GUEST OPINION: The politics of retribution

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By Debra Walker and Krissy Keefer

We have been shocked and saddened by the perpetual attack on Ross Mikarimi and his family.

To Ross’s credit, he took responsibility in the criminal case he faced, and accepted a plea bargain to a non-domestic-violence misdemeanor that the district attorney concluded served the interests of justice.

He and his wife, Eliana Lopez, had resolved their dispute before the betrayed disclosure to the police and the media by the trained but unlicensed attorney that began the criminal case. The plea bargain was vetted and all legal ethicists consulted concluded that the plea bargain could not be the basis of any action against Ross for the now infamous term “official misconduct.” Ross was ordered into counseling.

Since the criminal case ended we have watched the mayor, domestic-violence advocates, and the majority of the print media, collectively pass judgment without connection to reality, with devastating consequences to Ross Mirkarimi, his family and the people of San Francisco.

Mayor Ed Lee suspended Ross without a hearing and without pay. In other words, the mayor acted against Ross without due process. City Attorney Dennis Herrera has merely repeated all of the unsubstantiated allegations from a newspaper opinion piece in the form of a pleading -- and actually submitted this as fact, further embarrassing our city.

Barring further intervention by the courts, the Board of Supervisors and the Ethics Commission will now be forced to publicly weigh in on the concluded criminal case that occurred before Ross was in office.

Was the punishment laid out by the courts not enough? Are we going to all sit back and watch as San Francisco engages in a public political assassination of a progressive elected official? At what point does it stop? 

Clearly it hasn’t stopped with Ross. Now the mayor and the city attorney have begun the attack on his campaign manager and well-known City Hall aide Linette Peralta-Hayes. Who is next? It could be any of us, of you.

As close friends of Ross and Eliana, we can attest to the fact that this family has paid dearly for their now very public fight and we all should hope for a healing. It does not bring justice to any women’s issues to have such a public display of retribution and revenge. Blowing this out of proportion like this has been only sets the stage for the continued backlash against women’s real issues.

If there were not a complete attack on women’s rights at this time in our country, this might be easier to stomach. Not one thing about this has advanced the rights of women or the understanding of domestic violence. Instead, the criminal justice system has been manipulated to further a political agenda of removing an elected official from office.

We all make mistakes in life. There have been several recent occasions involving officials actually in office where their behavior was questioned.  One issues involved sexual contact with a subordinate, another involved domestic violence and others involved substance abuse. In not one of these instances has the person been removed office.

To remove Ross from office is political and nothing else.

People are purportedly so outraged on behalf of abused women everywhere. But where is the outrage about the coordinated attack on choice in our country or about the documented inhumanities perpetrated against women throughout the world, even today?  Or equal pay, or adequate healthcare? What about the families losing their homes to greedy banks? Nothing of substance gets done on these issues. Instead, attention is focused away from the important issues to the personal shortcomings of the politicians seeking to address those issues.

From the impeachment efforts against Clinton to the allegations against the Wikileaks activist, there are over-amped attacks aimed to politically destroy the target in the press.  "Due process" and "innocent until proven guilty" are essentially thrown out the pressroom window. 
In the name of domestic violence, the mayor and the city attorney have removed an elected official from office. Domestic violence advocates are being used to further an agenda that is hypocritical and ultimately will undermine and dis-empower us all.

Ross Mikirimi was the only progressive elected in the last election. Ross has always been an ideological feminist. The established power brokers in City Hall did not want Ross to be sheriff. They do not want someone who advocates for diversity. They do not want someone who supports the rights of the people to implement the Compassionate Use Act and maintain cannabis dispensaries. They do not want a sheriff who will stand up to the federal government.  They do not want a sheriff who will stand with the 99 percent.

San Francisco is a great city not because of intolerance but because of tolerance. The strength of the city came about because of respect for diversity and encouragement of diversity. Ross stands for those principles.

Ross made a mistake in his personal relationship. Eliana Lopez, his wife, has clearly forgiven him. Each of us should do the same. To do otherwise is to disrespect Lopez.

Are we going to trust City Hall to be the arbitrators of conduct?  And are we really going to sit by and watch as they systematically throw untrue, unfounded, unsubstantiated accusations at whomever they want? Really?

To use this incident as the basis for this coup is without precedent. City Hall’s actions are without basis in fact and without foundation in law.

