Edwin M. Lee

Ed Lee
Mayor Ed Lee Headshot Closeup (cropped).jpg
43rd Mayor of San Francisco

January 11, 2011 - December 12, 2017
Gavin Newsom
Mark Farrell
City Administrator of San Francisco

June 22, 2005 - January 11, 2011
William Lee
Naomi Kelly
Personal details
Edwin Mah Lee

(1952-05-05)May 5, 1952
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Resting placeCypress Lawn Memorial Park
Political partyDemocratic
Anita Lee (m. 1980)
EducationBowdoin College (BA)
University of California, Berkeley (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Edwin Mah Lee (; May 5, 1952 - December 12, 2017) was an American politician and attorney who served as the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, and was the first Asian American to hold the office.[1]

Born in Seattle, Lee was a member of the Democratic Party. He took office as San Francisco city administrator in 2005 and was appointed on January 11, 2011 by the Board of Supervisors to serve out the remaining term of former Mayor Gavin Newsom after Newsom resigned to become Lieutenant Governor of California. On November 8, 2011, he won the election to serve a full term as Mayor. He was reelected in 2015 and served until his sudden and unexpected death on December 12, 2017.[2]

Early life and career

Lee was born in 1952 in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.[3][4] His parents immigrated to the United States from Taishan, Guangdong Province, China, in the 1930s.[3] Lee's father, Gok Suey Lee, fought in the Korean War, worked as a cook, and managed a restaurant in Seattle.[3][5] He died when Lee was 15.[5] His mother was a seamstress and waitress.[6] Lee had five siblings. He attended Seattle Franklin High School,[7] before graduating summa cum laude from Bowdoin College in Maine in 1974, completed a year overseas as a Watson Fellow, and then graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1978.[8]

San Francisco government

After Lee completed law school and received his Juris Doctor degree from UC Berkeley School of Law, he worked as managing attorney for the San Francisco Asian Law Caucus, where he was an advocate for affordable housing and the rights of immigrants and renters.[6] In 1989, Mayor Art Agnos appointed Lee to be the city's first investigator under the city's whistleblower ordinance. Agnos later appointed him Deputy Director of Human Relations. In 1991, he was hired as Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, serving in that capacity under Mayors Agnos, Frank Jordan, and Willie Brown. Brown appointed him Director of City Purchasing, where, among other responsibilities, he ran the city's first Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise program.[1]

In 2000, he was appointed Director of Public Works for the city, and in 2005 was appointed by Mayor Newsom to a five-year term as City Administrator, to which he was reappointed in 2010. As City Administrator, Lee oversaw the reduction of city government and implemented the city's first ever ten-year capital plan.[1]

Appointment as mayor

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

In 2010 a vacancy in the office of mayor was impending when incumbent Gavin Newsom was elected as Lieutenant Governor of California.[9] Under the San Francisco City Charter, vacancies in the mayoral office are filled by a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors, in which each supervisor is barred from voting for themselves.[10] Speculation about possible appointees and debate on whether or not the old Board of Supervisors should cast the vote for the new mayor soon followed Newsom's election as lieutenant governor.[] (Four old supervisors were term-limited and four new people were elected in the 2010 election to take their place.)[]

The Board of Supervisors nominated four people  -- former Mayor Art Agnos, Sheriff Michael Hennessey, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, and Lee. None of them captured the necessary six votes at a meeting of the board on January 4, 2011, but after debate, some supervisors expressed willingness to switch their support to Lee,[11] and the meeting was recessed until January 7. At the January 7 meeting, the old board voted 10-1 to elect Lee as mayor, with outgoing Supervisor Chris Daly casting the lone "no" vote.[12] At the time, Lee promised not to seek election if appointed, a statement that helped to gain support for his appointment. The board included people who aimed to run in the November 2011 mayoral elections, none of whom wished to give the mayoral position to someone who might be their competitor in those elections, which would give that person the significant political advantages of incumbency.[13]

The vote was preliminary and non-binding, as Newsom had delayed his resignation until new members of the Board took office. A final vote was taken on January 11 by the new board to confirm Lee, one day after Newsom's resignation. The board voted unanimously for Lee and he took office immediately thereafter.[14][15]

