Realtors Applaud Mayor

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SF Association of Realtors applaud Mayor Ed Lee's aims for the Housing Trust Fund but oppose a transfer tax increase to finance it.

The SF Association of REALTORS and its 4,000 members are campaigning to preempt a transfer tax increase by the mayor and his Housing Trust Fund Working Group for this November’s election. Yet, the mayor, in particular when it came to the trust fund has remained non-committed on using the tax to support the fund.  “I will need your help on a trust fund that will help me build middle class housing, in addition to affordable housing because we’re slipping with our middle class, with families. I can’t allow families to leave the city,” said Lee to realtor applause last Friday at the 2012 SFAR Installation Banquet.  The mayor during his Mark Hopkins Hotel remarks only targeted one tax – the job killing payroll tax by pledging to create a “fair tax structure”….Tying realtor success with technology companies moving in and public satisfaction with city services, Lee said realtors are the canary in the SF economic coal mine. “Your success is a reflection of whether we are doing well on the other aspects…”

Rules Committee Chair and former Chinatown Community Development Center staffer Jane Kim, with former Committee member Scott Wiener (left), will be key to a Feb. 7 SF Board of Supervisor vote on nominee Cindy Wu to the powerful Planning Commission.

WU FAST TRACKED BY CCDC ALUM: Keep an eye on Cindy Wu’s nomination to the powerful SF Planning Commission by Board of Supervisor President David Chiu, the former board chair of her employer, Chinatown Community Development Center. For today’s (Feb. 2) afternoon meeting at the Rules Committee, Chair Jane Kim – a former CCDC employee – had expressed her intention to report her nomination to the full board next Tuesday, Feb. 7 in hopes of not stalling her nomination in committee. With Kim likely to support Wu, she will need the support of current Rules Committee Supervisors Mark Farrell or David Campos (whom Chiu recently appointed, replacing Scott Wiener who replaced Sean Elsbernd last December) for a recommendation to the full board. Farrell and Wiener, two of the board’s moderates sitting on Rules last December, had out voted Kim, the only vote for Entertainment Commission candidate Steve Lee. The full board in January supported Lee and overrode Wiener and Farrell’s Rules Committee recommendation for Castro night club owner Tim Eicher…The Wu nomination could reopen up the contentious 2011 mayoral campaign debate on the Central Subway at the full board. Wu was CCDC’s Community Planning Manager overseeing outreach in advance of Central Subway construction coming thru Chinatown…


Future Chinatown Community Development Center Director Norman Fong (left) and Community Planning Manager Cindy Wu (right) appear in a 2009 online video. Wu was nominated last week to the powerful SF Planning Commission.

Attorney and realtor Jeff Woo becomes President of the SF Association of Realtors for 2012.

NOT BOUGHT OR SOLD: Although mentored by SFAR’s three APA Presidents John LeeAllen Okamoto and John Yen Wong, their golden real estate sales success hasn’t quite rubbed off on new SFAR President Jeff Woo. “I have the dubious distinction…of being the first president who has never bought or sold a piece of property for a client,” said Woo. However, the attorney – who managed family properties in younger days – assured 4,000 members and 11 staffers that he’d be good for making referrals… Promising to be a “beacon of moderate politics,” Woo said the association and its $1 million legal action fund would “speak on behalf of homeowners” in San Francisco while battling transfer taxes, rent control and condo conversion issues… GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD REALTORS: “His backyard abuts against my mother’s backyard in the Richmond district. And he has been a very good neighbor,” said former SFAR President John Yen Wong whose mom neighbors former college gymnast Jeff Woo…CHEEKY REALTORS: Former Chinese Real Estate Association of America (where AsianWeek is a media sponsor and sits on their board) president Eva Hom introduced 1990 SFAR President and Japantown institution Okamoto as the “Asian Richard Gere”… Hom and Amy Kong (2011 CREAA president and SFAR board member) knighted a smug Woo with Hawaiian leis and simultaneous pecks on both of his cheeks. Looks like the realtors had lots of practice with Woo…

GOT HOPS: Realtors applauded loudly when Lee boasted, “We’re going to bring the Warriors back here.” That came after he quickly slipped in the words “Super Bowl” without saying squat about the San Francisco 49ers, whose Santa Clara hosts are trying to stomp out any buyer’s remorse about building a $1 billion football stadium. With the lease for the Golden State Warriors expiring in 2017, building an SF basketball arena near the Giants baseball park could draw more than 800,000 for 41 regular season games compared to a football stadium drawing only 548,000 for 8 regular season games. It’s a boon for 30% of SF construction workers who are APA and a legacy builder for the Mayor who’s relatively blameless for losing the Niners if they move. The Warriors – host of Hep B Free basketball and APA heritage game nights for the past several years – last played in SF in 1971….


