Eliana Lopez Speaks Out

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Published on October 03, 2012 with 26 Comments

Eliana Lopez. File photo by Luke Thomas.

By Eliana Lopez, first published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

October 3, 2012

Since this nightmare began nine months ago, my integrity, intelligence and independence have been attacked over and over again by individuals claiming to defend me. In every instance, I’ve been cast as an immigrant woman with limited English proficiency who is incapable of asserting her rights, understanding domestic violence, or speaking with her own voice. I’ve been characterized as ignorant, submissive, vulnerable — but also hysterical, vindictive and manipulative. I’m either a “hot-blooded Latina” or a fool, duped by my husband.

The mayor and his allies — each with their political or financial interest at stake -– have lined up to silence me or distort what really happened. They claim my voice doesn’t matter, that I can’t be trusted, but, have they ever, ever, bothered to talk to me directly? No.

They prefer an inflammatory vague 50-second video clip to the truth. In the midst of an argument on December 31, 2011, my husband grabbed my arm for a second and bruised me — it was not intentional. I have never recanted this fact. He was wrong, and he apologized. That was the extent of it. I know this because I was there. It was my experience. It happened to me. And it never happened before.

After the argument, I made the irreversible decision to trust a neighbor who represented herself as an attorney because of potential custody issues complicated by the fact that I didn’t have my Green Card yet.

That violation of trust, followed by a surreal chain of events triggered the unimaginable. Without my consent, confidential information was floated to media operatives. Four days later, again without my consent, the police were called. Clearly there was no emergency. This all happened before Ross was sheriff.

On January 13, Ross was forced separated away from me and our son — something I never wanted nor was consulted about. This devastated us. By trying to take responsibility and hoping to reunite us sooner, in March, Ross took a plea that I never wanted him to take. When Ross wouldn’t resign as Sheriff, they suspended him without pay causing me and our son to relocate to Venezuela where I could work.

From afar, when the Ethics Commission deliberations began, me and many Latinos watched democracy tested in San Francisco. Ultimately, all the charges they piled on against Ross were unanimously rejected. All, but the very charge that Ross handed them back in March so that we could move forward.

After seven long months of being forced apart, we’re now reunited, family-strong and committed to seeing this process through. But what many don’t know or find hard to believe is how local officials tried to use my family as a weapon to remove Ross from elected office. When Ross wouldn’t resign, they dehumanized him in the press or attacked my credibility to suit their narrative.

At the very beginning of this madness, from the police releasing the worst photo of Ross to their leaking of private information, to the District Attorney’s total disregard for me or my son’s well-being, to the mayor’s taking action against Ross without ever talking to me, to the Ethics Commission’s insult to my integrity — it all sends the message that if you are a woman in San Francisco and involved in a domestic violence situation, the last thing you would ever want to do is reach out to those authorities we need to trust.

In part, that may explain a report recently on local National Public Radio that San Francisco has the lowest prosecution of DV cases among the nine Bay Area counties. Those statistics aren’t improved by ignoring the voters that elected Ross as sheriff.

Make no mistake. The mayor wants the Board of Supervisor’s October 9 vote on my family’s future to occur in the most political atmosphere possible. Not even the appearance of political motive seems to matter since the mayor opposed delaying the vote until after the November election. This isn’t about me or my husband. This is about a political machine that has attempted to turn one woman’s body into the biggest blow against progressive politics in San Francisco in decades.

Eliana Lopez is a mother, wife to Ross Mirkarimi, and a film, television and theater actress. For more information: www.friendsofross.com; facebook: Stand with Ross.

  • EJgoGiants

    She does not represent any of the “Latinas” I know.  And, in fact, most of us are completely disgusted with her and all of the drama and cost to this city for her melodrama!  I wish they would both just go away.  I’ve watched Ross over the years and in my estimation he is a big bully everywhere he goes including his interactions with co-workers at City Hall.  And she is a big fake. 

    • http://about.me/ideaman David Elliott Lewis, Ph.D.

