Ed Lee has been waiting six months for this. So has the donkey.
The San Francisco mayor popped by former Supervisor Chris Daly’s bar on Wednesday evening to fulfill a promise — that he’d visit Daly’s Buck Tavern — and deliver a gift: a wind-up mechanical donkey the interim mayor picked up during his fateful January trip to China and Taiwan (with Daly in mind, Lee told the Appeal).
“I’ve been meaning to do this — I tried to do it last week,” said the Giants-hat-wearing Lee, whose trip to the Mid-Market political/hack journalist haunt was sandwiched in between throwing out the first pitch at the Giants (Tuesday), duties at hospitals and at funeral Masses for the city’s fallen firefighters (last week and Thursday-Friday) and deflecting any and all rumors that he’s going to run for Mayor (24/7 baby).
With all of Lee’s major work out of his hands for the moment — his pension reform plan introduced, his road repair bond measure on the ballot, his budget in the hands of the Board of Supervisors — the time was ripe for a visit to the city’s political bar.
The favor was returned by the resident publican, who upon purchasing the bar promised “all San Francisco mayors drink for free.” Dutifully produced were two free drinks — one for Lee and one for Supervisor Jane Kim, Lee’s accompaniment for the evening — originally purchased with Gavin Newsom in mind (and on Gavin Newsom’s recommendation): two non-alcoholic Clausthalers, the Euro-trash version of O’Douls.
“Ed Lee for City Administrator!” shouted Daly. “Give the man what he wants, his old job back.”
Lee deflected any questions regarding his eligibility to stay long-term in Room 200 with a practiced smile, and likewise snuffed any inquiries into the “Run, Ed Run” efforts with a wider version of said smile.
He chatted with bar patrons and with the media — look for the Chronicle City Insider’s version of this story at some point — alike, doling out his business card to anyone who asked: his job title and contact info on one side, a photo of a smiling Lee with the World Series trophy on the other.
Other non-news from the visit: the mayor’s office is still negotiating with SEIU Local 1021 to get the union to support the “city family’s” pension reform plan, and every union — from the police and firefighters to SEIU and the Transit Workers Local 250A — are waiting to sign off on the mayor’s budget plan, which relies on givebacks from all of the above.
Lee’s visit lasted about 45 minutes. Asked what he thought of the bar, Lee said, diplomatically, “It’s cozy.” Told of the mayoral evaluation, Daly said, “Better than calling it a dump.”