Bay Area political leaders are mourning the death of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who suffered an apparent heart attack early Tuesday, according to news reports. He was 65. In a statement to reporters this morning, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo lamented the loss of a “dear friend and colleague.”
“Ed was a good and incredibly gracious man, at a time when goodness, graciousness and civility are not sufficiently appreciated in public life,” Liccardo said. “My heart goes out to Ed’s wife, Anita, and his daughters, Tania and Brianna.”
San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco echoed those sentiments.
“I only had the opportunity to meet him a few brief times,” she wrote on Facebook. “He was an advocate for families, housing, immigrants and civil rights. San Francisco, California, and the nation have lost a significant progressive leader.”
Silicon Valley Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) posted a few photos of him and Lee at various functions. “Rest my dear friend,” Low wrote. “Thank you for being you.”
Former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, who now works as an executive for Santa Clara County, offered his thoughts and prayers on Twitter.
— David Campos (@DavidCamposSF) December 12, 2017
“He was such a wonderful individual who dedicated so much of himself to public service,” South Bay Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) remarked on Facebook this morning. “My thoughts and prayers are to Mayor Lee’s family during this difficult time.”
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, who led the Board of Supervisors in a moment of silence this morning, described Lee as a champion of human rights.
“Mayor Ed Lee, you will be missed not only in San Francisco, but throughout the Bay Area, the state and the nation,” Cortese wrote on Facebook. “Especially in defending the rights of those who depended on you. God bless you.”
In a press release sent hours later, Cortese added: “All board members and many administrators have had the pleasure of working with Mayor Lee, most recently on our shared lawsuits against the federal executive orders that threatened the rights of immigrants in our communities. We also shared the goal to provide shelter and housing for the growing numbers of homeless individuals and families in both our communities, among other human rights and civil rights issues.”
“He was a trailblazer as the first Asian American mayor of SF and a good man who I know will be missed in S.F. and beyond,” Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), the first Indian American elected to the California Legislature, wrote on Facebook today.
At noon today, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, AC Transit, Caltrain, BART and Muni trains and buses will stop for 30 seconds in honor of Lee.
Lee, a civil rights attorney, became the first Asian American to helm the city of San Francisco when the Board of Supervisors named him acting mayor in 2011. The veteran civil servant, who initially expressed hesitation about remaining in the post for too long, went on to win the following election.
S.F. Supervisor London Breed succeeds Lee, making her the first black female mayor. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, she will continue to serve as mayor until a special election in June.