Lee's charges against Mirkarimi leave questions unaddressed

Mayor Ed Lee ignored questions during his brief announcement yesterday that he was removing Ross Mirkarimi from office
Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

UPDATED BELOW WITH "RESPONSE" FROM LEE'S OFFICE: Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was formally suspended today and served with “Written Charges of Official Misconduct” that for the first time outline why Mayor Ed Lee believes Mirkarimi should be removed from office, although they leave unaddressed many questions that Lee has been so far been avoiding answering.

The eight-page legal document prepared for Lee by the City Attorney's Office briefly lays out the process (a hearing before the Ethics Commission, its recommendation, then action by the Board of Supervisors within 30 days thereafter) and the definition of official misconduct, focusing on this phrase: “conduct that falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officers.”

That vague language is fairly new and has never been considered or interpreted by any court, and the city acknowledges there are at least “two reasonable interpretations” of its meaning: “This phrase could be either (a) an example of misconduct that, by definition, relates to the duties of all public officers, or (b) an independent, alternative category of official misconduct that does not require a connection to an officer's official.”

Lee's attorneys argue that they don't think a direct connection to an official's duties is required, but they acknowledge that's how it could be interpreted, so they try to make that connection as well, often by relying on evidence and testimony that hasn't been vetted by the courts or by making connections likely to be challenged by Mirkarimi's new attorney, David Waggoner.

The document recounts the “Wrongful Conduct by Sheriff Mirkarimi,” starting with his “acts of verbal and physical abuse against his wife, Eliana Lopez” on New Year's Eve, continuing through the criminal charges filed against him on Jan. 13 with a focus on allegations that he dissuaded witnesses and “encouraged them to destroy evidence” and with his March 19 sentencing for false imprisonment, concluding the section with a reference to the newspaper quote from Don Wilson, president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff's Association, that the plea had hurt morale in the department.

The DSA actively opposed Mirkarimi's election, just as it did his predecessor and mentor, Michael Hennessey, in every contested election in the legendary progressive sheriff's 32-year career, so it seems a little strange to rely on such a self-serving assessment. But that isn't the only point that raises questions and potential challenges, particularly as they try to argue that Mirkarimi's actions related to his official duties.

Part of Mirkarimi's sentence included one day in jail, for which the judge said his booking qualified, meaning that he never actually was inside a cell. But Lee's attorneys argue without explanation that, “Sheriff Mirkarimi's one-day sentence to county jail undermines his ability to receive inmates and to supervise the County jails.” It certainly didn't seem to for former Sheriff Dick Hongisto, who was jailed for several days after being held in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the International Hotel evictions, but who never faced sanctions from the mayor.

The first and seemingly strongest connection it makes between his actions and official duties listed was, “Sheriff Mirkarimi misused his office, and the status and authority it carries, for personal advantage when he stated to Ms. Lopez that he could win custody of their child because he was very powerful,” a charge taken from the videotaped testimony that Lopez gave to his neighbor Ivory Madison.

Lopez's attorneys have noted that she made the video to paint Mirkarimi as abusive in case there was a custody battle, as she says on tape, and that she was seeking confidential legal help from Madison and never intended for it to be released. But her and Mirkarimi's attempts to retrieve it are labeled in the charges as efforts to “encourage the destruction of evidence regarding criminal activity,” which they argue also relates to his duties as a law enforcement officer. This issue is likely to be a matter of serious debate during the Ethics Commission hearing.

Finally, the document argues that because the Sheriff's Department can enforce protective orders in domestic violence cases and funds programs for domestic violence perpetrators – and because it sometimes interacts with the Adult Probation Department, given Mirkarimi's three-year probation – that the charges directly relate to his official duties.

Clearly, these are complicated issues that raise a variety of questions, which is why it was disconcerting yesterday when Lee announced the charges to a room packed with journalists and refused to take any of our questions. City Attorney Dennis Herrera didn't speak at all, simply standing behind Lee looking stone-faced and perhaps a bit uncomfortable.

Earlier today, I sent Lee and his Office of Communications a list of questions that I think he has a public obligation to address given the drastic action that he's just taken against an elected official. I haven't received a reply yet, but I'm including my comments here for you to consider as well:


