Ed Lee (politician)
|43rd Mayor of San Francisco|
January 11, 2011
|Preceded by||Gavin Newsom|
|City Administrator of San Francisco|
June 22, 2005 – January 11, 2011
|Succeeded by||Naomi M. Kelly|
May 5, 1952 |
|Spouse(s)||Anita Lee (m. 1980)|
|Residence||San Francisco, California|
|Alma mater||Bowdoin College
University of California, Berkeley
|Ed Lee (politician)|
Edwin Mah Lee (born May 5, 1952) is the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, California. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors on January 11, 2011 to serve out the remainder of former mayor Gavin Newsom's term, after Newsom resigned to take office as Lieutenant Governor of California. At the time of his appointment, Lee pledged not to run for the office, but he later decided to join the race. Lee won the election on November 8, 2011 to serve a full term as Mayor.
Personal life 
Lee was born in 1952 in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. His parents immigrated to the United States from Toishan, Guangdong Province, China in the 1930s. Lee's father, Gok Suey Lee, fought in World War II, and worked as a cook managing a restaurant in Seattle. He died when Lee was 15. His mother was a seamstress and waitress. Lee has five siblings. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bowdoin College in Maine in 1974 and from the University of California, Berkeley Law School in 1978. He married his wife Anita in 1980 and has two daughters, Tania and Brianna.
San Francisco government 
After completing law school, Lee worked as Managing Attorney for the San Francisco Asian Law Caucus where he was an advocate for affordable housing and the rights of immigrants and renters. In 1989, Lee was appointed by Mayor Art Agnos as the City's first investigator under the city's Whistleblower Ordinance. Agnos later appointed him deputy director of human relations. In 1991, he was hired as executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, serving in that capacity under Mayors Agnos, Frank Jordan, and Willie Brown. Brown appointed him Director of City Purchasing, where, among other responsibilities, he ran the City's first Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise program.
In 2000, he was appointed Director of Public Works for the City, and in 2005 was appointed by Mayor Newsom to a five-year term as City Administrator, to which he was reappointed in 2010. As City Administrator, Lee oversaw the reduction of city government and implemented the city’s first ever Ten Year Capital Plan.
Appointment as mayor 
Under the San Francisco City Charter, vacancies in the mayoral office may be filled by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors, in which each supervisor is barred from voting for himself or herself. Speculation about possible appointees and debate on whether or not the old Board of Supervisors should cast the vote for the new mayor soon followed after Newsom's election as lieutenant governor. (Four old supervisors were term-limited and four new people were elected in the 2010 election to take their place)
The Board of Supervisors nominated four people: former Mayor Art Agnos, Sheriff Michael Hennessey, former Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin, and Lee. None of them captured the necessary six votes at a meeting of the board on January 4, 2011, but after an acrimonious debate, some supervisors expressed willingness to switch their support to Lee, and the meeting was recessed until January 7. At the January 7 meeting, the old board voted 10–1 to elect Lee as mayor, with outgoing Supervisor Chris Daly casting the lone "no" vote. At the time, Lee pledged not to seek election if appointed, a statement which helped to gain support for his appointment. The board included people who aimed to run in the November 2011 mayoral elections; none of them wished to give the mayoral position to someone who might be their competitor in those elections, which would give that person the significant political advantages of incumbency.
The vote was preliminary and non-binding as Newsom had delayed his resignation until new members of the Board took office. A final vote was taken on January 11 by the new board to confirm Lee, one day after Newsom's resignation. The board voted unanimously for Lee and he took office immediately thereafter.
As mayor, Lee reached an agreement with the Board of Supervisors to close a $380 million budget deficit.
