for Fake 'Run Ed, Run' Mayoral Campaign?
The outdoor parking lot of Rainbow Grocery was the scene this afternoon of a surreal political photo-op, involving the Astroturf campaign to draft interim San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to run in November for a full term. When Lee was chosen by the old Board of Supervisors, he promised City Hall operatives and the citizenry that the last thing he wanted was to serve as mayor beyond the remainder of Gavin Newsom's truncated second term.
As I rode to the bike rack at Rainbow, there was a homeless black man with his back against the store's facade, in his hands at chest-level was a bright yellow placard with a caricature on the left of Lee's head featuring his trademark thick black moustache. On the right side were the words "Run Ed, Run".
(L-to-R: Luke Thomas, homeless man who held a sign, campaign worker with the sign's back to the camera, campaign worker with plastic bag for the sign, friend of the homeless man.)Just as I whipped out my camera, what appeared to be two political campaign workers and their photographer ended their photo shoot and the male worker turned the placard toward his legs, so I couldn't grab a photo of it.
"Who are you? What is this all about? Why are you taking photos?" I shouted, to no avail.
The photographer said, "Hello Michael." It was Luke Thomas, a professional photographer in town, who has excellent progressive political credentials and runs the Fog City Journal site. We also share the same birth date, FYI. His new 'do, with thick bangs, was the reason why I didn't recognize him at first glance.
I repeated my questions to him and Luke said, "I'm just the hired gun." For the Astroturf campaign pushing Lee to run? I was very surprised Luke would be involved with such an endeavor.
He walked away and the campaign workers ignored me, while they had the homeless man sign something on their clipboard. I don't know if it was a release form, petition or what, but the workers said they had no business cards and were just volunteers. For what or whom, they never said.
Luke had reappeared at this point, and he and the workers walked up Division Street toward Folsom. I locked up my bike and looked for the homeless man to get details from him, but he was nowhere in sight.
The Bay Guardian's blog ran a good take-down of the phony-baloney draft Lee for mayor effort, written by Steven T. Jones. An excerpt:
Downtown is clearly nervous about not having a reliable horse in the mayor's race, so much so that a few power brokers are using the Chronicle to drum up a fake “campaign” to convince Mayor Ed Lee to break his word and run to keep the job. And the fact that these liars – those who just six months ago earnestly argued we need a caretaker mayor who won't run for the office – are pushing this with a front-page, above-the-fold “news” story shows just how shameless they are. ...
Since I couldn't get any info from the campaign workers, who claimed they lacked business cards to give me, and Luke admitted he's a hire gun for the shoot, I believe there is an onus on Luke to further explain his paid role in it.
San Francisco's diminished democratic ideals and principles, that led to the back room City Hall deal that produced Lee as temporary mayor, could use some honesty from Luke and his cohorts about their brief photo-op today at Rainbow.
Full disclosure: I am supporting Supervisor John Avalos for mayor in the November election. He gets my top vote, and my other two votes are up in the air.