I was disappointed that Mayor Lee took no questions during yesterday's press conference, because I had several that I'm hoping you can address for a long story we're writing on the Mirkarimi affair for our next issue. I'm hoping to get answers by the end of the workday on Friday.
- Will Mayor Lee release the memo he received from the City Attorney's Office on Ross Mirkarimi and whether his crime rises to the level of official misconduct? [Note to reader: That advice memo is different than the charges I discuss above.] It is solely under Lee's authority to waive attorney-client privilege and release the memo, as even Willie Brown urged him to do in his Chronicle column on Sunday. And if he won't release it, can he explain why?
- Lee told reporters last week that he would explain why Mirkarimi's action rise to the level of official misconduct if concluded they did, but Lee didn't offer that explanation yesterday. Why does Lee believe actions that Mirkarimi took before assuming office, which were unconnected to his official duties, warrant his removal from office? Is Lee basing his decision primarily on the crime Mirkarimi committed on New Year's Eve or his actions and statements since then? What specific actions or statements by Mirkarimi does the mayor believe rise to official misconduct?
- Why didn't Lee consult with Eliana Lopez or her attorney before making this decision? None of the purported evidence in this case has been scrutinized by the courts as to its veracity or completeness (that would have happened at the trial). The only two people who know for sure what happened that night are Ross and Eliana, so why hasn't Lee asked either of them what happened?
- Why did Lee set a 24-hour deadline for Mirkarimi to resign or be removed? Did Lee offer Mirkarimi anything in exchange for his resignation, such as another city job?
- Who did the mayor consult with about whether Mirkarimi should be removed before making this decision? Were any members of the DSA or SFPOA consulted? How about Rose Pak or other members of the business community? How about Michael Hennessey? Did he seek input and advice from John St. Croix or anyone from the Ethics Commission?
- It's my understanding that the mayor wasn't required to remove Mirkarimi from office without pay pending his official misconduct hearings, that Mirkarimi could have either remained in the job or been suspended with pay. Why did Lee feel a need to place this additional financial pressure on Mirkarimi to abandon the office that voters elected him to? Is he concerned about the impact of his decision on Eliana Lopez and Theo?
- Mayor Lee has prided himself on being someone focused on "getting things done" without creating unnecessary political distractions. So why does he want to drag out this distracting political drama for another few months? Why does he believe that it's a good use of the city's time and resources to be a forum for airing details of a sordid conflict that has proven to be a divisive issue? Is he worried about exposing the city to liability in a civil lawsuit if his charges against Mirkarimi are later found to be without merit?
- Does Lee intend for Vicki Hennessy to be the permanent replacement for Mirkarimi if the official misconduct charges are upheld? Will he take into account the will of the voters in electing Mirkarimi, someone who had pledged to uphold and continue the legacy of progressive leadership of the Sheriff's Department as embodied by the long career of Michael Hennessey? Given that the DSA consistently opposed Hennessey at election time, and that in this election voters rejected the DSA's choices, why is Lee substituting his own judgment and political preferences for those of San Francisco's voters? Why did Lee feel a need to take preemptive action against Mirkarimi rather than simply allowing voters to launch a recall campaign, which is the typical remedy for removing politicians who have gone through some kind of public scandal?

UPDATE 3/26: Mayoral Press Secretary Christine Falvey told the Guardian that we would have answers to these questions by Friday, but then sent the following message as a response late Friday afternoon: "Steve, After looking at your questions, it seems Mayor Lee addressed much of this in his comments on Tuesday. After Sheriff Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a crime of false imprisonment, Mayor Lee made a thorough review of the facts, reviewed his duties under the Charter and gave the Sheriff an opportunity to resign. When that did not happen, he moved to suspend the Sheriff. For any information regarding what is in the charges, I will refer you to the City Attorney's office and their website that has all of the public documents posted."

For the record, Lee has not addressed these questions nor made any public statements on whether he will release the advice memo (as even Willie Brown publicly urged him to do) or explained why he's keeping that document secret. And we haven't even had the opportunity to ask the mayor these questions directly because he hasn't held any public events since announcing his decision to remove Mirkarimi.


Why indeed.

Posted by Daniele E. on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

Is it not obvious to all the Lee is nothing but a political hack? He became mayor after being appointed to the job first and thinks that this is the way things are and must be done. All those years in government work have destroyed his brain and any real (not phony) morality or common sense. But we won't buy it. Just because this town has been politically corrupt for as long as I can remember (here 45 years now) is no reason to put up with it any more. Lee is part of the Brown/Pak/Chronicle axis and it's becoming more obvious every day who pulls his strings. Honeymoon's over, little Ed.

Posted by barry eisenberg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

He felt Mirkarimi's offenses rose to the level where he couldn't carry out his duties.

However I agree with you that it would have been better for a recall to occur.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

Ross should not remain in charge and should not be paid on the public dime. So Lee acted quickly, understanding the mood of the people.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

Lee has spoken only in platitudes and generalities, not giving specific answers about why these charges make Ross unable to carry out his duties or why such an extraordinary, distracting, and undemocratic solution is needed here. Mayors have only done this twice in the last century, and the last time the courts ruled he was wrong and ordered reinstatement and damages. Newsom dithered on Ed Jew for months before finally threatening this remedy, and that was clearly a case of official misconduct given that Jew was shaking down constutituents who sought help from City Hall and got caught with $80,000 in marked FBI money in his freezer, not to mention not living in the district he was serving. C'mon, people, let's have some perspective here. Ross may be an asshole who grabbed his wife arm once, but that does automatically make him unfit to be sheriff, no matter how passionately and self-righteously his critics want to make that statement. 

