SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- We learn today that a group of seasoned consultants and supporters have launched a campaign to push acting mayor, Ed Lee, into the 2011 San Francisco mayoral contest. The mayor has rejected the proposal, again.
There’s only one way Lee can run and win: Through a write-in campaign.
Lee is correct. Only by refusing to enter the race, does he preserve his detachment from city politics, and honor his commitment not to run.
With rank choice voting, he would likely garner thousands of second and third choice votes – even more likely, with the effort of well-financed independent expenditure committee or two.
He has no other choice. The day he puts his name on the ballot – if that occurs --- is the day Ed Lee loses the power that has made him so effective. He becomes a politician, not a CEO.
Mayor Ed Lee’s success in calming the highly politicized came with his commitment (and, originally, agreement) not to run. So, for several months, the city has enjoyed the service of a mayor who’s acted like a city manager. He has been an efficient, consensus-building CEO.
So San Francisco has enjoyed what other cities like Austin and San Antonio experience. More solutions, or at least, more problem-solving, and less politics.
In other words, Ed Lee’s success comes from de-politicizing the mayor’s office. Unlike his two previous predecessor’s, he makes no pronouncements, does not play to the media, and is not engaged in battles with the Board of Supervisors.
He loses that edge if he becomes a candidate; he becomes just another candidate for mayor.
A write-in campaign allows Ed Lee to avoid time-consuming campaigning, and stay above the rhetoric. He continues to manage city affairs as a consensus-builder. If he wins a majority of votes, he honors his agreement not to run, but becomes an elected mayor of San Francisco.