FLIP, FLOP, FLAP ON JROTC & SHERIFF

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Former SF Ethics Commission President Mike Garcia’s been pounding away at his major District 7 (West of Twin Peaks) supervisor rivals, especially calling School Board President Norman Yee too progressive for the conservative District 7. At a Sept. 27 SF State forum of SF Young Democrats, Garcia particularly questioned whether voters could trust Yee on two major Asian Pacific American issues: changing student assignment policy (Proposition H – Nov. 2011, 60% support in District 7) and restoring JROTC in the public schools (Prop V – Nov. 2008, 65% support in West of Twin Peaks)… Asian Pacific Americans at JROTC’s height made up more than two-thirds of the peak 1,600 cadets (currently 1,100) while Chinese American parents successfully sued SF Unified in the 1990s over assignments (Ho vs. SFUSD)…

Former SF Ethics Commission President Mike Garcia takes on School Board President Norman Yee in race for District 7 Supervisor

IN NORM WE TRUST?: “Why should the voters trust you to have constant core [values] when it comes to issues if you are elected,” Garcia asked in a heated exchange (tinyurl.com/9vesyv3) with Yee, a school board swing JROTC vote since 2006…. “If it weren’t for me, JROTC would not be in our [public school] system,” Yee said. People should trust him, he said, as he slammed the debate table with his hand. Trust in him had been borne in voters electing him twice to the school board and endorsements from his six school board colleagues to be president….

School Board President Norman Yee defends his stances on JROTC.

JANE WON’T TOSS SHERIFF: But will recall him. Perplexed tweeters during the Oct. 9 Board of Supervisors marathon asked for “clarification of the clarification” and translation of her “legalese” as to where Supervisor Jane Kim stood on tossing suspended SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi after her initial tortured board response. The civil rights attorney then took second dibs to clarify her statements minutes later before voting to reinstate Mirkarimi. A day later, Kim said the board “was asked to set a precedent around the interpretation of our Charter, the Constitution of our City, regarding the removal of our public officers.” President Benedict Hur, the only Ethics Commissioner opposing Mirkarimi’s removal, convinced Kim that supervisors could set a precedent removing an official for personal misconduct by inflicting “physical violence against his wife” as opposed to not using his office powers “to commit wrongdoing”…Kim said her stance did “not condone the Sheriff’s actions.” But her confidence in him was “greatly diminished” enough to say “the electorate has every right to recall the Sheriff, an action which I would support”…

LEFT OR LEFT OUT: District 1(Richmond) re-election battle for Eric Mar who voted to toss the Sheriff has gotten complicated. Pro-Mirkarimi progressives are raising eyebrows for siding with Mayor Ed Lee who originally wanted the Sheriff out…Although the SF Bay Guardian endorsed Mar, executive editor and publisher Tim Redmond expressed his disappointment in Mar. “When [District 5 SupervisorChristina] Olague, who has been accused of being too close to the mayor, had the courage to stand up, Mar, who has nearly universal progressive support, did not”… Mar has received support from Mayor Lee’s allies, including some underwriting some of the more than 20 tables at Mar’s Chinatown Four Seas Restaurant fundraiser on Sept. 25. Some in Mar’s disappointed progressive camp might sit this election out, as opposed to defecting to rival David Lee, whose wife use to sit on the SF Commission on the Status of Women (which also condemned Mirkarimi)…A conflicted Mar last Monday said on a Chronicle blog he’s weighing a recall of Mirkarimi. However, during the Oct. 9 board vote he said his late grandmother was a domestic violence victim whose emotional scars, silence and acquiescence crossed generations. “I must honor my grandmother’s memory,” said Mar as he voted to toss Ross….

Supervisor Eric Mar votes to oust SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi but risks alienating his progressive base.

BANANA SPLIT: Due to JROTC or student assignment wavering, District 7 supe candidate Norman Yee has received mixed reviews from some APA Democratic activists. During a joint SeptemberWestside Chinese Democratic Club and Asian Pacific Democratic Club forum, one school board member said Yee had “flipped flopped” on JROTC. In particular, pro-JROTC Assemblywoman Fiona Ma was interrogating candidates on where they stood on Prop H to restore JROTC in 2008 …APDC (led by SF Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung) ranked Crowley first and Garcia second in its endorsements while WCDC (led by State Assembly aide Francisco Hsieh) ranked Crowley first and Yee second in their recommendations… Chinese American Democratic Club (led by former school board member Eddie Chin) ranked Garcia first, Yee second and writer Joel Engardio third… Yee faces a crucial APA political base that represents nearly 35% of District 7 is APA…