Posted by steven on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:13 am

Even Ross finally, after 2 months, admitted "I was wrong"..

You are one of about three people in this entire city who has to ask why.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

It is interesting that no news reports have drawn the clear connection to a very similar case 5 years ago, when then Mayor Newsom, went before the press, and admitted very publicly that he had substance abuse problems, and that he had committed adultery with, not only a close advisor's wife, but more importantly, a woman who was an employed subordinate in the Mayor's office itself. In that press announcement, Mayor Newsom, (just as did Sheriff Mirkarimi) admitted that he had problems and stated that he was seeking counseling and treatment to make himself a better person.

And when Mayor Newsom sought to be allowed that path of redemption from the public and his fellow public officials, asking that he be given the chance to better himself and redeem himself, that is exactly the courtesy and wisdom that the public and the Board of Supervisors extended to him.

As we all know, there was no move by the Board of Supervisors to remove Mayor Newsom from office.

In the strikingly similar case of Sheriff Mirkarimi, a public official has stood up, taken clear responsibility for his actions, stated that he is seeking counseling and treatment to improve himself, and has asked to be allowed a path to redemption to become a better man.

Just as with Mayor Newsom, we should wisely and compassionately offer Sheriff Mirkarimi the very same path to redemption.

Posted by anonymous on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

Except that they are completely different. Infidelity and substance abuse are not the same as spousal abuse. Maybe Mirkarimi could have been redeemed if he had admitted his guilt and apologized instead of:
Lawyering up
Attempted to suppress evidence

His arrogance in this is astounding.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

No allegation of beating..No allegation of bloodying....No allegation of hitting...No allegation of breaking anything... just a bicep bruise that disappears a few days later...
The two actual witnesses have never told what really happened.
Are people in San Francisco now so unimaginative,so pablum-ized that they can think of only one way in which a bicep bruise could occur?

Could it have occurred when one partner restrained another in the midst of a heated argument, restrained them from behavior for which they could be charged?

Meanwhile I have to wonder as I read the Chronicle "women are always right and wronged" blog columnist Margot Magowan, I have to wonder when she, the daughter of the Giants and Safeway owner will ever get around to doing a blogpost on how her Daddy's company sells pink slime and how much harm that's doing to women and children. I"m betting never..Bruises on arms , now that's something to talk about, without nuance.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 7:55 am

Eliana made the allegation originally, and there was eye witness and video evidence of the bruises.

You lose what is elft of your credibility when you continue to deny what the perp has already copped to.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:33 am

Ross admitted to a single misdemeanor, not official misconduct. It was a bruise, not bruises. And the mayor didn't even ask the only two people who know what happened that night: what happened? But we're asking that question and we hope to have a more complete account than anyone has heard in next week's paper.

Posted by steven on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:20 am

It's called damage control, you fucktard, lol.

First of all, wifebeating and cheating are simply not viewed with the same level of disdain here in America. If you can't grasp that or are slow on the uptake or haven't been outside for like 5 years, that's your bad. But no, they are not "strikingly similar cases".

But here's the big, big difference. One guy immediately took ownership when the story broke. He made sure his public apology, admission of guilt and plans for treatment were infused in every headline.

The other guy portrayed himself as extremely dismissive, arrogant, petulant and ultimately confused for THREE FUCKING MONTHS. Then.... admitted to guilt. Only after we got to hear about other abused girlfriends, mistreated employees, multiple firearms, attempted coverups, saw some video clips, read some text transcripts, checked out some bruises, etc....

That's the difference. And that's why one guy went on to become Lt. Governor, and the other is an unemployable shitbag who will never have a career in politics at any level ever again.

Posted by Sambo on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

Sambo nailed it pretty well.

Newsom exhibited bad judgement and owned up to it right away.

Mirkarimi committed a repulsive crime and tried to get off on technicalities.

Okay...try something else now. That one went nowhere.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

Newsom did not own up to it right away, he got caught and publicly outed by Alex Tourk and journalists, held a press conference where he apologized for everything, but took no questions about what "everything" was or whether he had sexually harassed his employee and paid her off with city money, as there is evidence to support. And he dodged those questions for months while doing fake rehab and never faced any punishment or loss of livelihood.

