A judge has declared San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White a deadbeat divorcee and ordered the city to start garnisheeing $3,300 a month from her paycheck for spousal support to her ex-husband.San Francisco is famous for flakes of various sorts, and there are always crazy stories about its politicians. Dan White is famous for his Twinkie defense for killing the mayor, which ended up making Diane Feinstein's career. The craziness goes on:
Hayes-White says she stopped paying support about 14 months ago, after an incident in which her ex-hubby, Robert "Sean" White, grabbed and choked one of their sons while in a booze-fueled rage.
In December, he pleaded no contest in San Mateo County Superior Court to a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment and cruelty. He is serving his sentence on a county sheriff's work detail and living in a rehab house.
Last week, White went to San Francisco Superior Court demanding that the chief resume the spousal support she was ordered to pay when the couple divorced in 2009.
On Friday, Judge Ron Albers signed an order to start deducting the payments from her $302,000 annual salary, though it does not appear to cover the more than $40,000 in backlogged payments.
The support scuffle is the latest twist in the couple's family drama.I usually sympathize with parents facing family court orders, but I am having a hard time in this case. She makes $302k + benefits from the city, but she complains about paying her bills. She got her husband arrested and convicted of a crime, but she complains that he is not earning money while he serves her sentence. And she complains about child care duties after cutting off her husband from joint custody.
In 2005, White - a first cousin of the late Dan White - called 911 and accused his wife of hitting him on the head twice with a pint glass in their kitchen in San Francisco. Hayes-White denied the accusations, and he recanted.
(No charges were ever filed - something supporters of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi have pointed to in arguing that prosecutors overreached in charging him for what they see as a similar set of circumstances.)
After a long separation, the couple divorced in 2009, but shared custody of their three children until last year, when Hayes-White obtained a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting her or the two children who were still minors.
In an interview, Hayes-White said she had stopped making the spousal payments because of the growing costs she has incurred raising their children.
"This is not about being vindictive," she said. "Everything just went on pause" after last year's attack on the couple's son.
San Francisco should have found a man to be fire chief. I am sure that she was an affirmative action appointment, and probably does not know how to put out a fire.