We believe that the mayor, among others, is doing what he wants to under the guise of women’s rights. We do not want to be used in that way.

There is something very wrong with what is happening -- and sadly if this public political assassination can happen to Ross and his family, it can and will happen to anyone of us. Ask Linette Peralta Hayes.
 
Krissy Keefer is artist director, Dance Mission Theater. Debra Walker, an artist, is political development chair of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus.

Comments

This time they drag out the hopeless Debra "lost a safe seat" Walker and nobody Krissy "who?" Keefer, both women of course, to demonstrate they have no understanding about how our zero-tolerance DV laws work, nor the standards we expect from our public officials.

And on what possible credible basis do you claim that Eliana had already "worked out" her difficulties with Ross? How do you "work out" a physical assault? And if she is so keen to support Ross, why did she hit the bricks and swan off to south america for what must be almost two months now, with no perceived indication that she is ever coming back?

Again, why does she need all those lawyers if everything is not hunky dory at chez Mirkarimi? The generally emerging viewpoint is that she is pissed Ross lost his job because she has one eye on a fat alimony payment that is now in jeopardy.

Lee has 70% voter support for his courageous actions. What support do you have outside Daly's joint?

Sorry, girls, A for effort and passion, C minus for plausibility.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

Guest, you said, "..on what possible credible basis do you claim that Eliana had already 'worked out' her difficulties with Ross?"

Perhaps because, as close friends, they know Eliana and Ross far better than you do. And they are not so biased as to believe every slanderous insinuation that has been trotted out by the press (which is the ONLY way you know anything about this couple).

You said, "How do you 'work out' a physical assault? And if she is so keen to support Ross, why did she hit the bricks and swan off to south america for what must be almost two months now, with no perceived indication that she is ever coming back?"

Ross did NOT assault Eliana. He grasped hold of her arm out of concern for his son. She was still a bit agitated, so she yanked her arm away. That's how she came by the bruise. Furthermore, this is the account of the ONLY two witnesses, Ross and Eliana, the only ones who truly know the facts about what transpired between them. And they have both related the same, consistent story. (If you are disinclined to believe them, ask yourself why Eliana requested immunity from prosecution.)

You said, "If she is so keen to support Ross, why did she hit the bricks and swan off to south america for what must be almost two months now, with no perceived indication that she is ever coming back?"

She is coming back. She is under court order to do so. The only reason she AND Ross have requested an extension of her stay from the court is because, without Ross's salary, she has no way to support herself and her son. And she feels, understandably, that she and her son are much safer far from the hostile glare of the media circus which is bent on destroying her family.

"The generally emerging viewpoint" that you reference is slanderous misrepresentation of Ms. Lopez for which you lack any substantial evidence. You do not know her, so how dare you pretend to understand her motives. Anyone with eyes to see may discern that she is terribly distressed that her family has been broken up.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if you are being paid by your downtown handlers to spin this in such a way to cause maximum damage and disgrace to both Ross AND Eliana. Way to stand up for women!

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

Ross and Eliana are their "friends"? Isn't that exactly why we should NOT believe them, because we are all biased in favor of our friends? Not to mention the teeny fact that Walker and Keefer are both left-wing, and so naturally would support a fellow "progressive" in trouble regardless?

Sorry but I'm not buying that any more than the rest of the 70% of this city's voters who poll as support Lee's action.

And do you seriously believe the "guiding her arm" baloney? Ross's lawyers have hadn months to come up with a spin on his assault and that's the best they can do. Phul-eeze. You completely ignore the video whcih reveals a very different truth - Eliana describes Ross's assualt, shows us the deep bruise, and describes how she needs to fight for divorce and custody.

But you're right about one thing. Eliana is safer in Caracas than here.

We can't have a sheriff who is on probation for a violent act, who is under a restraining order, and who admits falsely imprisoning people. It's a tragedy that you cannot agree with most city voters in seeing that.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

TROLL. You just hate him since before this whole incident and the incident is just good red meat chum for you to feed on. Get a real job.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 11:47 am
Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

beyond US jurisdiction in a country that hates the US and doesn't recognise US courts?

She is there because she is safe, is scared of Ross, and is among her friends and family where she can begin to rebuild a life that Ross ruined with his abuse.

Maybe she will come back if she gets guarantees for her safety and immunity, and maybe she won't. Nobody knows. But it would not surprise me if she hunkers down.

