If they can’t draft Ed Lee, can they write him in?

Sarah Phelan

Courtroom Connect President and former Goldman Sachs employee Michael Breyer sent out an email today, in which he stated that hundreds of San Franciscans are calling for Ed Lee to run for Mayor in November.  

“Over 1,000 fans have joined a Facebook page to support the ‘Draft Ed Lee’ campaign in an effort to persuade Ed Lee to jump into the Mayor’s race,” he wrote.

Asked why he is getting involved in an effort that Enrique Pearce of Left Coast Communications is already working and consultants Michael Yaki and Jim Gonzalez are also hammering, Breyer, who was appointed to the Library Commission by Mayor Gavin Newsom, said, “We wanted to have a broad effort with hundreds and hundreds of San Franciscans hopefully making a statement that they want the mayor to run in November. I think that’s the most likely way the mayor would consider running.”

“So, my hope is that he’ll be convinced,” continued Breyer, who filed to run in the 2010 D2 Supervisor’s race and lists Newsom’s wife Jennifer Siebel, who just gave birth to a baby boy named Hunter, among his Facebook friends.

“Ed Lee didn’t want to be mayor in the first place,” Breyer observed. “He’s a civil servant in the true sense: it’s not what he would want, but it’s what’s in the best interests of the city. We want someone with a cooperative approach. He’s been going everywhere and getting input from all these groups. You may disagree with him, but he’s being honest. He doesn’t want to cut city services, but he needs to deal with these deficits.”

Asked how Lee differed from Newsom, who appointed Breyer to the Library Commission in 2010, Breyer said, “The Lt. Governor is someone who has brilliant ideas, definitely someone who has left his mark on the city. And it’s not in contrast to Newsom in particular, but in contrast to what people are used to from political leaders. Lee is not someone like Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown or Gavin Newsom. He’s much more low-key.”

All this Lee praise is doubtless turning the stomachs of all the (it’s now up to 36) candidates who have officially thrown their hats in the ring and are consequently spending each and every moment of their lives campaigning. As one of them, who shall remain nameless, told me upon hearing the Chronicle praise Lee, yet again, for his compromise/ unity-building performance, “It’s such a crock of shit!”

Their point being that if Lee was to officially declare his intention to run, the “City Family” myth would instantly be blown to smithereens, as folks would be required to pledge their allegiance to Lee—or the other candidates’ camps. Because, let’s face it, when you get down to it, it’s pretty tribal down at City Hall.

But Breyer wasn’t convinced that Lee would be getting a bumpier reception had he officially declared. “My experience is that, across the board, people think he’s been a good mayor. It’s remarkable. In part it’s because he’s a great manager,” he said. “And I don’t think he wants to be mayor, so he doesn’t have the personal ambition, but I do hope he does it, because he cares about the city. And I don’t think he is going to change who he is. Maybe he was appointed as interim mayor, but he’s demonstrated great leadership capabilities. So, even if the intent was that he was going to be interim, he’s doing a great job, and I hope we will do what we can to encourage him to run.”

And then Breyer repeated a quote he gave to the Chronicle today, stating, “You don't pinch hit for someone who's hit three home runs in a game."

Meanwhile, Kevin Birmingham, a commenter on Breyer’s drafted.lee site , explores the possibility of recruiting Lee as a write-in candidate.
“Edwin Mah Lee is the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, come November let’s extend his employment.” says the commenter, whose post links to a  “Write-in Ed Lee for Mayor” Facebook page. “It’s hard to get excited about any of the candidates running for mayor. For the most part they are career politicians. Our last career politician left us high and dry and used us as a stepping stone for Sacramento.”

“Why Ed Lee? Cause I like him. He has the Cities (sic) best interest at heart and has been a great asset so far. Why would we want any of the other candidates beside him? For once, let’s say no to career politicians and say YES to a hard worker. He also has a fantastic moustache!”

Now, if Lee were to be drafted as a write-in, he’d be following in the shoes of Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, whose last-minute jump into the mayor’s race in 1999 forced Willie Brown into a run-off.

According to the good folks at the San Francisco Elections Department, there is a write-in process. But it involves the candidate signing nomination papers—otherwise Mickey Mouse, whose name regularly gets entered into the write-in spot, could end up being elected as mayor, instead.

