Filipino community remembers SF Mayor Ed Lee

SAN FRANCISCO — The flag-draped casket of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee arrives at Duggan’s Serra Mortuary in Daly City, California.

Law enforcement officials saluting the city’s first Asian-American mayor — who suddenly passed away Monday night after suffering from a heart attack.

At 65-years-old and holding the office of the mayor since 2011, Lee would be remembered for numerous achievements.

San Francisco was the first city to file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s executive order to defund sanctuary cities.

It was also during his term that San Francisco saw dramatic growth due to the technology boom, which also led to an affordable housing crisis.

Lee tried to provide more affordable housing units while also persuading major tech companies like Twitter to stay in the city with tax breaks.

Entrepreneurs like Fil-Am Desi Danganan, whose project “Undiscovered SF” which features Filipino American vendors and artists in the new Filipino cultural district “SOMA Pilipinas” says Mayor Lee was not doing enough to tame the tech boom.

“I feel as mayor he kind of lost touch of the purpose of economic growth and how that is displacing a lot of long time residents of San Francisco,” Danganan said. “The irony of it is without this growth of San Francisco we wouldn’t have been able to get the funding of San Francisco.”

Despite his open opposition, Danganan knew that the mayor still wanted to stay in touch with his citizens — especially those within the Filipino community as he visited Undiscovered just last month.

“Hanging out the Mayor in an informal environment is like hanging out with your ‘Tito’. He’s kind of an older guy and I felt a warmth from him. I think his intentions were in the right place. I just didn’t agree with his methods but at the end of the day if you look at his track record, he was an activist.”

As a young lawyer in the 70’s, Lee fought to prevent the eviction of Filipino and Chinese Americans from the international hotel.

Danganan says he will always appreciate the mayor’s support of SOMA Pilipinas. However, it is now up to the Filipinos of San Francisco to maintain and increase their presence in the city.

“If we continue to organize and show up and take the promise of SOMA Pilipinas to the next level it doesn’t matter who’s going to be in office people are going to have to contend with us and people are going to have to align their values to what we’re trying to do.”

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