THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARRYING

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Posticker Sig revisedLast Sunday, there was something about marrying…Mark Takano, debuted as a congressman for the first time at SF Pride Parade and keynote for Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club pre-parade breakfast….The sansei representing Riverside followed in political footsteps of two teachers – South Bay Congressman Mike Honda, introducing him at the Toklas inside Rincon Center’s Yank Sing. He follows first openly gay teacher in Tom Ammiano representing 17thAssembly District (Eastside SF) and protégé of Harvey Milk…Takano – first LGBT House member of APA descent and person of color – left the packed dim sum to join Pride parade assembly on Spear Street where he fired up a Gay Asian Pacific Alliance contingent with 19th District (Westside SF) Assembly Democratic Caucus leader Phil Ting. “I want to marry you,” Takano roared, touting the power invested in him as a congressman to declare anyone “spouses for life”…

Assembly Democratic Caucus leader Phil Ting

Assembly Democratic Caucus leader Phil Ting

HERE’S TO YOU MS. ROBINSON: What is it about guys from Hawai`i marrying and rising to the highest offices in the land…Barack met associate Michelle Robinson while interning at Chicago’s Sidley Austin law office in its intellectual property and marketing division. Ms. Robinson (and future wife and First Lady Michelle Obama) mentored the future President… 

BOOK HER DANNO: Marriage for two. University of Hawai`i undergrad studying under the GI bill spent 1947 courting his speech professor until finally getting Margaret Awamura to marry him on a second date. Maggie said yes “without batting an eye,” said the vet from the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team…Her speedy reply “dumbfounded” Dan Inouye. “My wife for her generation was not ordinary. She had a graduate degree. Young women at that time did not have a graduate degree,” said US Senator Inouye in a 2004 documentary about his life. Columbia University graduate Awamura stayed married to Inouye from 1947 until her death in 2006. The Senator passed away last December four years after marrying his second wife Irene Hirano, 59. The former CEO and founder of Japanese American National Museum in LA was 24 years his junior…Inouye at his passing was third in line of presidential succession to Obama after VP Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner….

Late Senate President pro Tempore Daniel Inouye (Courtesy of Sen. Inouye Office)

Late Senate President pro Tempore Daniel Inouye (Courtesy of Sen. Inouye Office)

LONG TIME NO SEE: Also at the Toklas pre-parade dim sum was former Assessor-Recorder Mabel Teng, hanging out with Supervisor Norman Yee, now representing her former District 7 stumping grounds (West of Twin Peaks/St. Francis Woods/Parkmerced)… After being out of politics for eight years, first Teng words were “How’s your love life” to one greeter who hadn’t seen her in many years. Seemed like the Chinese Culture Center director still itches to marry someone after being the second most popular SF official in LGBT community in 2004. It was Teng who implemented Mayor Gavin Newsom’s executive order allowing same sex marriages. That matrimonial spark started the legal march to last week’s US Supreme Court decision overturning California’s 2008 ballot measure (Prop 8) banning same sex marriages and federal 1996 Defense of Marriage of Act law allowing states to not recognize same sex marriages from states…

AFTER PARTY: While major battles like same sex marriage have been won, the war isn’t over. “This is a huge day to celebrate,” said Rep. Takano to GAPA Pride Parade marchers. “But you know we have much more to do with the Congress,” said Takano, citing follow up work after the end of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in 2011. Analogous to decades of delayed redress for Filipino American veterans and Japanese American internees from World War Two, Takano said that government should take care of LGBT veterans “discharged [dishonorably] because of who they were…That we apologize for that, we get them back benefits, get them their right to have flags on their coffins and let them be buried at national cemeteries….” The freshman legislator also promised to prevent bullying against school children and ending state laws that “allow LGBTQ people to be fired for just for being who they are”….

Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, John Burton and former Assembly Pro Tempore Speaker Fiona Ma. Photo courtesy of Fiona Ma.

Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, John Burton and former Assembly Pro Tempore Speaker Fiona Ma. Photo courtesy of Fiona Ma.

CAN BETTY BE THE BIG GORILLA?: The field for Controller is clear for Betty Yee for now with the big political gorilla out. Treasurer Bill Lockyer with his $2.2 million campaign war chest opted to retire instead of running. Yee’s looking to ante up more cash to her $227,000 kitty (as of end of 2012) to preempt any rivals for Controller. Her goal – show a kitty flush with cash raised between Jan. 1 to June 30 for her upcoming July 31 Fair Political Practices Commission report…Events like her June 18 Littlejohn’s Candies benefit will be critical to banking $3 million to win June 2014 primary….

CHIANG BLUEPRINT: Yee winning 2014 campaign will depend on whether voters see her like current Controller John Chiang who’s running to replace Lockyer as State Treasurer. Chiang, whose name ubiquitously appears on checks for tax refunds, state payroll and unclaimed property, has crafted an air of independence in his two terms. Democrat Chiang sued Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008 over paying state workers the minimum wage because there was no approved state budget. Four years later, Chiang withheld legislator pay for 12 days from Democratic-dominated legislature for failing to deliver a balanced state budget by the deadline… Among key points at Yee’s Littlejohn’s Candies fundraiser, the San Francisco native emphasized being Controller “is not really serving an office to be popular, it’s serving an office to provide leadership.” The former state deputy budget director noted that “issues of sound economic leadership should not be a partisan issue.” The lifelong Democrat took exception to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s dismantling of Redevelopment Agencies to balance the state budget, despite their importance in uplifting blighted areas… Yee also is running an era where Democrats have supermajorities in the Assembly and State Senate as well hold Governor’s office and 9 of 11 elected constitutional offices. By emphasizing her role as a check and balance on Democrats, she could carve out support from California electorate that is 29% Republican and 22% non-aligned….

ED LOVES LUCY: Mayor Ed Lee’s obsessed with an I Love Lucy episode where Ethel and Lucy gobble candies they can’t box because of an out-of-control candy conveyor belt….the Mayor, Board of Equalization member Betty Yee and SF Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung served as amateur celebrity chocolatiers by frosting dozens of custom Littlejohn’s candies on mid-Market Street. Donors at the Yee campaign benefit noted Lee liberally frosted his confections much more than Yee and Jung’s frosty restraint…. The trio and Yee supporters like aptly surnamed Michael Sweet (SF Human Rights Commission Chair and Mayor’s “favorite lawyer”) sported commemorative “Betty’s Lollipoplooza – 2013” aprons designed by political manager and webmaster Thomas Li….

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.