Ed Lee Or Not To Be For Second Term? SF MCs Equipto & Dregs One Weigh In On San Francisco's Crucial 2015 Mayoral Election

Posted by Billyjam, November 2, 2015 09:00am | Post a Comment

Love him, hate him, or simply feel indifferent towards him, no one can deny that during the past (almost) five years of Ed Lee as Mayor of San Francisco the City by the Bay has been dramatically reshaped. Hence why tomorrow's November 3rd election for mayor of San Francisco, in which he is running for a second term, is considered so crucial.

Back on January 11, 2011, Ed Lee was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve out the remainder of former mayor Gavin Newsom's term. At the time no one thought much of it, believing Lee would carry on business as usual without making any significant changes. Wrong! In the half decade since taking office, Lee has made numerous changes and in so doing been roundly accused by his detractors (and there are many) of been beholden to big corporate money, all the while turning his back on San Francisco's longtime low-income residents.

In tomorrow's election Lee faces five different challengers who are united in their anti-Lee stance and push to a return for what's been labeled "a grassroots democracy" for San Francisco. In all the six candidates on the ballot for mayor of San Francisco are Kent Graham, Francisco Herrera, Ed Lee, Reed Martin, Stuart Schuffman and Amy Farah Weiss

Traveling the streets of San Francisco in recent weeks one cannot but notice how heated and passionate this mayoral election campaign has become with issues like gentrification and the city's worsening homeless problem routinely been addressed. The mayoral candidates are not the only ones who note the significance of tomorrow's election. Others include hometown hip-hop artists Equipto and Dregs One. I interviewed both yesterday in a five point Q+A (below) on the topic of tomorrow's election asking them each the same questions including what they would do if they were mayor, who do they endorse, if anything good has come from Lee's leadership, and if he gets re-elected what lies ahead?

Equipto is a long time SF resident and gifted emcee who came to fame two decades ago with his crew Bored Stiff. Since then he's carved out a career as prolific artist often teaming up with others - including most notably Andre Nickatina.  In recent weeks Equipto got widespread attention when a video showing him in a restaurant confronting Ed Lee on the effects of gentrification went viral. SF based emcee and activist Dregs One, who is known for taking political stances, has been addressing the issue of gentrification in San Francisco for many years now dating back to his YouTube video series from 2010 (see below). Last night, two evenings in advance of the election, Dregs One posted to SoundCloud the new track "Local" with Ill Sugi that also addresses the topic of gentrification in San Francisco.

Bear in mind, despite all the outrage vented at Ed Lee, that many see his campaign for a second term as a shoo-in. San Francisco Magazine has written that it's unlikely Ed Lee will be unseated as it would take 65,000 votes to do so. Meantime The Examiner's Joshua Sabatini wrote an article on Lee's "easy path to a second term."  Please note: the Amoeblog does not endorse any candidate, but does encourage everyone to get out and vote. Here is the complete Nov 3rd 2015 Election Info for Campaigns and Candidates for City & County of SF.

Amoeblog: What is one example of a negative impact of life in San Francisco under Ed Lee as mayor?

Equipto: Well for one, Lee gave tax breaks and rolled out the red carpet for billionaire tech companies to move here which caused over 10,000 people to get evicted from their homes.

Dregs One:  I think one of the worst things about Ed Lee is how his administration gave huge breaks to tech companies; like allowing Twitter not to pay taxes so they would keep their office here, and giving up our bus stops to these huge Silicon Valley commuter buses without really charging anything. There's millions of dollars coming into SF from tech but very little of it is going to services for families or the poor. Also it's really sad that he manipulates this image of liberal, progressive San Francisco while simultaneously pushing a conservative, I would even say semi-fascist agenda, against the working class. He started off as a community organizer in the 1970's against evictions in the I-Hotel. Now he's become the mayor with the most evictions under his term. But he still takes photo ops with kids and shows up to community events with a big smile on his face. Basically he's just a lying piece of shit. Ha!

Amoeblog: Has there been anything good or positive under Lee as mayor?

Equipto: Nothing good, aside from him doing what he's supposed to do as the mayor of a city like, giving donations to youth centers and/or boys & girls clubs. But understand he's responsible for that. He doesn't deserve a pat on the back for that.

Dregs One: I honestly can't recall anything good that Ed Lee has done for the city. If anything the only positive outcome is that now a lot of us locals are coming together in opposition to him.

Amoeblog: If Ed Lee gets re-elected what do you see for the future of San Francisco?

Equipto: If Lee gets back in office we continue to fight. Because he will continue to move in out-of-towners with no concern for the poor or working class. He plans on bringing more armed police officers on the streets, and pushing homeless people out of here instead of assisting them. Basically the culturally diverse city that we all once knew - the one that thrived in real community involvement and the arts will barely exist, if at all. This election will decide the true future of Frisco!

Dregs One:  The problems in the city don't start or end with Ed Lee. He's part of a political machine that goes back to Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown before him. What we're seeing now has been planned for decades. There's a lot of outside forces at play including the developers, the media, politicians, and the mob. They don't go away just because Lee does. But he's just such an obvious, spineless puppet that if he gets back in office those forces are gonna move forward with no real opposition.

Amoeblog: Who do you endorse and why?

Equipto: I endorse Amy Weiss for mayor of San Francisco. I believe [that] she has a great plan of action to make some necessary change happen. She has the passion and genuine concern for the people of this city. I believe she would be a great mayor for SF. I also support Francisco Herrera and Stuart Schuffman. They're part of the "vote 1-2-3 to replace Ed Lee movement." Basically those three candidates came together and are using rank choice voting for their campaign which means you can vote for all three candidates in any order you wish. We believe any of those three candidates are way better than Ed Lee and will do the people of this city some justice. It's needed now more than ever.

Dregs One:  My practice of community organizing and activism doesn't really involve lobbying for or against politicians. What we have to understand is that these offices are just functions in the system, and there's methods in place for us to hold them accountable. No matter who's in office we have the power to make sure that that person's doing what they're supposed to be doing. We just haven't been doing that in a united way, or we're too busy caught up in our own survival to deal with the bigger picture. But the candidate I like the best is Francisco Herrera because he's a genuine member of our community that can really represent our interests.

Amoeblog: Last question: If you personally were Mayor of San Francisco, what is first thing you would do once in office?

Equipto:  Not sure what the procedures are or what's allowed as soon as you get in office as mayor, but I would want the billion dollar tech companies (Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Google, etc.) to donate a monthly percentage of their profits to building a homeless and mental clinic, as well a deserving jump start for all native San Franciscans that have dealt with the gentrification and mistreatment. More fair job opportunities and reasonable income housing, for a start.

Dregs One: The first thing I would do as mayor is cease all development of luxury condos and prioritize affordable housing so that families could afford to stay in SF and some could even be able to return.

Dregs One presents "The Wake Up Report" Ep. 1: Gentrification" (2010)

Relevant Tags

Francisco Herrera (2), Kent Graham (1), Ed Lee (3), Reed Martin (1), Stuart Schuffman (1), Amy Weiss (3), Dregs One (11), Equipto (23), Sf Mayoral Election 2015 (1), Gentrification (5)