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High tides lift political boats. Low tides ground them. San Francisco turnouts have declined when Democratic Presidents seek a second term since 1976 – Jimmy Carter went from 73% (1976) to 65% (1980) and Bill Clinton – 69% (1992) to 61% (1996). Barack Obama’s first election in 2008 had a record setting 81% turnout. With Obama-leaning California not in play for the Presidential electoral vote calculus, expect a lower turnout in San Francisco – which affects down ticket races, especially progressive candidates. It’s important given Asian Pacific American (APA) squeakers for candidates or issues…Riding the 2008 Obama tide, District 1 (Richmond, 43% APA as of 2010) Supervisor candidate Eric Mar eked by with 347 votes over Chinese Historical Society of America director Sue Lee and former California Democratic Party Vice Chair Alicia Wang. Mar is on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot for a second term in a battle with former Parks and Recreation Commissioner David Lee…Likewise, School Board President Norman Yee is arm wrestling for the open District 7 seat (West of Twin Peaks, 34% APA) with former SF Ethics Commissioner Mike Garcia, SF Labor Council leader FX Crowley and writer Joel Engardio



Supervisor candidate and former commissioner David Lee discusses crime and policing issues with District 1 resident.


VOTING AT LOW TIDE: Presidential election years like 2012 tend to be the highest turnouts in four-year election cycles. They could have turned the tide in these non-presidential year races – BART Director James Fang won by only 56 votes over future College Board trustee Rodel Rodis in 1990. A Fang defeat would have left SF without any GOP elected official…In a December 2000 runoff after the controversial Gore-Bush presidential recount, progressive-turned-centrist Supervisor Mabel Teng lost by 39 votes to newcomer and court administrator Tony Hall, aided by a District 7 turnout of 40%. Apathy was as low as 5% around SF State University, where 35% of students were APA as of 2011. Teng, who led Hall 44%-22% in the Nov. primary, was helped by a 74% Gore-Bush turnout in District 7…Proposition H in Nov. 2011, a non-binding policy measure to change SF public school student assignments, barely lost by 153 votes….


District 7 Supervisor candidate and School Board President Norman Yee debates former SF Ethics Commissioner Mike Garcia (rear)


SKIRTING IRS LAW: Hypocrisy rhymes with democracy. Press conference organizers might have inadvertently brought themselves unnecessary attention after their recent press conference raised questions about the financing, governance and operations of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee (CAVEC) formerly run by candidate David Lee…Under current Internal Revenue Service code, non-partisan and non-profit or IRS 501(c)3 corporations are prohibited from supporting political candidates… An internal document prepared for three Asian Pacific American community leaders at the press conference highlighted the early relationship between the non-partisan, non-profit IRS 501(c)3 CAVEC and the partisan Chinese American Democratic Club. When asked about the document, a leader quoted in the internal document said, “It is not the document that volunteers and I have provided to the Eric Mar campaign [for District 1 Supervisor], members of the media and other interested groups/individuals”…

WHAT WASN’T DISCLOSED: What the Mar campaign, media and others did not know was the relationship of CADC and CAVEC. One community leader – a CAVEC founder and former CADC president – was quoted in the document that CAVEC was an “offshoot of the Chinese American Democratic Club…We also supported Gordon Lau in his [1979] failed run for the Board of Supervisors.” That same CAVEC founder said that SF School and College Board candidates were also supported in the 1970s, about the same time CAVEC was incorporated as an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit and non-partisan corporation in 1976…


District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar trades barbs with former commissioner David Lee (not pictured) over Mar’s vote for 8 Washington Street condo development and affordable housing priorities at the Planning Association of Richmond/SF League of Women Voters debate.


RETALIATION AGAINST LEE: The CADC-CAVEC closeness was reinforced as a miffed second former CADC president said in the same document, “As a past president of CADC, I was reminded CAVEC was taken away from CADC by David Lee. For all the past CADC members and supporters we need to payback pirate Lee by supporting Supervisor Eric Mar for his re-election. I will pass the word around”…NEUTRAL IN LEE-MAR RACE: Officially, the current CADC leadership led by former School Board President Eddie Chin is neutral in next week’s District 1 (Richmond) election between Mar and Lee. However, it appears that a few CADC alums are bent on retaliating against Lee for “hijacking” CAVEC from CADC and separating the non-partisan and partisan organizations…

[Editor’s Note: Columnist Samson Wong is a former president and long-time member of the Chinese American Democratic Club and former chair of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee.]