2011 election 
Lee's term expired in January 2012, at which time the winner of the November 2011 mayoral election would take office. Lee originally pledged not to run in that election. However, some San Francisco political activists – including Rose Pak, consultant for the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Planning Commission President Christina Olague, Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang, 'Progress for All' chief consultant, Enrique Pearce, and Eddy Zheng, who served time in California Youth Authority and later San Quentin State Prison, for kidnap-robbery charges as a teenager – started a "Run Ed Run" campaign in June 2011 to encourage him to put his name on the ballot. By July 28, Lee stated that he had visited his daughters in Washington state and discussed with them the possibility of his standing for election, but had still not made up his mind. Senator Dianne Feinstein, herself a former appointee mayor who had gone on to win re-election for two terms, publicly supported a Lee candidacy. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that unnamed city officials close to Lee stated to the media that Lee had "nearly finalized his decision" to run.
On August 7, 2011, Lee formally announced his decision to seek election. He stated that the atmosphere of political cooperation during his months in office had inspired him to run.
Investigations and ethics questions 
A week after Lee formally announced his run for Mayor, the United States Attorney's Office reportedly began gathering information about Progress For All, which had organized the "Run, Ed, Run" campaign; local political figures including Superior Court judge Quentin Kopp and Democratic Party chair Aaron Peskin had both requested investigations into Progress For All's conduct. It later emerged that on July 21, city Ethics Commission head John St. Croix requested that Lee file an officeholder and candidate campaign statement, listing "all committees of which you have knowledge that are primarily formed to receive contributions or to make expenditures on behalf of your candidacy". Lee listed the "Run, Ed, Run" campaign on that form at St. Croix's direction. Commentators suggested that this showed Lee's intent to run, more than two weeks in advance of his announcement of his candidacy, raising questions of ethics and campaign finance. However, according to St. Croix, the form must be filed by an incumbent office-holder in advance of an election, regardless of whether the office-holder intends to run.
Tony Winnicker, Lee's campaign manager, stated that speculations of ethical issues were "just another desperate attempt to make something out of nothing by people who would rather attack Mayor Lee than talk about jobs and getting things done for San Francisco".
On October 7, 2011, San Francisco Chronicle revealed that Lee's campaign has accepted suspicious funds from Go Lorrie's Airport Shuttle two weeks after the airport reversed its policy of not assigning vans to designated areas. Lee's staff maintained that the mayor did not play a role in the airport's decision and the campaign has returned the money.
Special interests spent $89,000 to print 50,000 copies of The Ed Lee Story, a mini-bio of Lee's life. Some San Francisco residents questioned this allocation of campaign funds that could have been used more effectively elsewhere. The distribution of this sort of campaign material is unusual in a non-digital medium, where it is easy for a voter to access a politician’s website to obtain information.
Voter fraud and manipulations accusations 
In October 2011, seven San Francisco mayoral candidates sent a letter asking Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to investigate reports that Ed Lee supporters were using stencils, filling-in ballots and collecting voter's ballots for them. The letter was signed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, County Supervisor John Avalos, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, California State Senator Leland Yee, Michela Alioto-Pier and Joanna Rees. The Lee campaign claimed that the supporter group had nothing to do with the campaign, and indicated that they supported an investigation. Secretary of State Bowen sent election monitors to observe the San Francisco elections.
Lee finished first in the initial balloting with 30.75 percent of the vote. After a series of "instant runoff rounds" allowed under San Francisco's ranked-choice voting, he ended up with 59.64% of the vote.
Suspension of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi 
On March 20, 2012 Mayor Ed Lee gave then elected Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi a 24-hour ultimatum to resign from his post as sheriff following allegations of domestic abuse. On January 13, 2012, Mirkarimi had been charged with domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness in connection with a New Year's Eve altercation he had with his wife. While jury selection was underway, Mirkarimi entered into a plea agreement with the district attorney, pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment. When Mirkarimi refused to resign, the Mayor suspended him, appointed a temporary replacement, Vicki Hennessy, and ordered the city's Ethics Commission and Board of Supervisors to investigate Mirkarimi under misconduct charges.
On August 16, the Commission ruled by 4 to 1 that Mirkarimi committed official misconduct by falsely imprisoning his wife. Of the six charges brought by District Attorney George Gascón, five were overruled and not sustained, including the charge that Mirkarimi dissuaded witnesses and that he abused the power of his office. On October 9, 2012, four San Francisco Supervisors voted to reinstate Mirkarimi as Sheriff. The Mayor would have needed the votes of nine Board members to remove Mirkarimi.
