Aside from his fleeting visibility in the media during his push to legalize marijuana with Proposition 19, Oaksterdam University's Richard Lee is a loner.
Lee is known for keeping a low profile
-- both in Oakland and with the media -- so much so that he was described as a
recluse in an extensive LA Times profile.
That's why it was surprising to see Lee -- who is working on another
cannabis legalization ballot measure for the 2012 election -- at The Independent last week for former Supervisor Chris Daly's roast.
Some cannabis proponents believe that Lee's presence at the roast was a signal
that he and Daly were in cahoots, plotting the next pro-marijuana ballot measure.
If they ever were, they might not be now.
Lee, who uses a wheelchair, had a front row seat during Daly's boozy farewell monologue, which featured a slew of below-the-belt jokes, including one about people in wheelchairs.
"Years of politics takes its toll on you physically -- have you seen Michela Alioto-Pier lately?" Daly said, referring the supervisor who uses a wheelchair. "She looks worse in a wheelchair than August Longo
"What?" Daly says to the crowd, which clearly thought it was in bad taste. "It's a roast!"
For those who don't know, Daly frequently butted heads with Marina District representative Alioto-Pier, taking verbal swipes at her as recently as the last board meeting on Tuesday.
Daly rudely interrupted his colleagues, speaking over them and saying Alioto-Pier represented the rich.
Likewise, Daly was at odds with the late Longo
, a longtime Democratic Party operative who defeated Daly two years ago in his effort to become the Dems' regional director.
Representatives from Oaksterdam did not return calls from SF Weekly
seeking comment, so whether Lee was amused, offended or nonplussed -- who knows.
Daly was unapologetic when SF Weekly
gave him a call. He said didn't know Lee was in the audience.
"What does he look like? Remind me," he told a reporter.
When reminded, the politico-turned-barkeep said he has no plans to work with Lee anyway.
So then what was Lee doing at the roast?
"I have a history of working for the medical cannabis movement: for patients' rights, and for access to medicine."
And equal-access humor, too.