Mayoral elections

2011 election

Lee's term expired in January 2012, when the winner of the November 2011 mayoral election would assume office. Lee originally pledged not to run in that election.[16] However, some San Francisco political activists - including Rose Pak, consultant for the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Planning Commission President Christina Olague, Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang, 'Progress for All' chief consultant, Enrique Pearce and Eddy Zheng - started a "Run Ed Run" campaign in June 2011 to encourage him to put his name on the ballot.[17] By July 28, Lee stated that he had visited his daughters in Washington state and discussed with them the possibility of running, but had still not made up his mind. Senator Dianne Feinstein, herself a former appointee mayor who had gone on to win reelection for two terms, publicly supported a Lee candidacy. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that unnamed city officials close to Lee told the media that Lee had "nearly finalized his decision" to run.[18]

On August 7, 2011, Lee reneged on his promise to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and formally announced his decision to seek election. He stated that the atmosphere of political cooperation during his months in office had inspired him to run.[13] Lee won the November 2011 election, with John Avalos finishing second.[19][20]

2015 reelection

In an election where Lee had no challengers with substantial name recognition or experience in politics, he was reelected with only 56% of the vote. The candidate with the next most votes, local musician Francisco Herrera, received 14%.[20][21]

Mayoralty (2011-2017)

Lee with Democratic U.S. house leader Nancy Pelosi

Mid-Market revitalization

Lee implemented a revitalization of Mid-Market, San Francisco, providing companies that moved into the area with a temporary exemption from paying San Francisco's 1.5 percent payroll tax.[22]Twitter, which had threatened to move out of San Francisco into the San Francisco Peninsula without the tax break, moved into Mid-Market in 2011.[23] In October 2013, Square moved its headquarters to the mid-Market area, followed by Uber and Dolby Laboratories.[24] In 2014, this exemption saved companies US$34 million.[25] The plan drew controversy not only for the tax breaks given to corporations, but for the effects of gentrification on the nearby Tenderloin neighborhood.[26]


In 2012, Lee proposed the creation of a Housing Trust Fund, which would generate between $20 million and $50 million of funding for affordable and middle class housing per year for thirty years.[27] In 2014, Lee and David Chiu, the President of the Board of Supervisors, announced the creation of the Ellis Act Housing Preference Program, which would help people evicted from their homes by landlords using the Ellis Act.[28] That year, Lee pledged to construct 30,000 new and rehabilitated homes throughout the city by 2020, with half available to low, working and middle income San Franciscans,[29] and launched a small site acquisition program to fund the purchase and stabilization of multi-family rental buildings in neighborhoods that are susceptible to evictions and rising rents.[30] Lee sponsored a $310 million bond measure to pay for housing for the November 2015 general election, which passed.[31][32] In 2017, Lee approved a $44 million project to build affordable housing for teachers.[33]

Minimum wage

In December 2013, Lee called for an increase to San Francisco's minimum wage.[34] In 2014, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure to raise the city's minimum wage for the November 2014 ballot.[35] In October 2014, Lee announced that the city's minimum wage of $10.74 per hour would be adjusted to $11.05 per hour, effective January 1, 2015.[36]

In 2015, Lee co-chaired the minimum wage campaign with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and worked with the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West for a November ballot initiative to gradually increase California's minimum wage to $15 an hour.[37] The California State Senate and State Assembly approved Senate Bill 3, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.[38]

Suspension of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi

On January 13, 2012, incumbent Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was charged with domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness in connection with a New Year's Eve altercation he had with his wife.[39] On March 20, 2012, Mayor Ed Lee gave Sheriff Mirkarimi a 24-hour ultimatum to resign from his post. While jury selection was underway, Mirkarimi entered into a plea agreement with the district attorney and pled guilty to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment.[40] When Mirkarimi refused to resign, the Mayor suspended him and appointed a temporary replacement, Vicki Hennessy. City Attorney Dennis Herrera crafted the formal complaint and sent it to the city's Ethics Commission and Board of Supervisors, who accepted it and then investigated Mirkarimi under misconduct charges as required by the city Charter.[41]

