Fault Lines: Sandoval resorting to bench warming

If Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval somehow makes it onto the superior court bench in November, he may want to install a weather vane in his chambers so he can note the direction of the wind before he has to make a decision. Right now his index finger must be getting tired.

Sandoval, who has recused himself from voting on controversial issues lately because it might provide fodder for his more experienced opponent, Judge Thomas Mellon, this week criticized the use of gang injunctions, shortly after saying that they might be needed in his district to fight violent crime. The flip-flop apparently occurred after some young nonprofit activists, who oppose the use of gang injunctions, showed up at a meeting to discuss violence in the Excelsior, and Sandoval couldn’t bring himself to back up his earlier support for legislation used to weed out known gang members.

It was enough to get City Attorney Dennis Herrera, author of several civil gang injunctions, to fire off a letter to Sandoval intended to “disabuse you of the misinformation you have regrettably stated as fact for publication.”

Herrera also pointed out that the fast-shuffling supervisor voted in 2006 for a board resolution saying the civil injunctions are effective in “deterring and abating the public nuisance activity caused by criminal street gangs.”

Sandoval can’t seem to tell the difference between being a politician or a judge — the latter is not supposed to rely on an applause-meter.

kgarcia@sfexaminer.com

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