Her plan essentially worked except that if anything it was too successful. It doesn't help her cause is Ross is broke. But then she should have thought of that before she launched this plot. We reap what we sow and perhaps, in a very real sense, Ross and Eliana deserve each other.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 07, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

Your comment is Perfect this exactly, cause that exactly what its and I was thinking but you forgot to mention little about domestic violence advocates, well I did it already was posted today and the title is about the Domestic violence advocates hypocrites please read that, cause I am survivor of domestic violence and I was in some of the shelters.

Posted by Guest on May. 25, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

Who are you? Why hide behind guest with your ridiculous comments!!!

Posted by Terrrie Fye on May. 10, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

Is your real name Fye?

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 5:55 am

... to embellish his own appearance of being mainstream by intimating that the vapid and intellectually toxic spew being regurgitated is actually coming from multiple sources.

Anon, I can read you like the cover of a cheap novel.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 11, 2012 @ 6:48 am
Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 7:22 am

My my Guest, did you get out of bed on the wrong side this morning. Why are you so bitter and twisted, did you have bad or unpleasent childhood?

Posted by DavidinSF on May. 07, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

and why they feel the need to flog a dead horse.

But if you have a point to make that is on the topic, feel free.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

The horse is not dead. It is alive and kicking Ross and Eliansa and their son Theo in the teeth!

Posted by Terrrie Fye on May. 10, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

In a sense, perhaps they deserve each other in some special hell somewhere.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 5:56 am

He obfuscated and hemmed and hawed and blamed everyone else but himself.

This is such a tired discussion. Ross is going to be recalled as soon as he's legally able to be recalled. People are sick of this story and sick of him.

Posted by Troll II on May. 07, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

TROLL II, you are an ass. No one is going to sign any petitions for a recall. Do you think anyone would have for Newsom shtuping his best friend's wife in City Hall. Or the Fire Chief actually assaulting in public her husband with a glass beer stein not once but twice over his head causing him to fear for his kids lives to call 911 and request they be removed from their house? Uh, no.

Ross, have no fear. No recall is happening. This troll is just that. A troll.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 11:56 am

Just saying.

And the other case- Not a crime to commit adultery in California. The fire chief thing allegedly happened at home, not in public.

Posted by Dnative on May. 08, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

This is probably the craziest op-ed I've ever read.

Posted by Ryan C on May. 07, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

Apparently that is what SFBG think we should do.

Hey, why not a juggler too? Or a magician, which is what Ross really needs.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 07, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

Well, since Eliana claims she was taking legal advice from someone she knew wasn't a licensed attorney, it kind of makes sense.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2012 @ 11:20 am

This op-ed is a rambling mess.

Posted by chris pratt on May. 07, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

digs out some second liners and has-been's to fly the flag for Ross. What else did you expect? Objectivity, balance and rational analysis? Here? Really?

Posted by Anonymous on May. 07, 2012 @ 5:33 pm
Posted by Troll II on May. 07, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

Ross winning the various investigations and votes on his job loss. But yes, Ross would stand no chance of winning an election now, and would not have won last year had the truth been known.

I am a fair man though, and have no issue with Ross standing again for sheriff once his probation is over.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

How freakin' magnanimous of you. I am floored. So you don't think a misdemeanor false imprisonment should be a bar to seeking office? -- but only for overturning the results of an election? Wow.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 07, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

and when they do their verdict won't consist of "overturning the results of an election." Which is why this tedious hearing and trial process is so lame - because there is a 100% chance Mirkarimi will be recalled as soon signatures are gathered in two months. The hearing is an absurd sideshow. He's toast - dead politician walking.

Posted by Troll II on May. 07, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

perhaps there *will* be enough signatures to qualify a recall ballot, and perhaps further he *will* be recalled in a recall election, but it certainly isn't a "100%" chance.

I think enough people see the nakedly self-serving politics for what they are and will react accordingly, both when presented with a negativist petition to sign and further when given an opportunity to increase the dose of punishment administered to the sheriff.

I think there is yet a chance that this might actually end blowing in Lee's face instead.

Now, as you say that this process has been a sham, I'd ask you if you think a paralell issue to be decided at the ballot by the voters ought not be the scrapping of the silly ethics process?

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 08, 2012 @ 5:54 am

unlikely that Ross would win any kind of election now.

