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Airport commission to consider naming SFO terminal after late Mayor Ed Lee

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(Examiner file photo)

Following the death of Mayor Ed Lee in December last year, Chinese community leaders came forward with a proposal to rename San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal.

After speaking at the Airport Commission meeting Tuesday morning, those advocates have an answer: Maybe.

Commission President Larry Mazzola said the commission would get back to the organizers, and SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner that the commission would “look into” the community’s petition.

Kitman Chan, president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, told the Examiner that Lee “opened a pathway” for business and tourism to Asian countries. More than 60 Asian American community organizations joined together as one voice to petition the airport to name the International Terminal after Lee, Chan said. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce also voted to approve the idea and to advocate for it within The City.

“He represents the pinnacle of Chinese America in San Francisco,” Chan said of Lee.

The airport commission’s consideration was good news to Gorretti Lo Lui, a member of the War Memorial Board of Trustees, who attended the meeting Tuesday morning. “This is our beloved late mayor,” she said of Lee. Naming the International Terminal after Lee would make sense, she said, “because he was a bridge to the international community.”

The move to name the terminal after Lee also has the support of his two daughters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the effort to rename the terminal.

Chinatown Community Development Center Deputy Director Malcolm Yeung said naming the International Terminal after Lee would highlight The City embracing Chinese Americans.

“It would be particularly fitting because in a city that was the tip of the spear of the anti-Chinese movement, we could name (the International Terminal) after a civil rights lawyer,” Yeung said. Lee represented Asian Americans at the Asian Law Caucus in Chinatown decades before he would become San Francisco’s first Asian American mayor.

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