Home / Tech News / San Francisco's tech community reflects on mayor Ed Lee's support after his death

San Francisco's tech community reflects on mayor Ed Lee's support after his death



Lee was closely involved in San Francisco's role as the epicenter of the digital renaissance.
Lee was closely involved in San Francisco’s role as the epicenter of the digital renaissance.

Image: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for BenchMarks

San Francisco mayor Ed Lee died early Tuesday morning, leaving behind a conflicted legacy in a city known for innovation but afflicted with homelessness, income inequality, and rising housing costs.

The champion of local tech and industry died of undisclosed causes at age 65 in the recently renamed Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, which had benefitted from a $75 million-donation from the Facebook founder.

Lee, who first got into politics as a lawyer fighting for tenants’ rights, was often criticized for what seemed to be a soft spot for tech companies and the money and people the industry brought into the Bay Area.

The tech community came out to remember the city leader that embraced local business Tuesday. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone led the charge, tweeting about the “all around good guy” early in the morning morning. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey retweeted the post.

Stone was joined by Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, PayPal cofounder Max Levchin and others in the tech community locally and across the country.

Lee became known for a policy known as the “Twitter tax break” that let companies like Twitter, Yelp, Airbnb and Zendesk avoid some $34 million in city payroll taxes to keep headquarters in a San Francisco neighborhood. Uber’s headquarters are a block from Twitter.

The ride-hailing app also tweeted its condolences about Lee’s death.

A San Francisco magazine profile from 2012 talked about Lee’s “Tech Tuesday” tradition where he met with workers from SF-based companies like Yelp or Pinterest. The article noted his tech coziness, insisting, “Lee has been moving quickly to align his administration with the booming technology industry, shrugging off complaints from the city’s powerful progressives that he’s gotten too cozy with tech moguls, such as investor Ron Conway.”

Others voiced criticism of the mayor’s relationship with tech companies.

Despite the differing takes on Lee’s legacy, almost 40,000 tweets were posted about the mayor in the San Francisco area since his death was reported.

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