After reading some news reports upon Ross Mirkarimi’s emerging from his meeting with Ed Lee yesterday, we were a little confused as to just what the sheriff’s position was in regard to stepping aside or not. Most of the headlines put it in this vein:
- Ross Mirkarimi will not step aside as SF sheriff (SF Examiner)
- Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi meets with Mayor Ed Lee, won’t step down (SF Chronicle)
- Mirkarimi says he won’t step down during trial (KGO TV)
And you can watch Mirkarimi making comments to that effect in this ABC news clip.
Yet, this Mirkarimi quote from Bay City News also caught our attention:
When asked whether he would temporarily step down during the trial, Mirkarimi replied, “We’ll see if it comes to that. We’ll see.”
Which felt, on the printed page at least, less than adamant, and seemed to open the door to a future leave of absence. This was the mayor’s understanding as well, apparently. From the Bay Citizen‘s lead story graf:
(I)n a private meeting with Mayor Ed Lee, Mirkarimi said he would consider taking a leave of absence, the mayor’s spokeswoman said.
We heard the same thing from the mayor’s office. So KQED’s Mina Kim gave the sheriff’s department a ring this morning and asked spokesperson Susan Fahey to clarify. Fahey responded by saying that Mirkarimi “has not closed the door on future discussion of whether to take a leave of absence.”
Which means, if I parse that correctly, Mirkarimi would consider whether to consider stepping down. If the time comes…
Submitted for your consideration.
Also yesterday, an interesting analysis by former Art Agnos staffer Larry Bush in his CitiReport blog. The post addresses the issue of whether the city can suspend Mirkarimi under the city’s charter.
San Francisco’s charter sets conditions on when a city official can be suspended. It requires that there be “Official Misconduct” which in turn requires that the action have been taken in an official capacity. It would not appear to include actions that were not official in nature.
For a suspension for crimes, the charter states that it involves conviction for a felony and it is a felony for moral turpitude.
Sheriff Mirkarimi’s situation falls well short of that standard. There are no allegations that he acted in an official capacity, he has not been convicted or even charged with a felony.
Voters approved those provisions in November 2003 as Proposition E as a charter amendment, although they incorporate longstanding charter language.
The post goes on to outline past instances in which city officials were suspended for ethics violations, as in the case of former supervisor Ed Jew, differentiating them from the Mirkarimi case.