MAYOR QUAN DOESN’T RECALL & CPMC-LEE DEAL

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I DON’T RECALL: Distancing her name from word “recall.” Oakland Mayor Jean Quan repeatedly underscored “Oakland is on the Rise” last Friday for more than 400 packed in Oakland’s Chinatown Restaurant Peony. Quan’s highway green-colored signs “Stand with Oakland…Stop the Recall” don’t mention her name, except in fine legal print. And her “Oakland on the Rise” mailer doesn’t mention word “recall.” Her dinner speech didn’t mention “recall” until very end…. Like improving economy during Mayor Ed Lee’s winning election campaign, she’ll benefit from being on the “rise” as her speech ticked off 5,000 jobs created in 2011, unemployment down 2% and improved public schools…

Mayor Jean Quan

MARCH MADNESS ENDS: California Pacific Medical Center and Mayor Ed Lee’s development agreement last Wednesday calls for new, seismically upgraded Cathedral Hill and St. Luke’s campuses. Promises to inject $2.5 billion into economy, create 1,500 new construction jobs and $1.1 billion in community benefits. Lee said health care would move into the 21st century and have “lasting impacts on the health of generations…” CPMC CEO and Dr. Warren Browner called deal “unprecedented…by any healthcare provider” in charity care and health delivery to neediest and funding affordable housing, neighborhood improvements, workforce development and transit…The pact, where St. Luke’s and ER stay open for 20 years, goes to SF Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission in April. Cathedral Hill sits in a major midpoint for SF’s APA communities – within mile or so of Japantown, Little Saigon (Tenderloin), Chinatown and Manilatown (SOMA)…

The Three Jays

CRAZY AS AN OX: Translation of emcee Karl Chan’s trivia about Oakland’s Mayor Quan being born in Ox Lunar Year in a nasally Cantonese “Ngou Nyan.” Pinch translator’s nose and it sounds like “Ngau Nyan” or “Crazy Year” – which it’s been for her Honor with Occupy and recall signature campaigns, including one run by Johnny Wang of JKW Political Consulting, key figure in winning 2008 initiative to restore JROTC in SF schools…

LEE PACKS ‘EM: “We didn’t get anywhere near the crowd” recalled Mary Jung, comparing Ides of March packed house with Mayor Ed Lee to a previous election’s smaller gathering drawn by predecessor Mayor Gavin Newsom. Jung was raising funds for her SF Democratic County Central Committee (SFDCCC) re-election at Miramar Avenue home of former Airport Commissioner Caryl Ito… Former “non-political” civil servant Mayor Lee deadpanned he thought “CCC” in SFDCCC stood for “Chinese Chess Club”…

MARY FOR CHAIR: Incumbent and colleague Arlo Hale Smith struck up chants of “Mary for Chair” in spontaneous campaign to succeed outgoing Aaron Peskin as Chair of SF Democratic Party. Jung offered reality check while raising some checks, “Let’s not count our chickens before they hatch…we haven’t won yet.” Mary’s also linked with chairs too. Francisco Hsieh thanked Mary for finding daughter Frances a job and reminded Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Fiona Ma “that he use to go to Mary’s furniture store,” where she donated furniture to various campaigns…Last time Asian Pacific American (APA) chaired party was Alex Wong, during height of Aaron Sorkin’s hit NBC series West Wing…

Mayor Ed Lee shares a laugh with Fiona Ma, Caryl Ito and Francisco Hsieh

SOMETHING ABOUT MARY’S TEAM: “For the last four to six years it has become a political football….This is about building the party,” as Jung pledged to restore “rationality and civility” and focus on fundamentals like voter registration and GOTV for state and national ticket…. Mayoral calendar guy Francis Tsang manages Mary’s reelection during off hours while former party chair and College Board member Natalie Berg mentors her. Natalie’s also Senior VP of Forest City, developer of Chronicle’s 5th and Mission parcels…Vino from former Gov. Gray Davis deputy appointments secretary Ron Wong, triangulating his commute among Sacramento, SF and his business in Alhambra…

