THE OTHER WINNERS OF NOV. 5 VOTE

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Posticker Sig revisedWho really won the Nov. 5 election, besides the environmental, neighborhood and progressive coalition that’s claiming bragging rights as to what gets built on the waterfront? On the face of it, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has chits from environmentalists and NIMBY activists to collect for his upcoming 2014 17th District Assembly race (eastern San Francisco) against colleague David Campos. Chiu got considerable citywide exposure along with former Mayor Art Agnos as they played point-counterpoint to former Mayor Gavin Newsom and current Mayor Ed Lee’s backing of Props B and C to build waterfront luxury condos. Chiu and Agnos overcame a $1.8 million campaign to build not only condos but a developer package of open space and extractions to the city’s affordable housing fund …

LEE’S APPOINTEES WON: But Mayor Lee’s support of Props B and C and this election are no Waterloo for his term. The Mayor, whose poll numbers were as high as the 60s this spring, should still benefit from favorable public opinion for declining unemployment and balanced budgets. Outside of B and C, his appointees won decisively – Carmen Chu in a citywide race for Assessor-Recorder and Katy Tang for District 4 (Sunset) supervisor race. Both were unchallenged, compared to his initial appointments defeated at the Nov. 2012 polls in their first runs – College Board member Rod Santos and District 5 (Haight/Japantown) Supervisor Christina Olague. If Tang and/or Chu had lost, it would have sent reverberations that the mayor could not sway his own Chinese American base on the west side of San Francisco. That would have been as devastating as mayoral candidate Tom Ammiano’s losing a substantial minority of his LGBT base in his loss to incumbent Mayor Willie Brown in 1999. Lee’s benefiting from a rising economy, although there’s concerns about an overheating economy making SF living unaffordable. But the Mayor’s nowhere near the 2000 district elections wipe out of Mayor Willie Brown’s allied and appointed supermajority of supervisors at the height of a dot-com economic boom…

Supervisor Katy Tang and Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu

Mayor Ed Lee’s appointees District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang and SF Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu both won decisively.


WEDNESDAY PUNDITS: Always a great post-election wrap up last Wednesday by Barbary Coast Consulting principal and SF Usual Suspects political website host Alex Clemens and pollster David Latterman at SPUR. While they even interjected a GOP and LGBT point of view with Chris Bowman as a guest analyst, the Clemens-Latterman road show could use an APA political analyst like Chinese American Voters Education Committee’s David Lee. Overlooked by Latterman and Clemens was a very distinctive APA feature of their Prop B and C unofficial results – the top nine neighborhoods supporting the losing B and C measures (ranging from the high 30s to a bare majority) were primarily major APA neighborhoods (mostly over 40% APA residents) – Visitacion Valley, Bayview Hunters Point, Chinatown, Portola, Excelsior/Outer Mission, Civic Center/Downtown, Sunset, Ingleside  and Richmond…Given that Mayor Lee and Lt. Governor (former mayor) Newsom were pushing for B and C along with Assessor-Recorder Chu and Supervisor Tang on the ballot, it’s not surprising given all four won SF elections with major APA support….

MONDAY SHOPPERS: In the Parkside’s Safeway, long-time Rep. Nancy Pelosi aide Harriet Ishimoto and husband ethnic marketing guru Norm whose chortles about the AsianWeek Foundation whacky Oct. 24 third annual potsticker eating contest echoed in the concrete stairway on the way to the supermarket parking lot…Not far, unchallenged and confident Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu coolly taking time to peruse the dairy section…

Contestants chowed down during the 3rd Annual Potstickers Eating Contest and Reception.

Contestants chowed down during the 3rd Annual Potstickers Eating Contest and Reception at Drake Bar and Lounge in SF


FROM SUNSET TO SACTO: Naturally any west side, APA Democrat will be considered for higher office to the California Legislature – especially those with roots as a District 4 (Sunset) Supervisor – Leland YeeFiona Ma, Carmen Chu and now Katy Tang unlike their progressive counterparts in District 1 (Richmond) – Jake McGoldrick and Eric Mar or their former conservative District 7 colleagues as Tony Hall and Sean Elsbernd. Although their successor and progressive-leaning Supervisor Norman Yee has a shot if he puts together a nice legislative portfolio after four years…Ma had encouraged Chu to be her successor but Chu backed away, leaving the path open for now Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Phil Ting and District 4 resident. He skipped serving as District 4 Supervisor and set the precedent for using Assessor-Recorder as a lily launch pad to leapfrog to the Assembly. The Assessor-Recorder office had the liability of being associated to ever increasing property taxes or being an office for someone in the sunset of a long political career as the case of Doris Ward. Now Chu could eventually make that leap assuming Ting wins and serves the maximum six two-year terms, or decides to bow out for something else…

BAD TACTICS?: Lee and Newsom didn’t  lose their mojo. But obvious Monday morning round-the-clock mind numbing carpet bombing of Lee-Newsom commercials turned off voters. It was a poor tactic, using two political centrists instead of featuring a broad coalition of supporters like the No on B and C camps….The other liabilities – as the economy improves, the jobs argument has lost some luster. And the argument that the Props would generate $11 million sinecure in housing funds doesn’t carry water, given voters have defeated the only two affordable housing bonds in the last 11 years. While 65% of voters supported the mayor’s affordable housing trust fund measure in 2012, the same 65% would not help affordable housing given the more than one-third opposition…

A's/Giants split cap.

A’s/Giants split cap.


ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS A GIANT: Bring back the bipolar A’s-Giants cap from the ’89 World Series (aka earthquake Bay Bridge Series). Ostensibly baseball team Oakland A’s number one fan to keep them in town is Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. But her best friend could also be the San Francisco Giants, as in an enemy of my enemy is my friend. While Major League Baseball suggested the A’s cohabitate in the Giants home at AT&T Park until they find a permanent home, the Giants are protective of their South Bay territorial rights and want the A’s to stay out of San Jose. That means a shot for the A’s to stay put in Quan’s Oakland. A federal judge in early October ruled baseball’s antitrust exemption allowed teams and MLB, which represents the A’s, Giants and other teams, to control their respective markets unless the US Supreme Court or Congress end the exemption. However, the judge allowed San Jose to sue the league for interfering in the city’s contract with the A’s try to move the team from ancient, fan-unfriendly Oakland Coliseum

ENEMY OF MY ENEMY, PT. 2: The Giants also are “friends” to Mayor Quan when it also comes to the future of the Warriors trying to relocate from the Oakland Arena. Quan’s proposed Coliseum City complex mixes commercial and housing development while trying to keep the A’s, Warriors and football Raiders teams in new venues. The Warriors (See “Potstickers” on 05/24/12 at tinyurl.com/cn39576) with their waterfront SF arena and mix of commercial enterprises are likely competitors with the Giants Mission Rock project adjacent to their ballpark at Pier 48 and Seawall 337. With the economic “upper class” team rival LA Dodgers and new ownership of pro hoops Hall of Famer Magic Johnson willing to outspend the Giants, the “middle class” San Francisco team has to diversify their revenue streams if they’re going to sustain an annually competitive team or end up being the “lower class” A’s which has won but suffered long stretches of losing seasons. Or put it this way, the Giants with their resources resigned Filipino American star pitcher Timmy Lincecum for $35 million over two years after having two down seasons and being the pitcher of the year twice in his early years. If “The Freak” had played for the A’s, it’s unlikely Oakland would have resigned him….

Tim Lincecum

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum

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.