Chaotic scene unfolds as Ed Lee announces run for San Francisco mayor 

It was a frenzied scene at the Department of Elections on Monday morning where Mayor Ed Lee pulled papers to run for mayor.

Police and sheriff’s deputies dragged one man out of the office after he pushed through the crowd and shouted that Lee was an oath breaker. Lee then gave a speech with his wife, Anita, standing at his side, saying that seeking office won’t change him or the tone of civility at City Hall.

“While I’ve changed my mind, I haven’t changed,” Lee said. “I’m still Ed Lee.”

He was then peppered by questions from reporters, mostly focusing on how he went back on his word that he would not run for mayor. He responded by saying that he owes an explanation to the supervisors who voted him into office and that he would call each one before the end of the day.

While Lee said that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s encouragement to run for the office played a large role in his decision, he didn’t once mention Rose Pak or Willie Brown, two powerbrokers who have been pushing him to run.

Other candidates running for mayor, such as Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, sent out statements that they were disappointed that Lee went back on his word.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera came out with an even stronger statement, calling Lee out for dishonesty and his connections to powerful behind-the-scenes interests.

“To my mind, Ed Lee’s biggest problem isn’t that he’s a dishonest man — it’s that he’s not his own man,” Herrera said in a statement. “The fact is, if Ed Lee is elected Mayor, powerful people will continue to insist on things.

Lee has already got a hectic schedule in front of him. After two public events as mayor he will do a campaign event at Irving and Ninth Avenue and will be at a mayoral forum in the Castro on Monday night.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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