       I too have watched Ross for years.  I have consistently found him to be genuine, caring, capable and progressive – in views, policies and actions.  He has been very good for District 5 when he was their two term elected supervisor.   I believe, when given the chance, he will make an excellent Sheriff.

      • Eddenebeim

        If he is progressive, how did he come to have a problem with SAGE?  Where are the other progressive leaders? What organizations or coalitions did he lead? 

    • jccourt.

      EJgoGiants you say: “most of us are completely disgusted with her and all of the drama and cost to this city for her melodrama! ”

      Who are you EJ to say most of us? That’s ridiculous.

      So for you it is not enough that no one has ever listened to what Eliana Lopez had to say, it is not enough that this woman family is being destroyed, it’s not enough that this woman was completely disempowered by the system that pretended to be protecting her. 

      It is San Francisco that owe this woman an apology for the way in which they treated her. Thanks.

  • Danielle09

    I don’t appreciate Eliana Lopez dragging Latinas into this or playing the race card. The people in San Francisco stuck up for her and now she wants to make herself look like some victim of a ” coup d’etat?!” That statement is laughable.  Ross Mirkarimi is not going to be the Sheriff anymore because he is mean to his wife and mean to the people who work for him and you cannot enforce the law if you cannot follow it.  Leaving a bruise on a woman’s arm is unacceptable and as a woman I know that only someone who violently grabbed you would leave a bruise like the one she showcased on that video, the video SHE orchestrated to make herself look like a victim, but after she realized her husband and source of income might not get his job back she tried to make it look like Ross was getting ousted for political reasons.  It’s disgraceful and all I can say to her is that she needs to get help and unless she wants every Latina in San Francisco to think she is a walking joke she needs to never play the race card again.

    • http://about.me/ideaman David Elliott Lewis, Ph.D.

       and I don’t appreciate your misrepresenting Eliana, who along with Ross, has been abused by the system, including being forcibly separated from her husband for 7 months, by a city attorney with a political agenda.
      David Elliott Lewis

      • Eddenebeim

        Why does he have a problem with Casa de las Madres and SAGE? Aren’t these organizations at the heart of the progressive movement?

    • jccourt.

      Danielle09 you say: “The people in San Francisco stuck up for her and now she wants to make herself look like some victim of a ” coup d’etat?!” 

      Eliana Lopez is a victim of the system that has completely disregarded what she had to say. The DA did not listen, The courts did not listen, The DV advocates did not listen, and the so called ethic’s commission did not listen. 

      Instead they branded her as suffering from the battered woman syndrome and proceeded with this case without considering what she had to say, without her consent, and against her wishes, because they knew they could do it.

      All Women are treated by those DV courts as liars from the get go even when they are telling the truth, the DA and the prosecutors knew that, that is why they proceeded with this case. 

      How would you like Danielle09, or any other women in America to be treated as a liar, a non entity, in other words to be completely disempowered by the people pretending to be protecting you? Thanks. 

  • ileftmyheartinsanfrancisco

    I totally agree with the two comments below me. It is completely ridiculous that Eliana Lopez would play the race card when there are true injustices happening to Latinos and other minorities in this country continuously. Her fifteen minutes of fame are up, I agree with EJ -please go away, you’ve caused the city too much money and too much distraction. Also, the way we perceive her is based on the video she produced, no one forced her to display her bruises in front of a camera. She knew exactly what she was doing, rightfully so because domestic violence is completely unacceptable and and should never be brushed off. 

    • http://twitter.com/justizin Enemy of the State

      You are aware that the charge he pled guilty to, ‘unlawful imprisonment’, was “turning the car around to avoid having a heated discussion in a public pizza restaurant”, right?  And that’s even questionable since refusing to drive someone where you previously planned on going is not quite imprisonment, there is no constitutional right to pizza.

      Further, she isn’t really playing the race card, she’s saying that she has been cast in its’ shadow.

      Anyway, have fun being easily manipulated.  We’ll see you on the corner holding Ed Lee signs next cycle, I’m sure.

