A man who was arrested after interrupting Mayor Ed Lee this morning as he filed papers at City Hall to run for mayor in November has been identified as Charles Kalish, a 72-year-old with ties to former Supervisor Chris Daly.
Kalish was arrested by sheriff’s deputies at the Department of Elections this morning after repeatedly asking Lee whether he would step down as mayor after breaking a pledge he made earlier this year not to run to keep the seat.
Kalish was booked into county jail on suspicion of obstructing public business and resisting arrest, sheriff’s spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said.
Hirst said Kalish would likely be issued a citation and released as soon as all the paperwork was finished at the jail.
Lee was named interim mayor in January after former Mayor Gavin Newsom was elected lieutenant governor, and had repeatedly said he planned to return to his old job as city administrator rather than try to stay on as mayor.
But in recent weeks, Lee began to say he was considering joining the race, and made it official today at the Department of Elections.
While he was at the counter receiving the various filing papers, Kalish repeatedly asked Lee the question about stepping down.
After a couple of minutes, several deputies stepped in and arrested Kalish, carrying him away down the hallway as he screamed loudly.
On Kalish’s Facebook page, he is listed as a co-creator of the event “Ed Lee’s a Liar!” along with Chris Daly, a former supervisor who was on the board when it tentatively selected Lee as interim mayor in January.
Daly was the lone member of the board to vote against Lee’s appointment. He was termed out of office days later, and the new board gave Lee final approval to become mayor.
Daly posted several comments on the wall of the “Ed Lee’s a Liar” Facebook page.
“Ed Lee is a liar, and that needs to be said out loud,” he wrote early this morning.
Daly said in a phone interview this afternoon that he had seen a video of the arrest online.
“I hope Kalish is ok,” Daly said. “I didn’t realize that, under Ed Lee, it is now illegal to speak truth to power.”
Lee acknowledged in announcing his candidacy that there may be some bristling among other candidates, including former supervisors who had approved his appointment after he pledged he would not run.
The candidates already in the mayor’s race include former supervisors Bevan Dufty and Michela Alioto-Pier, and Board President David Chiu and Supervisor John Avalos, all of whom voted for Lee as interim mayor.
“I do owe them an explanation, and have been doing that,” he said.
After the scuffle involving Kalish, he said, “I know people will have strong opinions about this.”
He added that he will take input from everyone in the city and work to rebuild trust from people let down by his reversal.
Lee will make his first appearance at a mayoral candidates’ forum tonight at the Castro Theatre in an event hosted by the Castro/Eureka Valley and Duboce Triangle neighborhood associations.
There could be fireworks at the event, at least according to Daly’s last post on the “Ed Lee’s a Liar” Facebook page late this morning.
“Couldn’t make City Hall this morning? How about Castro Theatre this evening?” he wrote.
The forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the theatre located at 429 Castro St.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News