At a rally for Mayor Ed Lee at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center Aug. 11, many turned out to demonstrate their support for the mayoral candidate. But several were asked to alter their signs and appearance before the press event got underway.
Performers from Chinatown-based Leung's White Crane performed a traditional lion dance with thundering drums and brightly colored costumes, and District 4 Sup. Carmen Chu introduced Lee by thanking him for getting into the race. Supporters bearing signs with slogans like "It's About Civility!" and "Ed Lee = Jobs 4 S.F." stood clustered together.
When Lee arrived, he spoke about setting a new tone in City Hall. "We have changed the tone in which we run government," he said, adding, "I still have in my mind the screaming and the yelling" that the city family used to engage in.
Lee also spoke about promoting economic stability in San Francisco. A priority of his was "making our economy stable enough so companies like Twitter, Zynga, and Salesforce can come in" to create jobs and offer apprenticeships, he said. He also touted his role in making it easier for minority-owned and women-owned businesses to access to city contracting opportunities, and spoke about San Francisco as a place that drew international business interests. "We're a city that so many people want to come here to do business, to get business done," he said.
Awhile before the mayor arrived, something a little strange happened when three supporters showed up with signs and T-shirts from the "Run, Ed, Run" campaign, which members of Lee's official mayoral campaign have cast as a completely separate, unaffiliated effort. The three -- who got pretty quiet when this reporter started asking questions and declined to give their names -- were apparently told they'd have to ditch the cartoon "Ed heads" stapled to their signs, because they started ripping them off their wooden posts and chucking them into a trash bin. One man peeled off a layer to get rid of his yellow "I'm an Ed Head" T-shirt. Asked who they were with, one woman responded that they were just there as "supporters" and had found out about it on Facebook. She seemed to be on a first-name basis with Ahsha Safai, who was there working with Lee's campaign team.
Asked about it later, Winnicker acknowledged that the campaign had asked them not to display materials from the "Run, Ed. Run" campaign, since Lee's mayoral campaign is a separate effort and they were intent on making that perfectly clear. He also pointed out that the San Francisco Ethics Commission had determined Monday that it would be permissible for volunteers from "Run, Ed, Run" to participate as volunteers in the official mayoral campaign.
Enrique Pearce of Left Coast Communications, who was instrumental in Progress for All's "Run, Ed, Run" campaign, later told the Guardian that he wasn't surprised that supporters who encouraged Lee to run would also be inclined to attend a support rally now that he's a candidate. "What you're seeing is an outpouring of some of the same people," he said. On the whole, Pearce said, "I don't really know what it goes to show."