Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was overheard Wednesday at a Transbay Transit Center construction milestone celebration boasting that he helped raise $70,000 for Ed Lee’s mayoral campaign. Brown held a fundraiser for the current mayor on Tuesday night at North Beach Restaurant.
“We had projected 50 grand, but …” Brown bragged to a young woman as a San Francisco Examiner reporter stood nearby.
When asked about the fundraiser by The Examiner, Brown declined to comment.
“I don’t talk to reporters. I am a reporter,” said Brown, now a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. “I write my own column. All right? Nothing personal.”
Lee’s opponents in the race have periodically been taking jabs at the interim mayor for the company he keeps, including Chinatown power broker Rose Pak and Brown, who oversaw an era of patronage politics in San Francisco.
To critics of Lee — the clear front-runner in the race, according to polls — his association with Brown could represent the return of old power circles that polarized City Hall and prompted a five-year FBI investigation that never resulted in charges.
Last week, Brown sent out a fundraiser invitation that said no politician should be burdened by his record of service to The City.
“To put these critics in their place once and for all I need your help,” the invitation said.
Although the exact amount raised by Brown has yet to come to light in public record, more should be clear when candidates are required to file updated campaign finance reports with The City’s Ethics Commission on Sept. 29.
The event, which was held at the site of the old Transbay Terminal, was attended by Lee, Brown, Supervisor Jane Kim and a host of city department staff and transit officials.