Monday, January 09, 2012
A Tale of Two Inaugurations 2: Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi
Three hours later, at Herbst theatre across Van Ness Avenue from City Hall, there was another inauguration. It was for ex-District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who had just won a hard-fought election for Sheriff last November. Unlike the Mayor Ed Lee affair in City Hall, seating in the fancy old theater was on a first-come, first-serve basis, and they finally opened up the balcony for the decent sized crowd of about 1,000.
Both inaugurations had dark clouds over them. In Ed Lee's case, it was because his election was so blatantly undemocratic, with the old San Francisco political machine selecting him behind closed doors after Gavin Newsom left office last year. In Ross Mirkarimi's case, it was on account of a bombshell that had been exploded by Phil Matier (below left), the political gossip columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle that same Sunday morning. He reported that the San Francisco Police Department was deciding whether or not to arrest newly-elected Sheriff Mirkarimi for domestic violence against his new Venezuelan telenovela star wife. (Click here for the Matier & Ross hit piece.)
Matier was in the lobby of Herbst Theatre, talking closely with San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White above right. The Chief also has a history of police coming to her house inquiring about domestic violence when she was reportedly bashing her husband with a pint glass back in 2005 (click here). Nobody was demanding her resignation over the issue at the time, but that's possibly because she is a part of the native-born San Francisco government cabal that largely and ineptly runs San Francisco.
The inauguration started with a sheriff's drill team leading the Pledge of Allegiance and then the young lady above singing the National Anthem a capella quite fabulously, and then there was an emcee and a promise of entertainment that included Puccini's "Un Bel Di" and a Persian Folk Song, which is when I remembered that Tiger's kitty litter across the street needed cleaning so I did so.
I returned an hour later just in time for the last speaker on the program, Sheriff Mirkarimi himself. I stayed for a couple of minutes of his speech and then moved on to The Green Room, where a free reception complete with wine and roving appetizers was going to be held.
Nobody loves the sound of his own voice quite like Ross Mirkarimi, but I was still surprised that his oration ran for a steady forty minutes. Meanwhile I chatted up the charming catering crew in the Green Room, waiting for the mobs to arrive.
They finally did make their entrance, and there were people you actually wanted to see like Glendon Hyde aka Annaconda above, a District 6 Supervisorial candidate from last November.
There was also a favorite sheriff's deputy, above left, who works at City Hall. It was the first time I had seen him out of his dorky sheriff's uniform and he looked sharp.
There was a huge police presence all around the Veterans building, and it wasn't quite clear if this was meant as protection or intimidation of Mirkarimi, who they seem to despise.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.