Anyways, between Sept. 12 and Oct. 25, anyone can come down to the Elections Department, which is housed in the basement of City Hall, and pick up paperwork. They still have to circulate a nomination petition, but all it takes is between 20 and 40 signatures.

Hell, if Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski could manage to get enough of Alaska’s 710,231 residents to spell her name correctly and overcome the opposition of the Tea Party and Sarah "Keep her on the motorbike and out of the White House" Palin, and become the first Senate candidate in more than 50 years to win a write-in campaign, then Lee, whose name is considerably easier to spell, definitely has a chance of convincing enough of San Francisco’s 805, 235 residents to write-in his name this fall. But the question—and I know it haunts the main contenders—remains: Is Lee, deep in his heart, really open to the idea? Or is this just wishful thinking on the part of those who shoe horned Lee into the job in the first place?




It's hard to get excited about any of the current candidates and none of them are distinguishing themself from the others. And Ed Lee should not run. He promised he wouldn't. I wish Adachi would jump in the race.

Posted by The Commish on Jun. 13, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

We have a field of 30 candidates, some of them very competent and exciting, with just about every political view represented.

But I do agree that Lee shouldn't run. A lot of the hacks want him to run, because there's an army of them who fear they'd lose their jobs if Leland Yee, John Avalos, or even an independent moderate like Tony Hall got in there.

But the Commish's comment exemplifies the attitude that ordinary people have out there. People are giving Lee the benefit of the doubt precisely because he's a caretaker mayor. The minute he jumps into the political fray, he turns himself into a liar and just another politician. A lot of that support will evaporate instantly, and if he then goes on to lose, his career as a highly paid San Francisco government bureaucrat is done.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 13, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

Just looked at their slick website.
What the hell is Planning Commissioner CHRISTINA OLAGUE doing supporting this astroturf bullshit?!?

How much did they pay you, Christina?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

Christina expects to be appointed to replace Ross Mirkarimi as District 5 supervisor, that is all.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 5:32 am

Well that certainly explains it. But geez! Open your eyes for chrissake!

Think about this. The only way you get appointed via sucking up to Ed Lee is if he goes back on his word and RUNS!

But if he goes back on his word to all the supervisors and the entire city, what the hell makes you think that he's going to give YOU whatever he promised?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 7:38 am

The possibility that voters may have the choice of voting for Ed Lee as mayor is rattling all the right cages. We're getting to see who values freedom of choice at the polls and who doesn't.

Nonetheless, it would be a mistake for Lee to run. The Era of Good Feeling that characterizes his administration is due to special circumstances. Among them is the expectation that he won't run but finish out his current term and return to being City Administrator.

It's in the best interest of the city to have this one-year breather from the usual knucklehead politics. The breather allows the city to address many problems in a practical, low-key way. But if many people come to believe that Lee may actually run, the knuckleheads will again set the tone at City Hall.

Let's enjoy watching Lee's backers rattle all the right cages for a while. But then let's allow Lee to finish the job he started and return to his former position with accolades from a grateful citizenry.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 13, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

I agree with the other posters. Lee seems like a nice guy. He has an apolitical way about him and doesn't have that standard phony pol DNA.

IMO the pockets of Lee For Mayor support are driven by:

1) Everyone loves the guy who isn't running- it's little like the 2nd string quarterback being the most popular guy on a bad team which leads me to...

2) The current field of candidates is just not that exciting. I can't figure out if it's the candidates, the RCV dynamic, or it's just early.

I agree with Commish- I wish Adachi would run if he could find time between getting tossed from funerals by the City Family. THAT would certainly spice it up, or maybe Gonzalez or a prominent business person. Most running (maybe Hall is the exception) seem like they just want to maintain the unsustainable status quo...

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

Clearly word has got back to the SFBG that it's better for British national Sarah Phelan to be writing these editorials than it is Steven Jones.

Thanks East Bay-resident, and British citizen Sarah Phelan, for telling San Francisco residents like it is! How have we managed this far without your wisdom - your eternal guidance?!?!

