Domestic violence is the topic de jour at City Hall after last week’s divisive decision by four San Francisco supervisors to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi following his temporary removal from office stemming from an incident involving his wife.
Supervisor Eric Mar said he’ll introduce a resolution today encouraging city workers to recognize the signs of a co-worker having been abused. Mar offered few other details on the policy, but members of The City’s Commission on the Status of Women said it could mirror one adopted by Los Angeles in 1998.
Supervisor Malia Cohen joined Mar at the news conference, emphasizing the importance of reminding domestic violence victims that their plight is never a “private, family matter,” as Mirkarimi described his situation back in January. Mirkarimi pleaded guilty in March to misdemeanor false imprisonment to avoid three other misdemeanor charges in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he grabbed his wife’s arm hard enough to bruise it.
Cohen said domestic violence by a public official should be considered a violation of the office, rather than personal misconduct, as Mirkarimi’s attorneys argued.
“It is a crime,” she said.
Cohen also echoed last week’s comments by fellow Supervisor Jane Kim, who said she would support a public recall of the elected sheriff rather than Mayor Ed Lee’s attempt to oust Mirkarimi from office, a rare proceeding.
Mar, who broke with his politically progressive allies in voting against Mirkarimi’s reinstatement, stopped short of saying he’d support a recall.
“I’ll wait until I see what’s coming forward,” Mar said, adding that he was troubled by the behavior of some Mirkarimi supporters, who booed those who spoke against the sheriff and domestic abuse in general.
Meanwhile, there are no indications from others in the domestic violence victim advocacy community that they’re ready to stage and fund such a recall election, which could cost millions of dollars.
Also on Monday, in a new dustup involving allegedly inappropriate behavior by a politician, supervisors John Avalos and David Campos — progressives who both voted to reinstate Mirkarimi — dropped their endorsements of progressive District 5 supervisorial candidate Julian Davis.
According to an article by the SF Weekly, Davis was accused by Kay Vasilyeva — a former colleague in the 2006 campaign to re-elect Supervisor Chris Daly — of being “handsy,” culminating in a beneath-the-clothing physical advance during a campaign bar crawl.
Davis denied the accusation, confirming Monday that he had an attorney send Vasilyeva a cease-and-desist letter warning her of “significant legal liability” if she continues to spread “false allegations.” The letter appears to have sparked the rescinded endorsements of Campos and Avalos.
Davis called the accusation a “last-minute political hit from someone we think is connected to our opponents’ campaigns.” When pressed, he said that “someone” is Vasilyeva herself, who Davis said has been “spotted” at campaign events of other District 5 combatants London Breed and incumbent Supervisor Christina Olague.
Vasilyeva is a member of the San Francisco Women’s Political Committee, which has endorsed Breed.
Davis said the Mirkarimi matter is being unfairly wielded against him and The City’s progressive faction. He vaguely admitted past indiscretions with women to the San Francisco Bay Guardian earlier this election season, but said he had since matured.
“No one pressed charges,” he told the SF Weekly. “We’re not talking about anything criminal here.”