PRAISE THE LORD…AND POTSTICKERS: Baseball gods allowing omniscient AsianWeek Foundation to hold 2nd Annual Potsticker Eating contest on Oct. 23 in between Giants postseason games and relinquishing on a Canadian tsunami threatening a Poseidon Adventure sequel in the midst of all SF Giants World Series Game #2 exuberance on Oct. 27… NOT ON THE BUCKET LIST: Former SF School Board candidate and Coalition of Asian American Government Employees leader Bayard Fong trying to peddle pair of bleacher ducats just hours before Game #7 Championship Series game on Oct. 22…Fong offered one to the ever ubiquitous Myron Lee, who went through Giants Torture as to whether to buy. Good guy Fong even went as far as subsidizing the seat… Myron resisted temptation as he eventually checked off a World Series game from his bucket list…

Contestants do their best to eat as many potstickers as they can in 3 minutes.

Most Potstickers Eaten Winner Shamann Walton, school board candidate, Potstickers columnist Samson Wong, Most Stylish Eater winner Beverly Popek, school board candidate, and event MC Emil Guillermo.

GO GIANTS, NOT GO-TV: With voters casting ballots early by mail daily since early October or turning out to polls at City Hall, political strategist and baseball fan Jim Ross warned of a lower turnout due to 16 Giants playoff and World Series games…That likely hurts campaign get-out-the-vote operations knocking on doors or telephoning voters at inopportune times. Ross should know, given he and campaign manager Thomas Li are churning out votes for candidate David Lee…

DAI LOW CHRIS: Chinese real estate radio talk host Chris Siow at a Trick or Treat fete, donning faux tattoos to go with his bald pate to mimic the buffed and reformed Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow…Not even close since he wasn’t sporting Chow’s trademark ‘stache…Siow should have borrowed from Rose Pak’s novelty stash of ‘staches from 2011 Mayor Ed Lee’s campaign…

School Board candidates and Potsticker eating contestants Matt Haney (center) and
Sam Rodriguez (right) with School Board member Rachel Norton

BIG GULPS STILL LEGAL HERE: Unless Mayor Lee bans “Big Gulps” of potstickers to end obesity as New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg initiative, former College Board student trustee Jeffrey Fang’s record of inhaling 26 gyozas in three minutes can always be toppled…The UESF teacher’s union school board candidates slate was neck and neck – with winner Shamann Walton, who urged AsianWeek Foundation not to disclose pics of daddy gulping gyozas to his kids Monique and Malcolm. Walton won by the skin of 22 potstickers, beating UESF slate rival Matt Haney, downing 20 in a nascent SF-style version of the NYC Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, featuring a political cease fire by Obama and Mitt Romney… Marketing maven Charles Chan dragged an unwilling SF College Board candidate Hanna Leung in hopes of having her chow down as a last minute potsticker-eating contestant. Hanna didn’t compete and gets to keep her figure… Sporting College Board candidate Amy Bacharach worried about fasting in advance of gyoza gobbling. Advice to Amy B. – fast afterwards. She acquitted herself, nibbling on 13…Healing School Board candidate Beverly Ho-A-Yun Popek pecking at ten but winning the eat off in the style category by popular audience applause… Popek’s assailant (See: tinyurl.com/8lwflme) forced her into court at last minute, missing her Chronicle endorsement interview, which couldn’t be rescheduled….

College Board candidate Hanna Leung, Potsticker eating crasher?

BLEACHER BLEEHS: Liz Kim, local leasing agent for CLIMB real estate and bleacher bum-babe caught in Chronicle pic at a Giants playoff game last week, witnessed her canoe coach fall into AT&T ballpark’s outfield DMZ after near death defying catch of Pedro Sandoval’s third homerun World Series ball on Oct. 24. Dawn Price wasn’t trespassing but SFPD handcuffed and escorted her out after stuffing her prized ball in her netherworld which security later fished out…. Price’s Panda homer-gate controversy could rank next to Patrick Hayashi’s successful claim against Alex Popov scrum over Barry Bonds 73rd home run season record ball in 2001…Go Dawn!


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.