Mayor Ed Lee’s campaign fired back at recent television attack ads from campaign rivals Friday with a counter-ad that slams San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and state Sen. Leland Yee for using public campaign money to air the spots.
While most of the candidates in this year’s mayoral race are taking public money under The City’s relatively new public campaign financing law, Lee declined to accept the funds, citing tough cuts San Francisco has endured to balance its budget.
The ad (scroll down to see the video of the ad) says the mayor “believes in attacking problems, not people.” Lee’s campaign spokesman, Tony Winnicker, said in an accompanying press release that Yee and Herrera are “wallowing in mud” with their “increasingly silly” attacks.
“Ultimately, it’s up to voters to decide whether their tax dollars should be used to finance attack ads against Mayor Ed Lee, or anyone else running for office,” Winnicker said.
Lee’s campaign launched a similar ad last week on local Chinese-language TV going after Yee in Cantonese and asking why the senator would be using public money to “smear San Francisco’s first Chinese mayor.”
Yee’s TV spot – which began as a YouTube video in July and then aired on TV earlier this month -- prompted Lee’s Cantonese ad. It focuses primarily on Lee’s promise not to run and his inability to say no to powerful friends like Chinatown Chamber of Commerce consultant Rose Pak, who makes no secret of her distaste for Yee.
Pak also joked on Wednesday that she would “kick Dennis Herrera’s ass,” despite the fact her ankle was sprained and she was walking with crutches.
Hererra’s campaign ad included references to Pak, plus Lee’s support of the controversial Central Subway project aimed at connecting Chinatown and South of Market. It also mentioned the mayor’s recent praise of PG&E as a “company that gets it” just days before the anniversary of the utility’s San Bruno natural gas pipeline disaster that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
Matt Dorsey, Herrera’s campaign spokesman, quickly responded to the counter-ad by saying that what Lee calls mud is actually legitimate questioning.
“San Franciscans deserve serious responses to serious questions,” Dorsey said in an e-mail. “Candidate Ed Lee should respect voters enough to respond with facts, not fluff."