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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.]

Originally posted to MPetrelis on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:46 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mmmm. OK. But Newsom has no vote (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Pd, Pager, Losty

    in selecting his successor.

    Also- Ed Lee has enough votes even with the previous Board of Supes. He doesn't have to rely on Gavin Newsom's shenanigans.

    Ed Lee himself has insisted he has no interest in the job, which is probably the reason why the Board of Sups wanted him to be the mayor. They don't want anyone there who could jeopardize their own chances (for example Chiu, who expressedly wanted the job!)

    Instead of digging through his donations record, what you should be asking is - why is the Board of Supes choosing Ed Lee? Do they just want a weak and pliant mayor that they can jerk around like a string puppet? Note that Ed Lee wanted reassurance that he could get his old job back once his interim term is over. Thus he is sure to cater to the Boards' every wish in order to avoid ruffling the feathers of his once and future bosses.

    •  what icemilkcoffee should be asking... (0+ / 0-)

      i find it totally annoying when folks want to dictate my political sunshining and advocacy, as you are doing here: "Instead of digging through his donations record, what you should be asking is - why is the Board of Supes choosing Ed Lee?"

      how about you yourself ask that question? not sure why you want me to not dig into the donations.

    •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

      Why is the Board of Supes choosing Ed Lee? Do they just want a weak and pliant mayor that they can jerk around like a string puppet?

      You just answered your own question.

      I'm sure Dufty, Maxwell, and Chiu also got promises of various sorts.

      If Chiu did a trade-off to be appointed DA then he made a very bold political move that will realign who his presumed "base" consists of.

      I'm excited to see how the new board operates - while I'm not very happy with the results, I think we have a fantastic new progressive leader with Jane Kim. The diminished presence of Chris Daly will be great for progressives and I've got a feeling that Mark Farrell will replace him as the 'obnoxious spoiled child' on the board.

      •  Also... (0+ / 0-)

        ..hopefully this last election firmly cemented district elections into city politics. Two seats that would have gone to 'father left' candidates (2 and 10) went to 'farther right' candidates because of the system.

        It's always been the money and downtown interests who opposed district elections and I'm really hoping that the knowledge that it creates a "more fair" process and not a "more left" process will deaden their opposition.

  •  Whatever... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not a fan of the impending Lee appointment, but I doubt you could find a viable candidate who didn't give money to Gavin. . .

    A better question would be who did he donate to in the last local elections? That could help us figure out where his politics and alliances really lie.

    Far more interesting is his $1,000 donation to Lyndon LaRouche. That's some serious crazy and I'd like to hear him explain it.

    •  STOP THE PRESSES... (0+ / 0-)

      ... that's a different Edwin Lee. I read the filings incorrectly. The presumed mayor didn't donate money to LaRouche.

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