On Monday June 4, 2012, Newly elected San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and former member of the Board of Supervisors, attended the monthly meeting of The Parents United Committee (The Committee), in response to an invitation to come, speak and answer questions from its members regarding his conviction on a plea bargain for the false imprisonment of his wife, Eliana Lopez, stemming from a over blown marital incident on Dec. 31, which was morphed into a Domestic Violence (DV) incident by the 'Powers that be' and the local media.
A sentence was imposed and subsequently, SF "Ethical" Mayor Edwin M. (Emperor) Lee, asked the Sheriff to resign. The Sheriff refused. The Mayor, under his mayoral discretion, suspended him without pay and submitted charges of "Official Ethical Misconduct" Against him with the SF Ethics Commission, asking for his removal and permanently barring him from ever holding public office. It continues to be the ugly mess in which it started, where the players in his persecution, more like an inquisition, are themselves more and more under the public scrutiny following the beginning of the changing tide in public perception of the case as the result of more and more people getting better informed of the real issues, changing their very negative perception of it created by most of the local media in what has been a distorted grotesque media frenzy spectacle which has caused tremendous pain, suffering and damage.
The Committee's Leadership started hearing from its members, particularly women, who were asking them to take a closer look at the case, because they were seeing many irregularities, from how the original DV incident was handled, presented and followed up, to the real repercussions it engendered. Of special concern to them was the collateral damage being inflicted on the issues surrounding DV, which they felt was going to directly affect them, as many of them, their relatives, friends or co-workers, are themselves DV victims and survivors.
The Committee's Leadership, who themselves were paying attention to the case and were getting very disturbed at what they were seeing, decided to hear from the Sheriff himself and the invitation was extended. The Sheriff answered the members' questions posed to him in the meeting. Subsequently, after the Leadership evaluated the information before them, issued statements and decided to write and submit an op-ed in a local Spanish publication.
What follows is their op-ed:
The case of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: A political disgrace in SFOn June 30, 2012 on the day the Mayor was scheduled to testify and be subject to cross examination by the Sheriff's legal team, a Grassroots loose coalition of community activists, held a rally starting at 4 p.m. at SF City Hall, to call for a stop to the grotesque circus-like kangaroo court, which to nobody's surprise, is what the Ethics Commission (EC) hearings have turned out to be, and to demand Justice, Respect for the Sheriff's family, and demand his reinstatement to the office he was elected to hold with a tally or votes much higher than the Mayor's total votes tally.
From: The Parents United Committee
We have followed with great interest what is happening with the case of Sheriff Mirkarimi, and we are very disappointed by the injustices that are undergoing the Sheriff, his wife Eliana and his young son at the hands of Mayor Lee, District Attorney Gascón and the media in general for amplifying the despicable publicity montage that has dragged them mercilessly.
As women and Latino activists in the city of San Francisco, we have learned over the years to defend our rights and fight against all forms of injustices, and honestly we find very unpleasant the political lynching we are witnessing under the guise of an incident of domestic violence, which was denounced by Ivory Madison, a neighbor of the Mirkarimis, in a malicious and totally directed manner against the interests of that family. We never imagined that something like this could ever happen in our city, so respectful of the freedom and the civil rights of all of its inhabitants.
There is a political and public campaign against the Sheriff which is seriously damaging his family and career, and we will not allow it silently.
Has reached the extreme of initiating an investigation in which a lot of money from our taxes is being spent -- the talk is of more than a million dollars, and it turns away the attention of the Supervisors and our public officials from the problems we have and the resolution that they should be given.
Sheriff Mirkarimi won the election by a wide margin of votes because the voters listen to his plans to protect all residents of the city of injustice or abuse from the police, opposes the Secure Communities program and had planned to reform the prison system that is fraught with problems and is inadequate for the needs of our city, among other things.
We need public officials such as Sheriff Mirkarimi, ready to work on improving our lives and interests, without distinction of any kind.
