Mirkarimi was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2004 and is currently seeking a second term in the upcoming November 2008 election. He represents district 5, which encompasses Haight-Ashbury and is one of the most diverse districts in San Francisco.
The Board of Supervisors is the legislative branch of the City and County of San Francisco. The Board consists of 11 members. Each member is elected on a non-partisan basis from a district where he or she lives. The Board has served as a launching pad for the careers of several prominent politicians, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Mirkarimi (pronounced Meehr-kah-reem-E) was born in Chicago in 1961 to an Iranian father and a Russian-American mother. He received his Bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Louis University, a Master’s degree in international economics and affairs from Golden Gate University, and a Master of Science degree in environmental science from the University of San Francisco. A resident of San Francisco since 1984, Mirkarimi has been a tireless force for progressive change. A cofounder of California’s Green Party, he has worked to put underdog progressive candidates in elected office and led legislative efforts and campaigns to make City Hall more accountable to the people.
As a supervisor, Mirkarimi has sponsored over 40 pieces of legislation, including a measure that requires police foot patrols in high-crime neighborhoods. In March 2007, he authored legislation that prohibits the use of plastic bags made of petroleum products from certain chain stores, making San Francisco the first city to regulate such bags.
“Instead of waiting for the federal government to do something about this country’s oil dependence, environmental degradation or contribution to global warming, local governments can step up and do their part,” explained Mirkarimi in an interview. “We estimate that the plastic prohibition will save 450,000 gallons of oil and prevent 1,400 tons of trash from ending up in our landfills annually.” Since its passage, other cities around the country and in Europe are taking up similar measures.
Mirkarimi has also been a vocal supporter of the Iranian American community in the Bay area. He introduced a resolution in an effort to ensure that Iranian Americans are not discriminated against in the City of San Francisco and took swift action in responding to the unjust detainment of Iranian visitors who had legally traveled to the U.S. for an annual alumni college reunion. In 2006, Mirkarimi joined Mayor Newsom in hosting over 500 guests from across the Bay Area for the 1st Annual Norouz Celebration in the City and County of San Francisco.
Mirkarimi faces Rob Anderson in the 2008 election. He is one of three incumbents, who traditionally have an advantage, on the November ballot. Numerous organizations and city officials including, the Sierra Club, California Nurses Association, Police Commissioners Theresa Sparks, and former Mayors Art Agnos and Willie Brown have endorsed Mirkarimi’s campaign.
If reelected, Mirkarimi’s priorities include securing long-term solutions to homelessness and neighborhood distress as well as taking control of San Francisco’s energy future by making clean and green energy cheap and accessible.
“Ross Mirkarimi was championing green issues before it was cool,” explained former Mayor Agnos at Mirkarimi’s campaign kickoff reception. “He is a leader who can get the job done long after the press conferences are over.”
Click here to learn more about Ross Mirkarimi and his campaign.