San Francisco business owners open wallets for Ed Lee mayoral run 

The financial backers of a campaign to get Ed Lee to run for a full term as mayor in November are mostly made up of a handful of business owners who donated as much as $5,000 to launch the effort.

The money behind the campaign, named Progress For All, had been shrouded in mystery until filings became available Monday. The committee raised $48,283 from 26 different donations in an 11-day period in June, according to the filings. Nine of those donations were between $3,000 and $5,000.

Among the big donors were Victor Makras, a former fire commissioner who now serves on the Retirement Board and has ties to former Mayor Willie Brown. He gave $5,000, as did Kwan Cheung of Huntar Co., Thomas Chan of United Pyrotechnics, Francis So of Fon Express, Ringo Wong of Regal Jewelry, Kinson Wong of R&G Lounge and Dr. Raymond Li. Two others gave $3,000.

“You can’t say anything about the number of small and large donors from only the filings,” said the campaign’s manager, Enrique Pearce of Left Coast Communications. “There was a large outpouring of small contributors whose donations under $100 aren’t included in the paperwork.”

Progress for All paid for signs that say “Run Ed Run,” and collected more than 51,000 signatures urging Lee to become a candidate.

The committee has already been closed, according to its organizers, who held a rally at City Hall on Monday for one last push to get Lee to enter the race. The group had been coming under increasing fire of late. Former Supervisor Aaron Peskin took issue with its nebulous filing status and its association with Chinatown power broker Rose Pak.

One Lee supporter, Shelley Bradford Bell, called on the mayor to forget a promise he made in January to the Board of Supervisors, which appointed him. Lee took the job on the condition he would be a caretaker and not run for the office.

Lee still says he’s on the fence about pulling papers to run, but as he points out, he still has time.

“My gut says to keep my mind open and to focus on the job at hand,” Lee said Monday.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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