Debra J. Saunders

But Mirkarimi was wrong. Even though the fight occurred before Mirkarimi was sworn in as sheriff, Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi for "official misconduct" from his job and his pay.

The whole setup is "designed to break you along the way," Mirkarimi told me. Until he fights back and wins, he has lost the elective office he worked hard to win. The courts won't let him talk to his wife, who -- this is ironic, as her declared wish to visit her native Venezuela with her son started the fight -- took their son to Venezuela while she visits her sick father. When she returns in June, they will have been apart for five months and still will not be able to talk to each other.

Again, Brown is appalled at a system that would tear a family apart against its will, ostensibly for its own good. "A person charged with murder gets to see his wife," Brown railed. "Dan White"-- who murdered Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978 -- "had conjugal visits."

As I sat through Monday's hearing of the San Francisco Ethics Commission, once again I was struck at how flimsy City Hall's case is. When a man hurts his wife, there is a body of evidence -- such as medical records and neighbors who heard things firsthand.

Yet Deputy City Attorney Peter J. Keith was angling for the ability to get Lopez to testify that Mirkarimi once told her that he was "powerful" as he tried to warn her against taking the couple's son to Venezuela without his consent. The mayor actually included this exchange in his "official misconduct" complaint.

Mirkarimi denies that he told Lopez he is politically powerful, but who cares? San Francisco tax dollars shouldn't be used to investigate what a couple said during an argument. The commission's work is going to go on for months. Ethics Commission Chairman Ben Hur -- yes, that's his name -- announced his panel won't issue the rules for a mini-trial until May 29.

If San Francisco can do this to its sheriff -- for an arm bruise -- San Francisco can do this to anyone. I asked Mirkarimi whether he feels ravaged by the excesses of San Francisco's political correctness. He answered warily, "In some ways, San Francisco has a very inflated image of itself being politically correct."

Debra J. Saunders

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