San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, right, is facing two recall efforts that are undoubtedly connected to Police Chief Greg Suhr and his troubled department. (Mike Koozmin/2015 S.F. Examiner)

Rise of the Recall: Two efforts to boot Mayor Lee gain steam

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/on-guard/

Holy hell-raising: There’s not one, but two efforts to recall Mayor Ed Lee percolating right now.

If either of these rebellions lands, San Francisco voters will be asked on the ballot this November if Lee should be kicked out of office.

One effort is by local gardener Mike Murphy and a team of local activists. These guys aren’t too politically connected, but I wouldn’t count them out.

Right now, one couldn’t dream up a better atmosphere for recall.

Between the San Francisco Police Department’s oversized gift basket of scandals, to Lee’s handling (or not) of the homeless, to skyrocketing rents and the ascendancy of tech, Ess Eff is simply outraged.

“This,” Murphy said, “is a critical moment for The City.”

Lee’s approval rating is in the dumps, too.

Murphy and company may need to wait until July — six months after Lee took office — to file a form of intent with the Department of Elections.

The other person floating around a recall wasn’t willing to be identified, but this progressive has star power and credibility. On background, they told On Guard they’ve been floating the idea to folks with deep pockets and political know-how.

“It actually hurts you more if you [try to recall] and fail. You make the mayor stronger,” another source said.

And yet another politico said a recall may enrage Chinese voters, which may subsequently tank progressive supervisors running in 2016. A hefty 60,000 signatures may be needed to land a recall on the ballot.

Even if Lee were recalled and moderates regained control of the board, the new mayor would likely be tapped from the same political camp as Lee.

Same politics, same policies.

And the interim mayor? That would be moderate Board of Supervisors President London Breed.

* * *

An out-of-court courtroom drama unfolded at a recent Bar Association of San Francisco forum for judges candidates, in front of a smattering of legal-minded folk. Attorneys Paul Henderson, Victor Hwang and Sigrid Irias are all running for San Francisco Superior Court Judge this June.

Grilled on his record, Henderson was asked by the moderator, David Carrillo of UC Berkeley School of Law, “How many jury trials have you had total? How many were felonies? How many were civil cases?”

Henderson answered with an elongated, tortured sound resembling “aaaaargggghhhh” followed by a “I’d have to look at my records.” Ultimately, he said he tried 46 cases to a verdict — and one was a civil case.

The moderator caught Henderson in his crosshairs. “So 45 were felonies?”

Henderson hemmed and hawed.

The moderator dug in. “I think you can estimate.”

Henderson tripped. He handled many serious juvenile cases, he said, including kidnapping and sexual assault. The moderator didn’t buy it.

Carrillo did his best Sherlock Holmes impression, in that classic moment when Holmes explains some complicated misdeed to his sidekick, Watson.

“This is going to be boring for those of you who know this, but juvenile cases are called contests and they’re tried to a bench officer called a commissioner,” Carrillo said.

Those are decidedly not jury trials, he explained. Henderson’s inflated résumé fizzled.

Asked again how many jury verdicts he’s litigated, Henderson answered, “I would say less than a dozen.”

For the record, Hwang said he’d brought 80 jury trials to verdict, 50 of which were felonies. Irias said she brought three jury trials to verdict and no felonies, but many civil arbitrations.

You can watch full video of the exchange on Vimeo here, and to see this section skip to the 52:00 mark.

* * *

Mayor Ed Lee came knocking on the door of Mission Police Station on Monday to meet with the hunger strikers known as the “Frisco 5.” They announced Sunday that they would march on City Hall today to sit down with the mayor and ask Lee to fire SFPD Chief Greg Suhr.

On Monday, they left the mayor hanging. Edwin Lindo, one-fifth of the Frisco 5 — who has lost 15 pounds during 12 days of not eating — told me why:

“We all weren’t there, when [the mayor] came unannounced. And he deliberately came to us because he didn’t want the march to happen,” Lindo said.

Lindo continued, “He was trying
to make a power move to intimidate us. We’re willing to have a conversation with him [today] if he opens his door.”

* * *

Sitting city supervisors are sometimes minor celebrities in their own right. So when Supervisor Aaron Peskin hopped on a 47-Van Ness Muni bus the other day, he wasn’t surprised when a woman sat next to him and exclaimed, “Aren’t you …?”

“Yes!” he said, interrupting her. To which she replied, delighted, “Supervisor John Avalos!”

So much for local celebrity … The only thing the two have in common visually is gray hair.

Just For Men in shoe polish black, anyone?

Former assemblymember Tom Ammiano may share some style tips. He showed off his new streaks of blue highlights at last week’s City College of San Francisco faculty strike.

His only hangup? The lengthy dyeing process.

“It takes time to look this beautiful,” he said.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each Tuesday. Email him at joe@sfexaminer.com.hunger strikeMayor Ed LeeRecall

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