SAN MATEO, Calif. (KRON) – The new mayor of San Mateo made allegations that she was asked to trade her vote in exchange for becoming mayor.
Amourence Lee, who was elected last night after a drawn-out, rancorous process, stated that her election was held hostage by people who wanted her to vote for a new candidate for city councilmember, Cliff Robbins, in exchange for her election as mayor.
Lee said she was approached by two messengers Saturday, but would not say at whose behest they were operating. Lee said she reached out to the city attorney, who has not responded to a KRON4 News request for comment.
Lee said she doesn’t think Robbins was involved, and that he has done a lot for the community. The city council ended up filling the vacant city council member role first with Rich Hedges.
The San Mateo City Council elected Lee as the city’s first Asian American mayor last night in a five-hour meeting. She has served on the council since 2019.
For over a century, the council has elected the most senior council member mayor, but two of the newest council members objected, claiming they needed to fill the fifth vacant seat on the council first, as KRON4 News previously reported.
This caused much debate on what the right order should be: to first elect the mayor, or first the councilmember.
There was even a rally in front of city hall demanding Lee be elected first.
Hedges said he is friends with Robbins and that the latter has nothing to do with the allegations.
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He was the final councilmember to vote “yes” on Lee becoming the next mayor and he made sure to add his opinion about the order it should have been done in, saying they should have selected the mayor first.
Lisa Diaz Nash, one of the newest councilmembers, was named deputy mayor. Lee voted yes on her appointment, despite her being one of the two against electing Lee first.