Olague Tries to Weasle Her Way Out of Her Mirkarimi Vote

Olague Writes:
I want to be clear, I did not vote in support of domestic abuse or violence. The Board was not responsible for determining criminal guilt or innocence. Instead, it was charged with deciding whether the Mayor demonstrated that the Sheriff committed official misconduct. I felt there was insufficient evidence to sustain the charges, so I made the decision that I thought best reflected the intention of each person that approved the charter many years ago. By carefully interpreting the charter, I was compelled to make a decision that, while unpopular with some, upheld the foundation of San Francisco.

Matt Responds:
The city charter defines official misconduct as “Official misconduct means any wrongful behavior by a public officer in relation to the duties of his or her officewillful 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]

To vote that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the charges, you must believe that

  1. The charge to which he plead guilty in a plea-bargain was not wrongful behavior and that the Sheriff has no duties that relate to domestic violence prevention.

or, you must believe

  1. His conduct was not willful (the Mayor made him!).
  2. His conduct did not fall below the standard of decency required of all public officers.
  3. His conduct did not fall below the standard of good faith and right action required of all public officers.
I think the city charter makes quite clear that his behavior was unacceptable and falls clearly within the definition of official misconduct. I would very much like to know how Christina Olague reached a different conclusion. What specific part of the city charter was unclear? Why do you believe that a guilty plea that relates to a program he oversee doesn’t relate to his job? Why do you believe his conduct wasn’t willful and below the standard of decency, good faith, and right conduct?
Olague Opines:
As the Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I understand the systemic effects of abuse and violence in our homes and communities. Both my staff and I have worked closely with anti violence groups and community organizations to prevent domestic violence and violence against women. With that, I also value the profound impacts of healing and rehabilitation on people.
Matt Translates:
Even though I don’t really care about the message my vote to support Mirkarimi sends, I’ve sat in plenty of committee meetings listening to people talk about the horrid effects of domestic violence, but I can’t list one specific action, program, or piece of legislation that I’ve authored that would help the women, children, and others impacted by domestic violence. But more importantly than that, I think Ross feels really really badly about all this. So I’m going to give him back a job that requires enforcing domestic violence outreach and prevention programs.

Over the past few days, I received a great deal of public outreach–some in agreement and some in outrage. Both the support and the criticism, indicate to me that people all over this City are passionate about their opinion and their ideas of what is best for San Francisco. Moving forward, I challenge everyone to continue to engage with your public officials in a dialogue that is healthy and promotes good government.

Matt Translates:
Wow, people get really upset when you give a guy who is responsible for domestic violence and outreach programs back his job after he pleads guilty to false imprisonment, a plea bargain resulting from an incident of domestic violence. But hey, it’s over. So continue calling my office, which will continue to not schedule a meeting with you (true fact – this is my personal experience). Because by engage, I don’t really mean engage. At least not in the sense that I’ll meet with you. Because I know what’s best. And you don’t.

I appreciate the constructive comments I have received thus far. As with all of my votes, I really take to heart the feedback I receive. Each time I enter the Board chamber, I am reminded of the importance of the voice of the community. And, while I stand by my vote, I stand firmly on the side of the violence prevention advocates that work daily to make our homes and streets safer. Whether or not we agree on this decision, I encourage you to support your neighborhood anti-violence and domestic abuse prevention organizations. It is only with the same level of impassioned commitment that we will be able to eliminate abuse and violence from having a place anywhere in San Francisco.

Matt Translates:
I plan on having my cake and eating it too, thank you very much. Since I’ve just set domestic violence prevention and outreach programs back by decades with my vote to reinstate the wife-bruiser, it’s pretty important that you actually go out and do something to prevent domestic violence and abuse. Please stop writing and calling me and instead go spend your time and energy helping the women and children I’ve just thrown under the proverbial bus, because lord knows they’ll need someone to care for them since I clearly don’t.

Matt’s Promise: 
I have one more post coming about domestic violence and its horrific impacts on society. Then I promise to write more about real estate than domestic violence.  And spend my spare time working to elect someone for my district that believes women and children in abusive relationships deserve more than lip service and pretty words.


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