Ed Lee, appointed San Francisco's interim mayor early this year after giving the San Francisco Board of Supervisors his word that he would not seek a full term, filed papers to enter the race as a mayoral candidate on Aug. 8.
"I haven't changed at all," Lee said when reporters questioned his 180-degree turnaround. "I've just made a change of mind in terms of running for this office."
Standing beside his wife, Anita, the mayor delivered a five-minute speech about what has transpired in his seven months as interim mayor, saying he was motivated to run by his accomplishments in office so far.
Lee said he had met with members of the Board of Supervisors and understood that some would be looking for an explanation on his change of heart.
Former District 6 Sup. Chris Daly has said he believes Lee's run for mayor was scripted from the start. Whatever the case, an outburst that occurred as Lee was filling out paperwork certainly was not part of any script. Surrounded by news cameras, Charles Khalish heckled Lee, asking, "Sir, are you going to step down? You're in the office under false pretenses, Mr. Lee." When security surrounded him, he loudly protested, and a group of sheriff deputies and mayoral security officers with the San Francisco Police Department closed in and grabbed him.
While it was impossible for this reporter to see exactly what took place seconds before Khalish was forcibly removed, Tony Winnicker, a former press secretary to Mayor Gavin Newsom who is now issuing media advisories for Lee's mayoral campaign, later claimed he wouldn't have been removed if he hadn't gotten pushy. The officers hauled Khalish down the corridor as he shrieked, "Heeeeeeelp!!" They restrained his arms behind his back and placed his head in a lock while they told him to stop resisting.
"He was cited for obstructing public business," sheriff spokesperson Eileen Hirst later told the Guardian. "It is likely that he will be released as soon as the paperwork is finished." She added that she had not yet seen an incident report.
The interim mayor said he made the decision to run over the weekend with the help of his family members. Chinatown power broker Rose Pak is not part of his family, but Lee's daughter Brianna wrote in a January editorial called "Fear the ' Stache" that she had always known Pak as "Auntie Rose."
Pak was a key driver behind "Run, Ed, Run," the campaign backed by Progress for All that plastered cartoon drawings of Lee all over San Francisco. Progress for All will be the subject of discussion at the Aug. 8 Ethics Commission meeting, since Ethics director John St. Croix has stated he believes the political organization filed improperly as a general purpose committee. In late July, five mayoral candidates -- including Board President David Chiu -- joined Democratic County Central Committee chair Aaron Peskin in asking for an investigation into whether Progress for All had violated local campaign laws. Campaign finance reports, meanwhile, show that the effort was backed by a small group of inflential business insiders. Asked about the role of "Run, Ed, Run," on his campaign for mayor, here's how Lee responded:
This evening, Lee the will participate in a mayoral candidate forum hosted by the Duboce Triangle/Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association at the Castro Theater at 7 p.m.