RUN ED RUN…IS THERE A SEQUEL?

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Posticker Sig revisedIs there another “Run Ed Run” for Mayor Ed Lee? The assumption is every first term San Francisco mayor wants a second term. The last post-war mayors who bowed out after one term – Roger Lapham, keeping a promise to serve one term (1944-48), while beating back a recall. Jack Shelley (1964-68) withdrew two months before the 1967 race for a second term, allegedly for health reasons. George Moscone (1976-78) was assassinated in 1978 during his first term…

Pots_062311_ed leeFAVORING LEE IN 2015: At mid-term this November, Ed Lee has the ingredients to win a second in 2015 – rising economy, falling unemployment, enacting major initiatives while forging compromises  with the SF Board of Supervisors - particularly with its President David Chiu – on major projects like America’s Cup and major CPMC hospital campuses. And the likely elections of Lee’s two appointees this November – Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu and her former aide, Supervisor Katy Tang of heavily APA District 4 (Sunset) – are measures that the mayor’s Asian Pacific American (APA) and Chinese American bases are solid. Without them, there’s no point in running….Lee isn’t facing issues that undermined one-term Mayors Art Agnos and Frank Jordan who had less than harmonious relationships with supervisors and their own allies. Agnos himself faced a post-quake recovery and recession…

GREEN AND GREENER: Environmental and economic sustainability go hand in hand. If you’re going green, you have got to make some green. CleanPowerSF supporters talked too much clean green that was costing green, as in money during a feeble economic recovery. Out of that mess, SF Public Utilities Commission voted in August to reject proposed rates and derailed a “clean” energy deal with Shell that could have socked a utility rate increase to half of city residents and small businesses at an average $318 over five years, which already was substantially lower than last year’s eye popping $1,000 over 4.5 years (See “Potstickers” on 9/13/12 at tinyurl.com/pqo8b7j and 9/27/12 at tinyurl.com/9myuccf)… CleanPowerSF hurt themselves by also budgeting a $1 million PR boondoggle to market allegedly clean energy created by the $19.5 million deal with Shell…

IT’S JOBS STUPID: Likewise IBEW Local 1245 business rep Hunter Stern and his electrical engineers –made another key economic point stick – the loss of 100 local, good paying jobs if the CleanPowerSF-Shell deal went thru…CleanPowerSF did not make a strong argument of the deal’s economic contribution to the APA community. To compare, PG&E – still transmitting the clean power but cut out of generating it – has a bigger economic footprint with its SF headquarters and over 8600 jobs compared to Shell’s 700 refinery jobs in Martinez. While APAs hold one-seventh of PG&E’s 20,000 jobs in California, its SF headquarters likely reflect the SF Bay Area population which is about one-quarter APA….That doesn’t include PG&E support of non-profits and small business contracting as a June 5 AsianWeek online editorial (tinyurl.com/ky99opw) pointed out. At least with PG&E rates, revenues don’t just go to overseas or out-of-state shareholders but came back to the Bay Area as an economic multiplier in local jobs and contracts for the APA community…

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

FAIR CRITICISM?: Oakland Mayor’s Jean Quan biggest liability is not just the issue of crime but her sharing authority in reshaping the Oakland Police Department while still getting the blame before her 2014 re-election bid. Under her watch, she’s had four chiefs in just 2.5 years (Tony Batts, Howard Jordan and two interim chiefs in Anthony Toribio and now Sean Whent) who have not had enough officers and resources to fight crime in a city mistrusting police authority. Quan has former LA Police Chief Bill Bratton advising OPD which is also under a federal court overseer thru former Baltimore police commissioner Thomas Frazier who’s had a role in the ousters of Howard and Toribio….Quan could face sexist and racial stereotypes former Police Chief Heather Fong faced. San Francisco’s first woman and second APA chief was lauded as a reforming administrator (she served as interim chief after the indictments of the chief and assistant chief in 2003 “Fajitagate” scandal) with an understated, cautious and caring manner compared to a traditionally assertive and decisive leadership some public and police officials wanted. In 2006, major APA leaders shot off a letter ripping such unfair and groundless comparisons. As a vote of confidence, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Fong walked SF Chinatown, visiting merchants along Stockton Street…Mayor Quan, despite looking shaky in shaky KPIX5 polling (more about that in future column), appears to be only woman mayoral candidate among all guy challengers who still have to overcome a major gender gap – women outnumber men 112,000 to 91,000 voters according to PDI