Ross was threatened with a year in jail and having his family taken from him, intimate details of his life have been plastered all over the media (unlike in the Newsom case, where there was great concern expressed about Ruby Tourk's privacy, unlike Eliana Lopez's), he's amassed huge legal bills and now lost his livelihood. Maybe he deserves all of it, but don't let your bloodlust blind you to the fact that he's been in a much more difficult position than Newsom ever was, and don't pretend that you know how you would have handled it because you don't.

Posted by steven on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:30 am

I'm guessing you have quite the imagination. You are all outraged about THREE months blah blah. Have you ever been involved in any court proceedings?
You blather about video clips,plural. There is only one piece of video, less than a minute long. You blather about "other abused girlfriends"? There is only one ex-girlfriend, the one who got left behind when M found E. The ex-girlfriend who wrote threatening letters about how she was going to destroy him politically.. Did you miss all that part? There is also another ex-girlfriend who lived with him for many years and knows him better than anyone. Will you listen to what she has to say?
and finally..Where do you find any allegation of what you call Wife beating? where?
There is no such allegation...from anyone.

p.s. It is perfectly normal for any American to own multiple firearms..Did you have a problem with the second amendment?

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:02 am

The DA made the most obvious ones and Ross admitted to them, and apologized.

So was Ross lying when he admitted and apologized?

You keep claiming that nothing happened but nobody agrees with you - not even Ross.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:35 am

Alex Tourke was coddled by the corrupt elites and given a sinecure to cover for his damages, he was paid very nicely, thank you.

Newsom was coddled by the Chronicle and given every possible benefit of the doubt.

Newsom did not just screw his underling, he broke up a family with children and exposed the City to sexual harassment lawsuits. I'm sure that those city workers similarly situated as Ruby Tourke but who did not give up their charms to Newsom were probably taken care of by the elites as well in order to keep the corrupt flow of graft directed into the proper pockets.

Similarly, Joanne Hayes-White's husband called the cops out of fear for the safety of their kids. The cops came by and a senior officer dismissed the junior officers out of "respect" for JHW and the DA declined to prosecute. The family later broke up because of JHW's alcohol fueled domestic violence double beaning of her husband with pint glasses.

And let's not forget Julius Turman, who beat the shit out of his partner who had AIDS, held a fundraiser for Kamala Harris, who declined to prosecute. Turman now sits on the police commission even though police commissioners are subject to official misconduct proceedings. Now that Mayor Lee has determined that official misconduct can go back prior to an officeholder's term, then perhaps he might reopen the case on Turman and oust him from the Police Commission?

Maybe one of the progressives made a legal misstep back in their college days, perhaps Ed Lee is going to find that one of the progressive supes was busted for having a bong in their college dorm and that will spur Official Misconduct charges seeking their removal as well?

Perhaps one of the pulled the pigtail of a female classmate in second grade, and that kind of violence against women must not be tolerated either. How far can we go with this?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 8:13 am

I am sure our esteemed colleague is not saying that the violence committed (pleaded to and apologized for) by Mirkarimi is at the same level of having a bong or a child pulling another childs hair.
If he were making these statements, it would be logical to follow that he feels what Mirkarimi did was no big deal at all, that violence perpetrated towards Mirks wife is no different than the adult choice of smoking some weed in your room or a childhood spat.

I'm also quite sure that the point isnt being made that since previous officials have gotten away with violence towards their spouses that Mirk should also get away with it.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 9:16 am

The only violence that we know for sure of in this case is against the voters and against common standards of clean government in favor of corruption and propaganda journalism.

Show trials in the media do not prove anything.

And, yes, for the point of argument, if it turns out that serial acts of brutal violence were committed, which no evidence points to, then that is of less concern to me than the theft of democracy and of public resources on a serial project of municipal corruption that impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 9:26 am

I'm not sure what more you need. There are pictures of the bruise which have been published. There is a video of Mirks wife saying that Mirk did it, and that it wasnt the first time. Mirk apologized and admitted these events happened.
Who is lying?
Is Ross Lying?
Is Ross's wife lying?

I dont understand how someone can look at this and think that the only violence known for sure is against the voters??
Marcos, it is clear that you dont find abuse towards spouses to big as big a deal as conspiracies against progressive voters.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:50 am

Marc, this is horrible.

Posted by Sue on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 12:23 am

Sue, balancing the interests of hundreds of thousands to live free from corruption in a representative democracy outweighs to me the interests of any single individual or family, especially since corrupt power has figured out ways to use wedge issues like this to keep their corrupt regime ongoing.

Progressives have been coopted into ineffectiveness by reducing the 99% to slivers and refusing to budge until the smallest sliver of a "most vulnerable" minority has their needs met. The other side is declaring war against us in what is for now a civil counter-revolution. In wars and revolutions, people put their immediate self interest aside in favor of the interests of the greater populace as a whole.

