UNION GUY TALKS BUSINESS, FISCAL RESTRAINT TO THE LEES

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potstickers sigUNION GUY TALKS BUSINESS, FISCAL RESTRAINT TO THE LEES

Can’t go Wong with greeting anyone as “Mr. Lee” or “Ms. Lee” at recent Lee Ong Dong Family Association function inside Far East Cafe as every guest wore some St. Patrick Day green as in a green buck wrapped origami style around a red rose…Union guy politician sitting on UC and CSU regents keynotes in Chinatown but says nada about education and labor. Instead Assembly Speaker John Perez was all about business on St. Patrick’s Sunday at association dinner. He was wrapping himself around Nov. election victories of Governor Jerry Brown whose popularity has soared since his Nov. election. Feb. 21 Field Poll has Brown 57%-31% favorable-unfavorable rating while California legislature, including Perez’s chamber, reversing at 36%-51%. Although, legislature like underwater mortgages is making its way back to surface, improving from rock-bottom 10%-80% favorable-unfavorable in Sept. 2010. As long as Jerry’s coattails are, Perez and his legislators ride the magic carpet…

Assembly Speaker John Perez (right) and Assemblyman Paul Fong at 84th Chinese Medicine Day Celebration Banquet (Courtesy of Nick Hardeman)

Assembly Speaker John Perez (right) and Assemblyman Paul Fong at 84th Chinese Medicine Day Celebration Banquet. Photo courtesy of Nick Hardeman.

PRO-BUSINESS & RESTRAINT: Anything UC and CSU would have resonated with largely Chinese American audience whose kids make up substantial part of APA admissions and enrollment. Restraining temptation of legislative supermajority political steamroll, Perez talked pro-business and no “backsliding” after balancing state budget while giving the Governor the chance to restructure government. Among Perez’s legislation – creating Go-Biz – Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, thru which California is reopening two trade offices in China and one in Mexico after having “no global presence”….and then talking about tax credits for recession “battered” industries like construction or nurturing high flying biotechnology…

East Bay 18th Distict Assemblyman Rob Bonta at Lee Ong Dong Association dinner

East Bay 18th Distict Assemblyman Rob Bonta at Lee Ong Dong Association dinner.

COALITION BUILDING: Perez, terming out end of 2014, didn’t say anything about Latinos and APAs marching together. The Speaker has talked about working on education issues in the future but hasn’t identified a future office he’d like to aspire to. But sounds like he’s laying groundwork for one, identifying Latinos and APAs as part of California’s diversity, linked by trade to Asia and Mexico. “Pages of history are filled with the moments of triumph and where we have had darker experiences” as he noted rites of passage of Chinese Americans thru Angel Island and his father and grandfather crossing from Mexico…

WHERE’S THE BEEF?: Axiom in politics – never give your opposition any free publicity. That’s odd considering internal pollster Lake Research Partners for Rep. Mike Honda (District 17) considers his potential challengers as “unknown.” Yet, Lake touted Honda’s “commanding 52-point lead over potential challenger Ro Khanna” for June 2014….Using last week’s poll, Honda has seized Khanna’s potential assets for an upset – President Barack Obama has endorsed Honda over his former White House appointee Khanna; Honda leads 56% to 6% among tech workers, when the former Assistant Secretary of Commerce has evangelized American competitiveness; and even a Khanna base – South Asian Americans back Honda with 59% over Khanna’s 6%. Prior to Honda blitz, race was looking much like 1984 Hart-Mondale Democratic presidential race. Former Vice President Walter Mondale was backed by traditional liberal coalition (e.g. labor) versus US Senator Gary Hart, a younger “new ideas” centrist Democrat (e.g. competitiveness and defense reform). But Mondale, borrowing Wendy’s fast food slogan, tagged Hart with the question – “Where’s the Beef?” which is what Khanna faces. But Hart – discredited in 1988 over an extramarital affair – presaged coming of centrist President Bill Clinton in 1992 ….

HEAD OF THE PARADE: Mayor Ed Lee, missing Lee Ong Dong, led not only Cork-SF Sister City delegation but served as Grand Marshal to St. Patrick’s Day parade in Cork, Ireland…Among them, District 2 (Pacific Heights/Marina) Supervisors Mark Farrell and Norman Yee. Farrell – lone Irish American on the board and CPMC trio (see “Potstickers” 3/6/13) – and Yee of District 7 (West of Twin Peaks), a community with historically tied to SF Irish American faiths, culture, schools and politicians, including Yee’s predecessors – Sean Elsbernd and Tony Hall…Norman – a very high wire balancing act as school board member on JROT Cand student assignments – was first to support David Chiu for Board President in January. Likewise Mayor Lee needs Yee on board for his agenda and Cork is way paving way for easier 2016 election. Yee won by 132 votes in 2012 …Although it might have helped if Katy Tang attended given District 4’s solid Irish American constituency…

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Tax wonk and SF Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu at SF Democratic Party breakfast

LEE RETURNS: After five months contemplating life after loss to District 1 (Richmond) Supervisor Eric MarDavid Lee and his former campaign sidekick Thomas Li pied piping politicos for Lee Ong Dong like State Senator Mark Leno, Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, Supervisor Katy “Scooter” Tang, Board President David Chiu, DA George Gascon, Supervisor Scott Wiener, Board of Equalization member Betty Yee and SF Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung for perennial mayoral emcee Uncle Mel Lee with daijye “Big Sister” Rose Pak of Chinese Chamber of Commerce observing from center of VIP table…Lee and Li are getting ready to resuscitate non-partisan CAVEC after Lee took leave to run for supervisor…

Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan, future mayor Wayne Lee and Councilmember Robert Gottschalk at Lee Ong Dong Association dinner.

Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan, future mayor Wayne Lee and Councilmember Robert Gottschalk at Lee Ong Dong Association dinner.

MILLBRAE BLOODLINES: Lees come in one size – petite as in Mayor Ed Lee (a paper son and technically horsey surnamed Mah like another political equine Fiona Ma) with another similarly petite Lee lining up to be mayor - Wayne Lee of Millbrae City Council. At Lee Association, he was hanging with great Council bloodlines – current Mayor Gina Papan – daughter of late legislator Lou “Heart of Gold” Papan and retired US Naval Reserve Captain Robert Gottschalk - on this earth via Prussian ancestry and thankfully a Gottschalk surviving Custer’s Last Stand after being dispatched away from Little Big Horn. His uniform hangs intact in Wyoming museum…

Board of Equalization candidate Fiona Ma texting with Thomas Li (rear) at SF Democratic Party breakfast on March 6

Board of Equalization candidate Fiona Ma texting with Thomas Li (rear) at SF Democratic Party breakfast on March 6

SILENCE IS GOLDEN: Giving it up for Community Youth Center run by Sarah Wan at March 13 silent auction…Supervisor Jane Kim splurged $165 and got $270 worth of Kabuki massage and communal bath. Now who will she commune with? Also in her shopping cart: yummy Yamasho Restaurant and Saks Fifth Avenue One Hour Personal Stylist and Image Consultation…styling for ’14 re-election, given ritzier demographics moving into District 6’s SOMA and Rincon Hill…serial political candidate and Chinatown rice kernel counter Calvin Louie nabbing $200 autographed David Lee jersey for $110 – sans sweat spots fromGolden State Warriors hoops-star, not former District 1 candidate…

SUIT FOR A LAWYER?: And Mademoiselle barrister and Treasure Island Development Commissioner Claudine Cheng ponying $335 for two foo-foo items: $200 Wilkes Bashford certificate to dress for occasion of $300 at Terra Restaurant in vineyards of St. Helena.…His honor and scribe Willie Brown is patron of resurrected Bashford and once shared law offices with Claudine…

ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET: Some donkeys did wonder whether SF Democratic Party breakfast by SF Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung, former Mayor Willie Brown, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Lee and others on stage at the Mark Hopkins Hotel on March 6 had introduced disgraced Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, making an appearance. Most peeps said the party forgot. But then no one was rushing to correct the oversight, or was that an over-slight?

DIAPERS FOR ROSE: Miss Asian America impresario and former SF Republican County Central Committee member Rose Chung leaving her Jane Hancocks all over CYC silent auction floor and fretting about what if she won them all….she’s out $250 but got $400 worth of stone Hare, Rooster and Pig chops courtesy of former District 10 (Bayview/Visitacion Valley) supervisor candidate Marlene Tran, dinner in Angie and Alvin Louie’s Hana Zen Yakitori at Pier 39 and Motorcycle Diaper Cake for a baby girl…whose baby girl?…

PRETTY IN PINK: Eve before CYC gala, Board Chair Jaynry Mak had no dress and could only pick the one size left over a half hour before store closing…Takes skill to wear and maneuver like a MUNI driver evading traffic cones in an obstacle course…she eluded every stiletto and sole at packed silent auction and dinner in Chinatown Hilton. No wardrobe malfunctions…

CYC Board Chair Jaynry Mak wears her last minute purchase at 43rd annual Festival of Youth Gala.

CYC Board Chair Jaynry Mak wears her last minute purchase at 43rd annual Festival of Youth Gala.

TAX WONKETTES: Although her new office was “autopiloted” by Deputy Assessor Zoon Nguyen after Phil Ting left for State Assembly, cerebral Carmen Chu wonks about still having to minimize “risk” at Assessor-Recorder’s office while at March 16 Asian American Contractors Association dinner…Another tax geek, candidate Fiona Ma’s 23 Board of Equalization counties in her primarily Pacific Ocean coastal district is extra incentive for boogie boarder to run since her first four years (2003-2006) as District 4 (Sunset) SF Supervisor representing Ocean Beach bodysurfers. Frugal CPA returned her leased Toyota Prius for her old Mini Coop back from mom Sophia and dad WilliamRUN KIM RUN: Niece Kimberly Ma, making her political debut at Auntie Fiona’s March 7 birthday. Daughter of Mike Ma practiced projecting her door-to-door Girl Scouts cookie stump speech when she tags along with former Brownie Fiona. Cookie monsters have tough going in not so kid-friendly SF where “People don’t answer. They have gates. They don’t want to come down,” said Kimberly’s very political Aunt…

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.