Post image for The Ross M. Story The Chron Won’t Publish

The Ross M. Story The Chron Won’t Publish

by Larry Bush on 10/08/2012

in Busted

(A few hours after CitiReport posted this, the Chron’s Debra Saunders posted Evelyn’s article on Debra’s blog. Read her intro and the post here: http://blog.sfgate.com/djsaunders/2012/10/08/former-girlfriend-defends-mirkarimi/

(This is from Evelyn Nieves, a respected journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post and other publications. She has just returned from on-site reporting from the fracking fields about the impact of the economic tsunami on local tribal life, funded through a foundation.

Evelyn Nieves was the romantic partner of Ross Mirkarimi and writes from her own knowledge of Ross about the current charges brought by Mayor Lee. Although she reached out to her colleagues in the reporting profession to correct the misinformation that marked coverage of the past several months, none of them responded.

This post was written to appear in tomorrow’s Chronicle as an op-ed. The newspaper, however, informed her that they didn’t need it and won’t be running it.

CitiReport is posting it now in the hopes that more people will read what the papers declined to publish.)

For months, I’ve watched as Ross Mirkarimi has been slandered as a “wife beater”—by the Mayor of San Francisco, no less—and vilified in the press based on lies, half-truths and innuendo.  It has been heart-breaking, nauseating, to witness.

I know for a fact that Ross is no abuser. He and I were a couple for eight years. For most of that time, we lived together. Not once did Ross even come close to making me feel unsafe in his presence. He never threatened me. He would walk away or cry “uncle” rather than argue. He simply had no stomach for it.

When the news broke last January that Ross, newly elected as San Francisco’s Sheriff but not yet sworn in, might be arrested on domestic violence charges, I was sure the accusation wouldn’t stick. Not once people knew the facts.

I was naïve.

By now, everyone knows that Ross and his wife, Eliana Lopez, got in an argument in their car on New Year’s Eve. She wanted to take their toddler to her native Venezuela, and Ross, bereft the last time a one-month trip to Venezuela stretched into several, balked. Eliana moved to exit the car and Ross held her, a second too long, causing a bruise. Eliana called a friend and made a videotape of the bruise the next day in case she and Ross ended up in a custody battle. Four days later, without Ross’s wife knowing, the friend called police.

The hell that broke loose is worthy of an Errol Morris documentary. The San Francisco District Attorney, a political opponent, sent four investigators to interview all of Ross’s neighbors. That never happens in a misdemeanor case–it costs too much time and money. Anti-domestic violence advocates began calling for Ross’s head even before he was charged.

We all want to stop abusers in their tracks. But let’s make sure we are properly identifying the abuser.

Early on, in January, the Bay Citizen interviewed me. I expected the other local newspapers to contact me or pick up my quotes, which essentially said that Ross never, ever came close to abusing me. But no reporter from the local dailies that were splashing all kinds of hearsay on their front pages ever contacted me. This even after I contacted them to try to correct falsehoods being reported as fact.

I was fully prepared to testify had Ross’s case gone to trial. I knew facts that would contradict lies made to condemn him.  I still wish the case had gone to trial. But at the time that Ross pled guilty to “false imprisonment”–for turning his car around to go home when the argument threatened to spill out into a restaurant he and his wife planned to enter–his lawyer told me she believed that Ross could not get a fair trial. The last straw was when the judge refused a change of venue.

So Ross pleaded guilty so he could have his wife and son back, end the hysteria and try to go and do his job.

Instead, the Mayor used Ross’s guilty plea as an excuse to suspend him without pay—without any due process—starting several more months’ of investigation, interrogation and character assassination at Ethics Commission hearings. And for what? In the end, the five-member Ethics Commission, including one appointed by the mayor in the midst of the hearing, found Ross guilty of only one charge: grabbing his wife’s arm.  One member wondered what the people would say if they decided not to uphold the Mayor’s rash suspension and declaration of “official misconduct.” Well, in the few times that I’ve met with Ross in the last few months, he was stopped everywhere by people of every demographic group. Old, young, progressive, moderate, and of every ethnicity. All wanted to express their support and their contempt for what has happened to him. All blamed politics.

