Mayor Lee Snubs African-American Community
for Pub Crawl

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on August 19, 2011 with 7 Comments

Interim San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. File photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a response from Ed Lee campaign spokesperson Tony Winnicker.

August 19, 2011

San Francisco interim Mayor Ed Lee snubbed the African-American community in the Fillmore last eve, opting instead to go on a “pub crawl.”

“As we sat up here, we got a Tweet,” announced former Supervisor and mayoral candidate Michela Alioto-Pier to an audience of 200 during a mayoral debate co-sponsored by the San Francisco African-American Democratic Club (AADC) and the Fillmore Neighborhood Association. “[San Francisco Chronicle columnist] Chuck Nevius just tweeted that he’s on a pub crawl with Ed Lee and Ed Lee says, ‘It’s more fun than debates.’”

“As we sit here in the middle of the African-American community talking about issues of extreme importance, looking you in the eye knowing that you are up against the world, running for mayor and being the mayor of San Francisco is not always going to be a party,” a visibly infuriated Alioto-Pier added.

Former Supervisor and mayoral candidate Michela Alioto-Pier.

In a follow-up interview with FCJ, Alioto-Pier called Lee’s snub, “Completely disrespectful.”

Lee campaign spokesperson Tony Winnicker defended Lee’s non-appearance. “The mayor talked directly and in-depth to dozens of real, undecided voters – not political insiders – about the issues they care about. They’re also fun,” Winnicker told Bay City News.

Lee, whose campaign for mayor has been beset by scrutiny from Federal prosecutors over complaints of alleged election campaign violations, was formerly invited to participate in the debate but did not respond, said Fillmore Neighborhood Association board member Erris Egerly.

“We never got a response,” Egerly said, adding that Lee owes the community an explanation after promising in April during a budget town hall meeting he would not exploit his Board-appointed position of “caretaker” mayor to seek a full-term.

“He strictly stated he didn’t want to run for mayor,” Egerly said.

In a separate but related development, fellow mayoral candidate and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu revealed, Wednesday, during a mayoral debate, sponsored by the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, that Lee confided to Chiu he buckled under pressure from powerbrokers Rose Pak and former Mayor Willie Brown to break his promise to the Board of Supervisors and seek a full-term.

To add to Mr. Lee’s woes and political baggage, City Attorney and fellow mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera on Monday slammed Lee for his appointment of Mohammed Nuru to head the Department of Public Works, saying the appointment smacks of “cronyism, politics and poor judgement.”

Herrera and Chiu were also invited to participate in last eve’s mayoral debate, but did not attend.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • http://david-elliott-lewis.smugmug.com David Elliott Lewis

    I find it very disrespectful of Mayor Lee to dismiss this debate – disrespectful to the African-American community, to the other candidates, to the process and to the voters of this city who are trying to select up to three candidates in a ranked choice election among a large field of promising candidates.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/patmonkrn/ Patrick Monk

    It is also rumored that ‘CW’, a staunch supporter of justice and equal rights, was bellying up to the bar with him. Any truth to that Luke. As my dad used to say “A man is known by the company he keeps”.
    Just curious.

  • Daniele E.

    This was meant as a PS to h brown’s article on the UCSF debate but: I don’t condone folks being rude to the point of “incivility”, but I think that if there is anger towards Ed Lee, it’s justified. And Lee shouldn’t be too surprised.
    Now if he’s going to duck debates on account of the reception he’s been shown, I think that speaks to character as well. Let him quell the anger, if he can. Or it may die down on its own, but if it’s there now, it’s healthy and informative, in my view. Lee is no doubt hoping/banking on the fact that most didn’t watch the proceedings in January (hence, let’s find these people at a pub crawl). But it is this anger that lets folks question what all the fuss is about and make up their own minds about how to assess Mr Lee.
    It’s ironic that this “incivility” is something Lee brought on himself…So you’re touting a civil City Hall, but you’re a lightning rod for “incivility”. And now you’re thinking of avoiding the heat…well, we see what people are made of when the heat is on (or when outside pressures exert themselves, as the case may be).

  • tami

    I did not plan to support Lee regardless, but he does not deserve our support! While he is out “pub-crawling” with Nevius, an 18 year old lost his life in Vis Valley.
    A REAL MAYOR, would not rest until he has brought together the community, the city government, etc. to construct a REAL solution to halt all this tragic violence. Lee is not worth the salary he is being paid!

  • Jed

    one correction: Erris Edgerly qouted in this article is not the prez. of the AADC, he is a board member of the Fillmore Neighborhood Association and C.E.O. of Brothers For Change. Charles Spencer owner of Chicago’s Barbershop on Fillmore is the president of the African American Democratic Club.

  • http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/author/luke/ Luke Thomas

    @Jed, thank you for the correction. Now corrected.

  • greg kamin

    There’s a forum tomorrow hosted by the Wallenberg club. It will be really interesting to see if Ed Lee and Dennis Herrera snub Jews the way they just snubbed African Americans.

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