Five San Francisco residents will become judges of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi during official misconduct proceedings before the Ethics Commission, the second time in the body’s nineteen-year history a mayor has asked it to weigh in on the whether an elected official should lose their job for criminal behavior.
It could be the only time that the commission actually takes action, however. In 2007, suspended Supervisor Ed Jew — fighting allegations he lied about where he lived to run for office and extorted cash bribes from local business owners — resigned from office during the proceedings, halting them.
Those following the Mirkarimi scandal question his refusal to resign and predict a circus-like atmosphere as the proceedings drag on.
“What happens next is not just a trial, it’s a spectacle — a circus maximus where Ross Mirkarimi’s name will be dragged through the mud again and again in an excruciating public process that will enjoy none of the dignity of a courtroom,” said Nathan Ballard, a Democratic strategist and political foe.
Mayor Ed Lee is suspending Mirkarimi for official misconduct under the City Charter, and at his behest the City Attorney will deliver the official misconduct charges to the commission today. After at least five days, the commission will then hear testimony and evidence — which could mean a public airing of the video in which Mirkarimi’s wife Eliana Lopez tearfully speaks of her alleged abuse the day after the New Year’s incident.
The commission will ultimately vote on whether to recommend that the Board of Supervisors uphold the suspension and remove Mirkarimi permanently from the post he assumed on Jan. 8. Removal would take the votes nine of the 11 supervisors.
The proceedings will likely set back civility at City Hall, which has lately been perceived as more functional with the mayor going out of his way to prevent political infighting and the theatrics that have accompanied such strife in the past.
Political consultant David Latterman called Mirkarimi’s refusal to resign “the worst nightmare” for the progressive camp, of which Mirkarimi was a standard-bearer, until recently.
Beverly Hayon, appointed by mayor
Retired media and communications professional, past chair of the SF Commission on the status of Women, graduate of San Francisco State University. Still in position though term expired Feb. 1
Benedict Hur, appointed by Assessor-Recorder
Partner in San Francisco law firm Keker & Van Nest LLP, focus on commercial litigation and white collar criminal and securities defense. Stanford graduate
Dorothy Liu, appointed by Board of Supervisors
Partner at San Francisco Hanson Bridgett, where she has practiced labor and employment law since 1999.
Paul Renne, appointed by District Attorney
Senior counsel to litigation department at Cooley law firm, where he’s worked since 1964, Harvard law degree
Jamienne Studley, appointed by City Attorney
President and CEO of Public Advocates, a California social justice law firm a graduate of Barnard College and Harvard Law School
Source: Ethics Commission
Correction: This story originally said "for the second time in the body's nine-year history" the Ethics Commission ... The Ethics Commission has been around for nineteen years, not nine.