Perjury accusations against Mayor 
On July 4, 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Mayor Lee may have committed perjury during an Ethics Commission meeting on Friday, June 29, when he was asked whether he had consulted with any Board of Supervisors' members on his decision to bring official misconduct charges against Mirkarimi, and he replied that he had not. But San Francisco Building Inspection Commission member Debra Walker told reporters that her friend, Supervisor Christina Olague, had told her that the mayor did consult her about whether to suspend Mirkarimi. Walker said that Olague had recommended that Lee ask for Mirkarimi's resignation, but to drop the matter if he refused. When reporters then moved to confront Olague at her office in City Hall, she said, "I would never tell the mayor anything about this," and then closed her door.
On July 4, 2012, the San Francisco Examiner reported that Aaron Peskin, former Board of Supervisors President, said that he was contacted by Walter Wong, a developer and former permit expediter with strong ties to Mayor Lee, to negotiate on behalf of the mayor and offer Ross Mirkarimi a City job in exchange for his resignation as Sheriff. Peskin told the Examiner he was asked to tell Mirkarimi that an alternative job – maybe with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission or Airport Commission – could be offered if he were to resign. Lee had denied the charge when questioned by Mirkarimi attorney Shepard Kopp on June 29, replying, “I don’t recall offering Mr. Mirkarimi any job.” On July 23, Peskin showed the text message he received from Walter Wong to an Examiner reporter. It said: "Our friend want me to tell u, no matter what outcome w ur negotiations, he is appreciate ur Help." Peskin said that the "our friend" reference meant "the mayor or someone high up in the Mayor’s Office." Wong described the situation as "mainstream media’s attempt in trying to mess with the Chinese community."
In a July 5 editorial, the San Francisco Examiner stated, "The San Francisco Examiner believes the Ethics Commission should immediately call for public testimony from anyone who may have answers about what the mayor did, what he said, and what actions were contemplated." On July 11, Mirkarimi's attorneys filed a formal request with the Ethics Commission asking it to issue subpoenas to four witnesses in connection with the perjury allegations.
On July 19 Commission chairman Benjamin Hur said that any perjury investigation, as a criminal action, would be the responsibility of District Attorney George Gascón. Gascón had indicated earlier in July that he would not investigate without sworn testimony to indicate that perjury has taken place, and on July 24 Gascón's office officially declared that it would not investigate the allegations, stating, "Based on the available information, there is no basis for commencing a criminal investigation."
City Hall bomb threat during testimony 
During the Ethics Commission hearing on Friday, June 29, 2012, following the Mayor's testimony in which he allegedly committed perjury by saying he had not consulted with anyone on his decision to remove Mirkirimi, the Ethics Commission Chair announced that the hearing was being suspended and the room would need to be cleared immediately, without further explanation, while Mayor Lee’s security detail escorted the Mayor out of the room. Although the SF Examiner later reported that a "high-priority call" which was a bomb threat had come in "at almost exactly the same time that Lee began to testify", at 1:06 pm, the cross-examination of Mayor Lee by attorney Shepard Kopp was not interrupted until 1:28 pm, 22 minutes later. None of the other estimated 900 people in San Francisco City Hall were told to evacuate, despite the claim that a bomb threat had been made on the building. City Hall building manager Rob Reiter said that, "One of the things we were trying to do was not to induce panic". A second reason, according to Reiter, was that San Francisco Sheriff's staff had reported that the explosive device was planted outside City Hall, possibly in the hedges or in a car, and so Reiter said that he didn’t want to risk sending people into a potential danger zone when exiting the building. No explanation was given as to how the Mayor knew where to exit the building. One report suggests that Lee was seen going to his second floor City Hall office, closing the door, and did not re-appear in public for at least ninety minutes. The hearing resumed at 3:01 pm
Awards and honors 
In April 2011, Mayor Lee was awarded the inaugural Coro Community Catalyst award for "his longtime commitment to bringing together varied special interests and agendas to address the greater needs of the community".
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|Mayor of San Francisco