I had not seen Ross much in the years since we parted. I moved to another side of the city, moved in different circles. But, in essence, he has not changed much. The last time I saw him before this case exploded was before Christmas. On a Saturday morning, Ross was in his District Five Supervisor uniform—gray suit, white shirt, wingtips. He had already gone to one neighborhood meeting and was on his way to another, even though his official duties as supervisor were over and he was supposed to be on vacation. I kidded him about this, and he shrugged and said, “Well, you know me.”

I do.  And so I’ll say with confidence that Ross does not deserve what he has endured. He deserves vindication, and the chance to do the job he was elected to do.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Knee October 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I have a problem with the argument that Sheriff Mirkarimi should keep his job because he was elected to it. Readers might want to harken back to the case of Richard Nixon — overwhelmingly reelected president in November 1972 and properly chased from office less than two years later.

I am not, however, saying that the Board of Supervisors should uphold Mirkarimi’s firing. In determining whether his admitted misdeed constituted official misconduct, the board should consider (1) whether it occurred during the conduct of the people’s business, and (2) whether it took place on city property, or involved the use of city facilities or equipment.

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Larry Bush October 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I would make a couple of points. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Mirkarimi has a right to his job because the voters put him in it. People are saying that the proper way to remove him is by the voters, and not a process that is, at best, jerry-rigged. The comparison with Nixon doesn’t hold up on numerous grounds: he used government employees to violate the law, he committed crimes, and he did so with the authority of his office. None of this is true with Mirkarimi.

But I believe an important step has been missed, and that is a clear understanding of the intent and language of Official Misconduct. I covered every session of the Charter Revision Committee in 1994 and 1995 that wrote this language, and the intent was not to address the Mazzola case. It was to address concerns that a “moral character” provision was a left-over of the language used to bar people from professions based on sexual orientation. The chair of the citizen’s committee was a gay man who underscored that several times. Unfortunately, neither the Ethics Commission or the City Attorney went to the Main Library where all those committee minutes are held for public review.

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lillipublicans October 22, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thanks for the clarity you’ve brought to the origin of the ethics language, Larry. I’ve also noticed that the ballot pamphlet in 1995 had a digest written by the office of then-CA Louise Renne which explicitly described the changes in the law related to ethics as not significant: clearly the voters did not think they were giving new powers to the mayor. Isn’t it always the lawmaker’s intent which ultimately determines what courts decide when there is ambiguity?

How anyone can believe that the mayor’s action and the EC process was on the up-and-up is beyond me.

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Erika October 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I thought Nixon resigned?
There is no recall for a president.
Official misconduct? There are a long list of names guilty of such, but none is Ross Mirkarimi.

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Erika October 8, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Really great essay from Evelyn.

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hank chapot October 9, 2012 at 2:36 am

I had lunch with Jeff Adachi and Matt Gonzalez earlier this year, and they both agreed Ross should have gone to trial, he coulda beat it.

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Charles Amico October 9, 2012 at 4:17 am

This should have come out sooner as many will not get to read this with tomorrow the Supervisors voting. But excellent, nonetheless!

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Raymond Guiducci October 9, 2012 at 5:29 am

RE :Ross; any Bd member that votes to Remove Ross,does so in
contravention of all applicable law,and does so at the height of
immorality and at the pinnacle of cowardice,& hypocracy in total disregard of
the facts under law.Any supervisor voting to remove Ross on ZERO
FACTS & ZERO COMPRTENT ADMITTED/ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE(due to plea bargain precludind facts & law) establishes on the unredacted Official Permanent Requi?red Kept
Forever Record undisputedly self-evident,the uncontraveneable fact
that he or she is clearly unqualified to hold office,demonstrating mid-atlantic
use of office AND felonious misconduct in office.Warranting the filing of
Criminal charges, removal by the mayor,action by the Ethics Bd,& the
Bd of Supervisors to codemn & remove for crimes in office.The State
A/G charging ‘cpc conspiracy to pervert&obstruct justice.In US Ct: 18
USC ##241-245 sufficient basis, on judicial notice,to support felony
convictions:denial civil rights AND 18USC #371 Conspiracy et al.
Reminder: Ex Post Factor law was used against duly elected Ross
Ipso Facto the prosecution persecutors are guilty by act of law,& liable
Civilly AND Criminally in all courts of competent jurisdiction.Also RICO,
Criminally&Civil actions,&Extortion18USC,are supportable with
2 or more predicate acts openly,on record, committed by Lee & his
Co-conspirators,the criminal statute of limitations is now 10 yrs.
Note,42USC #1983-Federal Civil Rts Act applies w/rqd attys fees
(For Rosa’s fees- vindicating Justice)awarded by 42USC #1988.
Fundamental Fairness mandates Rosa’s full exoneration.Anything
less would be a manifest fundamental miscarriage of justice.
In that unsupported & inexplicable despicable event,the use of the
aforesaid, &other,remedies need necessarily be rqd & invoked at once.
And demanded by the electorate,as co-victims w/Sheriff Ross,& his
family.(that testified uncontradicted to Rosa’s innocence)
Ray Guiducci, SF,CA Oct.8,2012._

