Bowdoin students may recognize newly-elected San Francisco mayor Ed Lee '74 from his flashy web campaign ad, which featured rappers M.C. Hammer and Will.i.am, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and Giants closer Brian Wilson, among others. Lee's November 9 victory made history: he is the city's first mayor of Chinese descent. A third of San Francisco's population identifies as Asian American.
Lee has served as interim mayor since January, when he replaced former mayor Gavin Newsom after Newsom won the race for Lieutenant Governor of California. According to Reuters, Lee counts an accord with city unions on a pension reform measure to be the signature achievement of his term as interim mayor. Voters endorsed the reform on Tuesday.
After facing off against 15 other candidates in the race, Lee won the mayorship with 61 percent of the vote.
Addressing the Occupy San Francisco movement is at the top of Lee's docket. Whereas police swept New York City's Zucotti Park on Tuesday to evict protestors, Lee has thus far abstained from such drastic action.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Lee released a set of demands on Wednesday for improving sanitation in the Financial District, the heart of the Occupy movement. The measures include limiting the encampment to 100 tents, keeping walkways clear, and banning drugs, alcohol and glass bottles.
Lee is no stranger to political and economic activism.
As a government and legal studies major at Bowdoin, Lee was an active Vietnam War protestor. In an interview with the Orient last January, he recalled traveling to Boston with Professor of Economics David Vail for a Union for Radical Political Economy event.
In the interview, he also articulated the belief that politicians should "carry out the promises of government, but do it in a way that allows more people to understand and be a part of it." He stressed that it should not be "a foreign object. It's not threatening."
Lee's accessibility and charisma inspired the unofficial "Ed Lee...2 LEGIT 2 QUIT" campaign video, which borrowed the chorus of MC Hammer's 1991, "2 Legit 2 Quit," hit set to a montage of images of the grinning mustached Lee, dancing women, and Bay Area celebrity cameos.
This article was edited for correctness on November 18, 2011.