Lee’s talking points sound familiar


Interim Mayor Ed Lee released a 17-point jobs plan last week as part of his bid for mayor, prompting City Attorney Dennis Herrera to accuse the interim mayor of “plagiarism” since Herrera, also a contender for mayor, issued a 17-point jobs plan himself earlier this year.

Herrera’s campaign also criticized Lee for ending his plan with Herrera’s signature slogan, “a city that works.”

But Herrera isn’t the only mayoral candidate for whom Lee’s campaign rhetoric rings a bell. Board President David Chiu, who attracted a great deal of attention earlier this year for his statement that supervisors are elected not to take positions but to “get things done,” seems to have served as a muse to the campaign consultants who thought up Lee’s campaign slogan: “Ed Lee Gets it Done.”

(Which -- is it just me? -- or does having that phrase plastered everywhere bring to mind something more like this?):

Lee’s “new era of civility in City Hall,” meanwhile, closely echoes language Chiu has used on the campaign trail. At a campaign stop in June, Chiu told a room of supporters that before civility was restored this year, "City government was frankly pretty dysfunctional." Politicians from different political factions bickered with one another, he said, and "they literally couldn't even sit in the same room."

At an Aug. 11 rally, Lee told supporters, "We have changed the tone in which we run government," and added, "I still have in my mind the screaming and the yelling" that the city family used to engage in. 

A few more striking similarities, taken from the candidates' respective campaign websites:

*  David Chiu says he'll “Prioritize hiring of local residents.”
*  Ed Lee says he'll “Hire San Franciscans.”

*  David Chiu says he'll “Invest in community institutions and infrastructure."
*  Ed Lee says he'll “Invest in infrastructure jobs.”

*  David Chiu says he'll “Support the continued growth of the technology sector.”
*  Ed Lee says he'll “Attract & grow the jobs of the future.”

*  David Chiu says he'll “[Expand] the impact of SFMade.”
*  Ed Lee says he'll “Revive local manufacturing – ‘Made in San Francisco.’”

*  David Chiu says he'll “Fill vacant storefronts.”
*  Ed Lee says he'll “Improve blighted areas.”

*  David Chiu says he'll “Reform our broken business tax. San Francisco is the only city in California that levies a tax on businesses exclusively on payroll.”
*  Ed Lee says he'll “Reform the Payroll tax  ... Mayor Lee knows that San Francisco’s current business tax structure punishes job creation when it should reward it.”

Asked to comment on the remarkable similarities in campaign materials, Lee spokesperson Tony Winnicker told the Guardian, “It's just another baseless attack from Dennis Herrera's campaign, only this one sounds like he's in the third grade.

“Mayor Lee has been giving small business loans and recruiting new jobs to San Francisco from his first days as Mayor," Winnicker continued. "His economic plan builds on the good work and projects underway and includes many genuinely new ideas to create even more jobs for the future."

Winnicker added, “As for President Chiu, it's no surprise that he and Mayor Lee would share many views on how to create jobs for our City as they've worked together closely on many issues throughout the year. He thinks President Chiu has many good ideas in addition to Mayor Lee's own new proposals in our 17-point economic plan. Mayor Lee looks forward to continuing to work with Board President Chiu to create jobs for every neighborhood of our City.”