Tag Archives: Mayor Ed Lee

S.F. Mayor Ed Lee works overtime for #SOTU: Maximum Asian, minimum wage in the land of inequality; updated 3:42PDT with preview excerpts

Some observers might think San Francisco must be on President Obama’s “Do Not Call” list after that embarrassing incident during his last visit. That’s when one of the handpicked invitees who stood behind Obama spoke out and disrupted the president’s speech.  ( http://aaldef.org/blog/yelling-stop-deportations-an-undocumented-asian-american-stands-up-and-obama-stands-down.html ).

But Obama is merely showing how you can’t let a little thing like that spoil your good attitude. We’re not talking Chris Christie here.

Obama is moving on, because Ed Lee can help him.

So instead of a “shunning,” the president is shining a light on the San Francisco mayor.

Lee fills a number of purposes for President Obama at the #SOTU.  If anyone asks,”Is there an Asian American in the house? ” Well, now there will be.  (They won’t be in the bomb shelter). As Michelle’s guest, Lee is the son of Chinese immigrants, the first Asian American mayor of San Francisco in the nation’s most Asian American state.

But Lee’s real purpose may be to be the bureaucratic face and prime working example of an elevated minimum wage. SeaTac in Washington has a $15 minimum. But SeaTac is not San Francisco, and Obama needs to show a major city example. That’s SF, with the next highest minimum wage at $10.55 an hour.

Obama wants to raise the fed minimum to $10.10, up from $7.25.

At a time when inequality has become Obama’s “here-and-now”  issue, having Lee there is critical to show everyone that $10.10 is do-able. SeaTac is struggling with $15. But new studies show SF’s businesses haven’t been hurt by years of an elevated minimum wage, well above $7. In fact, even conservatives like Bill O’Reilly are coming around to embrace the issue of raising the MW.

Maybe that’s because minimum wages mean conservatives can feel good about finally taxing the poor.

But really, what’s $10.10 an hour?  Multiply that by 30 hours (because then bosses wouldn’t have to pay benefits). Then work for 50 weeks and voila. You’re barely above $15,000 a year.

Shack up with another minimum wage earner, don’t have kids, and live in your parent’s trailer, and you can survive on $30,000 a year combined. Sure, why not. (You want to eat too? And have clothes? Wow, no one told O’Reilly that).

No, of course it’s do-able.

You won’t be among the One-percent though.

Maybe this is Obama’s way to discourage future immigration to the U.S.?  Land of opportunity?

No, America is the “new”  land of inequality.

UPDATE:

Preview excerpts from President Obama’s SOTU  address– (Second to last graph (bolded) is perhaps the most direct in terms of president’s intention to by-pass Congress if he needs to get things done).
“In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together.  Let’s make this a year of action.  That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations.  And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

 

Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows.  Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

 

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better.  But average wages have barely budged.  Inequality has deepened.  Upward mobility has stalled.  The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead.  And too many still aren’t working at all.

 

Our job is to reverse these tides.  It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything.  But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you.  But America does not stand still – and neither will I.  So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” 

….

“Opportunity is who we are.  And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”

(End of excerpt).

 

 

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Update: How the West was won? Mayor Ed Lee’s an elected after a Ranked Choice victory in San Francisco

 I’ve lauded Ed Lee for reaching “Gold Mountain,” when he was named interim. That alone was a tremendous accomplishment for the community lawyer turned bureaucrat. But his evolution to “elected” is all the more fascinating because of Ranked Choice Voting.

RCV is process that redistributes the votes, working from the bottom up.  Each time a last placed candidate was eliminated in the field of 16, a voter’s second choice is distributed accordingly to the named candidate still alive in the race.

Lee, who led at the end of election night Tuesday with  31 percent of the vote to Avalos’ 18 percent, was stalled with just 38 percent of the vote as the RCV vote count was underway Wednesday.

But Lee’s stock rose in round 7 when Public Defender Jeff Adachi was eliminated.

Adachi’s second place votes went mostly to City Attorney Ed Herrera, who got 2,100. Board President David Chiu had  1,721. But Lee did better with 1,935.

Lee’s ability to amass a large number of No.2 votes, particularly from the other top Asian American candidates’ ballots was significant.

In round 8, when State Senator Leland Yee was eliminated,  Herrera took 2,092 of Yee’s second choice votes.  Chiu took 2,275.  But again, Lee got the most from Yee:  2,992 second place votes.

In round 9, Chiu, who raised more than a million dollars and won the endorsement of the San Francisco Chronicle, was eliminated.  The winner of Chiu’s second choice votes were Herrera at 2,376, Avalos with 3,832.  And again, there was Lee getting a huge chunk, 5,894.

Remember Chiu ran only after Lee promised not to run, but then Lee ran anyway.  Lee was like a siphon on Chiu for first and second choice votes. In fact, Chiu’s seconds got Lee close to a majority with 49.02 percent of the votes, but it would take one more round to win it all.

