Downtown is clearly nervous about not having a reliable horse in the mayor's race, so much so that a few power brokers are using the Chronicle to drum up a fake “campaign” to convince Mayor Ed Lee to break his word and run to keep the job. And the fact that these liars – those who just six months ago earnestly argued we need a caretaker mayor who won't run for the office – are pushing this with a front-page, above-the-fold “news” story shows just how shameless they are.
Say what you will about this year's field of mayoral candidates, but they do represent a broad range of constituencies and they include several seasoned politicians who are well-qualified to be mayor. Sen. Leland Yee has served in a variety of public offices for decades, Sup. John Avalos is a reliable progressive intimately familiar with the workings of City Hall, Dennis Herrera and Phil Ting each hold citywide offices to which the Mayor's Office is the logical next step, Michela Alioto-Pier is a consistent supporter of ruling class interests, and David Chiu has proven his political skills by engineering his reelection as board president and installing Lee as mayor.
So why exactly do people want to convince Lee to go back on his word, as well as giving up the city administrator position that the board just cleared the way for him to return to with an ethics exemption? Well, the Chronicle article doesn't really make that clear, all it makes clear is that's what Willie Brown and Rose Pak – as well as their errand boys, former Sup. Michael Yaki and downtown consultant Jim Ross – want.
And why do they want Lee to remain in the Mayor's Office? Because they're the ones who put him there and he has done nothing to challenge the corrupt status quo at City Hall, where corporate desires trump people's needs every time. Chief-of-staff Steve Kawa is still calling the shots, Brown's clients and developer buddies are still getting what they want, and Pak still gets to be the de facto leader of Chinese-American interests in City Hall.
They desperately fear that Yee will win the mayor's race and clean house, kicking out Kawa and all of the Brown and Pak cronies, greatly reducing their power in San Francisco. And the rest of the candidates are too independent and broad-based to guarantee the continued power of Brown and Pak and the downtown interests they represent. Their only hope is that they can cut some kind of deal with Chiu to maintain their influence in the next administration by applying pressure through this article and the others likely to follow in this fake draft-Lee campaign.
To his credit, Sup. Sean Elsbernd isn't taking part in this shameless charade, instead sticking by the statements he made when he nominated Lee to be mayor, telling the Chronicle that in a year with tough political decisions on the budget, pension reform, and other pressing issues, “this city desperately needed someone who wasn't going to play election-year politics,” and that, “if he files papers to run for mayor, all that goes away.”
That's true, along with any illusions that Lee and those who back him have any integrity.