Hur made it clear that he found Mirkarimi's behavior toward Lopez to be "egregious" and his dealings with city authorities at times "childish." But Hur argued there had to be a nexus between an official's below-the-standard-of-decency behavior and official duties. Without such a distinction, said Hur, the commission would open the door for all manner of mischief as future mayors could misuse their unique power to eject or threaten rival office holders.
There is no penalty for adding overblown, unproven charges onto the "official misconduct" shopping cart. So Lee charged that Mirkarimi tried to dissuade witnesses, abused his power against his wife and two other charges. Commissioners roundly rejected these charges as city attorneys dismally failed to meet the burden of proof.
Keep in mind that these add-ons are what spawned hours of investigation work and mountains of documentation that extended the hearings for what felt like a forensic eternity.
Perhaps the mayor felt that he would look ridiculous firing the sheriff for bruising his wife's arm -- which Mirkarimi admitted to -- so he sent the full force of city law enforcement on an expensive fishing expedition that netted no fish.
And what of wife Eliana Lopez? From the start, she refused to cooperate with authorities, as she asserted that while Mirkarimi bruised her arm, he did not abuse her. Domestic violence advocates dismissed her actions as the result of battered-woman syndrome. She's afraid of Mirkarimi, they insisted. She's insecure; she's terrified that he'll take their child.
When a stay-away order kept Mirkarimi and Lopez apart, she took the couple's son to her native Venezuela where she was able to find work. (Lopez is a successful telenovela actress.) After she had spent months apart from Mirkarimi, her son tucked away in Venezuela, she returned to San Francisco to testify for Mirkarimi last month.
The woman who appeared in City Hall for the hearings was not broken; far from it, she was poised, secure and feisty. "To grab my arm is not domestic abuse," she testified. She regretted making the video and described her family's situation as "a disaster."
With the stay-away order lifted, Lopez was able to join her husband Thursday. Before the hearing began, Lopez tweeted that she had come to send a message of "love, justice and democracy now."
The forces of political correctness would have you pay no attention to the woman behind the tweet. She's a battered woman. Her words cannot be trusted.
Email Debra J. Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Debra J. Saunders, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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