Supervisor Carmen Chu (left) is encouraged to run for State Assembly while former SF Democratic Party Chair Jane Morrison will not run for re-election to the SF Democratic County Central Committee.

RUN CARMEN RUN: State Senator Leland Yee was cheering on Carmen Chu to run in the 19th Assembly District by beckoning to the District 4 (Sunset) Supervisor, “Carmen, there’s still that chance you could still run for Assembly” while attracting a smattering of applause at the SFAR dinner on Jan. 27…Although the supervisor wasn’t biting, or “Chu-ing” as she encouraged realtors to “stay active locally” especially on the SF Redevelopment Agencyclosure, taxation and other programs. Chu encouraged SFAR to outreach more, “If you reach out to 10 people [apiece] that means about 40,000…”

JOB TRADE: If she doesn’t run, Chu with three years remaining as supervisor could be a mayoral appointee to replace Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting if he succeeds Assemblywoman Fiona Ma in the 19th District in November. Chu and Ting are Sunset residents. Realtors likely favor a Chu selection…

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (left) faces a confirmation vote of his nominee Cindy Wu (not pictured) to the powerful Planning Commission. A January 2012 Board vote narrowly approved Entertainment Commissioner Steven Lee (right) who was sworn in by Chiu on Jan. 19.

CHIU NOT HURTING: Former APA elected official was emailing around that SF Democratic Party chair and ex-Supervisor Aaron Peskin won’t challenge incumbent David Chiu in the heavily APA Supervisor District 3 seat (Chinatown/North Beach, pending redistricting). Peskin not running reinforces Chiu wasn’t hurt by his 2011 mayoral defeat (see Nov. 24 column “Is David Chiu Really in Trouble?”, despite last November commentary by his pollster David Latterman, non-partisan analysis by Chinese American Voters Education Committee David Lee. Although with Peskin not running, that might draw in Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s Rose Pak if she’s not satisfied with any Chiu challengers or if Chiu makes amends. A good sign to watch – Pak’s annual tradition of chewing out politicians publicly on the mike at the Lunar New Year parade Chinatown reviewing stand as Chiu passes on Feb. 11, assuming he’s not tending to his SF Democratic County Central Committee duties at the California Democratic Party convention in San Diego…

PELOSI AT CAVEC: CAVEC meanwhile will host House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s keynote at their annual Empress of China fundraiser this Friday, February 3. David Lee, who took the CAVEC reins from this columnist in 1995, has polled, registered, educated and turned out voters in work buoyed by late financier Warren Hellman. Lee laid the foundation for the election of many APA officials in San Francisco, including his namesake, the mayor and perhaps someday for a District 1 supervisor seat now held by Eric Mar

OUT OF THE KITCHEN: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. The 20th annual Chinese New Year fete for Chinese Newcomer Service Centerwas a bit more crowded than usual as former media maven Gimmy Park Li and Esther Marks – long-time campaign treasurer for pioneering LGBT Assemblyman Tom Ammiano – kept eaters and donors out of the kitchen while keeping Peking Duck wraps, won ton soup and publisher Ted Fang’s BBQ ribs flowing out of the Woodland Avenue kitchen. According to one attendee, the Grande Dame and Great Dane of SF Democratic Party politics are not running. Nonagenarian CNSC host Jane Morrison confirmed she is bowing out after 14 years in electoral politics – by not running for SF Democratic County Central Committee. The attendee also said barky former Supervisor and tricenarian Chris Daly won’t run again after leaving the committee in 2010…MR. FIX IT: CNSC Director Carlos Quan-Serrano admitted he’s Mr. Fix-it. Anytime when a non-profit hires him, he’s on a rescue mission. Sounds CNSC is in good hands…

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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.