The city of San Francisco is experiencing some crazier-than-usual politics, thanks to the petulance of the current mayor Gavin Newsom, who should have resigned that post and been inaugurated on Monday in Sacramento, thus allowing the Board of Supervisors and the citizens to properly engage in choosing our new mayor.
A top contender to become the interim mayor is Ed Lee, the City Administrator, on the right in the picture. Like many folks, when I heard the name Ed Lee my first questions were who is he and what are his political views.
I picked up a few clues searching the SF Ethics Commission web site for Lee's donations, which stretch back to the 1990s and total in the low four-figures.
Of the current Supervisors, who may vote to install him later this week, Lee has given outgoing board members Sophie Maxwell $100 and Bevan Dufty $200. Peanuts really, but still, I wonder if there is any municipal or state ethics prohibition on the Supervisors voting for a donor to become San Francisco's new mayor.
I'm not suggesting that Dufty or Maxwell may support Lee because of the small donations to their campaigns, but I do think we need to sunshine all of Lee's political giving and see where it leads, if anywhere.
At the federal level, Lee has given Oakland's Congressional rep Barbara Lee $500, Oregon House candidate David Wu $500, and the Democratic National Committee $500.
Here's the juiciest news from searching his donations' records. At the state level Lee gave Gavin Newsom $1,000 for his gubernatorial bid and $4,000 for his campaign to become California's lieutenant governor.
The potential next mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, has contributed a total of $5,000 to Newsom's statewide campaigns, and we all should be aware of his giving in this situation, and all the other thousands of dollars in contributions he's doled out.
Not sure what bearing Lee's donations may have on his tenure, if he becomes interim mayor, but the donations need more publicity and scrutiny.
[Full disclosure: I am friends with Bevan and have worked with him on many global gay political issues.]