GUARANTEED CONFIRMATION & PRESS: Press baroness Wendi Deng Murdoch will have a News Corp partner to spike any future cream pie heaver as former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao joins Robert Murdoch’s board of directors in Los Angeles on Oct. 16. Chao’s no stranger to cleaning up after News Corp’s phone hacking scandals. Ascending to permanent CEO in 1992 after United Way of America’s financial mismanagement and fraud, Chao restored credibility and trust in the non-profit…However, that could be short lived if GOP nominee Mitt Romney is elected President. He could propel Chao to a higher cabinet post, having served as George W. Bush’s Labor Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Transportation for the elder George H. Bush… No Senate confirmation or bad press, to worry about. On Election Day, Nov. 6, Chao’s husband, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), obsessed with making Obama a one-term President, could become Majority Leader if GOP gains a Senate majority…

Does former White House cabinet member and new News Corp board member Elaine Chao have a political future after the Nov. 6 election with Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney? (File photo)

HIGH FIVES IN THE AISLES: Carmen Chu, voting to toss Sheriff Mirkarimi last week, said accusations that the board was trying to break up the Mirkarimi-Lopez family made her stomach “churn.” Chu was saddened “to see people give other people high fives” at a debate with the decorum of a sporting event than judging the fate of the Sheriff over his domestic violence incident…

GOVERN BY GANGNAM STYLE: Some Gangnam Style moves as Board of Equalization candidate and AsianWeek.com entertainment “Buzz” columnist Fiona Ma threw a fun-filled fundraiser for her ten years in political office. After recalling the 2002 baptism Ma faced as an APA supervisor candidate, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu noted, “It’s a testament to you that we have so many Asians at City Hall that Jane Kim and Carmen Chu every week still get confused for this woman”… The three APA Ma look-alikes could make an interesting K-Pop trio, given their power moves…Mayor Ed Lee praised multitasking Assemblywoman Ma for keeping the political door open for the next GenerAsian of candidates as Ma urged votes for School Board candidate Beverly Ho-A-Yun Popek and District 1 (Richmond) supervisor contender David Lee on November’s ballot….

VOTERS FINAL SAY ON ROSS: A battle won does not make a war win. Although four supervisors (Kim, Avalos, Campos and Olague) let Mirkarimi off the hook, ultimately San Francisco voters will “certify” the board’s decision in key Nov. 6 elections, as much as the 1998 GOP congressional defeats sealed their distaste for the Republican pursuit of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment… Pro-Mirkarimi Supervisors Avalos of District 11 (Excelsior/Ingleside) and Campos of District 9 (Mission) lucked out and face little or no opposition for re-election while Christina Olague faces District 5 (Japantown/Haight-Ashbury) voters…

POTSTICKER DOUBLE HEADER: Gyoza gobblers at the starting gate for 2nd Annual “Potstickers” Potsticker Eating Contest on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6 pm, One Ferry Plaza (behind the Ferry Building) in San Francisco – SF School Board candidates Beverly PopekMatt HaneySam Rodriguez and Shamann Walton, SF College Board contender Amy Bacharach, Board chair Christopher Do of the National Association of Asian American ProfessionalsSF Democratic Party Vice Chair Leah Pimentel. Serial gyoza eating could be as famous as hard-boiled egg gulper Paul Newman in his cult classic, “Cool Hand Luke”…The record holder is former City College student trustee Jeffrey Fang – 26 potstickers in three minutes…Proceeds benefit non-profit AsianWeek Foundation. RSVP at http://2ndannualpotstickersfundraiser.eventbrite.com/

WING IT OR SWING IT: To ease the indigestion, join Asia Society of Northern California for a 5:30-8:00 pm talk on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Nixon-Peabody, One Embarcadero Center, Suite 1800, in San Francisco about “The 2012 Race: Asian Americans and the US Presidential Election”…With Asian Pacific Americans nearly six percent of the US, are they the swing vote in this election? Listen to Professor Bill Ong Hing of University of San Francisco School of Law, former anchor Sydnie Kohara (moderator), Daphne Kwok of APIA Vote and Chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIsKarthick Ramakrishnan, Associate Professor of Political Science, UC Riverside and yours truly, Samson Wong, “Potstickers” Columnist of AsianWeek.com….RSVP athttp://tinyurl.com/8paxvbw

MISS ME?: Follow me on Twitter at @SFPotstickers and email Samson Wong at potsticker@prodigy.net.

 

-Germaine Lau contributed to this column.

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.