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San Francisco’s Asian American Community Backs Mayoral Front Runner Ed Lee

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Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee at a news conference

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and City Administrator Ed Lee. (SF Gov)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – One of the city’s most powerful lobbying groups has thrown its weight behind appointing City Administrator Ed Lee to serve as interim mayor.

Political powerhouse Rose Pak, who heads the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said Lee’s appointment as interim Mayor would be a significant accomplishment for the city’s largest minority group.

“I solicited a few more community friends, talked to Ed and persuaded him to take it,” Pak said.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

“People are very impressed with his sincerity,” said Pak, who described herself as Lee’s mentor. He has directed the Human Rights Commission, the Department of Public Works and spent ten years as an attorney for the Asian Law Caucus.

“He just wants to get the job done. He doesn’t mind, or care, who takes the credit. That’s why every politician loves the guy,” she said.

Lee, now vacationing in Hong Kong with his family, has yet to comment publicly. A press release put out Thursday said Lee has authorized a statement to be released on his behalf during a rally planned by the Chinese Chamber and other Asian American organizations.

The largely unknown 22-year veteran of city government emerged as the front runner when the Board of Supervisors votes on a temporary mayor on Friday.

Lee is expected to serve one year as mayor, then try to return to his current job. Mayor Gavin Newsom must be sworn in as lieutenant governor by the following Monday.

Over the past two decades, the community’s voice in local politics has grown from a whimper to a roar. Two members of the state legislature, three city supervisors, the public defender and the assessor are also Asian American.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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