but also to litigate and legislate on the cutting edge of women’s rights. I belong on the front lines, fighting for national and international policies that promote global women’s rights in praxis."

Posted by thatsthewayitis on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 7:39 am

"[Huntress] is a dark hero, always brooding, a loner, very tough, principled; conflicted but always takes action; characteristics of Batman and Catwoman. She could have ruled the mob, but instead she wants to take down the mob. Her sincere Catholic faith is interesting, her problems with Batman and with male authority figures is interesting."

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 8:54 am

honestly the analysis ...could be taking the eye off the ball basically 2 women Eliana we see who she is and then there is Ivory we didnt see her so hard to gauge ...true the sheriff did not choose to get her testimony? Given all that we have 2 women we saw Eliana and reading Ivory we can see where Ivory is coming from...from this ANYONE trying to figure out who to believe would look on Ivory's writing and run for the hills to get away ...because that type of distortion she shows COULD easily misunderstand and distort anyting and everything she saw or heard from more.

Posted by thatsthewayitis on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 9:16 am

I don't really know her, and I can see how with Ross and Eliana remaining neighbors, supporters of Ross might serve him best by not falsely inflating divisions between them as I may have done. Apologies.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 9:43 am

more more more....I'm betting there are lots of other "gems" from Poison Ivory in it. Was this the application she made while already at the now defunct New College of Law...the one where she calls herself a "big fish in a little pond"?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 9:33 am Madison in her own must reading for any and all who wondered about Poison's motivations in this attempted destruction of a young family.

Even the anti-mirk trolls will have to don't want to be encouraging this woman.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 14, 2012 @ 3:00 pm