San Francisco Mayor and 2014 Common Good Award recipient Ed Lee ’74 has been an advocate for innovation and technological advancement in San Francisco ever since he was first elected mayor in 2011.
He has since successfully pushed for taxes and stock options that would benefit tech start-ups, arguing the tech sector provides the city with the most jobs, but as his city has transformed into an extension of Silicon Valley, Lee has attracted supporters as well as critics.
San Francisco Tenants Union Director Ted Gullicksen argues the housing situation has worsened this past year as “the influx of highly paid tech workers led to higher rents … and increased evictions of longtime tenants by landlords seeking higher rents.”
Caught between the supportive tech sector and angry housing advocates, Lee has presented a plan “to build 30,000 housing units for low- and moderate-income people by 2020 and to protect existing ones.” He hopes that this will appease a few of his harshest critics: “I think people will feel less fear that they can’t live in the city, and hopefully, it shouldn’t be ‘us versus them, let’s blame tech.'” Read The New York Times profile of Lee.