On August 16, the Commission ruled by 4 to 1 that Mirkarimi committed official misconduct when he falsely imprisoned his wife.[42] Six of the charges brought by the mayor matched District Attorney George Gascón's original criminal charges. Five of those were overruled, including the charge that Mirkarimi dissuaded witnesses and that he abused the power of his office.[43] On October 9, 2012, four of the eleven San Francisco District Supervisors voted against Lee's removal of Mirkarimi as sheriff. The Mayor would have needed the votes of nine Board members to remove Mirkarimi.[40][44]

Personal life and death

Lee married his wife Anita in 1980. He had two daughters, Tania and Brianna.[45]

Lee died at 1:11 a.m. PST on December 12, 2017 at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center after suffering cardiac arrest while shopping at a Safeway at 10:11 p.m. on December 11.[46][47][48][49]

Awards and honors

Lee graduated summa cum laude from Bowdoin College in 1974 and from Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley, in 1978.[50] In April 2011, he was awarded the inaugural Coro Community Catalyst award for "his longtime commitment to bringing together varied special interests and agendas to address the greater needs of the community".[51]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Edwin M. Lee - Biography". Government Services Agency, City and County of San Francisco. Archived from the original on August 6, 2010. Retrieved 2011.
  2. ^ Swan, Rachel; Sernoffsky, Evan (December 12, 2017). "San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dead at 65". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Shih, Gerry (January 15, 2011). "Mayor Lee Leads Growing Asian-American Clout". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ Dalton, Andrew (May 11, 2011). "Board of Supervisors Weekly Power Rankings". SFist. Archived from the original on May 17, 2016. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ a b Heather Knight (August 29, 2011). "Mayor Ed Lee: What's in a name?". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Mayor Ed Lee". Ed Lee for Mayor 2011. Archived from the original on September 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ Beekman, Daniel (December 12, 2017). "San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who grew up in Seattle, dies at 65". The Seattle Times.
  8. ^ Serwer, Andy (December 11, 2013). "Everyman Ed Lee". Fortune. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "Brown, Newsom, Boxer elected". The Stanford Daily. Archived from the original on November 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ "San Francisco, California Charter Article XIII: Elections". municode.com. Archived from the original on January 29, 2011. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ "Editorial: Newsom's delayed departure brings out supes' worst". San Francisco Chronicle. January 6, 2011. Archived from the original on January 20, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  12. ^ Gordon, Rachel (January 7, 2011). "Supervisors vote 10-1 to make Ed Lee Mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  13. ^ a b Coté, John (August 8, 2011). "SF Mayor Ed Lee changes mind, will seek full term". San Francisco Chronicle.
  14. ^ Coté, John (January 11, 2011). "Ed Lee becomes the city's first Chinese American mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  15. ^ Coté, John; Gordon, Rachel (January 11, 2011). "Gavin Newsom changes offices at last". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 25, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^ Coté, John (June 27, 2011). "SF Mayor Ed Lee pledges new political era". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 15, 2011.
  17. ^ Matier, Phillip; Ross, Andrew (June 26, 2011). "Ed Lee's backers face questions of disclosure". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  18. ^ Coté, John (July 28, 2011). "Sources say Ed Lee leaning toward run for SF mayor". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011.
  19. ^ Jim Christie (November 9, 2011). "Ed Lee wins San Francisco mayor's race". Reuters. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  20. ^ a b Wildermuth, John (November 4, 2015) "S.F. Mayor Ed Lee easily re-elected to 2nd 4-year term" Archived December 3, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.. San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved February 12, 2015).
  21. ^ Romney, Lee (November 4, 2015). "San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's easy reelection comes with complications". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 5, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ Rachel Gordon (March 20, 2011). "SF's Twitter tax-break plan spurs political fight". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on April 7, 2013.
