LEBRON – ARENA OR BUST

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Posticker Sig revisedNever mind air balling it on future Hall of Famer Dwight Howard (See “Potstickers” on 7/11/13). The pro-hoops and future SF Warriors have a bigger target now they’ve energized offseason fans by just merely competing for Howard while hyping their Las Vegas Summer League championship with no-name rookies and players not likely to make the squad…The Howard bid, along with signing a consolation star player (Andre Iguodola) and clearing NBA mandated budget space, is setting the Warriors for a 2014 run at the biggest free agent prize – LeBron James. The 28-year old, two-time champion Miami Heat marquee star could terminate his contract. A promising new arena and Fort Knox could induce him to come to San Francisco. His value would drive the value of Warriors up (and San Francisco as a tourist and economic destination) – not just domestically, but internationally from apparel goods to advertising rates as this October’s Warrior-Los Angeles Lakers exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai could prove. It’s not theory - Yao Ming’s career and a lot of Chinese votes from 1.3 billion people made him a perennial All-Star and put the Houston Rockets on the world map….

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL BUY: With SF City College facing loss of accreditation in July 2014, the community college where nearly 40% of 85,000 students are APA, faces a vicious spiral. Students may de-admit to other colleges – meaning loss in tuition and matching state funds, higher interest payments for bond investors seeking protection against default. Fewer students mean empty classrooms and empty buildings as tenured professors retire…EFFICIENCY MEAN SELL?: Omnipotent appointed Chancellor Robert Agrella has pledged not to raise tuition while pursuing “efficiency”…While he isn’t talking specifics, folks might recall Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s failure in 2010 to peddle off 24 state government buildings for $2.3 billion (including the California State Building at 455 Golden Gate) for a short term budget patch and then have the state lease the space from the buyers for $5.2 billion over 20 years. The scheme failed when new Governor Jerry Brown nixed the idea in February 2011…

 

Board President David Chiu and public interest attorney Candace Chen

Board President David Chiu and public interest attorney Candace Chen

 

DELISTED FROM LIL’ BLACK BOOK: Romance and politics – Board President David Chiu and public interest attorney Candace Chen timing their engagement and desire to start a family after the US Supreme Court decisions allowing same-sex marriage and with the recent debate on Chiu’s pro-family flexible schedule in the workplace legislation…While not Billary, sounds like Candace has the makings of a First Lady-in-waiting given the strategic political positioning of future spouse David…She’ll slow down Chiu’s habit of chewing too fast…

 

HARDBALL & PIGSKIN LESSONS: A difference of one year got the Giants a baseball park (1996) but sank a 49ers football stadium (1997) under Mayor Willie Brown’s leadership. Brown had a honeymoon going in March 1996 months after his decisive 1995 election and mandate over incumbent Frank Jordan allowing for comfortable passage (66%)  of a measure allowing the Giants to develop a privately financed ball park for at least 81 games per year. A year later, a $100 million revenue bond (nearly $145 million in 2013 dollars), barely passed for a perceived taxpayer financed football stadium with at least 10 home games per year and a promise of a Super Bowl generating millions (the 2016 Super Bowl in the Bay Area will have an estimated $100 to $200 million impact, according to the Bay Area Council). However, a 50.4% passage, or 1,544 voter margin, certainly didn’t give it the mandate or momentum for a Niner stadium in SF … and now they move to Santa Clara after 2013…

 

ARE 8’S LUCKY FOR CCSF?: Selling or leasing City College’s prized real estate of 12 campuses is likely to be considered, with commercial real estate rising, occupancy prices skyrocketing and rival college The Academy of the Arts always on the lookout to expand its campuses. Among the fetching prizes: City College’s new 14-story Chinatown campus (808 Kearny St.) formerly run by Dean Joanne Low who is now interim Vice Chancellor for academics. City College in Chinatown shares the same block with the resurrected I-Hotel/Manilatown Heritage building. The other prized parcel – 8-story Downtown (88 Fourth Street) campus run by Dean Geisce Ly within range of the heavily SOMA Filipino American community… Two campuses have double “8’s” – considered lucky fortune in Chinese culture and hopefully CCSF…

