(Mayor Lee, Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe, San Francisco's Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz and Bay Area Reporter publisher Thomas E. Horn, smile for the cameras at Delanoe's office, March 20. Credit: Mayor Lee's Twitter feed.)
People with wealth, they are a different breed and enjoy access to San Francisco's mayor that mere peons can only dream about, should they win millions from Lotto. Not only do the rich enjoy the pleasure of Ed Lee's company behind closed doors to cut deals and push their agendas, they pull strings to have him and his staff make arrangements with French leaders that will benefit their business and political interests.
Mayor Ed Lee's office two-weeks ago submitted a disclosure of gifts of travel form to the Ethic Commission, which was posted to the commission's site in recent days. The first page, pictured, reveals he was in Paris from March 19 through the 21st.
Page 2, pictured, states that the entity sponsoring the trip was the San Francisco Paris Sister City Association, whose chair is Thomas E. Horn. He is listed as the contact person. Horn also owns the Bay Area Reporter, runs the Bob A. Ross Foundation which doles out a robust six-figures in annual donations to local gay and AIDS nonprofits, is the Honorary Consul for Monaco, is a board member of the War Memorial Arts Center and the San Francisco Ballet.
Three entities are listed as funders of the junket: the Conway Family Foundation, the H.B. and Lucille Horn Foundation of New Mexico and the City of Paris. Total tab paid by them is pegged at $10,000. Tech mogul Ron Conway is an active officer with his family's foundation, and Thomas E. Horn is president of the Horn foundation.
A local daily reported earlier this month that Conway would be in Paris during the mayor's visit, presumably on his own dime.
So, what happened while Mayor Lee was in gay Paree? The mayor's press release page is bereft of any info regarding what was accomplished during the junket, but a French Consulate General's press release provides answers:
On March 20th, 2013, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë and Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, focusing on the digital economy and smart cities. This agreement strengthens ties between the two cities . . .
Following the signature of this agreement, facilitated by the Consulate General of France in San Francisco, a meeting was held between Anne Hidalgo, First Deputy Mayor of Paris; Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco; Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Innovation, Research and Universities; Ron Conway, the iconic Silicon Valley investor; and Stéphane Distinguin, Cap Digital’s President and an experienced entrepreneur.
By the way, page three of the mayor's disclosure form reveals in addition to Horn, five members of his staff were also on the junket: Charlotte Shultz, Chief of Protocol. Mark Chandler, Director, Mayor's Office of international Trade & Commerce, Christine Falvey, Director, Mayor’s Office of Communications, Matthew Goudeau, Director, Mayor’s Office of Protocol, Caitlin Jacobson, Protocol Officer, Mayors Office of Protocol.
Wish I could recall the mayor and his staffers devoting a few days of their time and resources consulting and making deals with affordable housing advocates or ordinary folks worried about decent jobs and gentrification displacing longtime residents. Then again, such advocates don't have the wealth of the Conways and Horns to shower on Ed Lee.