Many of us have sacrificed to contest the corrupt regime in San Francisco and we cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by wedge issues that power KNOWS will send us off track and keep their extraction game going.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 7:18 am

If anyone wants to know what three paragraphs of words which mean nothing look like... there you go.

Its all a vast conspiracy. The entire Ross fiasco has been dreamed up by the 1%.
The "other side" is declaring war! sounds terrifying doesnt it! WAR and REVOLUTION... all because of a single progressive leaders arrogance and temper.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 23, 2012 @ 8:07 am

Well, it looks like the retainer check has cleared and Marc is going to work!

You have to give it to him, Marc really is the best paid pitbull in San Francisco politics. Not subtle in the least, but damn effective at times.

Posted by RamRod on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

This piece reads like on of those 'lorem ipsum' blocks of meaningless text that web designers use to hold space on a page.

Did Ed Lee talk to Rose Pak about this?

Why was Dennis Herrera looking stone-faced and perhaps a bit uncomfortable as charges of official misconduct were being leveled against someone that he has worked with?

Why did Lee refer to Mirkarimi's sentence of a day in jail when in reality it consisted entirely of a booking.

You can't make this stuff up.

But it is GREAT. Even Peskin knows that the best thing for the Progressives would be to cut their losses at this point. I don't think Steven could have any effect but maybe, MAYBE he can help to take down Campos, Avalos and Mar as well. Stranger things have happened.

Go for it Steven -- keep up the great work!

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

SMirk and Peskin give up. But of course, Steve and Tim have no real concept of public service, taking responsibility and being adults. They took jobs as biased journalists precisely so they would never - Peter Pan like - have to "grow up". Call it the "San Francisco Syndrome".

You see it with Steven's endless pieces on Burning Man, Pot, Nightclubs and so on - as if he was still 17.

While Tim never met a lost cause he couldn't flog to death.

There is a reason why their favorite politicians never get elected or, if they do like Ross, then self-destruct. They just don't get the real world.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

Just curious about how many trolls are posting as 'Greg'. This site has become infested with cimex lectularius, but then so has our town.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:56 pm


Posted by barry eisenberg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

This case just gets stranger and more Kafkaesque as it goes along. I was under the impression, apparently false, that in order to judge someone fairly, you have to ascertain all the facts in the case. But no one really knows much about the facts because the only two people who do have been effectively silenced. The plea bargain doesn't change that. Innocent and not-so-innocent people accept plea deals every day because they know they can't get (or afford) a fair trial, and the alternative is far worse. Ask a defense lawyer.

If you recall, we have yet to hear Ross and/or Eliana's side of the story. They have effectively been silenced. And who is doing the silencing? The very people who claimed they wanted to "protect" Eliana L by betraying her confidence(Madison & Mertens). And a group of middle-aged, white feminists whose idea of keeping a woman "safe" is to infantilize her and use her for their own objectives, even as they tear her family apart against her express wishes. Who's the abuser here?

Ah, and let's not forget DA George Gascon who leaked the photos of Eliana's bruise and other info pertaining to the case before a jury was ever seated, effectively tainting the jury pool and ensuring that Ross couldn't get a fair trial even in his dreams. George wants to protect Eliana too.

Finally, there's Ed Lee who is so concerned about official ethics that he couldn't remember his own role in overriding his staff's conclusion that General Computer Solutions was a fraudulent outfit, and who then promptly awarded the company a lucrative contract at Willie Brown's behest. The man who lied about not running for mayor, and whose campaign has led to money-laundering indictments.

Eliana sure has a lot of sorry-ass "protecters". Look, she was ready to tell her side of the story the other day, but do you think that any of these folks are really interested in seeing the truth come out? (ha!) It appears that Eliana L was prepared to reveal more info which might help to exonnerate her husband. But, of course, that's the last thing that these folks want to hear.

This case that has become so politicized that the idea that Ross could get a fair hearing is little more than a joke. If you want a taste of what's coming at the Ethics Commission and BOS's hearings, brush off your copy of The Trial.

Posted by Lisa on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

you seem blind to what is self-evident to everyone else in the city.

Even Ross's friends and supporters are urging him to stand down. Ross is done - stick a fork in him.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

kafkaesque indeed!

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 9:31 am

Thank you Christine. For the record, this is the ONLY comment I have posted on this particular blog. And it is the last comment I intend to make on the Mirkarimi case (except to point out that it is not me). The trolls have taken over my identity and are starting to put words in my mouth. So I will not be commenting on this case anymore. From now on, whoever who posts as "Lisa" is someone who is too cowardly to post under their real name. It's just another troll posting as "Lisa" -- like the one posting as "Greg" -- so please ignore them. Apparently they can't come up with intelligent arguments so they have to resort to juvenile antics like this. Pity.

