Chinese Lead Mayor’s Office, Board of Supervisors and Now SF Democratic Party

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FIRST APA WOMAN CHAIR: After four years of divisiveness, a new civility has blown through the SF Democratic Party as its 32 member county committee arm elected one of its more congenial members, Mary Jung, as chair without opposition. Jung becomes the first Asian Pacific American (APA) woman and woman of color in SF history to lead the committee coveted for its party endorsement backed by its slate cards and get-out-the vote operations. The first ever APA chair was Deputy City Attorney Alex Wong from 2000-02. Former California Democratic Party Vice Chair Alicia Wang and current Treasure Island Development Authority board member Claudine Cheng, both present at the meeting, served as party vice chairs respectively in the 1980s and 1990s.….

New SF Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung (right) congratulated with a lei from former Party Vice Chair Claudine Cheng


Former SF Democratic Party Chair Scott Wiener (left) and interim Chair Rafael Mandelman (right) applaud Mary Jung after her election as SF Democratic Party chair.

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY: Hired originally by the party in 1996 to manage the local Clinton-Gore White House campaign, Jung initiated her tenure by saying “Welcome to democracy in action, where everyone has a voice.” The energy efficiency manager said her two years as chair would be “most open and collaborative term” starting with re-electing President Barack Obama and supporting California Governor Jerry Brown’s Nov. initiative to balance the state budget. Jung’s fundraiser in the spring at veteran commissioner Caryl Ito’s home drew the support of Mayor Ed Lee and State SenatorMark Leno to repeated chants of “Mary for Chair.” After Lee was elected mayor partly also on a platform of civility in 2011, she won re-election in June along with a slate of “moderates” (by SF political standards which means “liberal-moderate”) campaigning on “collegiality and working together” and vowing “not to be driven by ideology”…

In a crowded State Building auditorium, SF District Attorney George Gascon (right) and wife Fabiola Kramsky watch SF Democratic Party officer elections.


Entrepreneur Jason Wong (foreground) takes oath of office as representative for Assembly pro Tem Speaker Fiona Ma. Also sworn in by California Democratic Party Chair John Burton to SF Democratic Party central committee are former SF Democratic Party Chair Leslie Katz (back left), Alix Rosenthal, Trevor McNeil, Supervisor Eric Mar, London Breed, College Board member John Rizo and Bill Fazio.


Watching county committee inauguration, former SF Democratic Party Chair and “Grande Dame” and nonagenarian Jane Morrison leaves county committee after 14 years.

PARTY REJECTION: One of Jung’s priorities is registering and re-registering more SF Democrats, including the staggering 59% of APAs rejecting affiliation with the party, compared to 40% of all SF non-Asian voters ( APA voters comprise nearly one in five SF voters. Reinforcing APA non-alignment with Democrats was last year’s endorsements where the party had no consensus on an unprecedented five APAs for mayor – Mayor Lee, Board of Supervisor President David Chiu, State Senator Leland Yee, Public Defender Jeff Adachi and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting. The snub generated outcry last year from APA leaders…SELF-INFLICTED: Even last April online BeyondChron Editor Randy Shaw criticized the recently sold SF Bay Guardian newspaper, influential in electing a progressive county committee, as being “particularly disconnected from the city’s growing Chinese American community” (See That “disconnect” also had hurt the party until the June election of a new county committee and Mary Jung as chair…

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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.