Re-Elect Ross Mirkarimi
San Francisco Tomorrow endorses Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi for re-election. Ross was a member of SFT’s board for 5 years, was a City Supervisor and a member of the Coastal Commission. The Sheriff has introduced or carried on a number of important policies in the County of San Francisco’s Sheriff Department. These policies are at the forefront of the penal system in the United States. Here are several of them:
• Sheriff Mirkarimi oversees the Five Keys Charter School – the first high school in a municipal jail in the United States. Five Keys Charter School (and specifically, Sheriff Mirkarimi and Five Keys Executive Director Steve Good) recently won the 2015 Pioneer Institute Better Government Competition; “A unique and proven corrections education model offering adult inmates vocational training, and college dual-enrollment programs, which help to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline…embodies the promising movement towards restorative justice we’ve seen over the last decade,” wrote James Stergios, Pioneer Institute Executive Director. Also this year, the school was named one of five finalists out of the top 25 programs in competition for the Innovations in American Government Award, by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
• Sheriff Mirkarimi provided each inmate with health care from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – the first county jail system in the country to include this in the discharge planning of inmates.
• Sheriff Mirkarimi lowered the visiting age from 18 to 16 – the first county jail system in the United States to do so – and expanded visiting hours, to improve reunification between children and incarcerated parents and guardians.
• Sheriff Mirkarimi successfully took on the Telecommunications Industry and state and national law enforcement associations who opposed any regulations of the phone service to prisons and jails. Upon taking office, Ross terminated the phone contract and reduced the cost of phone calls for inmates by up to 70%. “The profit generated is immoral,” he said. In 2104, Ross earned an invitation from the Federal Communications Commission to testify in support of national regulations.
• Sheriff Mirkarimi has made the SF Sheriff’s Department the first in California to adopt body cameras to increase transparency and accountability of deputies and staff.
• Sheriff Mirkarimi has provided the only Eviction Assistance Unit in a California Sheriff’s Department – aimed at helping people rebound into housing.
• Then-District 5 Supervisor Mirkarimi legislated the City’s plan for State Prisoner Realignment, and authored many laws about improving community policing; he delivered the first veto override of Mayor Newsom to gain SFPD foot patrols. He voted against the Parkmerced project, which gained him the ire of the Mayor. Ross is the first legislator in the United States to ban plastic bags, and to establish Land-Use and Public Health regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries – over 12 states have adopted his template.
• During the protests against income inequality at City Hall, Ross resisted using the strong hand recommended by the Mayor and law enforcement.
For these reasons, and the fact that Sheriff Mirkarimi is endorsed by former Sheriff Mike Hennessey, SFT endorses Ross Mirkarimi for Sheriff.
— Glenn Rogers and Joni Eisen