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Friday, February 18, 2011

Sheriff Hennessey's Retirement Called 'Open Secret'

Posted By on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 5:25 PM

click to enlarge Now what?
  • Now what?

Sheriff Michael Hennessey's announcement that he will not seek re-election in November didn't seem to come as a surprise to those loosely connected to City Hall.

On Friday, Hennessey, drafted a memo to his staff, explaining that he has no plans to run for sheriff again.

"It was a pretty open secret that he was planning to retire," said Jim Ross, a local political consultant.

That's not to say it doesn't sting a little. The popular sheriff has been a likable and influential figure in San Francisco politics. He's known for his major reforms and rehabilitation of prisoners, and his transformation of jails.

In January city supervisors considered him a serious contender to serve the remainder of former Mayor Gavin Newsom's mayoral term.

"It's tough to imagine city government without Sheriff Hennessey," Ross said.

That's because Hennessey, who served 31 years, is the longest-serving elected official in San Francisco -- ever.

"Just the fact that he has been able to be sheriff that long and steer that department through the city is remarkable," Ross said.

So now what's next for Hennessey, the progressive law enforcer who believes marijuana should be legal. Considering his credentials and political acumen, maybe he should just run for San Francisco mayor.

"Why not, everyone else is," Ross said.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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