Mayor Ed Lee | KALW

Mayor Ed Lee

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee
Credit Waldemar Zboralski / Wikimedia Commons

A former housing-rights activist, and later an accomplished administrator at San Francisco City Hall, Edwin M. Lee (1952-2017) was the first Asian American mayor of San Francisco. Born to an immigrant family, Mr. Lee's tenure was marked by a high-tech boom that fueled huge economic growth for the city, as well as deep disparities around housing and homelessness. He was also a staunch defender of San Francisco's "sanctuary city" status. He was appointed mayor by the Board of Supervisors after his predecessor, Gavin Newsom, was elected California's Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Lee went on to win re-election twice. 

Liza Veale


Today, San Francisco began construction on a housing development in Mission Bay, a complex that will house 62 homeless veterans and 59 low-income families.

The weather did not stop housing leaders from gathering under a muddy tent to celebrate.


“Thanks for coming out in the rain,” said Michael Blecker of Swords to Plowshares, the veterans' services organization. “And, of course the folks who will be living here will be out of the rain.”

San Francisco neighbors remember Mayor Ed Lee

Dec 12, 2017
Lila Vega / KALW News


Around San Francisco, residents and community members took a moment to remember their mayor.


Kegan Marling / Flickr


San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim took office the same day Ed Lee became mayor back in 2011 and served as a supervisor for the entirety of his time as mayor. She was at Zuckerberg General Hospital.

Waldemar Zboralski / Wikimedia Commons

LISTEN: With the sudden death of San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee in the early hours of the morning, KALW News Director Ben Trefny reprises the story and clips from a conversation with the mayor during his re-election campaign.  

Copyright 2017 KQED. To see more, visit KQED.


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee Dies At Age 65

Dec 12, 2017

Updated at 9:40 p.m. ET

San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee, most recently known for embracing the "sanctuary city" label, has died at age 65. Lee was not known to be ill; he reportedly died at a San Francisco hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Member station KQED cites a statement from the mayor's office, saying he died at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital:

  On June 20, 2016:  San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has proposed a budget for the new fiscal year, which starts on July 1.  At a staggering $9.6 billion, it is equal to that of the entire state of Arizona and $2 billion more than the annual budget of Afghanistan.

Dennis Jarvis / Used Under CC / flickr

  On the February 3rd edition of Your Call, we’ll discuss the unfolding San Francisco political corruption scandal.

Flickr user Lynn Friedman

KALW’s Ben Trefny talks one-on-one with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee about his candidacy for re-election.


San Francisco Bicycle Coalition flickr page

Since Ed Lee was elected mayor of San Francisco four years ago, the city’s economy has seen a radical turnaround. Unemployment has dropped from over eight percent to less than four percent. The city’s budget has grown bigger than ever – to nearly nine billion dollars a year.

Isabel Angell

African Americans are leaving San Francisco at an alarming rate. They make up just six percent of the population, down from over 13 percent in 1970 and have a higher unemployment rate than whites and other minorities.

When he came into office last year, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said fixing Muni wasn’t a priority for him. But in his 2013 State of the City address, Mayor Lee devoted almost ten minutes of his speech to the often-reviled public transit system.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user S_falkow

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi continues to be in hot water as the City of San Francisco determines whether or not he should lose his job. Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi on March 20, after he plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment. The charge is connection with a New Year’s Eve incident in which he grabbed his wife's arm during an argument, causing a bruise.