The San Francisco Board of Supervisors bid farewell today to one of their colleagues, sheriff-elect Ross Mirkarimi, as well as the man he is replacing, outgoing Sheriff Michael Hennessey.
Mirkarimi, who has served on the board for seven years before being elected last month as San Francisco’s new sheriff, will be sworn in next month to replace Hennessey, who is retiring after 32 years in the post.
At today’s meeting, Mirkarimi’s last as a member of the board, his fellow supervisors lauded his legislative record while gently ribbing him for his loquaciousness and tendency to make up new words.
“We’re going to miss you for your tireless work ethic, and we’ll also miss you for your powerfully colorful language,” board president David Chiu said, noting that Mirkarimi was known for “the occasional creation of new words.”
Supervisor David Campos also said he would miss what he termed “Rossisms,” while Supervisor Carmen Chu, one of the more soft-spoken members of the board, said his absence is going to upset the balance of the board since “you tend to say a lot, and I tend to say almost nothing.”
Supervisors noted Mirkarimi’s record, which includes sponsoring more than 125 ordinances that were passed, as well as more than 300 resolutions during his seven years on the board.
Even some of the supervisors who frequently sparred with Mirkarimi over various issues gave him respect at today’s meeting.
“Politically, Ross you and I never quite connected,” Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said. “But I appreciate that you tried very hard.”
Elsbernd said, “When we disagreed, it wasn’t a disagreement simply because others wouldn’t go along with it. You had your own conscience.”
Mirkarimi thanked his fellow supervisors and pledged to continue working with them as sheriff.
Earlier in today’s meeting, Mirkarimi also got the chance to honor Hennessey, the man he’s taking the place of as the head of the sheriff’s department.
“Who’s going to try to fill his shoes? It’s impossible,” Mirkarimi joked.
Supervisor Mark Farrell, whose father was law school classmates with Hennessey at the University of San Francisco, said “I cannot think of anyone full of more integrity, who is more trustworthy and an honest person that I’ve ever come across.
“It’s a great loss for you to be leaving our city,” Farrell said.
As for who will replace Mirkarimi as District 5 supervisor once he takes office as sheriff in January, Mayor Ed Lee told reporters today that he has not yet made a decision on the matter.
Lee said though that his staff has already started reaching out to community groups in the district, which includes the city’s Haight-Ashbury, Western Addition, Hayes Valley and Fillmore District neighborhoods.
“We’ll probably have some interviews (with candidates) soon,” he said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News