Waiting in the Wings for 2014

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WAITING IN THE WINGS FOR 2014

With San Francisco-born (and SI grad) Governor Jerry Brown future looking brighter for a fourth term in light of California’s better fiscal future, what if he forgoes running in ’14? Aspiring 2014 State Treasurer John Chiang would have to mull it over considering he also helped strangle the California’s once feral budget which the Governor finally tamed in 2012…Meanwhile, keep an eye on former SF District Attorney and California Attorney General Kamala Harris suit with US Attorney General Eric Holder against Standard & Poor’s for underrating investments and hurting state pension investments. After Holder’s assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer failed to prosecute major Wall Street players responsible for the Great Recession of 2008, Harris sets up to be successor as Obama’s US Attorney General in a year when Holder leaves. Her other notch is winning the $18 billion from “too big to fail” banks for mortgage fraud. Defendants in the S&P suit might have to think about taking on Harris, considering her refusal to settle mortgage fraud suit for peanuts backed by other state attorney generals, banks and even her own prosecutors …A successful S&P suit solidifies her re-election or credentials to run for Governor in 2014 or 2018, especially among future and current government pensioners. The mortgage win gives Democrat Harris entrée to usually Republican Central Valley – ground zero of underwater homes…

Controller John Chiang. Photo courtesy of John Chiang

Apsiring 2014 State Treasurer John Chiang. Photo courtesy of John Chiang

GENERASIAN DREAMING: At San Francisco’s Pier 28’s Hi Dive, next Generasian of leaders in Sacramento’s Nancy Bui-Thompson of Sacramento Municipal Utility District and former Assemblywoman Fiona Ma’s fundraising friends on behalf of LA City Council candidate Alex Cruz DeOcampo. Bui and pals relaxed on a Lunar New Year Sunday afternoon and stared hypnotically across the Bay – nice city to live in if only they could afford a home…Philanthropic foundation manager DeOcampo – backed by State Controller John Chiang, former Assemblyman Warren Furutani (old 55th District – Gardena) and new Assemblyman Rob Bonta (18th District) out of Alameda – is a FiliLatino American synergy running for 13th District seat vacated by LA mayoral candidate Eric Garcettiand formerly held by Council’s only APA in Mike Woo from a political generasian ago (1985-93). DeOcampo’s running out of a heavily Latino (62%) and APA (16%) district, chock with renters (80%) and strewn with Hollywood, hospitals and FilAm nurses. A sexy race for LA mayor at top of ticket could drive Latino voter turnout in an otherwise low turnout election and buoy DeOcampo to victory on March 5 or to a May 21 runoff as the Latino turnout did for Mayor Antonio Villaraigoisa’s 2009 and 2005 wins …..

PUFF OF WHITE SMOKE: The Vatican’s looking for a Pope. And SF Mayor Ed Lee has an undeclared Saint to fill a District 4 Supervisor vacancy. As one former APA political cardinal mused, even Rose Pak would have to puff papal white smoke to support Self-Help for the Elderly’s Director Anni Chung for the District 4 seat. Timing is ideal. The District 4 (Sunset) resident is winding down as SHE director, mulling retirement and a consensus candidate representing key constituencies – Chinese Americans, women and seniors. The cardinal suggested Anni could serve the remaining two years of Supervisor Carmen Chu’s term until voters select her replacement in 2014. Although Saint Anni herself could win election hands down, it just seems unseemly for her to run…

CHOKE HOLD: Cung Le at San Jose City Council last Tuesday as members including APAs Madison NguyenKansen Chu and Ash Kaira honored the star for his Ultimate Fighting Championship win and flick Man with the Iron Fist. Among giddy fans – Nguyen’s chief of staff Lou MouaSF Immigrant Rights Commissioner Teresa Chee and her spouse Hanley Chan hanging with the San Jose transplant.  Last we saw was Cung’s choke hold of pal Hanley at birthday party for another buddy last summer – Controller John Chiang (See “Potstickers” on 8/12/12 at tinyurl.com/cl3jkw6)….