In fact, the Supes may vote him out simply because they don't want to be associated with supporting him in an election year.

Any which way, Ross is toast, and he only has himself to blame.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:58 am

The anti-Mirkarimi cohort are like a viperous mass of untruths wrapped in a false rhetorical veil.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 08, 2012 @ 8:08 am

The only poll we have shows a solid 70% support for Lee's actions. When you have a better poll, let us know.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

Another transparent lie. Google says 53%. Why do you lie about such easily verified information?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 15, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

I think it should be a bar- especially the type of conviction he got. Try applying to any police or sheriff's department as an officer or a deputy sheriff with a misdemeanor conviction for false imprisonment on your record- especially if you are still on probation and have just started DV counseling. Yet here we have a gentleman that thinks he can still effectively run the entire department.

Posted by Dnative on May. 08, 2012 @ 7:08 am

SCREWING YOUR BEST FRIEND's WIFE WHO IS YOUR SECRETARY IN YOUR CITY HALL MAYOR'S OFFICE AND ADMITTING A SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEM SHOULD BE COMPLETE GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL FROM OFFICE.

But, no, no mention of GAVIN NEWSOM not being removed from office, put on suspension without pay, brought up on official misconduct charges or recalled.

There is no there there. This whole thing is a farce.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 12:00 pm
Wow

You got a lot of anger going on there. Last I checked it wasn't a crime to sleep with another man's wife. Low and disgusting, but not illegal. I have certainly never voted for Newsom since and never will. Also not a crime to have a drinking problem and get help for it.

Posted by Dnative on May. 08, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

Not that I think Gavin Newsom deserves any prizes, and no I did not support his campaign for Governor, but I would vote for some one who screwed the wives of every single one of their friends as opposed to someone who used violence against their spouse, who they took an oath to love and protect.

If you would support violence over sexual cheating, then you are morally bankrupt.

Posted by Chris on May. 08, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

Breaking up families is violent.

George Gascon has been violent to Mirkarimi's family.

Gavin Newsom was violent to the Tourke family.

Apparently, separating kids from their parents is the new normal in San Francisco's elite politics.

Posted by marcos on May. 08, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

Marcos, beating your spouse is violent. Being a parent and beating your spouse is violent to both your spouse and your child.

Either a family functions, or it should not function at all. Also, all that Ross was sentenced to was anger management and probation. He could take his punishment like an adult, resign like a decent human being, and then be available for his family. The separation is temporary and it would probably have been much less had he not tried to fight the charges for actions he later admitted to committing.

Also, I am not part of the San Francisco political elite. The political elites, honey, are you and all your BS "progressive" friends who invented the "politics of retribution" for anyone who dared to disagree with your political dogma. Every political move and machination that the hypocritical SFBG and the crew of Ross's zombie-brainwashed groupies decry are actually moves invented by them, used by them, and condoned by them, so long as they are used against their political opponents and not one of their own.

As Malcolm X famously said, "the chickens have come home to roost."

This case was and is being handled as it should be. If you want to live in a relationship where you get hit, great, that is your call, but just don't waste public resources on the matter by reporting it and then crying when something is actually done about it. Eliana wanted to cue up her big divorce and get out of an unhappy marriage, so she went to some lady she barely knew and asked her to freaking videotape the evidence. Well, she got her wish. She is back in Venezuela with her wealthy family and away from Ross--just stop sobbing to the SF press about it. Goodbye, and good riddance, and soon goodbye to Ross, too.

Now, if we can only get rid of few more members of the SF political freak show, we might actually have a government that works, rather than a "progressive" political bureaucratic mess.

Posted by Chris on May. 08, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

your liberal colleagues passed, then you would know that a TRO is a standard procedure that has been established as best practice in 49 of the 50 States.

But somehow you know better?

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

Violence is "always worse" than sexual indiscretions.

That is why we see so much hard core sex on television and in the cinema but rarely see any graphic displays of violence at all.

Posted by marcos on May. 08, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

So, tell me, in sex-positive SF is an admitted "progressive" actually going to make the argument that sexual indiscretions are worse than acts of violence??? And somehow this argument is going to be based on the content of shows on network television?? If there was some attempt at logic in your remarks, I think you lost it somewhere mid-sentence.

