Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Board of Supervisors Has Failed, Will San Francisco Do The Right Thing?

Earlier tonight, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors failed the City and County of San Francisco. They voted 7-4 to sustain the charges against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and remove him from office.

So why am I saying they failed? Because in order to remove the Sheriff Mirkarimi, the Board of Supervisors had to have nine votes.

Who were the holdouts in favor of a spouse abuser? They would be:

John Avalos
David Campos
Jane Kim
Christina Olague

All four of these people need to lose their jobs. And that is difficult for me to say since Mr. Avalos is a friend of tenants rights. But yet, he has failed to do what was necessary for the City. These four supervisors have made it clear that spousal abuse is not enough to remove an elected official from office.

Let's think about that for a second. When Sheriff Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, made her statements on the tape, she said "This is the second time this is happening... We need help and I'm going to use this just in case he wants to take Theo did said (sic) that he is very powerful and can do it."

 Now, the Sheriff's supporters make much of the fact that Ms. Lopez has since retracted the statement. However, let's consider how abused spouses react sometimes. In fact, its not just sometimes, but its so common that the International Classification of Diseases recognizes the existence of a Battered Persons Syndrome. Part of the cycle (and I am simplifying things here) for someone who suffers from this is that the couple goes through a period of buildup, culminating violence, and then the victim feels that the violence is there fault and the accept the contrition of the abuser and remain in the relationship thereby allowing the cycle to continue again.

So what happened here? Eliana Lopez states that she has been assaulted by her husband before. It would not be hard to believe that Sheriff (then Supervisor) Mirkarimi made some apology that it would never happen again. However, it seems that it did. And now it would not be far-fetched to believe that the Sheriff has promised that it won't happen again. And she has fallen for it and said whatever she needs to protect her abuser.

If you don't think that's possible, you are living in fantasy land.

Now, there is another aspect to consider. Abusers abuse their spouses, in part, so that they can exercise control over them. Is that trait something we really want in the person who is the Sheriff of San Francisco?

So because of the failure to vote in favor of the removal of by Supervisors Avalos, Campos, Olague, and Kim, San Francisco has a Sheriff someone who has, at a minimum, admitted to false imprisonment (that was the charge his domestic violence was plead down to). Is this the message that we as San Franciscans want to send? That if you are a politician who says the right things and get reelected, that we are going condone spousal abuse?

Sheriff Mirkarimi has shown that he is lacking any shred of morality by fighting his removal, but not his innocence of all charges. If he had any integrity, he would have resigned so that he could work on his family issues.

He has not.

The District Attorney has failed to vigorously prosecute this case. Instead, the DA's office cut Sheriff Mirkarimi, a person the DA has to work with to be effective, a deal that allows him to say he has never been convicted of domestic violence.

The Board of Supervisors, after the Ethics Commission found that he had committed official misconduct, failed to sustain the charges by the required 2/3rds (9 votes).

So, the question is simple: Do we as San Franciscans want to say that spousal abuse is acceptable?

 If we do, then we leave the Sheriff in office. If we do not, then we must remove him

I know my answer. What is yours?

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