In round 10, when Herrera was eliminated, 6,883 of his second place votes went to Avalos, the top name on the Democratic Party’s slate.  But again, there was Lee who took 4,705 No.2s from Herrera.

That’s all Lee needed to enter the 11th round with a whopping 61 percent, more than enough votes for a majority.

And that’s how the sausage was made.

Update: The above analysis was after first 11 rounds of Ranked Choice counts and re-distributions from Wednesday. 

Thursday’s  count added a 12th round which changed the numbers only slightly as Lee virtually held the same lead, 61 percent to Avalos’ 39 percent. But the race technically is over when Lee got 50 percent and 1 vote.

One interesting fact: Lee padded his vote count significantly by being the second choice for backers of Chiu, Yee and Adachi. Those sloppy seconds added nearly 20 percent to Lee’s total vote.

See my Amok column on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog at www.aaldef.org/blog

Ranked Choice to determine history in SF as Lee leads by 13 percent in first round of mayoral race

For whatever people may say about Ranked Choice Voting, it sure didn’t cut into the power of incumbency.

Even a short-time interim candidate has an enormous advantage as we witnessed with Ed Lee.

His vote pattern for the night was fairly predictable: A huge lead with nearly 40 percent of the early mail in vote,  and then a gradual settling to 31 percent (44,451 votes) by the time all the precincts were counted.

The showing of Supervisor John Avalos (26,447/18.7 percent), and City Attorney Dennis Herrera (15,967/1127 percent) were also somewhat predictable. In a Democratic town, both were one and two on the party slate card. A huge advantage and what some wondered was a racist tactic. Five key Asian American candidates, including the interim, and none get named to one of  the top two slots?

The real question mark was how the Asian American candidates would do on their own, and it seemed break  down by money raised. Boardof  Supervisor President David Chiu raised the most money in the least time compared to the other candidates overall. But without the party or incumbency behind him, he  managed only a  fourth place finish (12,655/8.93 percent).

State  Sen. Leland Yee was next with 10,595 votes, or  7.48 percent of the vote, perhaps showing how most of his ardent support in his two-county senate seat may be primarily in San Mateo County.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi was sixth with 9.075 votes or 6.41 percent.  Adachi filed his candidacy on the last day and was also tied to a bold but unpopular pension reform proposal  that also lost on Tuesday.

Just imagine if Ed Lee had kept his word to David Chiu and not run for Mayor.

Chiu just might be sitting were Lee is right now, leading—but not by a majority.

Instead,  the top 6 finishers have 65.5 percent of the vote.

That means that likely the bottom ten with 35 percent of the vote will determine if and when Ed Lee gets the majority he needs.

Lee sits at 31.38. If he’s on slightly more than 19 percent of the second choice ballots of the bottom 10 candidates, he wins. It may be over before we have to count  the No.2 choice of Yee at  5th place.

This is either the power of the folly of Ranked Choice Voting. The bottom folks have more power than you think. 

Wouldn’t it be better just to have a runoff? More costly, but perhaps more transparent and definitely easier to understand. 

RCV makes one wonder, “What the hell happened to my vote?”

The next tally is due by 4pm PST.

Update: San Francisco Interim takes big step toward history: Ed Lee has 39.85 percent of the vote by mail turnout

Interim Mayor Ed Lee took the big lead in the first release of vote-by-mail ballots in the SF Mayoral race.

Lee got a commanding  26,621 votes or 39.85 percent of the votes counted so far.

Supervisor John Avalos and City Attorney Dennis Herrera are next with 10.6 percent and 10.24 percent, respectively. Both candidates were endorsed by the San Francisco Democratic Party.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was in fourth with 8.36 percent.

State Senator Leland Yee was in fifth with 8.25 percent.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi  was in sixth with 6.33 percent.

This first tally includes just the vote by mail which represents about 14.59 percent of all voters. The next release of votes at 9:45 will include the first ballots from today’s polling.

Those votes could reflect a totally different voter sentiment in light of voter  fraud allegations made against some of Lee’s supporters.

But if the trend continues, Lee would be very close to the 50 percent and 1 vote he needs to secure victory.

The top ten candidates received 97.65 percent.

If no one receives a majority,  the Ranked Choice Voting will eliminate the lowest ranking candidate one by one and distribute their backers’ 2nd and 3rd choices until one candidate gets a majority of the vote.

More detailed results at :

http://sfelections.org/results/20111108/

Monitors at SF Polls as voters try to make history–if Ranked Choice Voting lets them

As expected, California’s Secretary of State has sent monitors to roam polling places in San Francisco making sure there’s no funny business in today’s election. It’s a clear sign that someone is taking the allegations of voter fraud and ballot tampering in the campaign seriously.

