While the comment sections of local Internet news outlets and one noted anti-progressive former mayor continue to call for Ross Mirkarimi to step down from his post, it turns out Ed Lee could oust the sheriff—at least temporarily—if he were so inclined. Mirkarimi's trial, which just added a new witness, got an official start date Monday, the accused domestic abuser will have his day in court starting on February 24th — just a hair over a month away. As the Examiner's Melissa Griffin points out, Mayor Lee has the authority to remove the sheriff for up to 35 days.
Trial in 32 days. Mayor can remove for 35 w/o BOS vote. Just saying... sfexaminer.com/blogs/under-do— Melissa Griffin(@SFEX_Griffin) January 23, 2012
As for whether or not the Mayor will choose to make Mirkarimi sit out the month of February is still up in the air. Lee, who has been pretty tight-lipped about the matter, voiced concerns that Mirkarimi could fulfill his duties as sheriff with the obvious distraction of the impending trial. As Lee said after a different media event on Friday, "The sheriff has got to serve the people of San Francisco. I think the question for him now is whether he can do that with this distraction that's going on, (these) very serious charges."
Mirkarimi, meanwhile, is still showing no signs of taking some time off on his own accord. If his Attorney Robert Waggener is to be believed, the charges against Mirkarimi make for "one of the more overblown cases" he's seen. So maybe, despite all the evidence out there, Mirkarimi is just so filled with confidence that the three misdemeanor charges don't do anything to draw his attention away from whatever it is he's been doing in the sheriff's office for the past two week. On the other hand, if things don't work out well for Team Mirkarimi, it's going to be that stubborn, macho confidence that brought him down.