Most mayors serve at least a full term in office before someone pens their biography, but the fervent supporters of Ed Lee apparently couldn’t wait.
Click on the photo at right to see the cover of the Ed Lee book.
“The Ed Lee Story: An Unexpected Mayor” — a 132-page paperback written by a political consultant — is being distributed around The City by an independent expenditure committee dedicated to keeping the interim mayor in office for a full four-year term.
Relying on news reports, public speeches and old photographs, the book advances the following theses, in no particular order: Lee is not a politician, unless you count his high school senior class presidency; the caretaker mayor didn’t intend to break his vow not to run for office, but then had to do so out of a deep moral duty to maintain sanity in otherwise insane San Francisco; and unlike his predecessors, the mayor lacks an obnoxious ego, as evidenced by his small stature, modest attire and frequent deployment of corny jokes.
The book also touts the mayor’s progressive credentials by noting his early career at the Asian Law Caucus, and it warmly refers to former Mayor Willie Brown and Chinatown power broker Rose Pak, two insider associates whom Lee’s opponents have reviled as reasons to oppose him.
“The Ed Lee Story” was the talk of the local political world Monday, and while it gave some unaffiliated observers a chuckle, Lee’s campaign rivals were not amused.
“This book stinks of illegal coordination between an independent expenditure committee and a campaign,” said state Sen. Leland Yee’s campaign manager, Jim Stearns, noting that author Enrique Pearce also served as the political consultant to the ethically scrutinized “Run, Ed, Run” committee. “Plus, it doesn’t take longer than two pages for Willie Brown to be introduced.”
Eric Jaye, a consultant working with candidate and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, was similarly unimpressed.
“I’ve got a big stack of books on my nightstand,” Jaye said. “And it’s going to take me a while to get to this one. I’ll call you back in November.”
Pearce cast off the harsh words, attributing the criticism to the approach of Election Day.
“It’s silly season in San Francisco,” he said, noting the book’s focus on the mayor’s defense of The City’s disenfranchised groups, while his opponents are busy spreading the opposite notion that Lee is beholden to the most powerful and self-interested political forces. “This biography sets the record straight in terms of his real work and contributions.”
San Francisco Ethics Commission filings show the independent expenditure committee — which is forbidden by ethics rules from coordinating with Lee’s primary campaign — spent nearly $89,000 printing 50,000 copies.
And while Pearce said the book is free to anyone who wants a copy and drops by the committee’s office at 1600 Market St., the door-to-door recipients are nudged for a donation — an amount which he could not determine.
“Just a little something to defray the cost,” Pearce said.
Pearce declined to say where the books are being distributed, but residents of Hayes Valley and Lower Pacific Heights have already received copies.
Fun facts about Ed Lee, as written in his new book, “The Ed Lee Story: An Unexpected Mayor”:
- The only elected office held by Mayor Ed Lee was his one year as senior class president at Franklin High School in Seattle.
- The mayor apparently has a recipe for poongaloong, a secret until recently revealed in this biography.
- According to Chinatown leader and friend Rose Pak, Lee once held up the entourage of the president of China because he wandered off to gape at a Chinese trash facility to get ideas on how such operations could be innovated the U.S.