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 13, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

Sarah Phelan may be a British national, but she's a better journalist than most at The Guardian. Her articles are usually detailed and informative. Also, they are more balanced than most of the rhetoric-laden pieces that appear here.

The articles by Steven T. Jones, by contrast, are often lacking in important details and inaccurate. They are as unbalanced as a car with two flat tires on the left side. Steven T. Jones is to journalism what Alix Rosenthal is to politics.

I doubt that The Guardian will ever attract truly first-rate journalists. The purpose of the paper is not to present a balanced view of the news or thoughtful reflections on politics and life.

The Guardian is a megaphone for the fatwas of the Ayatollah Brugmann. Everybody who works for the paper understands this priority.

Even so, The Guardian has a role to play. It does give vent to one perspective that deserves a hearing in the public forum.

But it will never rise above being a vent for one kind of wind.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 9:23 am

Sarah's always going to lack a little credibility - the same way anyoneof us who lack credibility if we moved to a suburb of London and started writing columns about what's wrong with London's culture and politics.

With that said, her coverage tends to be detailed and fairly comprehensive (if not biased, but what do you expect from the SFBG). Steven's just suck. They're awful, and I can't imagine that they resonate with anyone who isn't already living in a co-op and wearing a Che t-shirt. They read like a 19 year old from the City College Socialist Action Club wrote them.

Posted by Sambo on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 10:27 am

What does Sarah's nationality have anything to do with the quality of her journalism?

Bashing Sarah is ridiculous. She's a good reporter and the Guardian's women are informative, worthwhile, and yes, superior

If you ask anyone in City Hall or San Francisco's political circles they will tell you they are happy to talk to Sarah and Rebecca because they don't write the story before they ask their questions but absolutely refuse to talk to Jones or Redmond -- that is, unless their names are Gabriel Haaland and Aaron Peskin!!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 11:24 am

Steven T. Jones and Tim Redmond are hurting The Guardian by emphasizing dogmatic conformity, to the detriment of the vital diversity of politics, life, and culture.

Dogmatic conformity is boring and loses readers. The vital diversity of life is inexhaustible and fascinating.

Why are the articles by Sarah Phelan and Rebecca Bowe more engaging than those of Jones and Redmond?

Answer: Phelan and Bowe are more open to the complexity and diversity of events. Jones and Redmond, by contrast, often come across as the secular equivalents of Calvinist preachers.

The readership and general standing of The Guardian have fallen in recent years. Part of the problem is competition from the Internet, which is more vital and engaging than newspapers.

But another part of the problem is the emphasis on dogmatic conformity at The Guardian, especially in the writing of Jones and Redmond.

The big irony is that Jones and Redmond justify their stultifying style of journalism in the name of progressivism. But there's nothing progressive about dogmatic conformity.

Openness to the diversity of life, enthusiasm for independent thinking, a high regard for excellence - these are the true marks of human progress.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

They're bleeding readers to the point of near bankruptcy. The Weekly is already bankrupt. The Guardian is the last paper in town that's still doing pretty well.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

Humorlessness or fraction about disdain together condemn as near the answer candidates on nomadic voters. Diversity defecation and justice have more disturbing to these challenge and booze for wolves.

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Making to alcoholics flock male movement is same.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

"send that memo to the Chron, Arthur"

- Guest

The Chron is as narrow in focus, and managed as poorly, as The Guardian

We get one set of dogmas from The Chron, and another set, from The Guardian.

Each paper provides some correction to the narrowness of the other. However, the spectrum of human life, politics, and culture is far broader than either is prepared to embrace.

The antidotes to the narrowness and mediocrity of both are intelligence, excellence, and openness.

Will we ever see these qualities in the SF media?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

Your article and the comments gloss over the important point that to be a write-in candidate whose votes will be counted by the Department of Elections, the write-in candidate must sign a statement agreeing to be a write-in candidate. Unless Ed Lee consents (and goes back on his word), he will not be a write-in candidate. He can't be drafted without his consent.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 5:34 am

Ed Lee looks appealing to many voters now because all the other cards in the deck look so unappealing.

John Avalos is a narrow sectarian fighter for the Milk Clubbers, the Greens, and the ex-Greens. Not good enough.

