San Francisco official wants personal apology from mayor for ‘Gestapo’ reference
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San Francisco official wants personal apology from mayor for ‘Gestapo’ reference

(JTA) — The San Francisco city supervisor has demanded a personal apology from Mayor Ed Lee for a text the mayor sent to his top staff people using the word “Gestapo” to describe legislation backed by the supervisor.

The supervisor, Aaron Peskin, who is Jewish, told NBC Bay Area that he has not yet received a personal apology from Lee, though he has tried to reach him by phone, text, email and letter.

Lee had used the term in a private group text describing legislation that would allow witnesses to be put under oath when testifying before the board’s Government and Audit Oversight Committee. The legislation had failed earlier in the week by a vote of 7-4.

The mayor’s press secretary, Deirdre Hussey, said in a statement, according to NBC Bay Area, that “Mayor Lee apologizes for inappropriately and insensitively using the word Gestapo to describe Supervisor Peskin’s failed legislation.” Lee has reached out to the city’s Jewish community to apologize for the use of the word, according to the statement.

According to the statement, Lee intended to use “McCarthyesque,” and that the use of Gestapo was indicative of the mayor’s fear that the legislation requiring an oath could be used to “intimidate, harass and bully” members of the public, the Chronicle reported.

Peskin wrote a letter to the mayor on Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“As a Jewish American, it has been heart wrenching to watch the direction that our country is headed,” he wrote. “History has taught us what careless and hateful comments can engender, particularly in the halls of power.”

“When things like this happen, you have to say it like it is. When the mayor is talking about a Jewish-American person and using Nazi terms, it chills me to my core. “I must ask that you make a public apology to me and the Jewish community.”