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jccourt. October 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

The current power that be in San Francisco knew about Evelyn Nieves from the onset of this case but chose to ignore her for obvious reasons if you understand what’s really going on here.

Watching this case, was like watching a crime in progress against an American family.

Let see what happens at the Supervisors meeting. Thanks.

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LM October 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm

There is no reason to “disbelieve” anything Evelyn has said in this well-written article. She speaks honestly and clearly – and my guess is that many “politicians” in SF have read it and agree with her position…..but must march to a different political drummer….sad.

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Raymond Guiducci October 10, 2012 at 2:21 am

Any supervisors who vote to remove Ross will
go down in INFAMY forever as part of Ed Lee’s
cabal & criminal conspiracy to frame a fully
innocent man,our finest,most ethical & honest
local public servant,falsely convict him and
act covertly in concert to illegally & unlawfully
engage in a sleazy & slimeball felony to remove
Ross from office…thereby thwarting the will of
the SF electorate.And in violation of all applicable
law. And in defiance of public will & public opinion.
Ed Lee & Co.are truly an abominable RICO criminal
gang who will literally stop at nothing to impose
their corrupt political system in their continuous
criminal plot & felonious scheme against the
overall population of San Francisco. …Ray Guiducci,
SF,CA 7:20pm Oct. 9, 2012…God Help Us All.

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Raymond Guiducci October 10, 2012 at 6:57 am

Hip Hip Hoo Ray … …Congratulations to THE
PEOPLE’S SHERIFF ROSS MIRKARIMI,TO HIS
ADORABLE FAMILY,AND TO THE PEOPLE OF
SAN FRANCISCO.JUSTICE DID ULTIMATELY
PREVAIL SHERIFF MIRKIRIMI RIGHTFULLY
ONCE AGAIN OUR SHERIFF.DESPITE THE
CRIMINAL COVERT CONSPIRACY TO ILLEGALLY
REMOVE HIM,WHICH F-A-I-L-E-D BY CRIME
BOSS MAYOR ED LEE & HIS GANG OF FIVE..
CRIMINAL SLEAZEBALL,SLIMEBALL THUGS.
FOR ALL HONEST,ETHICAL,PURE-HEARTED,
ALTRUISTIC SAN FRANCISCANS I DECLARE
TOMORROW OCT 10,2012 SHERIFF ROSS
MIRKARIMI DAY A LOCAL ,PUBLIC & PERSONAL
FESTIVE HOLIDAY FOR ALL GOOD PEOPLE.
Ray Guiducci. Oct.9,2012 SF,CA …YEAAY!!!

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marie cassidy October 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I’ve watched from the beginning (with gritted teeth) Ross’ unfair and biased treatment and the turmoil his political enemies put Ross, and, most importantly his family, through–Their ugliness is revealed. Finally….What be done in the dark always comes to the light…always.

Congratulations to Sheriff Mirkarimi and to the people of San Francisco. Progress on Ross!

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Raymond Guiducci October 11, 2012 at 1:49 am

I heartily endorse, concur with and second the. Succinct &
Pertinent post by the prior commentator Marie Cassidy.Thank
God the bedeviling endless nightmare wrought by the den of
iniquity of evil incarnate Crime Boss & his -insidious self-dealing
Insiders-organized CRIME-RICO- GANG OF POLITICAL THUGS &
EXTORTIONISTS is now,apparently, behind us. Oct.10,2012 7pm
Ray Guiducci, (one happy fella & relieved citizen)

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