adachi.jpgPublic Defender Jeff Adachi said this afternoon that he will be attending tonight’s mayoral debate, the first to be held since he made a surprise last-minute entrance into the race on Friday.

The debate, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the University of California at San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center, is being organized by the Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, a coalition of business, labor and community leaders in the city.

It was initially unclear whether Adachi, who announced his candidacy on Friday just before the deadline to file papers passed, would be attending tonight’s debate since he said Monday that he had not received an invitation.

However, Adachi said this afternoon that he talked to the debate organizers and is planning to attend.

He joins an already crowded field of mayoral hopefuls, including interim Mayor Ed Lee, who made the controversial decision to run after pledging not to when he was appointed in January.

Lee and Adachi will help fill a crowded stage at tonight’s debate. The other nine invited candidates are state Sen. Leland Yee, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Supervisor John Avalos, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, former supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier, Bevan Dufty and Tony Hall and venture capitalist Joanna Rees.

Adachi is backing a pension reform measure on the November ballot that is competing with another pension reform measure put on the ballot by Lee and other city officials, a topic that will likely get increased attention in the upcoming debates.

The format of tonight’s mayoral forum could lead to some lively discussion, according to Vince Courtney, executive director of the alliance organizing the debate.

Along with answering questions sourced from social media, each candidate will have the opportunity to ask a question of another candidate and have them respond, Courtney said.

Tonight’s debate will also be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. in honor of former San Francisco mayors, including Gavin Newsom, Willie Brown and Frank Jordan.

The debate will be broadcast on Comcast channel 104. A limited amount of tickets for the event, located at 1675 Owens St., are also available to the public on a first come, first served basis.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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