 

GOT MILK?: The proposed Warriors waterfront arena is like milk – politically perishable since it was proposed and signed off by City Hall in 2012 while a sickly economy was improving with Mayor Ed Lee coming off a stunning election victory and mandate to govern. However, as the economy further improves, the jobs generator argument could lose its luster with a less likely 2017 move-in arena date, rising costs and 8 Washington Street “luxury” condo project that’s a bellwether for the city’s pace of development this November…

 

Jeffrey Fang

Former City College student trustee Jeffrey Fang winner of the AsianWeek.com Potstickers Eating Contest in 2011.

DON’T POUT ITS GOUT: Moral hazard on rubber chicken circuit. No politico publicly admits it but at least two very high ranking APA officials have a case of “rich old man’s disease” even though they’re neither. One was solicited to compete in the annual potsticker eating contest but declined, because  significant other is a Food Nazi and monitors dining…Former City College student trustee Jeffrey Fang, holding in-house record for 26 gyozas in 3 minutes, compared to recent July 4 Coney Island Nathan’s Hot Dog champion and San Jose’s Joey Chestnut - vacuuming up 266 gyozas in ten minutes…

 

IT’S THE ECONOMY: What’s driving up the value of two CCSF campuses? The SF economy is heating up with Twitter and other high techs moving in. Block away from the Downtown campus, Yahoo! – formerly owned by Jerry Yangand David Filo - looking to lease the emptying spaces of old media San Francisco Chronicle parcels partially occupied by business incubators spurred by Forest City Development’s 5M project for housing and more art and tech (City College Board member Natalie Berg is VP for Forest City)…. Timing to sell or lease buildings looks better as economy overheats. According to Cassidy Turley in the July 30 Chronicle, SF vacancy rates are at all-time lows and leasing rates are rising. Demand exceeds supply for prime office space, especially for nine companies looking for more than 100,000 square feet of space … The Chronicle itself, formerly run by publisher Frank Vega, is installing the new leadership team of Publisher Jeffrey Johnson and President Joanne Bradford …

 

LET’S PLAY HITCH: Potsticker columnist enamored with Will Smith’s flick and romantic comedy, especially with gossip columnist Eva Mendes….matchmaker, matchmaker find Esther Hwang a match…Ex-aide forMayor Willie Brown and model Esther Hwang – allegedly using nom de amour “Graciegirl415” – on her online dating entry warned, “If you get beyond my photos, the next few paragraphs by my intentional design will most likely turn MOST OF YOU COMPLETELY OFF.” But she apologizes since she’s very particular about finding a single SAM or hapa suitor of “quality, not quantity”….Hwang declared, “My very existence defies most stereotypes that the media, society and men in general have about Asian American women.” She characterizes herself as highly motivated, career oriented, “strikingly attractive,” and emotionally stable which you can read about at Match.com… Somebody has to love a political moderate who volunteers in a women’s shelter, attends political events and six-figure executive pay…

 

SAN FRANCISCO BAILOUT?: City College might look at SF Unified School District’s attempts to tap into the City’s “Rainy Day Fund” created byState Assemblyman and former teacher Tom Ammiano. But a bailout could come with conditions as Mayor Lee suggested in 2012 that SFUSD first look internally at its surplus real estate (the district has lost nearly half of its students since 1970. As of 2013, more than 50,000 attend) before looking to taxpayers. Although the mayor backed off, SFUSD later sold a building to SF State University for $12 million. Lee has disagreed on protest tactics assailing the accreditation commission while pledging to work with Agrella …

 

NOT NAMED AI-YA:  After the great KTVU-TV newsroom purge over July 6 SFO Asiana airline tragedy and failing to catch racist mockery of pilot names, will news division think twice about featuring this columnist someday if he uses his given Chinese name, Huang Wei Yi, translated by a university professor as “Great Yellow Justice”?

 

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.