Ed Lee is Unrelated to Dewey Tom

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Too early? It’s two years in advance of a 2015 mayoral kickoff but trends looks like a second term for Mayor Ed Lee. But @SFPotstickers isn’t ready to tweet out that Ed Lee should win a second four-year term. But that’s too much of a Dewey Tom prediction, the Asian Pacific American (APA) political relative of New York Governor Tom Dewey, who “beat” President Harry Truman in an infamous 1948 headline…

IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID: Lee’s term has coincided with an economic recovery – from unemployment at 9.5% when he started (Jan. 2011) to 5.4% (April 2013), coupled with major job-generating projects – tax credits attracting firms like Twitter, hosting Super Bowl L in 2016 and scoring a waterfront Golden State Warriors basketball and entertainment arena…A string of SF Chamber of Commerce polls – tending to measure older and moderate-conservative voters – have shown that the mayor’s favorable-unfavorable ratings have generally stayed high every February from his first year in 2011 (56%-3%) as a relative unknown, 2012 (68%-16%) and 2013 (65%-28%). Coinciding with that, voters have reversed themselves about the local economy. In 2011, SF was faring 12% better to 63% worse to 26% better and 45% worse in 2012 followed by optimistic 2013 with 49% better and 23% worse…

Chinese Chamber of Commerce advisor Rose Pak (left) and SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (right) at Feb. 4 dinner honoring Vice President Travis Kiyota of PG&E.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce advisor Rose Pak (left) and SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (right) at Feb. 4 dinner honoring Vice President Travis Kiyota of PG&E.

 

ECONOMY HURTS AGNOS & BUSH: Economic well-being is crucial. After crises, incumbent Mayor Art Agnos right after the 1989 earthquake and President George H. Bush after the ending of the Gulf and Cold Wars in 1991 looked like easy re-election second termers. But then the economy tanked for both. Agnos’ political management style and post-quake recovery became major issues in the 1991 upset by retired police chief Frank Jordan. A Chinese American community was divided between pro-Agnos Rose Pak’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce and pro-Jordan May Louie’s Chinatown Merchants Association over restoring or demolishing the quake-damaged Chinatown artery in the Embarcadero Freeway…Since 1991, overwhelming APA votes have been instrumental in moderating mayoral candidates (liberals Willie Brown in 1999 and Ed Lee in 2011) and electing SF mayors (Jordan,Gavin Newsom in 2003, 2007)…

SIGNING NOT WHACKING THE MOLE: Is there an APA divide that would undo Mayor Lee? When the mayor, the Chamber’s Rose Pak with arm in sling, Chinatown Community Development Center director and Rev.Norman Fong, his retired predecessor Gordon Chin (who’s advising on the arena development) and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu autographed SFMTA’s tunnel boring machine “Mommy Chung” two weeks ago for the Central Subway, that signified a peaceful co-existence among Chinatown’s spheres of influence. Remember that the Mayor in 2011, with Pak’s help, won election and squished Chiu’s own mayoral bid, even in his own home turf of District (North Beach/Chinatown). Chiu’s recovered remarkably – winning re-election to the SF Democratic County Central Committee and SF Board of Supervisors in 2012, Board Presidency (three times total) in 2013 and is well positioned for a run for State Assembly in an ostensibly LGBT and eastside 17th District for 2014. Going into 2015 mayoral re-election, Mayor Lee keeping this coalition together would be key…

District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang will draw APA support for election in Nov. 2013. Will they support other candidates and issues?

District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang will draw APA support for election in Nov. 2013. 

TANG & CHU BODES WELL: The mayor also has a handle on western APAs, with the majority APA population District 4 (Sunset) supervisor candidates a barometer for the fall. His appointee, Katy Tang, has drawn only one candidate, Ivan Seredni, a non-profit accountant and former Chico resident until three years ago…Tang has apparently locked up support from major contenders, including Police Commissioner Suzy Loftus, who drew considerable support for appointment to the District 4 supervisor seat. That reflects well on Tang for re-election this November, but also the mayor who appointed her and the former Supervisor she worked for, Carmen Chu. Likewise, Chu is not likely to draw major competition either by the August 9 filing deadline. A Tang-Chu double win is in the offing for the mayor, who had a mixed political bag in 2012 with defeats of appointees Rodrigo Santos to the College Board and District 5 (Japantown/Haight) Supervisor Christina Olague

DON’T GET COCKY: Tang rhymes with Teng, given they’re the same Chinese surnames. Overconfidence and freak voter turnout basically ended Supervisor Mabel Teng’s ascension in 2000 (outside a brief Assessor-Recorder tenure), losing by 34 votes in a low turnout December 2000 runoff after qualifying by leading her presidential primary runner-up 44%-22%. Katy Tang is running in an off-year, sleepy election this November…

WHO’S BOSS WITH NO ROSS: Who’s left to run against Ed Lee? Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and then District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly (SOMA/Little Saigon) declined a progressive draft movement against a second mayoral term for Gavin Newsom in 2003. Mirkarimi barely eluded ouster and has been rehabilitating his political reputation after a domestic spat with his wife Eliana Lopez that nearly got him in the crosshairs of a recall. Mirkarimi’s goals are modest – complete his term by the end of 2015 and possibly run for a second term, but he’s in no shape to run for mayor, given that the mayor and SF Board of Supervisors fell one supervisor vote short of ousting him…

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.