THE PARTY WITH THE PARITY

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While national Republicans go through a strategic reassessment after still being on the outs in the White House or US Senate, Asian Pacific Americans have achieved parity among House Democrats led by minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Out of estimated 200 Democratic members of the party caucus, 11 are elected Asian Pacific Americans (APA) – or about five percent of the caucus and matching the APA population in the United States. Among California House members are Mike HondaJudy ChuDoris Matsui, newcomers Ami Bera and Mark Takano (first LGBT APA)…Also entering the Congress for the first time – Tammy Duckworth (1st woman combat vet) of Illinois and Tulsi Gabbard (first Samoan and Hindu American and also woman combat vet) of Hawai’i with holdover Coleen HanabusaGrace Meng will debut from New York while Robert Scott retains his Virginia seat… Meanwhile, only APA GOP member is retiring Steve Austria of Ohio…US Senators include Aloha State’s Daniel Inouye (3rd in line of White House succession) and retiring Daniel Akaka who will be succeeded by outgoing House member Mazie Hirono… Speaking of Hirono, she holds the title of four “1sts” – 1st Asian American woman in the U.S. Senate, 1st Asian immigrant in the U.S. Senate, 1st woman Senator from Hawaii, and 1st Buddhist ever elected to Congress ….

Representative-elect Tulsi Gabbard (second from left) of Hawai’i with California congressional candidate Otto Lee (second from right) and guests.

SHELL GAME: How crucial is the London Breed election to District 5 Supervisor (Japantown /Haight/Western Addition)? The Shell/CleanPowerSF deal for residential electrical generation vote became an issue hurting appointed incumbent Christina Olague. Her support for Shell undermined her election along with her vote to derail Mayor Ed Lee’s move to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi for a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. A Breed no vote, along with dissenting Supervisors Mark FarrellSean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu, could have allowed the Mayor to veto the deal, which may raise residential rates over five years to break even. Four supervisors in opposition would have prevented a board veto override (at least 8 votes of 11 are needed). Lee had reservations about the scheme devised by the SF Public Utilities Commission

 

 

District 5 Supervisor-elect London Breed

ONE DOWN, THREE TO GO: After the pasting Olague took for letting Mirkarimi off the hook, the issue may also tag the Mirkarimi four, uh three who joined Olague: Jane Kim of District 6 (Little Saigon/SOMA/Tenderloin), David Campos of District 9 (Mission) and John Avalos of District 11 (Excelsior). If Kim vies for the Board Presidency on January 8, her out is that she supports Mirkarimi’s recall… David Campos, also a possible contender for Board President and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s 17th District seat (eastern SF) in June 2014 will have to do lots of explaining about his pro-Mirkarimi stance to voters…

 

Education union political payback thru District 7 candidate FX Crowley?

SHADES OF TENG: The Norman Yee-FX Crowley count a week after the election is in recount territory as the two battle for a slim lead to become District 7 Supervisor (West of Twin Peaks). Former Appeals and Ethics Commission Chair Mike Garcia’s second and third ranked votes by a two to one margin have kept labor leader Crowley in the hunt. The same district gave rise to court administratorTony Hall whose 34 votes upset former Supervisor Mabel Teng in low turnout December 2000…

 

District 7 candidate Norman Yee (above) maybe feeling like Supervisor Mabel Teng in 2000.

OVER NIHONMACHI’S HILL: Japantown, whose parking garage is currently used by California Pacific Medical Center, is just blocks over the hill from a proposed brand new Cathedral Hill CPMC campus. Sent back to the negotiating drawing board, CPMC’s expansion and revamping will eventually get a look see from the supervisors, including new district 5 Supervisor in African American Arts and Culture Complex director London Breed…. Although typecast as a “moderate” by progressive standards of District 5, the former Redevelopment Commissioner managed to garner her share of progressive votes from non-profit chair Julian Davis, College Board President John Rizzo and Thea Selby NOT IDEOLOGY: Rick Schlackman, managing opposition to Olague, polled that voters would reject her by 52%-26% for supporting Mirkarimi…Breed’s election “crossed ideological lines.”

 

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, off the hook on the Mirkarimi case?