LEE BEFORE LEE: Recovering from cataract surgery and retiring this month is Bill Lee, SFO’s director of International Economic and Tourism Development. Literally “Last Emperor” – Lee was first APA to hold City’s most powerful appointed Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) until 1996 when new charter eliminated the post and relegated him to the less powerful City Administrator until 2005. His term ended with future mayor Ed Lee being named to replace him…. IF I WERE STILL KING: Among upcoming developments, former Planning Commissioner said “If I had it my way, I would make 5th and Mission, the whole Chronicle building like live-work with condos, apartments upstairs.” He’d allow for a teardown to rebuild a state of art facility for the Chronicle… Forest City and Intersection for the Arts have approached Planning Department to develop 700 housing units and 1.3 million square feet of commercial space by (see “Potsticker” 2/16/12)….

BABY BUSINESSES: Lee sees potential of incubating and retaining entrepreneurs fleeing to Silicon Valley where “more than 35 percent of the upstart businesses are done by [APAs]…If there is a way you could get the costs [of operating an SF business] down, everyone benefits.” Small businesses hire more people than big businesses and would generate payroll and sales taxes for City Hall… TAKE A CHANCE: “What is the most important thing in creativity [is] risk taking and incubators,” Lee said. Google, Zynga and Apple started small, and Salesforce grew by acquiring small businesses like those housed currently in Chron building under non-profit 5M.Org…

Mary Jung and Caryl Ito


ON THE AGENDA: Avuncular former school board member Eddie Chin is advocating for small businesses. This Friday evening at Empress of China, incoming pres of Chinese American Democratic Club is hosting speakers – Controller John Chiang and Mayor Lee – at the CADC annual dinner. During 2011 campaign, Chin recalled mayor promised to “unbundle” large projects to increase small businesses participation. “He needs to work with us and we need to help make his job easier,” Chin said…CPMC where former Asian American Contractor Association presidents Florence Kong and Kent Lim have been pushing for opportunities, has a “collective” commitment with the City for local business enterprise, said CPMC entitlements manager Mark Farrar on Monday before the CPMC pact. “We are trying to achieve a 14% goal [in dollars],” he said. “We are looking at a lot of different ways to shape the work so that smaller local firms could participate…San Francisco is relatively unique in its desire to have more of an local business enterprise requirement.” CPMC’s 14% goal is “a much more ambitious target” than rebuild of SF General Hospital’s 7% goal…. While no agreement or contracts are in place, construction might amount to $1 billion, leading to $125 to $175 million for local and small firms…

POLITICAL RIGHT AND RIGHTS: Described on KALW radio in 2011 as a “conservative Republican,” Sikh American Harmeet Dhillion – chair of SF Republican Party and former local ACLU board member – takes on State Senator Mark Leno after she garnered 17% in a 2008 loss to Tom Ammiano in progressive, old 13th Assembly District. She’s unchallenged in June Republican Party primary…. Dhillon took on State Corrections Department in 2009 and then Attorney General Jerry Brown over whether a Sikh American could wear turbans and beards as state prison guards. In 2011, former SF District Attorney and Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose heritage is Indian and African American, inherited case. Plaintiff Trilochan Singh Oberoi accepted mediated settlement including a $61,000 Corrections job and $295,000 last October…

Heddie Chu and Russ Naylor

DRY WITH CLOTHES ON: With parents Sophia and Bill, 2014 Board of Equalization candidate Fiona Ma celebrated her birthday on March 8 inside pal Heddie Chu and her business partner Russ Naylor’s architect NC2 studio on Vallejo and Polk Streets. Once occupied by Willie Brown law office, former mayor and his law partner, now Superior Court Judge John Dearman occupied the joint and backroom, complete with sauna, shower and Jacuzzi in back. Heddie and Russ took the fun out by converting it to storage space and sauna into a toolshed. According to Willie’s oral history, he practiced law there before and during his tenure in State Assembly starting in 1964…Also home to Chu and Naylor’s metallic architecture of Bok Modern – Korean for “Good Fortune”…

MISS ME?: Email Samson Wong at potsticker@prodigy.net/

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.