Flags fly low as San Francisco honors memory of Ed Lee


San Francisco officials continue to the mourn the sudden death of Mayor Ed Lee, who died Tuesday morning.

California Lt. Gov. and former Mayor Gavin Newsom spoke to the media after a Tuesday morning press conference on Lee’s death. Newsom’s comments followed several other Bay Area politicians who described Lee as someone who worked tirelessly for San Franciscans.

About hearing of Lee’s death, Newsom said:

“Shock is not the word. It’s not supposed to happen. It doesn’t happen to someone who literally gave his life to The City.”

Newsom added:

“He was that person, decent and honorable and that’s the best thing you can say about any human being, particularly this day and age with politicians.”

Ed Lee photo gallery

At noon, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency paused Muni service for one minute to remember Lee. Other transit agencies, including BART and AC Transit, halted service at the same to honor Lee.

A Clear Channel digital electronic screen at a Muni transit stop at 9th Avenue and Judah Street displayed a memorial to Lee.

Supervisor Jane Kim said in a statement that she first met Lee in 2001 when he was the director of Public Works and she was a community organizer in Chinatown:

“He personally delivered brooms, dustpans and trash bags early Saturday mornings to our youth leaders who served as neighborhood stewards and regularly cleaned our alleyways. He was always friendly, humble and a dedicated public servant committed to getting things done.”

Acting Mayor London Breed said during Tuesday’s press conference:

“He did not always deliver the best sound bite or carry the room with unspoken charisma. Flash never mattered to him. Disagreements never deterred him. He was humble and determined no matter the job he held.”

Many city department heads joined Breed in remembering Lee on Tuesday with many hugging and crying before the press conference at the mayor’s balcony.

Supervisor Mark Farrell wrote on his Facebook page:

“Mayor Ed Lee was a kind man and a true public servant who dedicated his life to serving others and San Francisco. I’ll miss working with him, his jokes, his calm demeanor, and penchant for getting things done. He left us far too early.”

The Chinatown Community Development Center, which Lee has worked with for decades, wrote in a statement that Lee’s legacy with the Chinese community will live well beyond his passing:

“Mayor Ed Lee dedicated his life to community service His work to serve tenants, the elderly”, the poor, and the disadvantaged communities, began long before he came to City Hall.”

Breed said flags at City Hall will fly at half-staff for the next 30 days in honor of Lee.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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