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How the Sheriff Came to This: Mirkarimi's Worst Decisions 

Wednesday, Mar 28 2012

Ross Mirkarimi dealt himself a bad hand, and he played it even worse.

While it's hard to conceive of any scenario in which the suspended sheriff could have retained his home life, job, and dignity, he has handled things so poorly that he will potentially lose it all. Here's a partial list of Mirkarimi's worst decisions.

• He opted to joke about accusations of spousal abuse during his inauguration;

• Mirkarimi and wife Eliana Lopez portrayed themselves as victims of a convoluted political conspiracy — Mirkarimi specifically blamed his plight on "forces at work that don't want me to become sheriff";

• By referring to a spousal abuse allegation in which a police report had been filed as "a private matter, a family matter," Mirkarimi alienated much of his progressive base and angered up the city's domestic violence activists into an anti-Mirkarimi mob. This was the equivalent of walking into a synagogue in a Yasser Arafat costume — and a very odd take on state domestic violence law for the city's top elected law-enforcement official;

• Ivory Madison, the neighbor — and onetime Mirkarimi supporter and fundraiser — who filmed Lopez's tearful allegation of abuse, was portrayed by Team Mirk as a cog in a conspiracy or, at best, a busybody. She and her husband now claim Mirkarimi's intermediaries pressured them to lie to police and destroy evidence — allegations that seem far more like "misconduct" than anything else in Mayor Ed Lee's case against the sheriff;

• Finally, Mirkarimi's delay in accepting a plea deal ensured the Lopez film and subsequent cringe-worthy testimony from former flame Christina Flores — in which she alleged he lost track of whose panties were whose at his pad — became a national story.

Sam Singer, the "mitigation expert" to call if you've screwed up royally, has labeled this the case study for future mitigation experts to sift through like disaster scene inspectors. After all of this, Mirkarimi continues to fight Lee's attempts to remove him from office. While the sheriff seems to think he has support among his former colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, a vote to retain Mirkarimi would provide the opponents of the progressive supes running for re-election with a first-rate wedge issue.

For his pending case in front of the Ethics Commission, Mirkarimi brought in lawyer David Waggoner, something of the F. Lee Bailey of arguing cases in front of that body. This, at long last, was a good decision.

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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