REVENGE AGAINST THE ASIAN NERDS

Print Friendly

 

Posticker Sig revisedBLAME GAME: Silicon Valley and San Francisco “historian” Rebecca Solnit is one of the first to use the Google Bus as the symbol of the “techno riche” ruining San Francisco’s affordability, triggering gentrification and Ellis Act evictions. In her Dec. 31 interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, she says “The new tech incursion is mostly white guys with some Asian guys and some women…” and then claims Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is doing some quid pro quo lobbying to enable immigration legislation to “hire cheap engineers from overseas.” Translation: Asian immigrants, who comprise a majority of engineers coming to the US….In her “Diary” Solnit says that the Google Bus disgorges in SF, “tech workers, many of them new to the region, [who] are mostly white or Asian male nerds in their twenties and thirties…” and compares them to “German tourists” who are “neatly dressed, uncool, a little out of place, blinking in the light as they emerged from their pod”…
 
TREE IN A FOREST: Odd that SF College Board member Chris Jackson chose late Nov. 26 to publicize his resignation “in protest” over San Francisco City College’s accreditation crisis with most people leaving town or gobble-gobbling away for the Thanksgiving holiday. To paraphrase, “If a College Board member falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does he make a sound?”…Jackson’s departure got coverage only in a weekly tabloid reprinting his resignation and story. He could have made a bigger impact announcing his “protest” the week before or after turkey week…

Lawrence Wong

City College Trustee Lawrence Wong

EMPTY SEAT: Jackson’s seat still awaits a successor by mayoral appointment after nearly two months. That testifies to the powerless of the citywide elected seven-member College Board, which sets policy and budget and appoints top executives to run SF City College which until recently had a 40% Asian Pacific American enrollment. Instead of the board, a “special trustee” – appointed by the State Chancellor’s office – is running the SF Community College District for a term that expires this year. However, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has threatened to take away CCSF’s accreditation by this July. Slowing that down is SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera suit against the commission over the accreditation issue. Any further action on accreditation won’t take place pending the outcome of the suit, ordered the trial judge…So, that leaves potential November candidates for College Board in limbo with November elections coming for incumbents Lawrence Wong (he is not running), Anita Grier and John Rizzo, their challengers as well as the appointee for the seat vacated by Jackson. The incumbents and challengers will know full well they are seeking a temporarily powerless overseeing the district…That puts potential challengers in a quandary such as 2012 runner up Amy Bacharach (she barely missed overtaking Jackson), former candidate and attorney Hanna Leung and community college instructor and 2012 school board candidate Beverly Ho-Popek…Mayor Lee, who will appoint Jackson’s successor for three years until the 2016 election, will also have to identify a strong candidate who can win election unlike his 2012 selection of businessman Rodrigo Santos. He lost the seat once held by Milton Marks III…Defeat of an appointee would raise doubts about the mayor’s clout as did the defeats of Santos and District 5 (Japantown/Haight) Supervisor Christina Olague. However, clear cut victories like last November’s Carmen Chu for Assessor-Recorder and Katy Tang for District 4 (Sunset) Supervisor only bolstered the mayor’s standing, especially among the mayor’s core base of APA voters who overwhelmingly backed Chu and Tang…

EMPOWERING CLIPBOARD: Well attended Jan. 12 Sunday afternoon memorial that included the Mayor for long time Chinatown activist and former Commissioner Isabel Huie, 84. Back in the early 1980s when APAs had no elected representation in the office of SF Mayor or Board of Supervisors, the Northeast Community Federal Credit Union manager shared space with the Chinese American Voters Education Committee. Huie without any hesitation pulled out clipboards on behalf of CAVEC to register some of the hundreds of voters dropping in the Grant Avenue office before the credit union moved. Huie tragically died on Dec. 19 in a pedestrian accident on Chinatown’s Stockton Street…
RISING JEAN: Those improving poll numbers for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan are likely to uplift confidence of her supporters looking to raise soft money for an APA-focused voter registration effort. That campaign will likely be independent of the Quan re-election campaign. Such a campaign has a triple benefit for Quan – registering new voters who will turnout also as they also apply to be permanent mail-in voters. Further, such a campaign would educate new registrants in the relatively new ranked choice voting… Can it be done? In 1991, well over 5,000 San Francisco APA voters registered through non-partisan groups like CAVEC and partisan efforts triggering an APA voter surge with overwhelming margins lifting former Police Chief Frank Jordan to a four-point upset over incumbent Mayor Art Agnos

BOUNCY KITTY PAW: Too tall new executive director Walt Baczkowski of the SF Association of Realtors nicknamed the “bear” but more giraffe in sea of Asian Real Estate Association of America’s shorter statured members at its dinner on Jan. 16 headed by new 2014 SF Peninsula Chapter President Allen Ching, successor to founder Carmen Chong. While at the dinner table in the Olympic Club, Walt and SFAR’s government affairs deputy Jay Cheng mimicked those ubiquitous lucky maneki-nekos or “beckoning cats” pawing for Japantown and Chinatown merchants (and apparently realtors) as they bobbed their right arms up and down in the air like two Giants fans doing a rally cap move for winning runs…

MISSING PARTNER IN CRIME: “I left my mascot at home,” joked Ed Lee, referring to last November’s “Batkid” Miles Scott after emcee and former Olympic skater Kristi Yamaguchi introduced him as the “Mayor of Gotham City” who would swear in the new AREAA officers and board members…

I THOUGHT I SAW A PUDDYCAT: I did, I did as new SFAR President Betty Taisch, Board of Equalization candidate Fiona Ma and SF Democratic Party chair Mary Jung broke out their iPhones to capture viral cats Walt and Jay in sync for tweets and friends on Twitter and Facebook…Not to be outdone, SFAR and AREAA board member Eugene Pak pawing his own maneki-neko impression on stage as AREAA honored him…

Allen Okamoto

Allen Okamoto


MEMORY LANE: Sentimental 10th anniversary video of AREAA founders Jim Park of San Diego, former SFAR Presidents John Yen Wong and Allen Okamoto of San Francisco. The three strolled thru Chinatown with Wong pointing to his home in a Commercial Street alley and reminiscing about the 50 years it took for his father to finally buy a home…In Japantown, Okamoto choked up as he watched himself recalling his family’s release, including his parent’s infant daughter, from internment camp horse stall during World War Two. In 1955, his father would have received a real estate license on the condition he join his local real estate association. “He was denied membership solely on the basis of Japanese ancestry,” said Okamoto. Allen was selected to be SFAR President in the presence of his father thirty-five years later and formed the Asian Council to draw more APA participation – the seeds for the Bay Area and national AREAA 10 years ago…

LOST TO A PORN STAR: Paper sons. Paper presidents. The Chinese American Democratic Club has a recent nasty habit of recycling its presidents after an illustrious history of luminaries holding that office like Postmaster Lim P. Lee, California Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Harry Low, Supervisor Gordon Lau, APA non-profit founder and leader Harold Yee, mayoral advisor Mel Lee and Superior Court Judge Lillian Sing…Three-timer Calvin Louie succeeds two-termer and former School Board member Eddie Chin, a cousin of State Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin. Louie’s the same gubernatorial candidate with 3,906 votes who lost to porn star Mary Carey and smut publisher Larry Flynt in the 2003 recall of Democratic Governor Gray Davis. Louie, a Democrat, drew votes from Davis and helped Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger win. CPA Louie doesn’t have time to run the club since he’s immersed in income tax season or making money from the club for his clay pot restaurant. It’s looking like cluba VPs will run the show…

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.