San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee talks to political action group 

Mayor Ed Lee is scheduled to be the keynote speaker next week at a $200-a-head dinner for the Coalition for Responsible Growth, a political action committee that once prided itself on encouraging San Francisco politics to take “a sharp turn to the right.”

The organization launched in 2007 as a pro-business group with a focus of shifting The City’s politics from progressive to moderate by influencing the outcome of the November 2008 supervisorial election. The group also lobbies in favor of development projects.

During that election, the Coalition for Responsible Growth spent thousands of dollars for and against  candidates for supervisor, although with little success.

Asked whether he had concerns over the mayor giving a keynote address at the May 18 dinner, Supervisor John Avalos — who was targeted by the group in the 2008 election — said it depended on what the coalition’s focus is now.

“If they have a different mission than they had in 2008, then everything seems to make sense,” Avalos said. “If their mission is to get involved in the election and endorsing candidates like they did back in 2008, then I’m wondering what Ed Lee is doing there.”

Multiple calls and emails to the group’s board of directors were not returned. Campaign filings do show the group contributed to moderate candidates that would eventually win the 2010 election: Supervisors Scott Wiener, Mark Farrell and Malia Cohen.

The mayor is only attending the dinner to explain the administration’s policies, according to Lee’s spokeswoman, Christine Falvey. Lee attends many similar events and has spoken before labor groups as well as business friendly organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce. 

“He goes almost nightly to organizations to speak,” Falvey said.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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