With respect to Eliana and her little son, we believe that the authorities have victimized them terribly by separating their family in such an arbitrary manner and without offering any help, the media by making of their life and private affairs an absurd spectacle to feed the sensationalism which is what it sells, and finally, the political leaders who take advantage of the family problem of one of their elected officials to impose their personal interests over democracy and the will of the voters who want to do our part and wish that we be respected, and that the right thing is done to end this political injustice.
It is noteworthy that Eliana who is the victim, has not been allowed to testify before the Ethics Commission and that to Madison, the Chronicle and the Examiner published her a series of personal assumptions and opinions and alleged complaints that Eliana shared with her, but Ivory Madison used the situation to manipulate it at her will, as Eliana has made clear publicly and repeatedly that she never asked her to take any further action in that respect. Eliana rightly feels betrayed by that neighbor.
That was the experience of several of us on the waiting room of pro-help victims of domestic violence organizations when waiting for help, the victims are denied the opportunity to defend themselves and the 3 steps adequate to provide confidence in themselves and "empower them" are not followed which are as following:
A. - Counseling or advice.
2. - Plan B at the scene of an emergency, if the victim is in danger, the friend or
person to whom she/he trusts will help with her/his needs (money, clothes, documents,
etc..), and will come to agree if the police is called or when to do it.
3. - Confidentiality.
The previous never occurred in the case of Eliana. The supposed friend in collusion with Mr. Gascon and Ed Lee betrayed the rights that Eliana had as a victim.
Eliana had the opportunity to speak freely at last, when she left this city and began writing articles in Venezuela expressing her feelings according to her experience. She was denied the right to defend herself, to seek help for her family and due to the suspension without pay of her husband, had to travel to Venezuela with her family while the situation of the Sheriff is resolved here. There is nothing more painful than the separation of families with young children who do not understand what is happening with their parents, and suffer the effects of the unfair separation.
Ross Mirkarimi acknowledged that he was wrong, he recognized it when questioned by us, the ordinary people and is willing to take the needed steps to repair his fault and recover his wife and son, whom he misses terribly .
As with every family, the Mirkarimis should be given the opportunity to solve their problems as best as possible for the welfare of themselves and their young son.
All of us voters feel defrauded by what is happening and demand that the Sheriff takes his post, because we need him working there for the good of our community, it is unacceptable to continue without fulfilling his obligations and public duties any longer, this must stop.
WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ELIANA, THE SHERIFF ROSS MIRKARIMI AND THE VOTING CITIZENS OF SAN FRANCISCO!
The Parents United Committee is a grassroots group of immigrants, which was formed in October 1988, meets monthly since then, informing and providing free consultations by volunteer attorneys specialists in immigration law. Although the primary focus is on immigration, education and health, we are interested in participating in matters that affect us as residents of the city of San Francisco..
MEETINGS - The first Monday of each month. Phone: (415) 255-9499 ext. 266
938 Valencia St. corner of Liberty
San Francisco, CA 94110
Guadalupe Siordia-Ortiz, Coordinator
PARENTS UNITED COMMITTEE
1663 Mission St., Suite 602
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 255-9499 ext 266
(415) 255-9792 Fax
To say that the June 29, 2012 day was eventful, is a huge understatement. The day started with the continuation of the Sheriff's testimony and cross examination from the previous evening, and the start of the Mayor's testimony and cross examination. Shortly after the Mayor took the witness stand, suddenly he was whisked away and the EC President, Commissioner Ben Hur (Yep, that's his real name), called a recess with no explanation on the reasons for it and stated that everyone will be informed as to when it'd resume.
Within minutes of that extraordinary event, word started going around that Mr. Shepard Kopp Esq., the lead attorney in the Sheriff's legal team, had 'caught' the Mayor in a lie while under oath, which would constitute perjury on the part of the Mayor. Shortly after, word came down form the Sheriff's department that a bomb threat was received and that this was the reason why the Mayor was made to leave the hearing room and a recess was called.
Shortly after, the bomb threat was declared unsubstantiated, and the speculation started to revolve around the questions of if the 'puppet masters' in the political power grab plot to oust an elected official under the guise of Official Ethical Misconduct, had seen how Mr. Kopp was starting to take the Mayor in a very dangerous slide on the glaring inconsistencies that neither the EC or the local media was focusing on with the interest and concern they deserved. Also, the question as to why the people in the room, City Hall's workers and visitors were not informed, much less evacuated in view of the potential danger it posed to them.
