Andrea Shorter, an out lesbian working to oust San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office, announced today (Wednesday, December 12) that she and others have launched an online petition calling on him to resign before his opponents start a recall effort.
The website – www.rossresign.org – says “A criminal in charge of public safety? We deserve better” and outlines the case against Mirkarimi, who pleaded guilty to a domestic-violence related charge earlier this year. Mayor Ed Lee pushed for Mirkarimi to be removed from office, but the Board of Supervisors rejected that bid in October.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Shorter, who’s worked as a consultant and is a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, said the site has been established so that Mirkarimi “knows clearly where people stand in San Francisco.”
The website shows that the coalition is hoping to gather 50,000 signatures.
“We may see that in the next few days or so,” Shorter said.
Responding to the site via text message Wednesday, Mirkarimi said, “I am focused on tackling the enormous challenges facing San Francisco, like a growing inmate population with serious mental health needs, high recidivism rates, and helping protect public safety as I was elected to do.”
Shorter has been promoting a recall effort in recent weeks, but she wouldn’t provide details on who is supporting the idea or say how backers would pay for it.
Citizens for an Accountable Sheriff is sponsoring the site, but Shorter wouldn’t say specifically who’s in that group. She said there’s a “broad coalition” that’s come together, and she’s spoken with “a variety of folks,” including anti-domestic violence advocates, survivors, parents, educators, community leaders, and others “about what the next steps could be.”
Asked about whether the site is a sign that she’s not as confident as she had been that there’s enough support for a recall, Shorter said her latest effort “doesn’t mean we’re not confident. It means we’re going through a process … We want to make sure we have as broad an outreach as possible to see where people are and what they want to do moving forward.”
She said she didn’t know exactly how much a recall would cost. One estimate has been “a couple million” dollars Shorter said.
“Certainly, we realize that’s a considerable amount of money,” she said, but they want to “set up a grassroots effort” where people can contribute. However, she also said, “We’re not raising any funds” through the site, which doesn’t include a link where people can make donations.
People are weighing the financial cost of a recall against “the moral and ethical cost” of having a sheriff who’s “a convicted abuser,” Shorter said.
She said she’s not being paid for her work. Asked if she would be, Shorter said, “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
Debbie Mesloh, who was once a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office and said she’s now volunteering for the anit-Mirkarimi effort, said, “It’s too early for any of those decisions to be made.”
Mesloh said the effort has been “volunteer-driven. There hasn’t been an official committee or anything like that formed until we see how people feel about it.” She said the site gives people who want Mirkarimi ousted a place to go.
In an email exchange after the call, Mesloh said, “The website is being paid for by a group of volunteers,” and she didn’t know the cost.
Lee’s office said Wednesday that at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, December 13, he, District Attorney George Gascón, Board President David Chiu, and non-specified officials from the Department on the Status of Women would appear in his office (Room 200, City Hal) to launch a citywide campaign to end domestic violence.
A couple minutes after his first text, Mirkarimi sent another message that referred to his wife, Eliana Lopez, and his son.
“Eliana, Theo and me wish everyone a very happy holiday and wonderful new year,” he said.