Posted by Lisa on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

yes, thank you for writing. Your post speaks the truth, something that is obfuscuted in everything that Mayor Ed Lee says regarding Mirkarimi.

Yes, Lee suspending Mirkarimi without pay is really below the belt, but that's the kind of person Lee is, he says one thing and does another. He's the perfect kind of servant for Willie Brown, Rose Pak and Chris Connie's backers, who no doubt think that Connie can finally be appointed Sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2012 @ 9:05 pm


Posted by barry eisenberg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

Loud 'n clear. 10-4 good buddy. Smokey sycophants on your tail.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

I'm wondering if Ed Lee will have Enrique Pearce vote in the Ethics Commissioners' steads to ensure the right outcome ensues?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

Great to hear that the SFBG is working on a lengthy story about this for next week. What do you all think? Will it be favorable or unfavorable to Mirkarimi's side? The suspense is killing me.

One thing that I hope Steven gets an honest answer on is the question about Ed Lee conferring with Rose Pak. If Steve can prove that the two of them spoke then obviously Mirkarimi is completely innocent.

Can you imagine the reaction if the SFBG piece comes out and it is favorable to Mirkarimi? The entire town will be rocked. Next year at this time we'll be taking the Ross Mirkarimi Bridge to Marin and the blue grass festival will be help at Mirkarimi Park. And it will all start with the SFBG piece if it favors Mirkarimi.

Posted by Steroidal Progressive on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

You are a sad man!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

What I would like to know is:
Did Ed Lee say "mother may I?" when he officially suspended Mirkarimi?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

As SF Weekly noted last week.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

you are an excellent writer and I truly respect your commitment to Progressive ideals. Tim deserves props as well for his years of commitment to the cause of economic and social justice. Sure, I've read some stuff in the Bay Guardian that made me shake my head in disbelief - like when Tim said that crack cocaine wasn't that bad of a drug, or the time he told his little girl to not be afraid of half erect naked men behind her on the sidewalk - but, for the most part, I've appreciated your alternative view points and you've even convinced me to change my opinion on a few occasions. For instance, switching my vote from Lee to Avalos after your coverage of election law violations. But I really think you're going to regret continuing to publish these arguments defending Mirkarimi.

This isn't going to be like other quixotic crusades you've embarked on in the past. The taint of spousal abuse isn't going to wash off like simple corruption or sexual scandals oftentimes manage to. Violence by a man towards a woman is a definite line in the sand for most people. This is why your lame attempt to equate Mirkarimi's use of violence and intimidation against a woman with Sheriff Hongisto's noble stand against evictions is only going to offend and anger your readers. Whether or not Ross actually crossed that line makes no difference as far as the consequences to his political career are concerned. The PERCEPTION is that he assaulted his wife. So he's finished. Toast. Everyone knows this, and I think you know it too, but you just don't see any harm in standing by him while he goes under. Bad call.

You might think none of these points matter as far as you personally are concerned, but I'm imagining the women from these victim's advocate organizations reading your articles, reading Tim's articles, and just getting more and more pissed off. I'm picturing a billboard, not with Eliana's face on it, but with Tim's or yours. And, right next to your mug, some quote from one of your blogs. You've read the latest Sucka Free City, right? It's not exactly difficult to make you guys look like total assholes. You think Peskin was cold to the Mirk? The beard would cut your nuts off and feed 'em to his dog without a moment's hesitation.

You're replaceable. Both of you. The Progressives need a City paper, and that's your Big Boss, but the propaganda? They don't really need you for that (don't get me wrong, like I said, you're a good writer). If you doubt where this is eventually heading, just consider this... The only people who still got Ross' back are you... and Greg. A professional ass-hat and paid clown.

Think about it.

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

I've only read the first paragraph and what can I say ...brilliant!!!!

Posted by Geroge Bosh III on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

When did I say crack wasn't a bad drug?

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

I was referring to your Blog, "Herrera's crackpipe crackdown", published on February 18, 2011. In it, you dismissed your one crack-addicted acquaintance at the time as, "harmless enough", and repeatedly compared crack cocaine use with the use of medicinal marijuana. In doing so, you gave ME the impression that you consider those two substances as essentially the same.

If I got the wrong impression, or misunderstood your intent, then I apologize.