CALL HER THEA: Selby, a digital content marketer, had emphasized her female first name – Thea – on her literature. Given predominance of women’s issues – the Mirkarimi domestic violence issue and alleged Davis groping, did women voters galvanize for Selby and Breed? In the ranked shuffling of votes, Selby’s votes provided a decisive edge to Breed and Rizzo, while hurting Davis and incumbent Olague. Although Selby second choice votes went for Rizzo, their third choices helped put Breed over the top…

 

District 5 candidate Thea Selby (right) cut into Supervisor Christina Olague’s (left) support.

HOW ABOUT THOSE APPLES: Afternoon after Election Day, one pundit observed “the school board has a mandate to do what it feels is best for kids” after the board stared down a UESF or educator’s union anti-incumbent candidate slate over a squabble over teacher seniority layoff rights. Incumbents Sandra Lee FewerJill Wynns and Rachel Norton comfortably won re-election. Meanwhile, UC student advocate Matt Haney was the only challenger from the UESF slate making the cut with small business advocate Beverly Ho Popek, job training director Shamann Walton and SF PTA legislative chair Sam Rodriguez falling short…“Mandate” observation might be premature depending on the District 7 Supervisor race given UESF backed former SF Labor Council executive member FX Crowley over outgoing School Board President Norman Yee. UESF president Dennis Kelly is no stranger to close wins, having helped pull a rabbit out to sink Prop H, last year’s neighborhood school priority policy measure by 153 votes…

VICTORY HAS MANY PARENTS…: Re-elected District 1 (Richmond) Supervisor Eric Mar tweeted “D1 victory came from a broad coalition [including] SFRising action fund & many groups” andBarbary Coast Consulting’s Alex Clemens at SPUR last week sang the praises of Mar’s campaign manager “ground game”… Nicole Derse of 50+1 Strategies touted her 85,000 calls and 92,000 knocked doors combining “micro targeting” tactics and “meaningful conversations” boosting a late surge by Mar voters…Consensus from all sides of Eric Mar-David Lee race was a dead heat in mid to late-October before the Mar surge. Although APA activists debate role in surge by David Ho – a key grassroots organizer in Supervisor Jane Kim’s 2010 victory…Opinions range from no Ho role to pulling out a victory for a campaign in disarray…Meanwhile Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s Rose Pak – no potted plant – figured in the campaign. In a Mar campaign mail piece photo group shot, she gives the thumbs up right behind Mar…The supervisor’s re-election was so thorough that the progressive-leaning legislator even won precincts in tony Sea Cliff/Presidio Heights – usually a moderate base for any rival…

 

Victory has many fathers…and mothers for District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar.

LILY LAUNCH PAD: A Supervisor Carmen Chu (District 4 – Sunset) elevation to Assessor-Recorder does mean that she isn’t politically retired as Phil Ting demonstrated in his election to State Assembly. Prior to Ting, the Assessor-Recorder’s office served as a dead end with appointees or elected officials destined for political retirement. Adding to civic oblivion was its association with property taxes in pricey San Francisco, which doesn’t endear an ambitious candidate with homeowners and landlords… Although Carmen – encouraged last year to run for the Assembly seat – would have to wait for Ting to relinquish the seat. Under new state term limits, he can serve as many as a half dozen two-year elected terms in the Assembly…

 

 

Who is Assemblymember-elect Phil Ting seeing in State Senator Mark Leno’s office so often?

DEMOCRACY RHYMES WITH HYPOCRISY: Odd that two highly respected Asian American civil rights warhorses practically accused a local candidate of nepotism at a non-profit, considering they supported the opponent voting on his spouse’s union contract. Legal counsel working for City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office saw no nepotism in either cases…According to one campaign, a Chinese daily reporter, fed up with coloring the truth by one warhorse for political gain, won’t be interviewing the former civil rights leader…

BAPTISM OF BUCKS: First campaigns for Assembly by Fiona Ma or Phil Ting.  Both went thru baptisms of fire. Ma had a pricey showdown in 2006 raising well over $1 million for the 12th Assembly seat against Golden Gate Bridge District director Janet Reilly’s wager far north of $600 grand…Spending similar gobs of money for the westside SF seat, Ting pulled in $735,000 as of Oct. 20 and US Supreme Court justice scion Michael Breyer shoveled over $1 million for the third largest APA Assembly seat in California. That cool mill includes $600,000 of his own dead presidents… ACROSS THE HALL: No issues of nepotism here. State Senator Mark Leno’s district director Susan Sun (her name reflects her disposition – “sunny”) and husband/Assembly-elect Phil Ting can cross the hallways and visit each other on the 14th floor of the State Building…

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.