Hennessey Endorses Mirkarimi for Sheriff

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on May 03, 2011 with 8 Comments

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi (left) has garnered the coveted endorsement of outgoing Sheriff Michael Hennesey (right), who is retiring in January after 32 years of public service. Photos by Luke Thomas.

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.”

Sheriff Hennessey "proud" to endorse Supervisor Mirkarimi for Sheriff of San Francisco. Also pictured, Supervisors David Campos and Eric Mar.

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.”

Sheriff Hennessey a "living legend."

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.

As many as 100 supporters attended the formal endorsement announcement on the steps of City Hall.

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.

More photos

Sheriff Hennessey, Supervisor Mirkarimi and former Mayor Art Agnos.

A jubliant Eliana Lopez and son, Theo.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7×7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • tami

    Beautiful photographs, excellent article, and as someone who was there in the crowd on the steps, you gave me the full perspective on the amazing press conference that I could not experience from my location…
    Sheriff Mirkarimi!!! Thank you Luke!

  • Ann Garrison

    Well, at least this one looks like a done deal.

  • Jerry Jarvis

    nothing is a done deal. Yes Ross has the very qualities to fill a seat that is in line with the current vacating Sheriff. But the Sheriff is much more than a names sake. The real test is in management. Sheriff MH has those skills. Does Ross or any other contender?

  • Rob Anderson

    Hard to see how Mirkarimi will get any support in the law enforcement community, since he supported anarchist Josh Wolf, who withheld videos from the Grand Jury of a demonstration during which city cop Peter Shields had his head fractured by Wolf’s comrades. And Mirkarimi voted for a BOS resolution urging Philadelphia to give cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal a new trial.

  • Anyone have the inside scoop on Ross possibly ‘moderating’ his position on Tenants rights

  • Sadly, yes,

    Patrick. Here’s the link. It doesn’t make a bit of sense but he’s begun to equivocate on rent control. Maybe the influence of Stearns? I talked to Agnos just before he went to the podium to endorse Ross and he said he’d heard nothing of Ross turning on renters. Same with Hennessey.

    Hennessey’s last boss at Sheriff’s office was Dick Hongisto who went to his own jail for refusing to evict persecuted tenants. Today, Hennessey announced he’ll defy the federal government and stop giving them info on illegal immigrants jailed for misdemeanors. Doesn’t sound like Ross is cut of the same cloth.

    Here’s the contact:


    Go Giants!


  • Richmondman

    Is there an easier job in SF than sheriff? And Hongisto? Isn’t he the guy who had his staff steal newspapers that criticized him?

  • chard

    yes, Richmondman, it was Hongisto who had copies of the Bay Reporter gathered up from stands.

    And (if my memory serves me) it was our beloved Gary Delagnes who carried out that whim.