Following the reinstatement of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the race for the District 5 seat on the Board of Supervisors has quickly become rife with issues related to domestic violence. This turn of events has both stirred up the race and shaken our confidence in one of the candidates.
Eight candidates are vying for the seat that used to be held by Mirkarimi. He was suspended from his post as sheriff by Mayor Ed Lee after pleading guilty to false imprisonment related to a New Year’s Eve incident in which he bruised the arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez. Mirkarimi was just reinstated into office following a nine-month fight that ended with four members of the Board of Supervisors concluding that the case did not constitute official misconduct under the City Charter.
One of the votes for reinstatement came from Christina Olague, whom the mayor appointed to fill the District 5 seat when Mirkarimi was sworn in as sheriff. Her vote raised the ire of the powerful San Francisco Police Officers Association, which subsequently pulled its endorsement of Olague.
But before the dust could even settle on the vote, more allegations arose in the District 5 race. From the beginning, there had been rumors regarding candidate Julian Davis’ past behavior involving women — a subject The San Francisco Examiner editorial board asked him about at some length. But Davis, who acknowledged that he had been too forward with women on two occasions in the past, said the issues were minor and long behind him, and that he had learned from his mistakes.
A new allegation suggests that may not have been the case. On Monday, SF Weekly outlined an on-the-record accusation by a woman who says Davis groped her beneath her clothing six years ago. This allegation goes way beyond merely being too forward. And to make matters worse, Davis reportedly sent the woman a cease-and-desist letter to get her to keep quiet.
While this is just an accusation and the truth itself may never emerge about what actually occurred between Davis and his accuser, we have no choice but to take the allegation seriously. And while it would be naive not to recognize that this accusation emerged right at the end of a political campaign, we are troubled by the way Davis has responded to this accusation.
Davis had impressed us with his knowledge of city issues and solutions that moved beyond the typical tax-and-cut, cookie-cutter budget moves usually proposed at City Hall. But being a leader in this city involves more than just advocating good policies.
Following revelations about the cease-and-desist letter, progressive supervisors John Avalos and David Campos have withdrawn their endorsements of Davis’ candidacy. And due to the combined effects of this new allegation and the candidate’s handling of the matter, The San Francisco Examiner is forced to do the same.
We reaffirm our pre-existing endorsement of two other candidates running in this race, and urge residents of District 5 to vote for both John Rizzo and Thea Selby when they cast their ranked-choice ballots.