Citing more than one police racist text message scandal, several recent shootings by police of unarmed people, as well as evictions and displacements happening throughout San Francisco, a group leading an effort to recall Mayor Ed Lee announced their plans Friday morning on the steps of City Hall.
Voicing their disappointment in the mayor, The Committee to Recall Mayor Ed Lee 2016 announced it had filed a petition for the recall Tuesday with the city’s Department of Elections.
Committee spokeswoman Yayne Abeba said:
“This city has always been a city of opportunity for everybody. People came here from all over America to find opportunity for themselves. Now there is no opportunity because of the policies of Mayor Ed Lee. … We need police reform, we need true affordable housing, we need better education, we need jobs training. You shouldn’t have to make $160,000 just to get by. And that’s what’s going on in this city.”
Just before the announcement began, however, a group of about 300 people had already gathered across the street, at the Civic Center Plaza, to show their disapproval of the recall effort.
Organized by members of AsianAmericanVoters.org, the counter protestors, many with signs written in Chinese, shouted slogans in Cantonese and at times, sang the star spangled banner.
Supervisor Scott Wiener was among the counter protestors, saying that he also opposed the recall:
“A majority of San Franciscans elected Ed Lee mayor of San Francisco. People have every right to agree or disagree with that result, but he is our elected mayor. … This recall is destructive; there is no reason for it. We need to be all working together as a city to address our problems with housing and homelessness and transportation and trying to recall the mayor isn’t going to solve any of those problems.”
According to the group Stop The Wasteful Recall Coalition, a recall of the mayor would cost taxpayers at least $3.5 million.
If the recall petition put forth by the recall committee is certified by The City’s Department of Elections later this month, the recall committee would then need at least 47,000 valid signatures from registered San Francisco voters within 160 days to carry on with the recall, the coalition said.
If the recall process was successful, the President of the Board of Supervisors, London Breed, would then become acting mayor until the board chooses a successor mayor.
U.S. Sen. and former San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein (D-CA) issued a statement, saying the recall was unnecessary:
“This is a misuse of the recall, which should only be used in cases of gross moral turpitude. It’s a wasteful distraction from the real challenges facing San Francisco like housing, homelessness, public safety and transportation, areas where I know Mayor Lee is rightly focused.”
A comment from the Mayor’s Office of Communication was not immediately available.