Under oath - Page 4

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Mayor Ed Lee testifies in front of the Ethics Commission shortly before being whisked away by his security detail.

"You have asserted in your written charges that Sheriff Mirkarimi's conduct fell below the standard of decency, good faith, and right action that is impliedly required of all public officials, correct?" Kopp asked.

"Yes," Lee replied.

"We expect certain things of our elected officials, right?" Kopp asked.

After a long pause, in which Lee appeared to be thinking through his answer, he replied, "That's generally true, yes."

"And when the charter speaks of official misconduct, it doesn't say we expect a certain standard for the sheriff, a different standard for the mayor, a different standard for the DA, a separate standard for the assessor, it just speaks in general terms about official misconduct for public officials, right?" Kopp asked.

Kaiser objected to the question on three counts, sustained on the grounds that it calls for a legal conclusion.

"Do you yourself believe there's a separate standard for sheriff than for other elected officials?" Kopp asked, and this time the city's objection was overruled and Lee replied, "It should be the same standard."

"And would you agree with me that one of the things that is expected of elected officials is for them to be honest and forthright when dealing not only with their constituents, but with other elected officials?" Kopp asked, his final question before Chair Benedict Hur announced that the hearing would be suspended and the room would need to be cleared.

After the hearing reconvened, Kopp drew parallels to other city officials who remained on job after scandals, including former Mayor Gavin Newsom (who had an affair with a subordinate who was married to his campaign manager), former Sheriff Dick Hongisto (who was jailed for refusing to carry out a court's eviction order), and current Fire Chief Joanne Hayes White (whose husband reported that she hit him in the head with a pint glass).

Asked about the latter case, Lee responded, "I don't know all the circumstances around that and I don't believe I was mayor at the time."

 

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