During a dramatic eight-hour Board of Supervisors meeting last night, seven supervisors, including President David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, Eric Mar and Sophie Maxwell, lined up late in the session to support City Administrator Ed Lee for interim mayor. It prompted an angry outburst from outgoing Supervisor Chris Daly, who declared that it would be “the biggest fumble in the history of progressive politics in San Francisco.”
In the end, the supervisors agreed to continue the meeting and a decision on appointing a successor mayor to Friday at 3 p.m. Whoever the current board appoints (it requires six votes) would have to be confirmed by the new board. Four new supervisors are being sworn in Saturday. Even then, all the cards, at this point, seemed to be stacked to favor Lee, who was in Hong Kong and not available for comment.
In several interviews, some transit advocates and others who have worked with the former Asian Law Caucus managing attorney over the years offered nothing but praise, saying that even though some of outgoing Mayor Gavin Newsom’s staff might remain in place — something Daly and other progressives predict would mean more of the “same ole’, same ole‘” — Lee would set a different tone and get work done.
“He comes out of a strong civil rights background so I think he would look at transportation from an equity point of view and a transportation justice perspective,” said Supervisor Mar, who is supporting Lee. “Even though he has been a bit distant, in city government, from civil rights or community organizations that’s where his values are in supporting a better transportation system, especially for lower-income people and working families.”
Lee, who would become the city’s first Asian American mayor, has more than two decades of experience in city government, serving as the city’s first Whisteblower Ordinance investigator, executive director of the Human Rights Commission, the director of City Purchasing, and before his current job, was director of the Department of Public Works. When he was reappointed City Administrator in October, the Mayor’s Office praised him for “reducing the size and cost of city government and reducing the vehicle fleet.”