    • jccourt.

      ileftmyheartinsanfrancisco you say: “ you’ve caused the city too much money and too much distraction.”      

      This city has spared no expenses in the railroading of this family including suspending Eliana’s husband without pay. 

      You say: “the way we perceive her is based on the video she produced”

      Eliana Lopez has already recognized that she made a mistake by accepting to make this video as suggested, directed and produced by the neighbor to possibly use in a child custody dispute.

      It is one thing to make a video to take advantage of the system but quite another to actually use it, Eliana told her supposed friend that she did not want to use it, but the neighbor did not listen and called the authorities behind her back. (who did the neighbor talked to between Dec 31 and January 4, 2012?)

      You say: “domestic violence is completely unacceptable and and should never be brushed off.”

      Agreed. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/annie.garrison Ann Garrison

    Eliana Lopez is the most gracious person I’ve spoken to in all the KPFA News reporting I’ve done about this since January.  I’m sorry to see the Eliana haters showing up on Fog City journal.

    • http://about.me/ideaman David Elliott Lewis, Ph.D.

      It seems like the anonymous haters from sfgate are migrating over here to spew their venom.  

      It wasn’t always like that in the sfgate discussion forums.  I remember about four or five years back when it was possible to have intelligent discussion without disagreements triggering personal insults.

      • http://twitter.com/pinkbarrio rosa barrio

        I try to avoid SFGate whenever possible.  And that forum, phew!  Ugh.  Where do the people on there come from?  So full of hate and venom.  Chris Daly called it a “backwater cesspool.”  That’s being kind.

  • pdquick

    Thanks to the commenters below for making it clear that you want Eliana Lopez to just be a good victim and “go away.” Your comments couldn’t make her point more clear.

    • Richmondman

      Eliana is not a victim (of anyone other than Ross).  She is the cause of the public airing of her and Ross’ marital problems.  She tried to use her former friend to gain leverage against Ross in a potential custody hearing, and after it spun out of her control, she is the one trying to play the victim.  Is is sad this had all been put in the public arena, but she and she alone is responsible for that.

      • jccourt.

        @778e0de3f071f4464fb631f9fccf60e6:disqus  you say: “ She is the cause of the public airing of her and Ross’ marital problems.  She tried to use her former friend to gain leverage against Ross in a potential custody hearing”
        Wrong. It is the neighbor that suggested to Eliana to make that video to possibly use in a child custody dispute, and it is the neighbor who called the authorities behind Eliana’s back and against her wishes.

        Who did the neighbor talked to between December 31 and January 4 2012? Thanks.

  • Erika McDonald

    Hoorah for Eliana! It is horrible how Eliana has been treated.

  • http://about.me/ideaman David Elliott Lewis, Ph.D.

    I applaud Eliana for her heartfelt commentary about the nightmare she has suffered through, enduring a series of insults and deprivations driven first by a betrayal from a friend and then by a succession of opportunists, each trying to exploit her situation for political purposes. 

    Bravo Eliana. 

    Stay strong. 

    Many stand behind and support you and Ross. 

  • Yimbo14

    Unfortunately for Ross, when you are a public official, one of the
    things that comes with the power and money is that you are on the
    public stage, and the public will judge you on your actions both in
    your professional and personal life. The people of San Francisco
    elected Mirkirimi as Sheriff because they trusted his record, but when
    your personal life gets so sloppy that your wife is on camera, accusing you of
    physically abusing her, this tarnishes your record and makes you
    untrustworthy. With that said, the people also elected Mayor Lee and
    the Board of Supervisors, because they trusted their judgment. I trust
    that they will all make the right decision about their former
    colleague. What does it say about the City of San Francisco to have a
    potential wife beater in such a high position? If Mirkirimi really
    wanted the job, he and his wife should have exercised more
    self-control. Too many elected officials are on power trips. This is
    not a soap opera, it’s real life. Mistakes and wrongdoings have
    consequences.

    • http://twitter.com/pinkbarrio rosa barrio

      “Mistakes and wrongdoings have consequences.”

