Come on, Mr. Sheriff

Pub date July 25, 2006
WriterTim Redmond
SectionPolitics Blog

By Tim Redmond

Here’s a great idea: Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Ross Mirkarmimi are pushing for a resolution that would call on the San Francisco sheriff to refuse to carry out Ellis Act evictions. Sheriff Mike Hennessey doesn’t seem so hot on this; he says he doesn’t want to face a contempt of court citation and wind up in his own jail.

But hey, it’s a San Francisco tradition: Back in 1977, then-Sheriff Dick Hongisto refused to evict the residents of the International Hotel, and spent five days in jail before relenting. The worst that would happen to Hennessey: He’d be stuck for a few days in his own clink, where I suspect he’d be treated well (and would learn a bit about how the inmates feel day to day). Eventually, he’d probably have to relent, too — but what a glrious legal battle. It would be an other great example of what we call Civic Disobedience — using the clout of the city and the full legal resources of the city to defy an immoral law. Gavin Newsom did it with same-sex marriage. Now, Hennessey has a chance to make history. Go for it, Mike.