Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco) told the Bay Area Reporter today (Thursday, October 12) that “the mayor was correct” in trying to remove Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office.
“This is a man who pled guilty to what constitutes domestic violence, and you have people in jail” for domestic violence-related offenses, Feinstein said during a meeting at the B.A.R.‘s offices. That’s “an immediate conflict of interest,” she said.
Feinstein was also critical of the process that led up to the Board of Supervisors voting 7-4 Tuesday night, October 9 to reinstate Mirkarimi after months of suspension without pay. (Nine votes were needed to remove him.)
“The process is really screwed up,” she said.
The Ethics Commission voted 4-1 in August to sustain the mayor’s charges of official misconduct against Mirkarimi.
The panel “only sat one day a week,” Feinstein said. She said she realizes the commissioners have jobs, but “you don’t try somebody one day a week.”
Feinstein, a former San Francisco mayor herself, also said she thought it was “nonsense” that Lee had been prohibited from talking to supervisors about the case.
Both the mayor and the supervisors had been advised not to discuss the matter, though questions were raised if the mayor had spoken to District 5 Supervisor Christina Olague about Mirkarimi. Both denied the accusations.
Lee tapped Olague to fill the vacancy created when Mirkarimi resigned to become sheriff. He had been the supervisor for the Haight and Western Addition centered district for seven years before being elected sheriff in November 2011.
Mirkarimi remains popular with District 5 residents, and Olague faced immense pressure to keep him as sheriff. Tuesday night, Olague bucked the mayor and voted in favor of keeping Mirkarimi.
Without naming Olague, Feinstein critcized her decision during the editorial board meeting with the B.A.R.
Feinstein said that when she appointed people to fill vacancies or serve on city commissions, “I expected to get their vote. Once they got elected on their own, then how they voted was another thing.” She added that “If I called and asked for your vote, I expected to get it.”
She declined to say whether she would support an effort to recall Mirkarimi.