For months, the people behind “Run, Ed, Run” pushed for Mayor Ed Lee to run in November — but they were nowhere to be found Monday night as San Francisco’s interim leader was roundly booed, jeered and heckled at his first mayoral debate.
Lee endured taunts of “Ed Lee lies” and “Liar, liar, pants on fire” from the audience as well as harsh criticisms of his ethics from candidates who took potshots instead of answering questions.
Lee, however, smiled and laughed off the hissing from community members who expressed their disapproval with his decision earlier Monday to enter the race. In January, he had pledged to merely be a caretaker when the Board of Supervisors appointed him to fill out then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s term after he was elected lieutenant governor.
The crowd became rowdy and blew horns when Lee responded to some of the nearly one dozen questions asked about issues important to the Duboce Triangle, Castro and Eureka Valley communities.
The mayor only answered questions and did not address the taunts. Other candidates, however, expressed their frustrations with Lee.
Joanna Rees welcomed Green Party contender Terry Baum even though she was not invited, saying she was glad Baum was there. But, Rees added, the seat Baum occupied was probably saved for Chinatown power broker Rose Pak to “help Ed Lee answer questions.”
State Sen. Leland Yee asked the mayor to resign.
“[Lee] would not have gotten the votes to become interim mayor, and now he’s broken his promise,” Yee said.
Supervisor John Avalos said he was unsure of Ed Lee’s independence and vision for The City.
Both Avalos and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said Lee’s track record as mayor was overstated. They both claimed his accomplishments were due to initiatives already set in motion by the time he arrived at Room 200.
Lee, though, said he wanted to run because the tone in City Hall has changed in a positive way in the seven months he’s been in charge.
“I actually enjoyed working with the Board of Supervisors,” he said to conclude the night to more applause than the boos that welcomed him. “I’ve worked hard to make government work better.”