RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE – TULSI, OTTO & TAMMY

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LEADING HAWAI’I FOR LIFE: In Hawai’i, 88-year Senate President Pro Tem (3rd in succession line after President ObamaDan Inouye and his “junior” Senator, 88-year Dan Akaka will outlive most members of Congress. “Junior” is stepping down with Rep. Mazie Hirono lined up to succeed him after she wins the Nov. 6 election…. Hawai’i also starts young with Hirono’s likely successor in a Democratic-safe seat, 31-year old Tulsi Gabbard, first elected to the Aloha State’s House of Representatives at age 21…To secure Hawai`i’s 2nd District US House seat (37% APA as of 2010) Samoan American Gabbard looked to tap more than 40 donors out of San Francisco, which has a sizeable Hawaiian ex-pat community and counts more than 400 Native Hawaiians and nearly 2,000 Samoan Americans according to the 2010 Census…Among the backers in an early October fundraiser drawing at least $10,000 - NorCal President of the Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce’s Eric Tao, publisher Ted FangDon Solem of Solem & Associates, SF commissioner Julie Soo, counsel Julie Baird and reserve Navy Commander Otto Lee …

SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi (center) with wife Eliana Lopez (right) still faces recall. Both are together at the January 2012 SF Sheriff inauguration days after domestic violence allegations.

BEATING THE RECALL: Although back in office, SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi still faces a recall election. The first campaign for Mirkarimi is fighting an attempt to qualify the recall with at least 47,000 signatures of SF voters or ten percent of the electorate. It’s more likely more than 60,000 signatures will be needed to compensate for invalid signatures…As seen with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, two attempted recalls failed this year because of disunity and the high signature threshold, which was expensive to gather. Further, Quan disassociated herself from the recall (See “Potstickers” 3/29/12) by showing her “support” as 190 commissioners attended her high profile “State of the City” speech and refocused voters on her efforts to run Oakland and make it “rise” with 5,000 jobs created in 2011. Mirkarimi, who recently registered more than 400 inmates to vote from the county jail, will need to wage a campaign like Quan to urge voters not to sign the recall petition. At the same time, he’ll need to prominently show that he’s doing his job and that a strained city budget can’t afford the millions to run a very likely low turnout 2013 recall election…

 

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan (above) campaign against recall could be model for SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi

SERVICE ATTITUDE TO BE FIRST: Tulsi Gabbard was “raised with a service attitude.” Always asking herself, “How can I best be of service,” the scion of a Hawaiian state senator after her first term as a Hawai’i State Representative volunteered for Iraq and “left my safe political seat for an 18 month long deployment.” Gabbard returned to work for Sen. Akaka. In a second deployment to Kuwait, she led an MP platoon as Captain. By next April, she’ll served in the military for ten years…The American Samoa native and Hindu, who moved to Hawai’i at age 2, could join Ladda Tammy Duckworth (running for the Illinois 8th District Congressional seat) as the first female combat veterans as well as first APA vets ever elected to Congress in US history…ALOHA SPIRIT: Mixed into the “service attitude” is the Aloha spirit Gabbard would bring to Congress. There is a “respect for human beings first” when it comes to diversity of worship, culture and birthplace, she said. “Aloha is…the greatest source of strength and is the ultimate tool in building bridges and ladders for people to come together and for progress to be possible”…

 

Illinois congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (Courtesy of USDOJ)

BRONZE STAR BACKER: Here’s another candidate with Hawai’i connections. “True, no shit war hero,” that’s how congressional candidate Otto Lee’s candidly endorsed hapa Lt. Colonel Ladda Tammy Duckworth. The 2004 double amputee won a Purple Heart after a rocket-propelled grenade exploded between her legs as she piloted a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. Lee himself is a Bronze Star winner earned for close call mortar attacks against him and troops in Iraq …Duckworth, waging a battle for a redistricted Democratic leaning seat in Chicago’s northwest burbs, eventually became Assistant Secretary for President Barack Obama’s US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, former Army Chief of Staff. Duckworth, Obama and Shinseki all have Aloha connections…

Congressional candidates Tulsi Gabbard (left) of Hawai’i and Otto Lee of California

SERVE, OR BE SERVED: Meanwhile, Otto Lee has garnered the endorsements of Central Valley Latino mayors and elected officials along with labor leader Dolores Huerta in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Devin Nunes for California’s newly redistricted 22nd District. Unlike Lee’s old Sunnyvale and Silicon Valley stomping grounds, unemployment is “sky high” in Fresno with a 14 to 15% rate and Tulare County close to 20%.  “Whatever has been gone on before is not working,” said Lee who says 30% of district has changed “and made us more competitive.” Nearly one in ten residents is APA. Although APAs outside the district might think the 22nd District is far flung, they have to support APA and military veteran candidates like him, Duckworth and Gabbard. The trio appeared at an Asian Pacific Islander Caucus candidate forum at September’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. “I tell people, if we’re not at the table, we’re on the menu,” he said…