      Only for SOME people in our INjustice system, and most people already know this I would think.  For others it doesn’t matter what they do, there are no consequences for them.  In fact, they are often above the law.

      “What does it say about the City of San Francisco to have a potential wife beater in such a high position?”

      Grabbing her arm and causing a bruise (Ms López says she bruises easily) is now equated with being a “potential wife beater?”  There must be something in the water!  There’s got to be.

      What does it say to have corrupt, opportunistic politicians in high positions who will use any bait they are given to pursue their agenda and to get their favored conservative politicians in place?

    • jccourt.

      @09aec29a6fa4ef85a6921e2db43dab8b:disqus you say: “ What does it say about the City of San Francisco to have apotential wife beater in such a high position?”
      The Sheriff is NOT a wife beater period.

      This city, the Mayor, the city attorney’s office, the DA, the DV advocates, the courts, the so called Ethic’s commission and the Chronicle newspaper have treated Eliana Lopez in a much worse manner than anything that ever happened between her and her husband. Thanks.

  • Oxman

    Please — someone — help me to reach Marc Salomon ASAP.
    I can serve as an asset for his purposes as per the thrust of
    his article today at  http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/04/prozac-politics-and-the-death-of-ethics/ I am at aptosnews@gmail.com.

    The issues talked about here can be addressed
    oxman

  • jccourt.

    It is the duty of the board of Supervisors to reinstate the duly elected Sheriff of San Francisco, and to offer apologies to Eliana Lopez. Thanks.

  • h. brown

    Bulldog guesses 5 days out …

    D-1   Eric’s folded to Downtown pressure in all issues ranging from plastic fields at Ocean Beach to the appointment of Ed Lee as Mayor.    He’ll again be a vote for the Mayor.    Have you seen the independent expenditure ads Lee’s folks are running against him on YouTube?     Right out of Beijing crap.    White kids w/ashes smudged on their faces beating pots and pans which only Chinese commie crowds on the mainland do.

    D-2  Farrell sleeps well at night as a monster contemplating superior monsters.  

    D-3  Chiu has always been for sale.    Ed Lee double-crossed him but is there an upside in taking payback now?    I’d say this is the key vote of the 11.   David’s a lock for re-election and Pak ain’t gonna let him be BOS prez again.    If Mirk wins, this is the vote that puts him back in office.

    D-4  Congrats on marrying a firefighter, Carmen.    We’re the best.    …   She votes w/Downtown.

    D-5  This is a reverse kinda thing.    If Olague votes against Mirk she loses her race.    If she votes in his favor she loses Downtown support but wins her race and becomes a true independent which is what D-5 voters want.    I say she votes w/Ross and it has nothing to do w/Ross.

    D-6  Kim was bullied into dropping a piece of legislation this week by Rose Pak.   She needs this vote to show a small degree of credible independence.    I say she votes w/Ross and it has nothing to do w/Ross.

    D-7  Sean is on way out and has never wavered in Downtown slant.   Anti-Ross and with some scathing comments to which no one will listen cause, did I mention?, he’s on way out.

    D-8  Wiener is most evil professor at Hogwarts.

    D-9  Campos takes a chance and votes w/Progressives and against those that took him to his first prom.

    D-10  Cohen needs to have a sheriff who’ll answer her calls cause lots of her constituents will need her to be able to reach the sheriff quickly and Lee’s appointee will ignore her.    Put her in Ross’ column for this reason alone.

    D-11  Avalos is clearly top Prog at the moment.   A Ross vote.

    I see Ross winning on 5-6 vote against a really really ugly campaign against he and his family.

    Theo and Eliana rock.

    Go Giants!

    h. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NTJSATZMOPCVSPCMZYW3XYH24U Denny

    Well OK Eliana.
    Now YOU know how officers of the law, like YOUR HUSBAND, treat the population as a whole.
    The police, Sheriff and DA do not give a SHITE about anything but CONVICTIONS. They do not care if the accused is guilty of the crime or NOT.
    NOW do YOU get the picture lady.?
    best