Travis Kiyota

PG&E’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs Travis Kiyota

IN THE DECISION LOOP: Compromising the CleanPowerSF deal further were virtually no APAs in the decision loop at the executive and commission level of the SFPUC or CleanPowerSF to question those higher rates as did APA supervisors. To compare, PG&E has ten APAs at the executive level like VPs Travis Kiyota of corporate affairs (his promotion was celebrated by more than 200 APA community leaders in SF last January) and Ezra Garrett of community affairs. If SFPUC’s former General Manager Ed Harrington and CleanPowerSF had more APAs at top decision making levels, would the SF Board of Supervisors last year be needed to amend the CleanPowerSF Shell Energy contract to protect immigrants and low income residents?… When SFPUC/CleanPowerSF did not, Carmen Chu voted against the Shell contract while Supervisors Eric Mar, Jane Kim, and David Chiu voted for it but demanded safeguards to protect limited-English proficient and low income immigrants from being sucked in by state-mandated confusing “opt out” provision and protections from spiraling rates…Even Mayor Ed Lee was looking to improve the proposal. If not, he was close to having at least four supervisors sustain a mayoral veto of a proposed partnership between Shell Energy and SFPUC’s CleanPowerSF…

LONDON’S BRIDGE IS COMING DOWN: There’s a new bridge in town and her name is London Breed. District 5 (Haight/Japantown) Supervisor Breed isn’t pulling the plug on CleanPowerSF-Shell Energy as she’s calling for the SFPUC to follow the will of the supervisors. If not, she’s threatening political action, including going to the ballot….

KEEP THEM GUESSING: There’s a possibility Mayor Ed Lee could pull a Lapham or Shelley and not run. In Shelley’s case, his alleged health withdrawal two months before the ’67 election further jolted the campaign after candidate and State Senator Eugene McAteer died and ushered in his campaign finance chair Joseph Alioto who eventually won election….Lee himself reluctantly agreed to take the mayoral appointment in early 2011 – and then allegedly pledged not to run in November 2011 for a four year term before changing his mind in the summer. Lee and his supporters kept the public in suspense speculating whether he keep his pledge or not to run. His critics and rival candidates lambasted him in the 2011 campaign for breaking a promise or indecisiveness when he ran. The public didn’t buy the criticisms as he easily won the mayoralty…For 2015, the Mayor can keep rivals guessing about whether he’ll run up to the last minute (summer 2015). And if he’s not running, Mayor Lee could still tease the public, news media and special interests about running, while avoiding lame duck disease that will make him less effective in the final months of his first term. As long as Lee’s a threat to run and win a second term, rivals will have to stay on guard or work with his honor…

BETTY’S COMPETITOR: Further indication Controller candidate and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee could face Assembly Speaker John Perez (See “Potstickers” 8/15/13 at tinyurl.com/n2jndeq). Given current Controller John Chiang’s has created an independent, bi-partisan watchdog air to his post, Perez has been playing nice-nice with Republicans. Chronicle’s John Diaz blogged on August 26 that he was “struck by the Speaker’s graciousness toward Republicans” at a recent Latino political convention by citing GOP’s support of middle-class tuition breaks and support for immigration reform. To compare, Orange County Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez was more partisan, ripping into one GOP panelist’s credentials to speak…Perez, as Assembly Speaker representing a supermajority of Democrats, has few incentives to collaborate with the GOP. For one, Latinos are fleeing Republicans for the Democratic Party nationally and in California. However, Perez’s positioning himself to the center while probably downplaying his liberal, labor, LGBT and Latino background. As discussed in this column, Perez has taken  pro-business stances in September’s final days of the legislature in hopes of drawing GOP votes to pass pro-business legislation that will improve his credence to become the state’s Chief Financial Officer and bipartisan watchdog as controller…

TAKE A BOW: Touche for two Hsiehs…SF Democratic Party Treasurer Tom A. Hsieh, his father and former Supervisor Tom Hsieh (honored for leading the Democratic National Committee’s APA Caucus in the 1980s) appearing together at Asian Pacific Democratic Club reception inside Chinese Historical Society of America organized by President Jay Cheng and SF Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung (Mary and Jay are dynamic government affairs duo now for the SF Association of Realtors)…Tom’s dad and mom Jeanette looking quite fit and unchanged since the supervisor left public office in 1997….The Hsiehs recalled a former AsianWeek editor-in-chief married Tom’s secretary when he had an architectural practice. Nope, not the still SAM writer of this “potsticker” column but back in the Print Age (circa 1980s) under John Fang, publishing patriarch. It was then chief editor Pat Andersen tying the knot with Hsieh’s secretary Marina Tse…Always odd that Tom Jr. hardly wore pop’s trademark bows a la Illinois US Senator Paul Simon or School Board member Emily Murase’s ubiquitous chapeaus…Tom Sr. didn’t cheat with a snap on, he tied the bows himself. He adopted the bow like fellow architects avoided donning dangling ties snarling while sketching some vision, like Hsieh’s Mandarin Tower on Stockton Street….

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.