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‘RUN ED RUN’ ALSO RESTARTSKaty Tang’s appointment to District 4 (Sunset) Supervisor is safer than lefty Planning Commissioner Christina Olague appointed as Supervisor in anti-Mayor Ed Lee and very progressive District 5 (Haight-Ashbury/Hayes Valley). Tang’s an aide to popular Carmen Chu – twice elected in District 4 where Mayor easily outpolled crowded 2011 mayoral field with 43% of vote. But Tang needs to face election herself in 8 months in Nov. 2013 to serve out remaining supervisor term as does her mentor and Assessor-Recorder Chu. Then she needs to win four-year term in Nov. 2014 on what’s considered safe mayoral and Chinese American turf. A loss (Tang or Chu) casts doubt in Mayor Lee’s own 2015 re-election prospects… The Tang election campaign started already with Mayor’s press release accentuating her Sunset ties (lifelong resident and Lowell High grad), family advocacy, budget mastery and small business credentials for one of SF’s most conservative and APA supervisor districts. Gearing up for her by securing major endorsements and raising significant money now helps preempt potential challengers…

New District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang (Courtesy of SF Wiki)

New District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang (Courtesy of SF Wiki)

LOFTUS RUN: Runner-up for appointment and Police Commissioner Suzy Loftus got early support for a future run – supervisor in 2013 or 2014 or another office. Loftus has strong ties to State Attorney General Kamala Harris and women’s community (including members of the SF Democratic Party central committee) seeing her as potential pro-mom appointment on a board with only 4 single women among 11 supervisors. She doesn’t have much time to contemplate a run like College Board member Julie Tang who lost a 1986 appointment bid to Tom Hsieh (father of SF Democratic Party treasurer Tom A. Hsieh). Strong support gave Julie Tang the green light to run for a citywide supervisor seat she barely lost…STILL A PRO: Kudos for Francis Tsang, also getting support for the appointment. Tsang still loyally carried out his duties as Mayor’s deputy press spokesman including sending out the Katy Tang announcement – proving he would have also supported the mayor’s agenda if appointed…


ENTANGLING ALLIANCES: Like Mayor Gavin Newsom’s appointment of Carmen Chu in 2007, new District 4 (Sunset) Supervisor Tang doesn’t have strong allegiances to any SF political factions. She doesn’t risk alienating community factions or powerbrokers like Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s Rose Pak, venture tech capitalist John ConwayCalifornia Democratic Party Chair John BurtonSF Democratic Party or former Mayor Willie BrownSAFE LEE VOTE: By selecting Tang, the Mayor minimizes repeat of appointee Christina Olague opposing his 2012 ouster of suspended SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. The Mayor needs to find majority of six legislators to support pro-development agenda like the California Pacific Medical Center rebuild. He might count on Tang and Mark Farrell, possibly Scott Wiener. However, he’ll need to sway swing votes David ChiuJane KimLondon BreedNorman Yee and Malia Cohen with loyal progressive opposition coming from Eric MarDavid Campos and John Avalos…

RULE SOFTLY BUT CARRY A BIGGEST STICK: Filipina American carries the biggest gavel – overseeing largest judicial branch in world – California’s 58 Superior Courts, six Courts of Appeal, one Supreme Court, 2000 jurors, 18,000 employees, 532 buildings and 19 million square feet. Priceless… Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told a Public Policy Institute of California audience last week, “Pull out your microscope…we are a 1.2% sliver of the general fund” that’s down to $3.2 billion after $1 billion in cuts for the last five years. “An incredible bargain,” she said, considering California’s courts don’t just get nickeled and dimed. They receive one penny out of every general fund dollar while bearing the same caseload as courthouses shutdown in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. “We are looking at the dismemberment of the judicial branch,” said Cantil-Sakauye, chair of policymaking Judicial Council of California…

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye heads the largest court system in the world.  

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye heads the largest court system in the world.

