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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meet the Brains (and Checkbooks) Behind That Bizarre Ed Lee Hagiography

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge edlee_hagiography_cover_1.jpg
The Kentucky Derby of political-action committees backing Ed Lee's run for mayor has a new horse in the race: The SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011. Founded in mid-September, the committee has somehow already spent more than $100,000 - almost 20 percent of the amount spent by the actual Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 campaign - the bulk of which paid for the Ed Lee bio that began showing up on doorsteps over the weekend.

(Editor's note: It's also a recipe book.)

Left Coast Communications consultant Enrique Pearce - who also pitched in on the "Run, Ed, Run" initiative - has already fessed up to writing the "insta-book" on behalf of the committee. But who, exactly, is the committee? According to campaign filings with the San Francisco Ethics Commission, the treasurer of The SF Neighbor Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 is Wendell Lin. (Here's a picture.)

Lin is a 2004 Gateway High grad who is - or was - heavily involved with two programs sponsored by the Chinatown Community Development Center: Adopt-An-Alleyway and Chinatown Alleyway Tours, where he was a tour guide. As recently as June of this year, Lin was leading tourists though Chinatown's narrow passageways, presumably illuminating the curious on the source of the name "Salty Fish Alley" and which barber shop was visited by Frank Sinatra.

This isn't Lin's first introduction to Left Coast Communications. When Supervisor Jane Kim ran for the San Francisco Board of Education in 2006, Lin wrote a glowing testimonial on her behalf - in a campaign piece produced by Pearce's team. Kim was director of Adopt-An-Alleyway in the early part of the 2000s, when Lin was, as he put it, dragged to an AAA meeting by a friend.

"I thought [community service] was something for people with nothing better to do," he wrote. "I was apathetic about it at first, but after going to more of the service events and talking more with Jane, I realized the importance of community and the significance of doing one's part in his/her community."

Is Lin the newest political mover-and-shaker on the scene, or is he working for someone else? At this point, nobody's talking.

Neither Lin nor Kim responded to requests for comment, and Pearce would not discuss the details of his relationship with The SF Neighbor Alliance. Donors to the PAC will not be disclosed until the next filing deadline at the end of October, according to Ethics Commission Staff. However, Pacific Gas & Electric spokesman Andrew Souvall denied rumors that his company contributed to the committee.

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Beth Winegarner


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