Lee tentatively named interim SF mayor

January 8, 2011 1:02:52 AM PST
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has tentatively selected City Administrator Ed Lee as interim mayor. He will be the first Asian-American mayor in San Francisco history.

Newsom is thrilled with the decision. Tough-talking community activist Rose Pak was in tears because she's so happy.

Lee appears poised to replace outgoing Mayor Gavin Newsom following a 10-1 vote during today's board meeting.

Newsom, who will be sworn in as the state's lieutenant governor sometime before Monday, has said today's vote will be merely "symbolic" since the nomination won't be official until he leaves office.

"You're talking to one of the happiest people in San Francisco. This was an extraordinary and historic vote by this board, but it was symbolic. Remember, the new Board of Supervisors that will convene tomorrow will make the actual decision and determination as to who the next mayor will be, but I think it's crystal clear now that Ed Lee will become Mayor Ed Lee and I couldn't be more proud," said Newsom.

Newsom has pushed back the Jan. 3 date of his swearing-in as lieutenant governor, saying he has more to accomplish while in office.

Progressives have argued that he simply wanted to prevent the current 11-member board from appointing an interim mayor with a far-left political agenda.

However, the only one not celebrating is Supervisor Chris Daly.

"If Ed Lee surprises me, then so be it. I'll be pleasantly surprised and I'll apologize to Mr. Lee directly, but I don't see it happening. I see a status quo being maintained," said Daly.

Four new board members will take office on Saturday, and the board is expected to officially select the interim mayor on Tuesday.

Lee has served as city administrator since 2005 and has also served as director of the city's Department of Public Works and the Human Rights Commission.

Lee is in Hong Kong on vacation. Lee at first didn't want this job but city activists, such as Rose Pak, and former Mayor Willie Brown got on the telephone and convinced him that this is his moment and he needs to take it.

Lee will be the interim mayor until the election in November.

KGO contributed to this report