San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee made his first monthly appearance at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, an affair far milder than residents might have predicted when they voted to mandate the appearances last year.
The appearances were required after nearly 60 percent of city voters passed Proposition C in November in response to often contentious relations between the former board and then-Mayor Gavin Newsom.
But Newsom was elected the state’s lieutenant governor in the same election, and Lee was chosen as interim mayor.
Board President David Chiu, while introducing Lee at today’s board meeting, acknowledged that the appearances were mandated “in the context of more challenging relations” between the mayor and board, while Lee has ushered in “a more amicable era.”
The board last month approved the rules for his appearances in which the mayor answers questions submitted the previous week by selected supervisors.
Some supervisors had argued for more spontaneity in the proceedings, and Lee’s appearance today was anything but spontaneous.
The mayor read scripted answers to questions on topics such as the city’s budget, pension reform and a proposal by the state to shift the responsibility for housing thousands of inmates to municipalities.
Lee did not provide much information that had not been released elsewhere, and admitted to reporters outside board chambers that the appearance lacked much spark.
“I’ll try to be more compelling next time,” he joked.
The board was still working out kinks on their end as well.
Supervisor David Campos, one of the six supervisors able to ask the mayor a question, missed last Wednesday’s deadline to submit his query.
Lee said although there were no fireworks, he likes it that way.
“I like these better as prepared because there’s research that’s involved,” he said. “If we did a kind of give-and-take, you might not be able to get all the answers.”
Lee stuck around for a closed-door session with the supervisors to discuss the city’s budget, which has a deficit of about $306 million.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News