Unbelievable, I guess you are willing to become a full-blooded Victorian so long as you can support your idol Ross. Gee, I guess we should go back to whipping people for masturbating and burning sexual adventurous woman at the stake because now the progressive SF masters have ruled that sexual indiscretions are worse than acts of violence.

So, smack around your spouse/lover/girlfriend/boyfriend all you like, just don't you dare spank your monkey! You cannot even make this stuff up! The Onion should just start running actual editorials from SFBG and letters to the editor rather than writing original content, sometimes truth is funnier than satire.

Posted by Chris on May. 08, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

It is good to hear courageous feminists like yourselves calling for reason and justice to prevail in the case of Ross and Eliana. As you say, we all make mistakes. I often wonder how many other women and immigrant families, perhaps less high profile, have been snared by the criminal injustice system when what they really needed was some help to cope with their lives and relationships.

Posted by lp on May. 07, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

and the "innocent criminal" card. You might just have broken the SFBG record for the most cravelly maudlin appeal to sentimentalism ever.

So if I beat my wife I've been "snared" by the criminal justice system? Would that be the same criminal justice system that Ross swore an oath to uphold? That one?

Posted by Anonymous on May. 07, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

I think you could use one

Posted by lp on May. 07, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

you run purely on dripping nostalgia and weepy sentiment.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:59 am

This thing is so full of BS and inaccuracies that the BG would be ashamed of itself, but of course it serves it purpose. The SFBG- as fair and balanced as Fox News.

"Mayor Ed Lee suspended Ross without a hearing and without pay. In other words, the mayor acted against Ross without due process."

Interesting take- The process outlined in the City Charter makes it clear that a hearing is not required for suspension- it comes after suspension. Get a clue.

"We all make mistakes in life. There have been several recent occasions involving officials actually in office where their behavior was questioned. One issues involved sexual contact with a subordinate, another involved domestic violence and others involved substance abuse. In not one of these instances has the person been removed office"

Might want to point out that none of these officials were sworn peace officers and none were actually convicted of a crime and placed on probation. Huge difference there.

"Are we going to all sit back and watch as San Francisco engages in a public political assassination of a progressive elected official?"

So since he is a progressive we should forgive him? But if he was anyone else he should be toast? Nice. Classy even.

"Ross Mikirimi was the only progressive elected in the last election. Ross has always been an ideological feminist. The established power brokers in City Hall did not want Ross to be sheriff. They do not want someone who advocates for diversity. They do not want someone who supports the rights of the people to implement the Compassionate Use Act and maintain cannabis dispensaries. They do not want a sheriff who will stand up to the federal government. They do not want a sheriff who will stand with the 99 percent."

Sure- keep dreaming. Ross as a Sheriff was perfect. How many press conferences does the Sheriff get? How much publicity does he get? None. It is the perfect job to get someone out of the way and Lee got a free appointment on the BoS. Plus Lee and all the other power brokers like DiFi, Willie all hate women, diversity, etc. All totally against Medical Marijuana. Right get a clue.

Seriously, SF progressives yet again prove they are out of touch with reality and only see the world in black and white.

Posted by D. native on May. 07, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

First off, if you are going to write an article in support of someone you should first learn how to spell his name.

I couldn't believe the 'Due Process' claim. Typical Progressive thinking. Of course Lee followed due process, it's just that due process didn't favor their guy in this case, hence they don't accept it.

I really love the part about the powers-that-be not willing to accept a Sheriff of Mirkarimi's Progressive leanings. Because Michael Hennessey, you know, for 30 years, was a total right wing zealot.

Sometimes I wonder if Mirkarimi has truly been treated unfairly and then I read the latest sophomoric whining from whomever the SFBG drags up. I see how week and subjective it is. And then I think about the bully Mirkarimi and the whole thing makes sense. He should have had the decency to resign after the plea bargain. This is just ugly and embarrassing at this point.

Posted by Troll on May. 08, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

Watch and read as the Mirkarimi haters fall over themselves trying to refute what, thank goodness, must be a broadly common perception among San Franciscans.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:24 am

So two friends of Ross write an editorial and that makes it the broadly common perception among San Franciscans? Please explain that logic.

Posted by Dnative on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:38 am

that a "majority" support Ross. No doubt a majority in "Daly's Dive" also support Ross (although hasn't Daly been strangely quiet on the matter?).

But in the real world, polls show 70% want Ross gone, and support the mayor.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 7:00 am