During the lengthy proceedings that led up to Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's official misconduct hearing, the now-reinstated Sheriff and his supporters repeatedly claimed that the proper way to remove an elected official from office was to initiate a public recall election. Now that such an effort is underway, Mirkarimi is starting to sound a little worried about it, calling it "political" and an expensive waste of taxpayer's money.
In a statement released yesterday, Mirkarimi made his case against the recall effort:
As political consultants try to capitalize on pushing for a recall, we’re reminded that two in particular were both close advisers, confidants and contributors to my opponent who came in third in the sheriff’s race a year ago... Continuing to use an issue that has been settled in court and the Board of Supervisors for a divisive recall will cost city and taxpayers another $3 million on top of the $2 million already spent. I believe that money would be better spent on domestic violence education and services.
One of those "confidants and contributors" is politically connected tech investor Ron Conway, who has helped fund pretty much every moderate or conservative local campaign in the past two elections. Conway's wife Gayle and Linda Voight, the wife of real estate investor Thomas Coates, together donated 98% of the $100,000 that went towards the San Francisco Women for Accountability independent expenditure committee designed to bring down Christina Olague's re-election campaign, possibly with YouTube videos like this one. With Olague defeated last week, SFWFA now appears to be shifting their focus to the recall.
According to the Examiner, Mirkarimi is right about the amount a recall vote would cost the city's taxpayers. The Department of Elections would need to oversee the vote and director John Arntz estimated the cost would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million to $3.3 million, assuming the Sheriff's opponents can get the 50,000 signatures they need to start the recall process. Once the initial paperwork is filed, Team Not-Mirkarimi will have 160 days to round up all those signatures. It's unclear at this point, how much money SF Women for Accountability still has in their purse, but the group estimates it will cost them $500,000 and take up to a year to get the recall on either a special June election or the November 2013 ballot.