Mayor Skips Mayor's Debate – Goes on Pub Crawl Instead

Spokesman says Lee will do more pub crawls in the future.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is getting a lot of criticism for not attending a mayoral debate Thursday night because he was on a pub crawl.

Lee was one of four invited candidates for San Francisco mayor that did not show up at the debate organized by Fillmore/Lower Fillmore Neighborhood Association and the District 5 Democratic Club.

Instead of attending, Lee went to a pub crawl in the Lower Haight neighborhood and then attended a previously scheduled business meeting on Cathedral Hill. Lee's campaign spokesman, Tony Winnicker, defended the decision saying Lee would be doing more pub crawls in the future.

"The mayor talked directly and in-depth to dozens of real, undecided voters -- not political insiders -- about the issues they care about," said Winnicker. "They're also fun."

Candidate Michela Alioto-Pier did not agree with Lee's choice.

"He's on a pub crawl as we sit here... talking about issues of the black community," said Alioto-Pier Thursday night. "Running for mayor isn't always going to be a party, it's about looking you in the eye and talking about tough things."

Organizers of the debate were disappointed Lee was not there, but said they hoped it would spur the community to reach out to the interim mayor.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting also missed the debate because of previously scheduled events.

The debate focused on the lack of adequate jobs, affordable housing, schools and other city services for San Francisco's African American community.

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