SF Immigrant Rights Commissioner Teresa Chee (left to right), Hanley Chan, Cung Le, Chief of Staff Louansee Moua of San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen's Office, fan and Jane Estioko, manager for Cung Le at San Jose Council award ceremony.  (Photo courtesy of Hanley Chan)

SF Immigrant Rights Commissioner Teresa Chee (left to right), Hanley Chan, Cung Le, Chief of Staff Louansee Moua of San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen’s Office, fan and Jane Estioko, manager for Cung Le at San Jose Council award ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Hanley Chan)

AMONG LUCKY 13: Other APAs running for LA City Council District 13, Assistant Fire Chief Emile Mack –one of highest LA peace officers and Korean-born adoptee of an African American family. He’s endorsed by former LA Police Chief and current Councilman Bernard Parks and LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich. Labor leader John Choi is also contesting with support also from Chiang and Furutani along with 27th District Rep. Judy Chu of Pasadena and 49th District Assemblyman Ed Chau of Alhambra…

LONDON SHOPPING: Fiscal prudence starts with personal shopping habits. New SF Supervisor London Breed - whose District 5 includes Japantown – hunting for bargains last Monday eve at Office Depot closing sale in City Center. She won’t delegate shopping to aides when she knows best what she’s hunting for…

UNBOUND MOUTH AND FEET: American President’s daughter Lucy (Shawna Waldron) to widowed President Andrew Shepherd (played by Michael Douglas) before his date: “Yeah, and compliment her shoes. Girls like that.” Now think outside Sunnyvale Hindu temple memorial service on Sunday as shoeless 17th District Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose judges his barefoot aide’s feet: “You must be a swimmer”…

AFTER CARMEN: The next District 4 supervisor replacing Carmen Chu will have to avoid liability of heavy handed backing from major political figures or organizations and be loyal to the mayor. The best phrase the mayor wants from these major political figures: “I will back whomever Mayor Lee appoints”…So far, Police Commissioner Suzy Loftus, Chu aide Katy Tang and former mayoral advisor Malcolm Yeung (early on) have been first tier candidates for appointment given their publicity unlike second tier of candidates mayoral spokesperson Francis Tsang, Human Rights Commissioner VP Doug Chan, veteran commissioner Art Tom and unknown “player to be named later”…Already SF Democratic Party central committee women – Alix RosenthalLeah PimentelKelly Dwyer and Kat Andersen are circulating resolution urging mayor to choose a mother to replace Chu. Although no names mentioned, Loftus is a mom. Then again, the party has some amends to the APA community, especially after snubbing all five Asian Pacific American (APA) mayoral candidates for endorsement in 2011, including the Mayor…Chinese daily reported on lack of APA mayoral appointments to department heads like Police Chief, SFMTA, City Administrator. Lack of APA appointments in at least ten minor to major positions is debatable for various reasons. However, story’s timely given Chu’s vacancy represents one of city’s largest APA populations…

SHOULD DAVID RUN?: Board of Supervisor President David Chiu soliciting advice about run for what’s considered an LGBT 17th District (eastside SF) State Assembly seat to be relinquished by Tom Ammiano in 2014…COVER GIRL OR TECH BOY?: San Francisco Magazine’s December cover came down to Rose Pak or Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway and choice of cigar or baseball bat….Pak and cigar won, albeit not a Cuban…

REVENGE OF JEDI: Mayor’s advantage is to interview all District 4 candidates not only for appointment but also opposition research on fundraising capacity, endorsements and stances of future rivals. Lesson learned from jilted rival: Mayor Willie Brown appointing Kimiko Burton to Public Defender. Daughter of then State Senate President John Burton then fired chief assistant Jeff Adachi who later unseated her in 2002. Although Adachi took shots from the Burtons and SF Democratic Party establishment in 2002 and later years when he fought labor over his city pension reform measures in 2010 and 2011 and then ran for SF mayor 2011…

SHANGHAI CALLING: Attorney finds love, which sounds like professional hazard. Pre-Valentine’s Day screening of cute Shanghai Calling hosted by ChinaSF at Letterman Digital Arts Center on Feb. 6. Romantic comedy directed by Daniel Hsia and produced by Janet Yang reverses roles – un-stereotypical Asian guy gets White girl unlike typical White guy gets Asian gal while demonizing Asian guy. Besides, @SFPotstickers likes any movie with a reporter named Sam…

"Shanghai Calling" Director Daniel Hsia and actor Daniel Henney

“Shanghai Calling” Director Daniel Hsia and actor Daniel Henney

MAYOR CALLING: ChinaSF Program Assistant Xintong Zhang called last minute in 2012 to translate by SF Mayor’s Office. Had no idea it’d be for future Chinese Politburo member Han Zheng(promoted last November), then Mayor of Shanghai at San Francisco Courtesy Call with Mayor Ed Lee. Diplomatic Sister City relations preserved thanks to Xintong’s impeccable translation…

MISS ME?: Email Samson Wong at potsticker@prodigy.net and  follow him at Twitter @SFPotstickers

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.