Aaron Peskin Labels Ed Lee, David Chiu 'Lightweights'

Categories: Politics
Don't expect this photo to be recreated anytime soon
In the wake of last night's epic progressive fumble attempting to maneuver a left-of-center candidate into Mayor Gavin Newsom's chair, progressive stalwart Aaron Peskin rained bitter words on everyone involved.

The former Board of Supervisors president, who was nominated to succeed Newsom along with Art Agnos, Mike Hennessey, and Ed Lee, said he turned down the bid. "I got a call to say I was nominated from the clerk's office," Peskin says. "That's nice. They asked 'will you accept?' I said no." When asked why he turned down his (admittedly Quixotic) chance to be mayor, Peskin answered "The class of 2008 is a hot mess. They're getting played by the super rich like nobody's business." He would not elaborate on this condemnation of Supervisors David Chiu, Eric Mar, John Avalos, and David Campos.

Peskin then turned his rancor on Lee -- who seems likely to succeed Newsom after seven supervisors pledged to support him -- and former Peskin protege Chiu.

"Ed Lee? Nice guy. I like him. Progressive? Who knows? Competent? Who knows? He's been appointed to a meaningless position that was stripped of all its power by Willie Brown," says Peskin.

ed lee
Ed Lee
Prior to Brown greatly strengthening the role of San Francisco mayor in 1996, the chief administrator handled much of city government and essentially served as a city manager. While the position still exists, its role has been severely curtailed.

Peskin alleged that the long arms of Willie Brown and Chinatown power broker Rose Pak were advancing Lee, "a political operative," into "a position that has some significance.

"Ed Lee is a good guy. But he's not a leader. He's a nice guy, a smart guy. But he's a lightweight," continued Peskin. When asked why Chiu would bolt the progressives -- who were supporting Hennessey -- and instead go in for Lee, Peskin answered "Lightweights vote for lightweights."

Neither Lee nor Hennessey had the votes yesterday until Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Sophie Maxwell purportedly received a pep talk from Newsom and subsequently pledged support for Lee. Chiu has long been rumored to be a candidate for District Attorney Kamala Harris' vacant seat, and was reportedly in negotiations with the mayor regarding that appointment just prior to yesterday's eight-and-a-half hour board meeting. Should Newsom have the opportunity to appoint Chiu's successor, the moderates would gain a key foothold on the board.

Progressive Supervisor Eric Mar also switched his vote from Hennessey to Lee last night, but no one seemed to feel the need to chastise him. Perhaps, only one day removed from his excruciating performance on The Daily Show, everyone felt he'd suffered enough.

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