David Chiu, Dennis Herrera, and Leland Yee are typical political hacks. Not good enough.

Jeff Adachi is weak on public safety and hated by the unions. Not good enough.

There is one other person besides Ed Lee who is in position to take advantage of this situation - Mark Leno.

Leno has said he won't run. However, it has been in his interest all along to wait until all the usual suspects advertise their inappropriateness, and then strike at the last minute.

He has a killer instinct in politics and rarely makes a strategic mistake.

Maybe he's serious when he says he won't run.

Then again ...

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 9:02 am

Hi everybody my name is Harold Miller and I am running for Mayor of San Francisco as a write-in candidate or if I can get 11,000 signatures i can be added to the November ballot for free... http://www.haroldmiller4mayor.com

Posted by Harold C Miller Jr 4 San Francisco Mayor on Jun. 15, 2011 @ 4:11 am

Mayor Ed Lee has just gotten the best possible news he could. Chris Daly, the radioactive Godzilla of SF politics, has come forth as Lee's most vocal critic in the city (link below).

This action by Daly is as stupid as the choice of the Milk Clubbers in making Aaron Peskin, Harry Britt, and Matt Gonzalez their principal lobbyists at the board of supes on behalf of David Waggoner.

All of which is more evidence in SF of the PLS - Progressive Lemming Syndrome.


Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 15, 2011 @ 7:14 am

Nothing being pushed by a "former Goldman Sachs employee" can possibly be good for anyone.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2011 @ 10:07 am

If Ed Lee doesn't run, does Randy Shaw lose his Care Not Cash slum empire?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

It seems like Non Profit Inc. is always OK with progressives, except when one of its adherents wanders too far off the reservation - then they're exiled.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

It's not about empty rhetoric and catchprases. Non-profits do some great work, and most of their employees never grow rich and never intend to grow rich. But somewhere along the line, Randy Shaw shed any pretension of trying to help people and became nothing more than a taxpayer-funded slumlord. In order to do it, he wedded himself to the corruption in city hall, and now he depends on it.

I used to hate when mods used phrases like "non-profit mafia" to describe people who are trying to make this city a better place. Unfortunately, they're partly right. There are those like Shaw whose primary goal has become enriching himself, and he's just protecting his taxpayer-funded gravy train. His investment in the "RunEdRun" astroturf bullshit will be rewarded many times over if it works. Randy Shaw gives non-profits a bad name.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

Randy Shaw is a tick on the underbelly of democracy. But he's hardly the only one.

Every year, the city gives away hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofits. There are no performance standards by which to judge their effectiveness. They are not required to keep their books open for public scrutiny.

The nonprofits with the most clout get the most bucks. They exercise their clout through both the mayor's office and the supes.

They have formed a bogus front group - The People's Budget Collaborative - to pressure City Hall. They pack meetings of the supes, hold rallies, and agitate with the press.

They provide volunteer campaign workers for politicians who have their ear. They find ways to funnel campaign contributions to incumbents and wannabes who toe their line.

They are to City Hall what the military-industrial complex is to Congress and the White House.

They fill a needed role in the life of the city (as does the military, to the nation). However, they are out of control (again like the military). The politicians are afraid to stand up to them.

Their institutionalized abusiveness would be a great target for a progressive newspaper with good investigative skills.

Unfortunately, there is no such newspaper in SF.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 8:38 am

Arthur is right and Arthur is wrong. Nonprofits are ticks, each with its own price point for cooptation.

But the nonprofits are not to San Francisco politics what the military industrial complex is to the Federal government or the Prison Guards union is to state, no, that role is played locally by developers and real estate.

Nonprofits provide cover for the real transfers of wealth in San Francisco, they are not the recipients of it, preferring to treasure their low paying jobs, taking pennies on the dollar for what they reliably deliver to the developers.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2011 @ 9:13 am

{“So, my hope is that he’ll be convinced,” continued Breyer, who filed to run in the 2010 D2 Supervisor’s race and lists Newsom’s wife Jennifer Siebel, who just gave birth to a baby boy named Hunter, among his Facebook friends.}


Posted by Stewart P. on Jun. 23, 2011 @ 1:35 am

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