By Luke Thomas
May 3, 2011
District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi received a major boost to his campaign for Sheriff of San Francisco today with a formal endorsement from outgoing Sheriff Michael Hennessey.
“He is the right person to succeed me as sheriff and, as a result, I am very proud today to formally announce my endorsement of Ross Mirkarimi for Sheriff of San Francisco,” Hennessey said to a large and boisterous crowd of supporters and members of the press corps on the steps of City Hall. “The reason I am supporting Ross is because we have worked closely together over the last several years on a number of criminal justice issues.”
Mirkarimi, who terms out as Supervisor in January 2013, has a background in law enforcement as an investigator for the District Attorney’s office, as well as completing a police academy class.
Elected Sheriff of the City and County of San Francisco in 1979, Hennessey bears the honorable distinction of being the longest tenured sheriff in the State of California, as well as holding public office longer than any other elected official in San Francisco political history. Hennessey, 63, is retiring in January after 32 years of public service serving alongside 5 mayors and 13 police chiefs.
“There is a time to move on and this is the time for me to move on and not seek re-election,” Hennessey said.
“Mike Hennessey is a living legend,” a beaming Mirkarimi said with his wife, Eliana Lopez, and son, Theo, by his side. “It would be completely impossible to fill his shoes. In this particular race for Sheriff of San Francisco, the most important endorsement to be cast is that endorsement of Sheriff Mike Hennessey, which is why I say with great pride, humbly so, that you have my commitment that I will build on your legacy as effectively and as best as I possibly can.”
Mirkarimi said the city faces some difficult challenges, particularly with the passage of AB 109, legislation signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown that transfers as many as a 1000 inmates from California prisons to municipal prisons in an effort to balance the State budget and reduce overcrowding. “That means our jails, our diversion programs and monitoring programs are going to grow by almost 30 percent,” Mirkarimi said.
Mirkarimi said he is committed to reducing recidivism rates, particularly among people of color, by “making sure people have access to job training and access to good jobs.”
Mirkarimi has, so far, also garnered endorsements from former Mayor Art Agnos, Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos and Eric Mar.
Though Mirkarimi is considered the early frontrunner in the race, he faces competition from six other candidates including former Deputy Sheriff William Angel, SFPD Officer Michael Evans, Security Consultant Jon Gray, Sheriff (Sergeant) Matthew Haskell, Sheriff (Captain) Paul Miyamoto and Deputy Sheriff David Wong.