Posted by RamRod on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

Unlike the typical low attention span troll who thinks you are 'brilliant', I actually read all your paragraphs. While we seem to frequently have 'divergent opinions', you are one of those whose opinions I usually pay attention to as, so far, they seem to come from one 'identifiable' source and have consistency (enjoy it while you can - ignorant imps are everywhere).
I think you make some valid points. It is increasingly critical that 'progressives', the often disloyal opposition to the status quo, have a vibrant and viable media voice. Finally the chickens are coming home to roost, the excrement has hit the air conditioner, and many of those who were duped into feeling they were part of a special, protected, middle, upwardly mobile class, are finally experiencing the pain of being bent over and fucked without their consent, fore-play or lubrication.
However, from what I have read, I don't think any of the 'progressives' have condoned domestic violence, no matter who is the perpetrator, but I do think some valid concerns have been raised regarding the amount of time and publicity that has been expended on this matter, especially when the endemic graft and corruption that has pervaded our body politic for decades remains uninvestigated or prosecuted.
SFBG may be getting a little a little 'long in the tooth', but apart from SFBayview and FCJ, it is one of the few remaining Mini Main Stream Media outlets left in this town. BeyondChron has essentially morphed into BabyChron, and SFWeakly - fuggedabahdid.
Warren Hellman's lesser appreciated gift to the city, funding the Bay Citizen, seems to have been squandered by the past and present mis-management. My understanding is that Warren wanted to create a vibrant 'newspaper' that actually, objectively, informed citizens about matters critical to the governing of, and their enjoyment of, our town. Unfortunately that still seems like a distant dream. SFBG may have become a little doctrinaire and predictable, but compared to what, the Kronikle and the Excreble, but they still dig harder and deeper into the important shit that our 'leaders' would rather we didn't get a whiff of. Much of this investigative reporting has been done by a succession of excellent journalists who worked for 'Big Boss'. In response to a recent SFBG article "Bronstein and mergers..." I mentioned a number of them and suggested that if Bronstein was really serious about developing a credible local news organisation he should seriously consider recruiting some of them. Wanna bet.

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost". [Some dude named Tommy Jefferson]

PS. Whatever happened to "Greg". There used to be an overtly opinionated but reasonably rational poster using that handle here. Now there seems to be either a pletors of impotent imps, or "Greg" has morphed into yet another ignorant T-party racist.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

Perception is where it is for no other reason because the Chronicle has drawn it to this point and it has drawn it to this point by being fed and regurgitating a steady diet of what the political opponents of progressives and neighborhoods have served up. Perception is reality in politics but perceptions can and do change, and can be made to change.

I'd hope that no matter what the perception is, that any American would be entitled to exercise their right to due process. Otherwise, the press gets effective veto power over due process. In the middle of due process is where we are right now and there don't seem to be any adverse political considerations in going before the Ethics [sic] Commission, especially with the talented and brilliant counsel who is working with Ross.

Ross and Eliana get to tell their stories, stories which have not yet been told. I am sure that the Chronicle fears losing control of that discourse more than anything and are probably trying to figure out how to contain that damage. Most of us have been willing to let the cards fall where they may, we do not unconditionally defend Ross nor excusify domestic violence. But we don't know what happened other than what the Chronicle's gossip columnists and one ABB jd, Ivory Madison, with her own motivations and connections to Bronstein and hence the Chronicle has told us.

If the clash is between who can bow lowest under the bar of domestic violence and due process, then due process must win every time lest we end up living in a PC fascism where the veneer of a feminist glove covers the iron fist. Women are not of one mind on this, many see this as a railroading. Often when an uncontested propaganda organ like the Chronicle engages in a PR campaign like it has done, it often overplays its hand. That has become apparent in unsolicited remarks from many women I've worked with over the past few months. Most recently at an environmental meeting one woman who appeared to be a veteran of the second wave of feminism volunteered that she felt that Ross was being railroaded.

This is another case of a wedge issue being used to distract from the gushing fountainhead of municipal corruption. Whether it is gay and women's rights at the federal level being used to reinstall Obama, servant of Wall Street and serial slinger of predator drones, or the notion that the US must go into Afghanistan to save women from the misogynist Taliban by firing missiles at their villages, the use of issues that progressives have fought for being rammed own our throats to advance the opposite agenda must be contested.

And let's analyze what's gone on here from a feminist perspective. DV laws are supposed to protect women. In this instance, there is little evidence of ongoing DV and lots of evidence of strong women with whom Ross has been associated asserting that no abuse took place. So the feminists supporting the DA on this have marginalized the woman, Lopez, in order to protect her. How much more patronizing and paternalistic can you get? Strong men tell weak women that strong men know what's best for weak women. What's next, Gascon plural marriage? Willie's already got that for himself.

What this application of DV law says is that since there is some statistical evidence that some women are intimidated, then in all instances we must assume as much, irrespective of the particular facts of a case. I was not aware that the US Constitution, common or statute law held provisions for statistical prosecutions and family interventions. And I was not aware that verbal and emotional abuse were presumed proxies for DV.

