With many eyes on the media fiasco that is the 2016 presidential race, yesterday’s important elections for municipal offices in major American cities went largely overlooked by national media. But election results in San Francisco, the center of the internationally-renowned tech industry, proved particularly resonant with nationwide issues.
Significantly, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi lost his bid for reelection. Mirkarimi, who is of Iranian descent, lost in the wake of several controverisies that plaguged his term. After an undocumented Mexican immigrant confessed to killing a white woman, Mirkarimi was roundly criticized by right-wing media and politicians across the country for seemingly encouraging Sanctuary City policies. These policies discourage local law enforcement’s cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and critics argue that they allowed the man to avoid deportation attempts.
Mirkarimi—a founder of California’s Green Party and supporter of other progressive policies including marijuana decriminalization—also courted controversy early in his term when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment in 2012. Mirkarimi took a plea deal after facing more serious charges for domestic violence towards his wife and child endangerment, prompting Mayor Ed Lee to suspend him pending the results of an internal investigation.
He was defeated yesterday by Vicki Hennessy, the woman who served as interim sheriff during his suspension.
Meanwhile, Lee won his bid at reelection. He is the city’s first Chinese-American mayor, and one of only a few Asian-American mayors of major American cities. During his tenure, Lee was subject to criticism for his alleged loyalty to Silicon Valley after giving Twitter significant tax breaks in a city with some of the nation’s highest rents and rates of gentrification.