ALOHA HUKULAU: In another case, there’s no menu, let alone a table. At the once heavily trafficked pit stop of MUNI drivers and mechanics and a stream of APA political candidates like current Assistant Sheriff Paul Miyamoto’s 2011 SF sheriff campaign couldn’t sustain Eric Tao’s Hukilau. Tao, a principal of AGI Capital, closed down his passion for running the Hawaiian dive at the hub of Masonic and Geary earlier this year. Meanwhile, Miyamoto could be in the running if SF Sheriff Mirkarimi is recalled …

SUGGESTIVE BOX: District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener according to KQED-FM’s Michael Krazny morning talk show last week was reluctant to take on the issue of going pubic in public. But his gay neighbors complained….Ending poor Scott’s vexing problem could be to designate Jane Warner Plaza streetcar terminal at Market and Castro as a park, which could make naked guys illegal, since birthday suits are verboten in municipal parks… Perhaps legislation to ban nudity within distance of facilities serving minors, like public and private schools? From Sacramento, State Senator Mark Leno, an ex-supe representing District 8’s Castro/Upper Market, might help with some inspiration from late Assemblyman Lou “The Heart of Gold” Papan. On behalf of cemeteries and competing casinos, Papan successfully passed state legislation in 1998 prohibiting card rooms within distance of a necropolis or “city of cemeteries”…Which was unlucky for Lucky Chances given Colma’s status as the Golden State’s only cemetery city with ubiquitous headstones. However, APAs Rene Medina and Richard Kuramoto rushed and opened the card room before the law took effect in 1998…

WHO’S THAT CHINESE GUY WITH FX: First District 7 (West of Twin Peaks) Norman Yee’s mailer failed to identify the “Mayor of West Portal,” Art Belensen, in one mailer (See “Potstickers” 10/5/12). Now his rival, FX Crowley, failed to identify State Senator Leland Yee’s photo in one ugly-looking Chinese language mailer, with different size fonts for the English text and redundant endorsements on both sides in Chinese and English…SQUINT IF YOU ARE A HOOD: FX’s mail is consistently minimalist in graphics, text and size. One postcard size mailer distributed with a “Crime Watch” graphic on one side, instructed voters on the flip side to “Place this card in a window of your home to help stop crime and to keep District 7, our district, safe.” Hmmm, not sure scumbags will see that giant 3-inch by 5-inch postcard…

State Senator Leland Yee at rally for District 7 Supervisor candidate FX Crowley.

 

WHO WOO?: Funny one elected official made some hay out of low profile Richmond resident Jeff Woo, hardly known in the district, for his labors as SF Association of Realtors President to influence an election race…Meanwhile, Woo and outgoing director Jim Fabris hosted September realtors conference on “Property Ownership & Taxation Issues for Same Sex Couples & Extended Families.” The workshops, pushed by SFAR board members like former Chinese Real Estate Association of America President Amy Kong, featured speakers or sponsors on LGBT legal, finance and discrimination issues. Among them: Bank of America and Merrill Lynch and featuring Deb Kinney of the DLK Law GroupAlma Soongi Beck of the Beck Law GroupKaren K. Stogdill of KKS Tax Associates and Anne Quesada of HUD… Woo, whose 2012 term ends soon, could leave his long-term imprint with the hiring of Fabris’ successor…

PUT IT ON VIBRATE: Too much excitement before David Lee-Eric Mar-Sherman d’Silva SRO master debate as Planning Association of Richmond president Raymond Holland urged District 1 audience, “If you got a vibrator—put it on vibrator [sic].” Uh, phone…The mike-less president obviously was heard as a few in the large APA audience chuckled. Funny how a few did hear Holland in the acoustically challenged gym during last Tuesday’s SF League of Women Voters-PAR face off…

HOUSE BY HOUSE: After an absence being a mommy, Esther Lee – former aide to State Senator John Burton and former co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club – is back in the political scene. Volunteering for Norman Yee’s District 7 supervisor campaign, she hosted a Golden Gate Heights house soiree introducing Yee to 12 converts. Lee lives blocks away from her old state senate colleague and AsianWeek.com “Buzz” columnist Fiona Ma, Superior Court Judge Lillian Sing … A little slow at first, said Lee. It was a “tough weekend with so much going on,” but it “went well” despite competing with an Oct. 7 49ers game, SF Giants playoff, America’s Cup, Fleet Week and Strictly Bluegrass…

MISS ME?: Follow me on Twitter at @SFPotstickers and 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.