DA Gascon

Guardian Op-Ed: Domestic violence, a Latina feminist perspective

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By Myrna Melgar

Myrna Melgar is a Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and the mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.

Eliana Lopez is my friend. I have asked for her permission to put into words, in English, some observations, thoughts and insights reached during our many conversations these past few weeks about her experience with San Francisco's response to the allegation of domestic violence by her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. We hope this will lead to a teachable moment for law enforcement and anti-domestic-violence advocates about cultural sensitivity — and will lead to honest discussions about the meaning of empowerment of women.

We hope that Eliana's experience, and our shared perspective, will prompt some analysis among feminists, advocates, and the progressive community in general about the impact of the criminalization of low-level, first offenses of domestic violence on this one immigrant woman — and the implications for all immigrant women and other women of color.

Eliana Lopez came to San Francisco from Venezuela with hope in her head and love in her heart. She decided to leave behind her beautiful city of Caracas, a successful career as an actress, and her family and friends, following the dream of creating a family and a life with a man she had fallen in love with but barely knew, Ross Mirkarimi. Read more »

Guardian editorial: SF should go after mortgage criminals

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EDITORIAL The mortgage crisis in San Francisco isn't just devastating to homeowners and to the southeast neighborhoods where foreclosures are most common — it's clear evidence that lenders and their affiliates are and have been acting illegally. This city ought to be taking the lead on pressing civil and criminal charges against the mortgage outfits.

City Assessor Phil Ting commissioned a report in February that showed that nearly every one of 382 foreclosures actions in the city between January 2009 and October 2011 had at least some irregularities. In more than 80 percent of the cases, the report identified direct violations of law.

It's a stunning revelation: In nearly 100 percent of the cases studied, the mortgage companies did something wrong. Homeowners were not notified that they were in default. Properties were seized and sold by companies that didn't have the proper title to them. Documents were backdated or signed by an entity that didn't have the authority to sign. In some cases, it wasn't clear who actually owned the mortgage, because the corporation that filed for foreclosure had never property taken title to the loan. Read more »

Guardian editorial: The DA and mayoral corruption

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EDITORIAL The indictments of two executives of an airport shuttle company on charges of laundering campaign money are, in themselves, a rarity and something to celebrate: the district attorney of San Francisco is actually attempting to enforce the laws against political corruption. That's unusual in this city, and worthy of note.

But at this point, the entire sum total of prosecutions involving the scandal-ridden campaign of Mayor Ed Lee amounts to a pair of cases against people who made what appear to be illegal contributions. As of today, the message that's being sent is that nobody in the Lee campaign did anything wrong. And that seems a little bit curious.

Lee's late entry into the race — after he'd promised for months not to run — and his refusal to abide by the rules of public financing forced his supporters to raise a large amount of money very quickly. There were so-called independent expenditure committees collecting donations and running parallel campaigns that, by law, should have been entirely distinct from Lee and his official effort. We've always been dubious about the supposed lack of coordination. Read more »