Slice of the Left Key to Leland Yee

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Former Cupertino Mayor Kris Wang, Dr. James Yu, Dr. Janet Wu of San Carlos, State Senator Leland Yee and Dr. Hsing Kung, member of the CSU Board of Trustees at the Asian Americans for Good Government fundraising luncheon on June 26 for Yee's SF mayoral candidacy

LESSON OF OAKLAND: With the left’s support in the 2011 SF mayor’s race, State Senator Leland Yee could avoid being isolated like former state senate colleague Don Perata in his 2010 Oakland ranked choice mayoral loss to Councilwoman Jean Quan. Although Perata was the early 11 percentage point leader among first choice ranked votes, Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Quan played a tag team match by encouraging supporters to vote for each other, and not Perata. Kaplan’s ranked ballots helped Quan edge Perata by nearly two points to become the first Asian Pacific American elected mayor of a major metropolitan city…

EXPANDING YEE’S BASE: Yee’s base is anchored by moderate to conservative APA, Irish and Italian American voters on the city’s Westside, having won their support since 2000 as state senator, assembly member and District #4 (Sunset) supervisor. To become SF mayor, Yee will need to shear off a segment of the progressive (left of liberal by SF standards) vote in competition with liberal mayoral candidates City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, and former Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

Dr. James Yu, Supervisor and SF mayoral candidate John Avalos

Although more centrist-liberal with an independent streak, Yee could make a strong bid for support among progressives as their second or third choices if their primary candidate and District 11 (Excelsior/Inner Mission) Supervisor John Avalos falls short. Yee was courting Avalos’ allies by supporting him at his May mayoral kickoff …

BIG GREEN & CITY COLLEGE: Yee had taken heat over the years for questioning construction of City College’s Chinatown campus. As SF Supervisor and to the ire of College Board members Lawrence Wong and Rodel Rodis, Yee forced City College to settle a suit over historical preservation issues at or near the campus site. Yee later as state senator took flack over questioning the campus design. Eventually, City College trustees scaled back from a 16-story tower to two shorter buildings – a 14-story tower and 4-story building and auditorium. For the 2011 mayor’s race, Yee received the endorsement of College Board trustee John Rizzo, a critic of CCSF’s Chinatown campus plan, and support from the SF chapter of the Sierra Club, which Rizzo leads. Rizzo and the 30,000 Sierra Club chapter members were a coup for Yee, nabbing a key progressive endorsement and one of the triad of major green endorsements, with the others being SF Tomorrow and SF League of Conservation Voters


A weekly look at prognostications and prevarications on the Mayor’s intentions

Marlene Tran. Photo courtesy of Bayview Hill Neighborhood.

RIDING COATTAILS: San Francisco’s southeast sector was a major battleground race for District 10 supervisor. Malia Cohen won the seat, leaving her as the only African American supervisors. However, candidates Marlene Tran and Teresa Duque were a preview of the emerging District 10 APA communities in Visitacion Valley, Silver Terrace and portions of Portola.  It’s likely that this November the district will be hotly contested with mayoral candidates looking to Duque and Tran for support. Tran, a retired teacher and long-time activist, thinks that increasing popularity and intrigue in drafting SF Mayor Ed Lee to run will overshadow the major candidates. “These ‘Run Ed, Run’ signs may be distractions for some candidate campaigns,” said the 2010 third place finisher for District 10 supervisor. However, Tran wonders whether some supporters are legitimately on the “Run Ed, Run” bandwagon or have another agenda. “Some people want recognition for themselves by riding on Mayor Lee’s coattails,” she said.

THAT’S THE TICKET: Former school board member Ben Tom won an original John F. Kennedy 1961 inaugural program at the May 21 Irish American Democratic Club raffle and luncheon observing JFK’s birthday (May 29). Tom accepted the coveted prize (he was offered several hundred dollars) and proceeded to talk about how 19th century Irish Americans like Dennis Kearney discriminated against the Chinese…

HER HONOR’S  DOCTOR: Joyce Chan, founder and advisor of Corporate Asian American Employee Network, attended SF Superior Court Judge Julie Tang son’s U of Chicago graduation as an eye doctor. Veteran and retired City College employees will recall 27 years ago the then very pregnant College Board member Tang waddling into monthly trustee meetings ready to deliver son Kong Wei any moment…

Dr. Jennifer Ong, candidate for 18th Assembly member

WHAT’S GOING ONG: Another eye doc, Dr. Jennifer Ong of Filipina and Chinese American heritage shares the same Chinese surname as Judge Tang. She’s running for the 18th District (Hayward) state assembly seat of termed out Mary Chung Hayashi, wife of Alameda Superior Court Judge Mark Hayashi. Ong, who heads the Hep B Free in Alameda County, was talking about her 2012 race with co-chairs C.C. Yin and Hsing Kung of the South Bay’s Asian Americans for Good Government in Palo Alto after AAGG’s fundraising soiree for mayoral candidate Leland Yee…

OVER EXPO-SURE: One Shanghai World Expo attendee from the Bay Area was shocked last year seeing perennial political candidate Calvin Louie on a video outdoor marquee of the USA Pavilion. In 1999, the perpetually grinning gadfly popped up in an outtake from the S.F. mayoral election documentary See How They Run where a miffed Mayor Willie Brown escorts Louie and late contractor Jimmy Kwok into a back room meeting….

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About the Author

Veteran columnist has appeared in up to 450,000 households weekly in the SF Independent, Examiner (2000-04) and AsianWeek since 1996. As Editor-in-Chief (2003-07), AsianWeek and Samson received wide recognition from the California Legislature, New American Media, League of Women Voters, GLAAD, Organization of Chinese Americans, SPUR and APA civic groups. Thru the SF Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections, SF Elections Task Force and Chinese American Voters Education Committee, Wong helped boost APA influence from 25,000 in the 1980s to over 50,000 voters by the early 1990s.