Ed Lee, San Francisco mayor who tried to tame the city’s tech boom, dies at 65

Ed Lee became mayor as San Francisco emerged from the Great Recession into a boom phase rivaling the Gold Rush that first put the city on the map.

Both supporting and containing the excesses of the tech explosion became a central theme of his seven years as mayor. Lee was an unabashed supporter of bringing jobs and tech companies to San Francisco, which he called the Innovation Capital of the World. He oversaw years of dramatic growth that transformed the city’s skyline while also sending real estate values to stratospheric levels.

He also tried — and some say with little success — to tame the boom: higher rents have pushed San Francisco into a housing affordability crisis.

Lee, 65, died early Tuesday, hours after he collapsed while shopping at a supermarket near his home. The issues that he grappled with remain largely unsolved. And as San Francisco residents grieved the sudden loss of Lee, they were faced with the question of how economic forces in the city would change without him at City Hall.

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