Ross Mirkarimi’s wife gives her side of story
By Eliana Lopez
April 6, 2012
In my home country of Venezuela, I am Eliana Lopez. I am a person who is respected both personally and professionally. I am an actress. I am the mother of Theo by good fortune. And I am married to Ross Mirkarimi. But in San Francisco, I am known only as the sheriff’s wife.
Now that I have been home in Venezuela to be close to my father and family, I have been able to reflect on what has transpired over the last few months. I would like to share my experience with you.
Being in Venezuela for the last 20 years has been like completing a master’s degree in politics, with takeovers, and seeing the power of the media to both report and shape events. I have spent 10 years here working in a powerful media network. I know how the media can create and influence public opinion to justify political actions. I saw that from the inside in 2002, when the privileged class used the media to justify a takeover of a democratically elected president and appointed one of their own to lead our country. I am shocked to witness the same formula being applied to my husband. In Spanish it is Golpe de Estado (coup d’etat), and that is what is happening to Ross.
My husband and I had a very emotional misunderstanding about potential custody issues at a time when our relationship was struggling. I have never been afraid for my safety in the presence of my husband, or for the safety of my son. What I do fear is the mischaracterization of the events as a basis to remove my husband from elected office.
From the beginning, my public voice has been ignored and treated as irrelevant. Many in the media keep saying that I just don’t get it. But I do get it: I get that I am being used to bring my husband down.
I do not approve. What has happened to my family is wrong. What has occurred has hurt not just me and Ross and our son, Theo, but also society in general. Just as domestic violence is to be condemned, so too is twisting an emotionally charged argument into the basis for removing an elected official from office without a hearing and without pay. I would hold this opinion whether or not the person is my husband. But because Ross is my husband, it makes it all the more painful.
I sought legal advice from Ivory Madison about custody issues. I did not seek her help “as a friend.” Ivory Madison promised me that our conversation was confidential and that the video that she advised me to make would be secret, to be used only in the event of a custody dispute.
Four days later Madison betrayed her word to me and contacted the police. That unfortunate Jan. 4 when Ivory ran to me saying: “You will kill me, I called the police,” I hardly could think. When Abraham Mertens called me in the afternoon, the words I used were: “Stop this, you do not have my permission.”
What Ivory Madison and her husband, Mertens, did to me was not heroic. They have not saved me from anything. Rather, they mischaracterized our conversations to protect themselves. I know what is true.
As for the op-ed piece where Mertens accuses me (and somehow Ross, who knew nothing of any videotape at the time) of asking them to destroy evidence, it is self-serving and false. I never asked the San Francisco district attorney to prosecute my husband. But he did. I never asked the courts to keep my husband away from me and our son, but they have. We have not even been allowed to talk with each other since Jan. 13!
I never asked Mayor Ed Lee to remove my husband from office, but he did.
I want to send a message to everyone: beyond the criminal case, which is over, this is about due process and democracy. Ross won the election; he was not appointed. Ross has paid an unfair price for his side of our family disputes. I have paid a terrible price, too. So has our son, Theo. The man I married is a wonderful man, a considerate father, and a loyal public servant who is demonstrating his ability to become better in all ways.
Finally, my dear Ross, they do not let us talk but you can read here from me that I love you. You won the election because the people know your hard work; nobody can erase that. Be strong, my dear, knowing that my heart is next to you and you are Theo’s everything. I am committed to you, our marriage and our fight for justice and democracy.
Read more: sfgate.com