As the tom toms grew louder at the Chronicle and in the Willie Brown/Rose Pak community for Interim Mayor Ed Lee to run for the full term as mayor, I emailed two impertinent questions to my district supervisor Sean Elsbernd:
1. Would you have nominated Ed Lee for interim mayor had you known he would consider running for the job?
2. Will you endorse him if he does decide to run for mayor?
As a longtime West Portal resident, I've always gotten annoyed at how Elsbernd (and other supervisors) love to play the neighborhood game back in their district -- but when the chips are down on a power structure issue, they go down to City Hall and vote with Willie Brown and the downtown gang. Which is what happened in January on the critical vote for mayor when the Willie Brown/Rose Pak forces worked a quiet play to knock out the progressive candidates (Sheriff Mike Hennessey and former Mayor Art Agnos) and put in City Administrator Ed Lee, a Willie Brown ally.
Elsbernd was happy to nominate Lee and told us at the time that he had done so because he wanted an interim mayor who would not run in November.
In his email answer to me, Elsbernd wrote, “I believe the benefits of that strategy have proven correct (e.g. the overall budget process and its unanimous approval, and the unanimous approval of the consensus and comprehensive pension/health care charter amendment.“
So what about today when Lee seems more and more poised to run?
Elsburn noted that he has not endorsed anyone, but that “I have been most attracted to the candidacies of City Attorney Dennis Herrera and former Supervisors Alioto-Pier and Bevan Dufty.” He said that these three have the “right combination of qualifications, experience, intelligence, skills and integrity to serve as mayor.”
So what's his out? “Should Mayor Lee run for election, I would only consider endorsing his effort under one circumstance—if, and only if, I was convinced that without his candidacy, Sen. Leland Yee would be elected. That is, if I see that no one else can beat Sen, Yee other than Mayor Lee, then I would support a Mayor Lee campaign. At this point, I'm not convinced of that—I still think any one of the three I mentioned above could beat Sen. Yee.”
Well, that's Elsbernd back in his district doing his neighborhood routine at the Village Grill, a favorite Elsbernd breakfast place. Elsbernd has still left himself a way to do what he said he was dead set against doing: going along with Willie Brown and Rose Pak and helping Lee become the fulltime mayor. Bring back Quentin Kopp and John Barbagelata. B3
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