Photography by John Lee.
Mention to Rafael Mandelman that some of his supporters have favorably compared him to Harvey Milk—who initially won the hearts and minds of the Castro community with a pooper-scooper law—and the charismatic lawyer-cum-politician dismisses the comment with a wave of his hand. “That is so sweet,” he says. “That’s too much. He was a lot funnier and a lot smarter.” Smarter? This coming from a Yale grad who went on to get both a law degree from Boalt and a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s JFK School of Government.