The rally took place as planned and attended by members of the general population, notably from the Mission District, members of the Parents United Committed, some members of the group Friends of Ross (Mirkarimi) who put aside their concerns that a low attendance could be used by the 'bad guys' to point out the low level of public support the Sheriff has, and various individuals who stopped and inquired what was the protest all about and decided to join us, among them was a Libertarian and Dr. Ron Paul supporter (Who was part of a curious circumstance having to do with our lack of a permit to hold our rally on the City Hall's steps themselves (I'll be talking about the rally and other aspects of this process in my next post, where there will be audio and video clips of the 'amateurish', but with very compelling testimonies and commentaries in the interviews I conducted))
As expected, due to the distorted media portrayal of the case, the attendance was low but encouraging to us because our basic objective was achieved, which was to start what was lacking till then, which was for someone finally raising a voice of public protest at the corruptions of the system and how it was being misused and abused.
One of the most striking, albeit unsurprising revelation for us demonstrators, was that once people learn of the real facts and their merits in the case, not only their perception, but their opinion and positions on the case changes as well. An invigorating re affirmation that we are right, the public has been grossly malinformed by the local media following the leadership of the SF Chronicle and their, until recently, Editor at Large Phil Bronstein, with the SF Examiner following, as a close second, in what the Committee in their op-ed termed a "despicable publicity montage"
In closing, this small band of principled community activists, will be back in what will be our second rally on Monday July 9th at noon at the SF City Hall steps (Polk St. side), where we will continue the demands we brought in the June 29 rally, which included the ones that The Committee makes in their op-ed, and that also match the ones of the rally's attendees, that also included calls against the implementation of a "Stop and Frisk" Policy in SF that the Mayor is calling for. This is as we foresaw it to be, a big and controversial issue. We will continue to condemn the Mayor's intentions on this matter and demand a immediate stop to even putting it out for consideration. (We expect a higher number of demonstrators because it is beginning to generate more action, such as a the petition already in place, a facebook group. We foresee that it may generate more protests in other SF Bay Area municipalities due to that in some of them, elected officials are also 'floating' the idea of also implementing "Stop and Frisk" Laws in theirs)
The signature theme in our upcoming rally, will be to focus the public's attention on the blatant and shameless corruption existing at City Hall, which has been ignored or summarily brushed aside by the media and in the EC hearings, where any attempts to bring up the hypocrisy and double standards of the Mayor, the District Attorney (DA), George Gascon, the City Attorney (CA) Dennis Herrera, is immediately ruled out as immaterial, among other self-serving rulings benefiting the 'ruling elite City Gov't. structures' corrupt rationale, intentions and objectives for holding these Kangaroo-Court-like Hearings.
We will be there to call for a sweep of the corruption via symbolic graphic representations on the need to 'sweep it away baby'. Stay tuned, pay attention, think, but most important, take action. One way to see to the last and to start with, is to join us in our next action on July 9th, at noon, everyone is most welcome under the understanding that it will be, albeit very energetic, completely peaceful and joyful, for, we are trying to sweep the corruption status quo en San Francisco's City Government, hopefully henceforth till the end of times, but realistically, at least for the time being. Have fun and rejoice in your involvement in a cause for the greater good for the inhabitants of gorgeous San Francisco California.
PS, promise we will not laugh at anyone from outside SF who joins us with a 'flower in their heads' -- Be well and have fun.
UPDATE: On Wednesday, July 4, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi will be on the air at 9 a.m. On the program "Hecho en California" (HeCA), "La Grande", KIQI 1010AM (SF & Sac), 9 - 11 a.m. -- On Friday, July 6, as in every Friday since going to Venezuela, Eliana Lopez will be on the air, live from Venezuela at 10:30 a.m. in the same station & Program.
You can also catch the phone stream of the program by calling from any phone 832.551.5087 or, Listen Live