An inauguration of a city's mayor is supposed to be a time of celebration, of excitement for the future, and of pride and joy. But when you're Ed Lee, announcing your third inauguration (after promising only one, just BTW) the same day that one of your dearest pals calls you out in the paper and at least one city agency is rebelling against you, it seems less like a party and more like another place for people to protest against you.
According to a press release sent by the Mayor's office late Tuesday, "Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced plans for the Mayoral Inauguration Ceremony for his second term as Mayor of San Francisco on Friday, January 8, 2016 in City Hall." Which is an interesting choice of words since, as the Chron also notes (it's the second item), this is actually "his third stretch in office," after being appointed to the position in 2011 when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom became California's Lieutenant Governor.
At the time, Lee promised that he wouldn't run for a non-interim term, a move endorsed by Newsom, who said that an appointee who tried to hold onto the gig "...will be immediately discredited as the political appointee. Everybody running against that person is going to say that. I will say that, and I'm not going anywhere."
Well, as it turns out, Gavin didn't say that about Lee, and he's been mayor ever since — in fact, notes the Chron, Lee "will be in office for nine years, the fourth longest-serving mayor in San Francisco history." Yay?
Lee's ceremony comes the same week that, even in this current state of economic bounty, the mayor informed city agencies that a $100 million budget deficit means still more belt-tightening, this time to the tune of 1.5 percent. While many raised their eyebrows at the news that SF, the flushest of cities, found itself short by millions, San Francisco’s Ethics Commission is raising more than brows: It's raising hell.
As the Ex reports, the Commission is balking at the requirement to submit a revised, cut budget this February. Ethics Commissioner Peter Keane says mischief is afoot, arguing that the cuts are intended to keep the governmental watchdogs "as a completely castrated body without any kind of ability to do its job.”
In fact, says Keane, they're going to ask for more money, not less.
“It’s going to be a lot more than the budget that we have now. It is not going to be any 1.5 percent cut. Let’s submit that budget to the Mayor’s Office with a forceful justification of why we need those increases and let’s fight for it and let’s get it.”
“The city has slid into a fair amount of corruption, tremendously soft corruption but corruption. It’s pay to play. It’s a game of bribery, whether or not we can actually identify it as bribery, it’s there," Keane said. “Our group is the group that should be ferreting that out and getting on top of that and reversing that.”
The Ethics Commission isn't the only political force questioning the mayor's motives — Chinatown power player Rose Pak, who was once Lee's closest ally, tells the Chron that during a late-2015 meeting between the two in Asia, she told Lee that “he was being isolated by his staff and that he is being completely controlled."
“Not even his friends or department heads can get in to talk with him," Pak said, in a conversation that the mayor's spokesperson characterized as one that "went really well."
So, here we have it. The mayor who promised not to run, with an approval rating that just dropped 18 points, now being sworn in for a third time as his once-dearest friend cries foul and Ethics flouting his decree. Should be a fun four years!
Here's the full press release for the inauguration, just in case you want to go celebrate with the mayor. Or whatever.
San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced plans for the Mayoral Inauguration Ceremony for his second term as Mayor of San Francisco on Friday, January 8, 2016 in City Hall.
“This is a celebration of the people of San Francisco that make our City great,” said Mayor Lee. “With a strong, diverse economy as the foundation for San Francisco’s continuing progress, we will tackle longstanding challenges like affordable housing and homelessness while making historic investments in our schools, transportation system and public safety network. I have dedicated 26 years of service to our City to make sure everyone has a chance to succeed, and I am humbled to be sworn in as Mayor of the ‘greatest City in the world’ for a second term.”
Board of Supervisors President London Breed will open the program as the Master of Ceremonies and California Governor Jerry Brown will administer the Mayoral Oath of Office to Mayor Lee.
Musical selections during the Inauguration Ceremony will be performed by the Glide Ensemble and Change Band and the St. Mary’s Girls Drum and Bell Corps.
City Hall doors open at 11 a.m. The ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. The event is open to the public.
Previously: Mayor Calls For Budget Cuts Amid $100 Million City Deficit
Survey: Mayor Lee's Approval Ratings Plummet, Majority Says SF Is 'Pretty Seriously Off-Track'
Rose Pak Suffering From Kidney Failure, Calls Mayor Lee 'The Biggest Disappointment'