  23. ^ Evangelista, Benny (April 22, 2011). "Twitter signs lease for headquarters in Mid-Market". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 8, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ Evangelista, Benny (August 14, 2014). "Square moves into new S.F. headquarters". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  25. ^ Lang, Marissa (October 19, 2015). "Companies avoid $34M in city taxes thanks to 'Twitter tax break'". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on August 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  26. ^ Alejandro Lazo (April 29, 2016). "Tax Breaks for Twitter Bring Benefits and Criticism". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on November 30, 2017.
  27. ^ John Coté (May 22, 2012). "Lee proposal backs middle-class housing in S.F." SFGate. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  28. ^ Lagos, Marisa (April 19, 2014). "S.F. program offers help to tenants evicted under Ellis Act". SFGate. Archived from the original on August 13, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ John Coté (January 17, 2014). "Sneak peek: Mayor Ed Lee has a housing solution". SFGate. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ Roberts, Chris (June 19, 2014). "Under new model with nonprofits, SF covers down payment on housing property purchases - by - June 19, 2014 - The San Francisco Examiner". Sfexaminer.com. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  31. ^ Matier & Ross (October 11, 2015). "Developers, tech firms invest heavily in housing bond measure - San Francisco Chronicle". Sfchronicle.com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  32. ^ Lyons, Jenna (November 4, 2015). "Prop. A, affordable-housing measure, wins in S.F." SFGate. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ "San Francisco Mayor Commits $44 Million To Teacher Housing Project". KPIX-TV. May 12, 2017. Archived from the original on May 17, 2017.
  34. ^ John Coté (December 10, 2013). "Ed Lee backs significant increase in minimum wage". SFGate. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ Lee Romney (June 15, 2014). "San Francisco leads the way with $15 minimum-wage ballot measure". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 22, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ David Mills (October 31, 2014). "S.F. mayor announces minimum wage hike to $11.05 an hour". San Francisco Business Times. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014.
  37. ^ "San Francisco, Oakland Mayors Seek $15 Minimum Wage Statewide". KPIX-TV. October 6, 2015. Archived from the original on December 24, 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  38. ^ David Siders (April 4, 2016). "Jerry Brown signs $15 minimum wage in California". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  39. ^ Richmond, Josh (January 13, 2012) "San Francisco sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to face misdemeanor charges" Archived June 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. San Jose Mercury News.
  40. ^ a b Rachel Gordon (March 20, 2012), "Mayor says he'll suspend Mirkarimi" Archived May 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., San Francisco Chronicle
  41. ^ Sulek, Julia Prolis (March 20, 2012) "San Francisco Mayor Lee suspends embattled Sheriff Mirkarimi" Archived February 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.. San Jose Mercury News. (Retrieved April 13, 2012.)
  42. ^ Associated Press (August 16, 2012) "San Francisco: Panel Says Embattled Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Committed Misconduct" Archived December 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.. San Jose Mercury News.
  43. ^ Wright, Andy (August 16, 2012) "Ethics panel upholds official misconduct charges against Mirkarimi"[permanent dead link]. Bay Citizen.
  44. ^ Knight, Heather and Coté, John (October 9, 2012) "Ross Mirkarimi to keep job, supes decide" Archived October 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved October 9, 2012.)
  45. ^ Lee, Brianna (January 30, 2011). "Ed Lee reaps reward of lifetime of dedication". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  46. ^ Swan, Rachel; Sernoffsky, Evan (December 12, 2017). "San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dead at 65". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  47. ^ Kelly, George (December 12, 2017). "S.F. Mayor Ed Lee dies at 65". East Bay Times. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  48. ^ Lac, J. Freedom du; Wootson, Cleve R., Jr (December 12, 2017). "Ed Lee, San Francisco's first Asian American mayor, dies at 65". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017.
  49. ^ Fuller, Thomas; Cowell, Alan; Bromwich, Jonah Engel (December 12, 2017). "Ed Lee, San Francisco Mayor, Dies at 65". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017.
  50. ^ "Office of the Mayor : About the Mayor". San Francisco Mayor. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  51. ^ "16th Annual Leadership Luncheon". San Francisco: Coro Center for Civic Leadership. April 29, 2011. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Gavin Newsom
Mayor of San Francisco
Succeeded by
Mark Farrell

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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