Monday, March 19, 2012

Mayor Lee should do nothing about Mirkarimi

Photo my Michael Mator for the Chronicle

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Most political leaders, however, assume that being "proactive" is what the public expects, that doing something is better than doing nothing. With the Mirkarimi issue, Mayor Lee is facing a problem that requires no action on his part, except issuing a statement explaining why he's not going to try to remove Sheriff Mirkarimi from office.

An attempt to remove Mirkarimi would involve a hearing before the Ethics Commission and then a trial-like hearing before the Board of Supervisors. It would be a messy, ugly process, and the outcome is uncertain.

The legal process has done its thing with the plea bargain. After today's sentencing hearing, that process will be over.

The Mayor should now let the political process take over.

If Mirkarimi isn't removed by a recall election---threatened by the domestic violence people---he will almost certainly be defeated if he runs in 2015. Surely he's already suffered enough from his self-inflicted wounds. His marriage may be fatally damaged, his relationship with his son has been disrupted, and his political career is probably over.

In San Francisco, being Sheriff is a low-profile, administrative job. Better to let Mirkarimi disappear into the bureaucracy than to start an ugly removal process. No one heard anything from or about former Sheriff Hennessey, except at election time, which is the way it should be for that job.

Doing nothing is Mayor Lee's best option, which will have added benefits, like taking the Mirkarimi story out of the news and, even better, sparing us any more C.W. Nevius columns on the subject.

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