Domestic violence is not acceptable. Period. Ever. It is a bright red line in my worldview, and there are no circumstances or situations in which it is acceptable to physically abuse, imprison, or otherwise hurt your wife, spouse, husband, or child. Since Christina Olague voted to support an admitted wife-beater she has tried very hard to make this about anything other than supporting a man that physically abused his wife. Those arguments are all red herrings. According to an SF weekly article published this morning, Christina Olague’s vote wasn’t about politics, but…. drumroll please…
“But for Olague it was never about politics — it was about vagaries in the City Charter, mayoral power, and the technical definition of “misconduct.”
Let’s break it down:
1. Christina Olague’s vote to support wife-bruiser Mirkarimi was really about Mayoral abuse of power. To which I respond: That is an enormous big fat lie! The Mayor cannot unilaterally remove an elected official from office. As the last 9 months make clear, even if the Mayor removes someone for official misconduct, the Board of Supervisors still has to vote to uphold that removal. And before that, a commission has to agree with the Mayor’s original findings. The process is so involved that is has rarely been invoked by a San Francisco Mayor. So let’s be clear: No Mayor has the power to unilaterally and permanently remove an elected official from office. It works like this (simplified, in a nutshell):
- The Mayor starts the process by making a charge of official misconduct to the Ethics commission.
- The ethics commission then gathers evidence, holds hearings, and votes about whether or not they agree with the original charges.
- If the ethics commission agrees with the charges, it then moves to the Board of Supervisors.
- The Board of Supervisors must cross a very high super-majority threshold (9 out of 11) to uphold the charges and dismiss the official.
As I hope you can see, the Mayor does not get to run around firing people on a whim. The Mayor certainly has the power to begin the process, but that is it.
2. Christina Olague’s vote to support the wife-bruiser was really a vote against the vagueness of “official misconduct” in the city charter. In other words, official misconduct is so broadly defined that it could be anything, and while she abhors women getting beaten by their loved ones, this was a very principled stand against the city charter! The city charter defines official misconduct in Section 15.105 (e) as:
Official misconduct means any wrongful behavior by a public officer in relation to the duties of his or her office, willful in its character, including any failure, refusal or neglect of an officer to perform any duty enjoined on him or her by law, or conduct that falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officers and including any violation of a specific conflict of interest or governmental ethics law. When any City law provides that a violation of the law constitutes or is deemed official misconduct, the conduct is covered by this definition and may subject the person to discipline and/or removal from office. [emphasis added by me]
I think that the city charter definition of misconduct is quite clear and suitable. I absolutely 100% strongly believe that it is below the standard of decency, good faith, and right action for the elected Sheriff of San Francisco to have pled guilty to falsely imprisoning his wife and yet be entrusted to supervise, enforce, and lead the San Francisco jails and domestic violence programs.
3. Christina Olague voted to support the wife-beater Mirkarimi because as a wife-beater, he really understands and can empathize with his fellow wife-beaters, which makes him uniquely qualified to lead our domestic violence prevention efforts. She calls it “redemptive justice.” By this logic, Christina Olague must also believe that:
- Rapists should be the preferred choice when hiring someone to advocate on behalf of victims of rape.
- Murderers would make the best criminal defense attorneys, since they’ve killed people and would be totally empathetic to their feelings.
- Pedophiles should be hired and placed in positions of trust and authority to lead programs for small children, since they’ve already molested small children and probably feel so bad about it that they’d never do it again.
Olague, Kim, Avalos, and Campos – the Supervisors4WifeBruising that support domestic violence – are all an embarrassment to San Francisco. Their vote to re-instate Ross Mirkarimi is absolutely a vote against every women that has ever been victimized or abused in a domestic violence situation. Their vote to reinstate Mirkarimi is absolutely a vote against the children who are abused in domestic violence situations. Their vote is a load and clear statement that it is okay to physically abuse those you allegedly love, because, you know, at the end of the day what matters is restorative justice, the definition of official misconduct, and mayoral power.
To four San Francisco supervisors, those three things are far more important than ensuring that women and children are protected from abusive individuals. Will you remember that on election day?