Ross Mirkarimi recall effort fizzles as supporters delay meeting item

AP File PhotoDelay: The sponsor of a resolution calling for the ouster of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi

A possible recall effort against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi appears to be losing steam — at least for now.

Anger over the Board of Supervisors’ decision in October to reinstate the embattled sheriff, following his suspension in the wake of a domestic violence case involving his wife, led to calls for a voter-driven ouster that had appeared imminent to some.

But now the sponsor of a measure in support of a recall effort has withdrawn her resolution before the influential Democratic County Central Committee, citing “timing” as the reason.

The resolution originally appeared on the committee’s October meeting agenda, but it was continued to tonight’s meeting, presumably to avoid drama leading up to the Nov. 6 election. But the resolution is now conspicuously absent from tonight’s agenda.

“It was withdrawn; it wasn’t continued,” said DCCC member Zoe Dunning, who sponsored the resolution. “It’s just timing, holding off for now.”

Dunning offered little other reasoning for why the timing isn’t right, but said the matter could come up again in the future, and that the political will still exists to remove Mirkarimi.

Mayor Ed Lee began the process of removing the recently elected sheriff from office in March, following a Dec. 31 spousal argument that later resulted in a false imprisonment misdemeanor conviction and a sentence of probation and batterer counseling.

During months of Ethics Commission removal hearings, domestic violence victim advocates argued that a sheriff subject to probation by his own jail system could not possibly serve as a law enforcement leader.

A group of domestic violence victim supporters led by former City Hall advocacy veteran and nonprofit leader Andrea Shorter recently released a measured statement about the recall process as a “lengthy endeavor.”

“The decision to launch a recall is an important one, and we are undertaking a deliberative process,” Shorter said. “Many stakeholders need to be consulted.”

Mirkarimi, meanwhile, has publicly asked the mayor to mend fences regarding the whole affair, but the two men have not spoken since a tense meeting in March in which the sheriff’s suspension without pay was decided.

Originally saying a recall would be a more just route for removal than the mayor’s efforts, Mirkarimi now criticizes the cost of such a vote, especially considering the more than $1 million already spent on the unsuccessful administrative ouster.

Department of Elections Director John Arntz estimates that a recall special election would cost The City up to $3.3 million, and recall supporters say a signature-gathering campaign would cost about $500,000.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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