Oh dear, here we go. In the wake of Sheriff Mirkarimi's reinstatement, there are still some hard feelings around City Hall and not just Tony Winnicker's. Today, Supervisor Jane Kim, who voted not to uphold the Ethics Commission's recommendation to remove Sheriff Mirkarimi, has sent out a letter to community members that clarifies her position and plants the seeds of a recall effort.
In her email, Supervisor Kim lays out the nuances of the ethics commission hearings and clears up some misconceptions about her vote (emphasis hers):
Initially, I had thought I would be voting to remove the Sheriff based on his wrongdoing - and let me be very clear: I feel that not only Sheriff Mirkarimi's actions but his attitude following those actions is wrong.
...This is not what I was asked to vote on. The Board was asked to set a precedent around the interpretation of our Charter, the Constitution of our City, regarding the removal of any public officers.
As others like Former Mayor Art Agnos noted during yesterday's proceedings, removing the Sheriff through the official misconduct process would set a precedent giving the Mayor power to remove nearly any elected public official. With that in mind, Kim explains that she voted against the Sheriff's removal because she does not believe the Mirkarimi "used the powers of his office to commit wrongdoing, in this case, physical violence against his wife."
Kim continues (again, emphasis hers):
I am deeply pained by the decision because regardless of the legal reasoning for my final vote, I know that the public may perceive this as a statement that violence committed by an elected official is okay. I do not condone the Sheriff's actions and my faith in him as a person and Sheriff has greatly diminished. ...
It is the role of the criminal justice system to adjudicate and sentence unlawful behavior. Further, the electorate has every right to recall the Sheriff, an action which I would support.
Supervisor Kim concludes by noting that the climate inside the Board chambers last night was particularly unsettling and "the gravity of the situation was undercut by the disrespectful and insensitive behavior I witnessed last night." After witnessing many women speak out about their experiences with domestic violence last night, only to be met with boos and hisses from a progressive and tone deaf crowd of Mirkarimi supporters, we would have to agree on that point.
As the Chronicle's Debra Saunders points out, it was Deputy City Attorney Sherri Kaiser's comment that the Mayor's interpretation of the City Charter was more "nimble" than the voter-initiated recall process that caused Kim and others to balk. But those who feel strongly that a man with a three-year probation sentence is unfit for the office of Sheriff will certainly show up to get the recall ball rolling on their own, and then we have to do this whole thing all over again.