This has been the equivalent of Obama's predator drone attacks on Afghan villages to thwart the misogynist Taliban by destroying women's families. The conflict between feminists marginalizing women at the behest of male political operators and the inherent feminist principle that women get to be empowered to chart the course of their lives must be resolved in favor of the woman involved, on her terms, if feminism is not to be destroyed by plays like this.

The press generally takes a pass on printing the names of minor children who are involved in cases like this. Not so in this case, the kid will be saddled with the residue of this political abuse for the rest of his googleable life. And still, even though there is no evidence in court of DV, Ross is still kept away from his home by court order from his family. This is an extraordinary application of "justice" by any measure and it is being applied this way due to pervasive political corruption in order to keep pervasive political corruption ongoing.

Corruption in San Francisco makes life worse for hundreds of thousands, through evictions and displacement, through crumbling infrastructure that costs countless hours in transportation delays, via a police force that is more concerned with making it back to Vallejo each night in order to be one day closer to that golden retirement payout then putting their lives on the line to keep us safe, and via a corrupt governing elite that is siphoning a chunk off of the top of every city contract so that basic social services like access to health care is being eviscerated.

You all can side with Josef Stalin and say that one incident of domestic violence is a tragedy and hundreds of thousands of victims of political corruption are statistics. My position is that one incident of domestic violence is a statistic when pushed by the politically corrupt and hundreds of thousands being sucked dry by political corruption is the real tragedy here.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 7:04 am

I appreciate your concern, RamRod, so let me clear up a few distortions and misconceptions. We aren't defending Ross or his actions. As we've repeatedly said, it's never okay to use force against a woman, and he has now pled guilty and will get the help he needs, an outcome that seems appropriate. But if we're really concerned about that woman, rather than simply out for Ross's scalp, it's just not clear to me why taking away that family's livelihood is the best course of action. And there are real and legitimate questions about whether this crime rises to the level of official misconduct. And frankly, it's a troubling precedent for the mayor to exercise this kind of unprecedented power over another elected official without publicly address those questions. We at the Guardian don't like bullies. It wasn't okay when Ross bullied his wife, it's not okay that he's been bullied from office based on "evidence" that most commenters here have distorted and made false claims about, and we at the Guardian won't be bullied into joining this lynch mob, even if that seems like the most politically expedient course of action for progressives to take, as Peskin has concluded. There are issues here that go well beyond Ross, and they're issues that have nothing to do with political affiliation, even if the Weekly and the trolls can't see that. And they are issues that deserve dispassionate public discussions.

Posted by steven on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 10:55 am

Steven it is okay to use force against anyone at any time if the use of force prevents a greater harm.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 11:04 am

>"We at the Guardian don't like bullies."

You need to qualify that one, Tim. Some of the people you like the most are chronic bullies.

There are plenty of incidents of Peskin bullying people, calling mothers at home at night (e.g., Monique Moyer) and letting them have it on the phone while their kids are in earshot. He doesn't deny it.

What would you call the Chris Daly 'Donkey-kong/I will taunt you' speech? That doesn't qualify as bullying? There are also too many accounts of Daly calling people and letting them know that they can forget about DCCC, SFBG and Sierra endorsements if they don't do what he says.

And there are multiple accounts of Mirkarimi bullying people at City Hall. You won't read about them here because they don't support your agenda but even his lawyer called him a tyrant and RM has alluded to the problem himself. The "I'm a powerful man" speech is totally believable. He is clearly a bully.

So to be accurate you don't like bullies unless they are YOUR bullies.

"And frankly, it's a troubling precedent for the mayor to exercise this kind of unprecedented power over another elected official without publicly address those questions."

Well he has answered some questions and the process is just beginning. It includes a hearing before a team of highly qualified civilians (Ethics) and then the BOS where all Mirkarimi needs is 3 votes out of 7 people that you would consider as reasonable (Campos, Avalos, Mar, Olague, Kim, Chiu and Cohen). Aren't those exactly the types of "deserve dispassionate public discussions" that you are calling for or do you prefer morehit pieces on Christina Flores for that purpose?

Tim, you have to realize that your position is compromised at this point. You aren't biased. The Chronicle is biased. You are far beyond biased and well into comic relief territory at this point, which is why the ridicule never seems to stop.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

everyone who disagrees with you here as a "troll". I expect that kind of kneejerk stereotyping from folks like Marcos, Lisa and Monk, but don't you have a higher reputation to protect and preserve?

Dismissing anyone who disagrees with you as a "troll" or an "idiot" or a "one-percenter" or a "TeaBagger" just isn't worthy of a journalist wishing to be taken seriously.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 22, 2012 @ 12:50 pm