CAN CHIU WIN CALIFORNIA’S TOP LGBT SEAT?

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Posticker Sig revisedChinatown’s Portsmouth Square last May with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and saint of the elders – Self-Help for the Elderly’s director Anni Chung – a nice duo to hang with Board of Supervisor President David Chiu, as all three passed out recyclable bags warning seniors about blessing scams. That along with Chiu’s major ethics proposal last April in partnership with City Attorney Dennis Herrera is positioning the straight, three time board president to run for state’s most prominent LGBT State Assembly seat – San Francisco’s eastside 17th District now held by Tom Ammiano, terming out at the end of 2014…

SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, passing out shopping bags to educate residents about blessing scams, has led the fight against 8 Washington condo development.

SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, passing out shopping bags to educate residents about blessing scams, has led the fight against 8 Washington condo development.

CAMPOS ENTERS RACE: Chiu’s work with former police chief Gascon and Herrera – respectively city’s top criminal and civil prosecutors – represent potential trump cards in a foreseen 17th District Assembly race against District 9 (Mission) gay Supervisor David Campos. The progressive earlier this month declared his bid for the 17th District seat, rallying the LGBT political moderate to progressive spectrum – securing Ammiano’s blessing as his successor and forming a steering committee of Health Commissioner Cecilia Chung, mayor’s homeless director and former Supervisor Bevan Dufty (former District 8 – Upper Market/Castro), Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club President Tom Temprano and Human Rights Commission Director and former Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club co-chair Teresa Sparks. It’s a unity message that the next 17th District legislator to Sacramento must come from the LGBT community, following the seat’s previous LGBT occupants – Carole Migden, Mark Leno and Ammiano. It’s tantamount to unofficially declaring the heavily APA westside 19th District to be an Asian Pacific American (APA) seat represented by Leland Yee, Fiona Ma and now Phil Ting…However, APAs could argue dibs on LGBT District 17 also, given the APA cultural hubs of Little Saigon, Chinatown, Manilatown and Japantown…

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

California Controller candidate Betty Yee, John Burton and former Assembly Pro Tempore Speaker Fiona Ma. Photo courtesy of Fiona Ma.

RAISING CHECKS TO SIGN CHECKS: California Controller candidate Betty Yee, without an opponent now that Treasurer Bill Lockyer will not vie for the post, is filling her 2014 campaign gas tank with $471,777 as of June 30 according to her semiannual Fair Political Practices Commission report. Given her May fundraiser (see “Potstickers” on 7/4/13 at tinyurl.com/kahtst3), the Democrat was willing to criticize popular Governor Jerry Brown – a move that could follow outgoing Controller John Chiang’s (he signs state checks and is running for Treasurer in ‘14) blueprint of independence rebuking Democratic legislature and Republican Governor over balancing state budget. Yee could be readying herself for not only a Republican challenger, but also a very partisan Democrat raising tons of money from special interests for the state race…

NEW PEREZ: All that money and not running for anything in 2014? Assembly Speaker John Perez has taken papers to run for Lt. Governor in 2018 – when Gavin Newsom is termed out. But one wonders what the LA legislator is really thinking, squirreling a leftover war chest of $1.07 million from his 2012 re-election for Assembly and just under $300,000 for 2018 Lt. Governor’s campaign. The final month of the legislative session will be telling especially if Perez moderates himself more and goes beyond his four L’s constituencies – labor, Latino, LGBT and Los Angeles which make him appear very liberal…The former California Labor Federation political director Perez has beaten the business drums as he did in SF Chinatown in March (See “Potstickers” on 3/28/13 at tinyurl.com/c8hmwxs). And again in an Aug. 4 LA Times online story, he emphasized business at the top of the legislature’s agenda like reforms to California’s unemployment insurance after enacting pro-business sales-tax credits. Surprisingly, he didn’t see consensus for raising the minimum wage, a stance business will like despite Perez’s labor DNA. The final weeks of the legislative session between now and September could reposition Perez as more moderate to run for a statewide office for next year…

DAVID VS. DAVID: In a 19th Assembly race, The District 3 (Chinatown/North Beach) Supervisor David Chiu could edge Sup. Campos having served as former prosecutor and counsel for the US Senate Judiciary Committee and being shortlisted in early 2011 by Mayor Gavin Newsom for DA appointment before Gascon’s selection. Campos’ legal vitae includes tenures as former deputy city attorney and SF School Board counsel. Campos filed to run for State Assembly with the backdrop of children and youth and former school board member and teacher Tom Ammiano – an indicator that education will be a major campaign plank. Meanwhile, Chiu recently offered legislation calling for business to support flexible work schedules for employees with kids….

CAMPOS MINE FIELD: But Campos faces land mines Chiu could exploit. This spring, a 10-year old $15 million funds diversion scandal surfaced in DA Gascon’s prosecution of six former and current SFUSD personnel (four executives including an Associate Superintendent). While prosecution proceeds, there’s a question as to accountability of school leadership as to whether Campos could have prevented this as general school counsel from 2004 to 2008. Supposedly, SFUSD had implemented accounting safeguards since the misuse of over $100 million in bond money and downfall of corrupt and incarcerated associates of SF Superintendent Bill Rojas from 1992 to 1999 (See “Potstickers” on 5/30/13 at tinyurl.com/la3tplr)… Also dogging Campos with women, he was one of four supervisors voting in 2012 to stopping SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s removal by Mayor Ed Lee and supermajority of SF Supervisors over domestic violence incident. Chiu had voted for Mirkarimi’s removal…

Assessor Recorder Carmen Chu

Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu

VACUUM TUBE AGE: Newbie Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, now officially unchallenged this November, will have time to replace her department’s fossil recordkeeping system based on COBOL, a business computer program dating back to the mid-20th century. Few programmers exist to write COBOL code… Chu will face re-election for a four-year term in Nov. 2014…

YOU LOOK MARVELOUS: At Nov. election forum in Golden Gate Heights, Mary Jung called every appearing Nov. 2013 candidate incumbent the “best looking” for their respective offices – Assessor-Recorder Chu, District 4 (Sunset) Supervisor Katy Tang, Controller candidate Betty Yee and Board of Equalization aspirant Fiona Ma and City Treasurer Jose Cisneros, wearing his Sunday best to perform a wedding at the normally closed City Hall. No controversy for Jung unlike President Barack Obama drawing national grief and apologizing for characterizing former SF DA Kamala Harris for being nation’s “best looking” Attorney General to chagrin of fans of his AG Richard Holder….Jung, the SF Democratic Party chair, was emceeing a joint Asian Pacific Democratic Club and Westside Chinese Democratic Club election forum at the Ma compound…

‘SURVIVOR’ SUPERVISOR: Fiona Ma is stumping for Board of Equalization candidate and expressed her distaste for petty SF Board of Supervisors politics resembling reality “Survivor” show competition with personalities and former colleagues like current union political director Chris Daly, ESL professor Jake McGoldrick, Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s second in command Matt Gonzalez and ex-local Democratic Party chair Aaron Peskin…Meanwhile, Michelle Park Steel is terming out of her own BOE seat next year and seeking to make the beachhead of Orange County’s own “Survivor” island by running for Board of Supervisors next June 2014. Although, she’ll be glad to let the FBI land first, given they’re sniffing around the board, which would help her election shot…

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.