Seven candidates urged the state to monitor the election after allegations of election misconduct were made against volunteers for interim Mayor Ed Lee. The blue-shirted “Ed Heads” were seen marking and taking ballots from Chinese-speaking voters. One source told me Lee was supposed to sign on to the letter to make it a united front by the top candidates against any improprieties.  In Ranked Choice Voting races, you are supposed to get that kind of collegiality.  But not here. Lee was left off the letter, as some of the also-rans apparently chose to make this a last minute and not so subtle attack on Mayor Interim.

It could backfire on everyone.

Lee may slip back as everybody’s No.2 or No. 3 choice and more easily win a majority.

Or as people are hoping, angry voters could leave him off the ballot entirely, creating a real “Hail Mary” situation in Ranked Choice Voting. No one has a majority and every ballots’ No.2 and No.3 comes into play until a majority is had.

History at first blush may have seemed partial to a first Asian American mayor with so many Asian American candidates. But in a RCV shootout, who knows who gets the No.2s and No.3s. It doesn’t have to be an Asian American.

Whatever, the whole thing seems more random than not, though RCV supporters will say it’s totally logical. They may be able to explain it step by step so it makes theoretical sense. But in the effort to save time and money (no more costly runoff elections, what a deal!), RCV adds a confusing layer of complexity that leads to distrust.  

You don’t need to understand the math to vote.  You just need to trust the vote.  RCV takes voter sentiment out of context.  A second and third choice could be different if they have no chance to win on a subsequent tally. 

It makes you yearn for a simpler, old-fashioned way. Instant runoff savings?  It may not be worth it if voters end up wondering what the hell happened to their vote.

See my blog post at www.aaldef.org/blog

The “New Mud”: Ranked Choice voting changes everything in SF Mayoral Election; How Lee’s voter fraud controversy puts everything in a new light with less than two weeks to go

 A big conference on Asian American activism is taking place in San Francisco this week.

Ed Lee used to be one of them, an unabashed non-profit good guy.  But now his life has changed as the lead dog in the San Francisco mayoral race. He just may not be in the lead for long.

Lee, the interim mayor attempting to make it for real, has been tripped up by some overzealous campaigners on his behalf who may have committed voter fraud.

The now infamous “Ed Heads,” blue shirted members of the San Francisco Neighbors Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011, had been out in Chinatown the last few weeks setting up tents and helping specifically Cantonese speaking voters.

Tents!  Or maybe they were voter cabanas?

How much help the voters got is he issue, and with translated ballots and handbooks, how much help is needed, unless the volunteers really were filling out ballots and telling people how to vote.

Beyond language, there’s the issue of taking a ballots in a plastic bag for delivery to the elections office. These are ballots not pizzas. No delivery allowed.

And then there’s the last big question. How direct is the  connection of the volunteers  to Lee? 

As close as Rose Pak?

The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into this after seven candidates faxed a letter of complaint Sunday to D.C.

I talked to one candidate today who said when he talked with Lee over the weekend, Lee wanted to be on the letter to show a united front.

Makes sense.  All major candidates want a fair and ethical election, right? In the spirit of Ranked Choice Voting, that would take the sting out of any appearance of mudslinging and show consensus. Take the politics out of it.

But apparently there was no strong feeling to provide Lee a fig leaf.

Besides, this is just what the other candidates were looking for: Acceptable campaign “mud.”

Ranked Choice Voting makes things a bit to collegial sometimes. Like a parish council. You’re looking for consensus? Boring.

So this was too good for the other candidates to pass up.

A little local October surprise to stop the front-runner in his tracks and help others make up ground.

Lee’s best response so far: Proclaiming it’s “Hammer time”?

With all the possible investigations emerging, Lee is going to have to do much more to regain any momentum.

Otherwise, the voter fraud scandal has done the real heavy lifting for the candidates. Its isolated Lee. And it’s changed the dynamic of race. The cloud of voter fraud may even be enough to keep Lee off voters’ RCV top-three.

If an “anyone but Ed” campaign emerges, then the seven who sent the DOJ letter (especially  Leland Yee, David Chiu, Jeff Adachi, Dennis Herrera and John Avalos)  have just made this race much tighter than expected.  

The No.2 vote will be very important. That means candidates will be on good behavior from here one. They know who they’re No.1 with. Now their goal is to be everyone’s No.2.

As candidates get eliminated, those No.2 ballots will eventually make someone a winner.

But who?   Chiu?  Yee?  Adachi?  

This historic race in Asian American history is coming up to an exciting finish.

And the winner will be the best No.2 person around.

Whoever gets the majority of Avalos’ or Herrera’s No.2 votes will be the first elected Asian American mayor.

More on the controversy at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog:

www.aaldef.org/blog

http://aaldef.org/blog/voting-rights-violations-in-san-francisco-mayoral-election-1.html