Mayor Ed Lee challenges John Avalos to pingpong match 

click to enlarge It's on like pingpong: During question time at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Mayor Ed Lee challenged Supervisor John Avalos to a table tennis match in Chinatown on Sunday. (Examiner file photo) - IT'S ON LIKE PINGPONG: DURING QUESTION TIME AT TUESDAY’S BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING, MAYOR ED LEE CHALLENGED SUPERVISOR JOHN AVALOS TO A TABLE TENNIS MATCH IN CHINATOWN ON SUNDAY. (EXAMINER FILE PHOTO)
  • It's on like pingpong: During question time at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Mayor Ed Lee challenged Supervisor John Avalos to a table tennis match in Chinatown on Sunday. (Examiner file photo)
  • It's on like pingpong: During question time at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Mayor Ed Lee challenged Supervisor John Avalos to a table tennis match in Chinatown on Sunday. (Examiner file photo)

Like most people not named Ed Lee, Supervisor John Avalos appears to be a long shot in the race to become San Francisco’s next mayor. But Avalos expressed confidence Tuesday that he’d claim a landslide victory against Lee in a round of pingpong.

The issue came up during mayoral "question time" at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, where Avalos used his question to ask about, well, question time. In the first round of queries since the appointed mayor controversially reneged on his pledge not to run for office, Lee responded defiantly to Avalos’ suggestion that the exercise lacks substance and spontaneity.

"My answers may not make for great blogs, if you will," Lee said, adding that while the policy discussions about things like filling potholes and budgets might not be exciting to the general public, they are to him. "I’m not here to make headlines."

Question time was approved by voters in 2010 to encourage more mayoral discussion with supervisors. The approval of question time came with the caveat that the board could come up with the ground rules in consultation with the mayor.

In March, Avalos delayed approval of the ground rules by seeking out changes that would encourage more off-the-cuff interaction. Ultimately, Avalos voted with his colleagues in April to approve the current format in which supervisors submit their questions in writing in advance.

On Tuesday, Lee said he does actually find question time useful, and if Avalos wants a substantive and dynamic interaction, the two should square off in a round of table tennis. Chinatown will be the site of a citywide pingpong tournament Sunday, part of the latest installment of the Sunday Streets program.

"How’s your game?" Avalos asked the mayor as a follow-up, within the bounds of his five allotted question time minutes, per the rules approved by the board.

Lee told the supervisor he hasn’t played for a couple of months, but that the match should above all be "diplomatic."

"I used to work at the Boys & Girls Club," Avalos responded. "I played every day, so …"

After the meeting, Lee said he actually grew up with a pingpong table in his house and he’s prepared for the competition.

"Game on," the mayor said.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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Dan Schreiber

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