DEATH BY 500 AMENDMENTS: Adding to the chaos is the initiative process or “strait jacket…constantly putting our constitution in such chaos that we have a perpetual instability of our California Constitution,” as she quoted her predecessor Chief Justice Ronald George. Since ratification in 1879, California has amended its Constitution 500 more times. To compare, the US Constitution has been amended only 17 times, excluding initial Bill of Rights…Adding to workload of seven justices – including four Asian Pacific Americans (APA) Ming ChinJoyce Kennard and Goodwin Liu and Cantil-Sakauye – are citizen initiatives for constitutional amendments and statutes. Last November, voters passed 5 of 10 initiatives. 39 out of 99 have passed in 10 years but “all of those come to the Supreme Court [for review]…they come again and again”…LET LAWYERS LIVE & MULTIPLY: To avoid legal challenges of state measures or local school board or commission actions, Cantil-Sakauye said, “I maybe in the minority here, but I think that the world would have fewer problems if there were more lawyers…”

PARTY REBUILDING: Current SF Republican Party chair and Sikh American Harmeet Dhillon is up for election as a Vice Chair of California Republican Party this weekend in Sacramento…GOP’s claim on 1 of 12 state constitutional officers in Board of Equalization VP and Korean American Michelle Park Steel was in APA listening tour in Los Angeles as part of Growth and Opportunity Project last Tuesday. It’s a Republican National Committee campaign to “grow and renew the GOP” with Park, RNC Chair Reince Priebus, State Senator Bob Huff and LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich… Republicans are doing about face after November elections failing to capture White House and US Senate while losing Latino, Asian and African American constituencies. That’s magnified in Golden State with demographic and election trends lining up as minority-majority state against CRP now holding super-minority status in California Legislature and losing electoral college delegate rich state to Democratic presidential nominees since 1992…

SF Republican Party Chair Harmeet Dhillon seeking to be Vice Chair of California Republican Party (Courtesy of Dhillon for CRP)

SF Republican Party Chair Harmeet Dhillon seeking to be Vice Chair of California Republican Party (Courtesy of Dhillon for CRP)

CASPER HONORED: North Beach tree planting memorial in Washington Square Park honoring late Don Casper, VP of SF Civil Service Commission. Casper – killed in unsolved Sonoma County hit and run in Aug. 2011 – had played in the park as a child with the Caspers following tradition of memorializing family there. Among attendees – former and current Civil Service Commissioners including Mary Jung (aka SF Democratic Party chair to former SF GOP Chair Casper), Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White (Casper’s late father Andrew was fire chief) and Park and Rec Director Phil Ginsburg…Casper successfully sued and delayed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s leaseback of 11 SF state buildings in early 2011. Casper argued privatization scheme would have lost $1.4 billion over 35 years….$12,500 reward remains for arrest in the Casper case (Seetinyurl.com/3q5g467)

HANNA STORM: 55-year old Chinese American Democratic Club is less fraternity with President and former School Board member Eddie Chin running the ship in his second term and passing out Lunar New Year red envelopes to club members…CADC boys with bound feet went gaga over moxie of worker comp attorney and club VP Hanna Leung. Given City College’s accreditation crisis deadline of March 15, she could be well positioned for 2014 College Board rerun (she ran in 2012), or even appointment…CADC hasn’t been a great political launch pad for years until Ed Jew’s surprising 2006 election over Leung’s brother in law, Doug Chan. In 1980s and 1990s, CADC served as conduit to College Board – producing Lillian Sing, Julie Tang, Alan Wong and Lawrence Wong…Leungs’s VP of club once led by brother-in-law Doug Chan who’s in law (like brother, Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan) and half-in-law Michael Chan, who’s not in law but directs non-profit ASIAN Inc. Hanna’s pulling together club members to address City College crisis….It’s been decades since a woman headed club featuring keynoters – Rep. Judy Chu and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner at March 29 annual dinner…

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.