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California

San Francisco remembers Mayor Ed Lee in day of memorials

JANUARY 29, 2015 SAN FRANCISCO, CA San Francisco mayor Ed Lee poses for a portrait at city hall. Dav
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is seen in 2015 at City Hall. Lee, the city’s first Asian American mayor, died Tuesday. He was 65.
(David Butow / For The Times)

Mourners are expected to stream through San Francisco’s City Hall on Friday to pay their respects to former Mayor Ed Lee, whose body will lie in repose in the building’s rotunda.

Lee, 65, was San Francisco’s first Asian American mayor and presided over the city for nearly seven years as it climbed out of a recession and into a boomtown driven by tech.

He died early Tuesday after collapsing at a Safeway, leaving the city reeling from shock and dealing with the logistics of selecting a new leader. The medical examiner has not released a cause of death.

The closed casket will be on display from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with an honor guard posted to make sure the line of mourners keeps moving.

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A condolence book will be available for visitors to sign, City Hall historian Ellen Schumer told the San Francisco Chronicle. The viewing will be held in the rotunda of the Beaux Arts-style building.

George Christopher, who was mayor from 1956 to 1964, was the last mayor to lie in repose in the rotunda when he died in 2000. Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, both assassinated in 1978, also laid in repose in the rotunda.

Lee was elected in 2011 and reelected in 2015 after being appointed to serve the remainder of former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s term in 2011. He was a civil rights lawyer and longtime San Francisco administrator known for his corny sense of humor and dedication to public service.

Supporters said he didn’t receive enough credit for work to build affordable housing and battling homelessness. Critics said Lee didn’t do enough to stand up to tech companies after he lured the industry to San Francisco with a controversial tax break in 2011.

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San Francisco also will host a public memorial for Lee on Sunday.


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