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|
|Born||Edwin Mah Lee
May 5, 1952
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Anita Lee (m. 1980)|
|Residence||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Bowdoin College
UC Berkeley School of Law
Edwin Mah Lee (Chinese: 李孟賢, born May 5, 1952) is an American politician and attorney who is the 43rd and current 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. Lee won the election on November 8, 2011 to serve a full term as Mayor. He was re-elected in 2015.
Prior to his employment with the City and County of San Francisco, Mayor Lee was the Managing Attorney for the San Francisco Asian Law Caucus, for which he worked from 1979 to 1989. From 1989 to 1991, Lee worked as a Whistleblower Ordinance Investigator and the Deputy Director of Employment Relations in San Francisco. Lee later worked as the director of the Human Rights Commission from 1991 to 1996. Afterwards, Lee became director of the City Purchasing Department in 1996 until his appointment to City Administrator in 2000.
San Francisco government
After completing law school and receiving his J.D. degree, 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 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 promised 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 whom 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.
As City Administrator, Mayor Lee spearheaded government efficiency measures and reforms that reduced the size and cost of government, from reducing the vehicle fleet to consolidating departments and back office functions to save tax dollars. He implemented the City’s move to cleaner vehicles and an infrastructure to support electric vehicles and green City government. Mayor Lee also developed and oversaw implementation of the City’s first ever Ten Year Capital Plan to guide our capital priorities and infrastructure investment.
In 2012, Mayor Lee pushed for the landmark approval of the Housing Trust Fund which invested $1.5 billion in affordable housing production and housing programs until 2042. In 2014, Mayor Lee pledged to construct 30,000 new and rehabilitated homes throughout the City by 2020, with half available to low, working and middle income San Franciscans. Since announcing his Housing Plan in January 2014, over 9,500 units have been built or completely rehabilitated, with over 3,200 of those units permanently affordable to low and moderate income San Franciscans. Mayor Lee launched a Small Site Acquisition Program, which funds the purchase & stabilization of multi-family rental buildings in neighborhoods that are susceptible to evictions and rising rents. Later, Lee created preferences for Neighborhood Residents and Displaced Tenants in our affordable housing programs to help keep residents in their communities. Lee launched the Ellis Act Housing Preference Program (EAHP) for tenants who are evicted under the State Ellis Act. Displaced tenants are now given preference for the City’s affordable housing programs. Since taking office, San Francisco has completed 80 brand new units at Hunters View, with another 207 under construction at Alice Griffith and rehabed over 1400 severely distressed public housing units through the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program with a total of 3,491 units being completed in 2016. Lee replenished the Teacher Next Door Loan Program and worked with outside partners to double down payment loans for moderate income families in San Francisco. He secured $80 million of new revenue to help educators and middle-income residents who are paying rent or are buying their first home. Mayor Lee created a Teacher Housing Initiative in partnership with SFUSD, which created affordable housing opportunities for over 500 teachers and educator households. Mayor Lee approved 2014’s Proposition A, a $500 million bond that funds new transit, street transit infrastructure, bike and transit-only lanes, and Metro stations improvements. Lee adopted a citywide Transportation Sustainability Fee, which is anticipated to bring in well over $1 billion over the next 30 years for Muni, BART and Caltrain upgrades, as well as funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs, in developing neighborhoods.
In December 2013, Mayor Lee called for a major increase to San Francisco's minimum wage. In 2014, the Board of Supervisors unanimous approved Mayor Lee’s efforts to bring a consensus measure to raise the City’s minimum wage to the November 2014 ballot. In October 2014, Mayor Lee announced that the City’s minimum wage of $10.74 per hour will be adjusted to $11.05 per hour, effective January 1, 2015. Neither the Federal nor the State minimum wages are adjusted annually for inflation and San Francisco was among the first local jurisdictions to enact a minimum wage higher than Federal or State minimum wages. Lee’s ballot measure to raise the minimum wage was passed overwhelming by the San Francisco voters in November 2014 that gradually increases San Francisco’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018. After 2018, the minimum wage will increase annually according to increases in the cost-of-living.
The following wage increases will be in effect on the following dates:
May 1, 2015: $12.25 per hour
July 1, 2016: $13.00 per hour
July 1, 2017: $14.00 per hour
July 1, 2018: $15.00 per hour
In 2015, Lee co-chaired the minimum wage campaign with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and worked with the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West for a November ballot initiative to gradually increase California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. On March 31, 2016 the California State Senate and State Assembly approved Senate Bill 3 raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.
In 2016, Mayor Lee announced San Francisco's new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and appointed Jeff Kositsky as director. The department is expected to launch on July 1, 2016 with a goal to "help homeless residents permanently exit the streets and move into housing and services." The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing will help achieve Mayor Lee’s goal to help at least 8,000 people out of homelessness.
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 – 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 broke his promise to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors when he 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.
Suspension of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi
On January 13, 2012, incumbent Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was 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. On March 20, 2012, Mayor Ed Lee gave Sheriff Mirkarimi a 24-hour ultimatum to resign from his post. 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 and appointed a temporary replacement, Vicki Hennessy. City Attorney Dennis Herrera crafted the formal complaint and sent it to the city's Ethics Commission and Board of Supervisors who accepted it and then investigated Mirkarimi under misconduct charges as required by the city Charter.
On August 16, the Commission ruled by 4 to 1 that Mirkarimi committed official misconduct by falsely imprisoning his wife. Six of the charges brought by the mayor matched the District Attorney's George Gascón original criminal charges. Five of those 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 of the eleven San Francisco District Supervisors voted to not support Mayor Lee's removal of Mirkarimi as Sheriff. The Mayor would have needed the votes of nine Board members to remove Mirkarimi.
In an election in which he had no challengers with substantial name recognition or experience in politics, Lee was re-elected with only 56 percent of the vote. The candidate with the next most votes, local musician Francisco Herrera, received 14 percent of the vote.
Lee was born in 1952 in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. His parents immigrated to the United States from Taishan, Guangdong Province, China in the 1930s. Lee's father, Gok Suey Lee, fought in the Korean War, 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, completed a year overseas as a Watson Fellow, and then graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1978. He married his wife, Anita, in 1980. He has two daughters, Tania and Brianna.
Awards and honors
He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bowdoin College in 1974 and from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, in 1978. 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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