HOUSE KISS CAM

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More like Kiss Cam on major TV networks for State of the Union last month. Did anyone notice higher than usual Democratic cheerleading squad of House women smooching President Obama as he entered chamber for his SOTU on Jan. 28? They complemented his oration peppered with female references to rouse gender gap against Republicans for 2014 elections. Some were obvious as direct shout outs to First Lady and new General Motors CEO Mary Berrasitting in upper gallery. Others supposedly subtle until the President fumbled over MyIRA, sounding like “Myra”, a female-sounding retirement complement to the androgynous IRA or his pledge to sign an executive order (which he did on Feb. 12) increasing minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour for federal contractor employees. It’s an equalizer in gender gap pay where women earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to men…Lining up all those women for Obama appeared to be orchestrated strategy to drum up gender gap to elect more women or women-friendly Democrats who could make SF’s Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House again…

AMAZED GRACE: Among POTUS cheerleading squad, freshwoman and first ever Chinese American New Yorker House member Grace Meng. The Flushing Democrat of the NYC’s 6th district (whose Asian Pacific American (APA) 37% district approximates 32% APA in Pelosi’s 12th District of San Francisco) sported blue suit with heavy-duty winter scarf as she beamed in last row of House as Obama’s cheeks got pecked as he departed after his SOTU…

KISS OR NO KISS?: Smiling Meng seemed transfixed on Obama star power as she lined up also to pursue quality time like her veteran, more aggressive House matrons.  National Democrats are running for re-election and away from toxic Obama with poor poll numbers in wake of disastrous unveiling of Obamacare. At that moment, Grace didn’t embrace him as she goes into re-election for her second term…The President’s traditional entry for his annual speech draws a crowd of House members seeking words and autographs from POTUS in hopes of showing their “access” to Obama on primetime for national and district audiences…

Chinese Chamber of Commerce advisor Rose Pak (left) and SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (right) at Feb. 4, 2013 dinner honoring Vice President Travis Kiyota of PG&E.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce advisor Rose Pak (left) and SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (right) at Feb. 4, 2013 dinner honoring Vice President Travis Kiyota of PG&E.

ROSE’S ROAST PORK: A long tradition, albeit not as long as one of country’s oldest and largest parades outside of Asia. A few politicos will look like roast pig hung upside down in a Chinatown deli after taking a tongue lashing from SF Chinese Chamber of Commerce advisor Rose Pak. Her choice comments as they pass the Lunar New Year Feb. 15parade reviewing stand is a rite of passage for any SF politico where famous town hot heads like Pak and Assemblyman Kevin Shelley once clashed after a few verbal volleys…Even Potsticker’s skin got singed inside Folsom Street’ sCanton Restaurant by a few of Rose’s thorny expletives back at a 1998 “victory party” for then Supervisor Mabel Teng who won re-election but disappointingly lost the Board Presidency to Tom Ammiano (which led to his 1999 miraculous but losing write in candidacy for mayor). Although, Potsticker did train to survive chain smoking Pak attacks with some few choice words and thick skin “mentoring” from the late political sifu Harold Yee of ASIAN Inc…. If Davids are parading, look for Pak love tap to District 9 (Mission) Supervisor Campos. It’d be interesting to see if she rips District 3 (Chinatown) Supervisor Chiu (or not) as her way of anointing a favorite in hotly contested 17thAssembly race (eastside SF) to succeed Ammiano…

PRIMARY COLORS: Amidst sea of black, grey and dark blue suited glum men, the women stood out in brighter colors…APA women catching camera lens included fuchsia attired Judy Chu of California’s 27th District (37% APA in West San Gabriel Valley) when the President touched on small business exports and loans (Chu is a leading small business advocate when she comes up from SoCal to keynote annual ASIAN Inc. dinners at Intercontinental Hotel at the lucky 888 Howard Street). Expect to see Chu get a mouthful next dinner from ASIAN Inc. tied merchant associations under statewide Council of Asian American Business Associations on behalf of hundreds of architects, accountants, engineers, lawyers, contractors advocating for more federal contracts in APA community. They’re likely to be discouraged from bidding for them due to the higher wage after raising concerns about the higher union-based prevailing wages on government contracts…Another SOTU cameo was Tammy Duckworth of Illinois 8th District (12% APA, Chicago suburbs) when Obama touched on veterans issues (reserve Lt. Colonel Duckworth lost her legs and part of her right arm as a 2004 Iraq War helo pilot). If conservatively dressed guys want to be TV eye candy, they’ll have to sit between peacocked and occasionally cheek pecking ladies of the House who appeared on TV disproportionately more than men, despite comprising only 79 of 435 House members…

Illinois congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (Courtesy of USDOJ)

Illinois congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (Courtesy of USDOJ)


MR. ED GOES TO D.C.: Mayor Ed Lee sitting a few rows behind the First Lady in the House’s upper deck was among Michelle’s 26-member posse. Although he didn’t get an Obama shout out, Lee’s White House press bio tied him to major points in Obama’s SOTU speech – the Silicon Valley business community support of immigration reform (importing more engineers and programmers), increasing minimum wage to over $15 per hour, education and urban renewal. This is the second time in a few months his honor has gotten White House notice. First being shortlisted forAmbassador to China to succeed fellow Seattle ex-pat, political buddy and ex-Washington Governor Gary Locke. Obviously the White House is keeping an eye on him. Although the President’s filled most cabinet positions for his second term, the mayor’s legal and public housing background qualifies him easily for Housing and Urban Development, whose current occupant is one of original holdovers from Obama’s first term cabinet.  If the Mayor ever goes to Washington, his tech friends will come along and be that much closer to the Oval Office…

OBAMA FOR LEE IN ’15: Even if he doesn’t get an Obama posting, he’s gotten a big indirect endorsement for 2015 re-election from Michelle and Barack Obama as [one of the] “extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the SOTU”…And even the lefty Mother Jones blogged a Top Ten list about why the mayor was in the First Lady’s gallery…Among them: Mayor pinch hitting for Bat Kid hanging with the First Lady and Lee an unlikely suspect by Secret Service of being a pot courier… Mother Jones and Obama served to remind lefties about the mayor’s progressive roots and initiatives, including a living wage proposal…

MATT’S SCHOLARS: The late Matt Fong, former State Treasurer and Board of Equalization member, has a memorial scholarship dedicated to public finance to the tune of $1500 apiece for APA university sophomores, juniors and seniors majoring in accounting, political science, public policy, business administration…The Republican son of former Democrat and California Secretary of State March Fong Eu and also a former Board of Equalization member had passed away in 2011 at 58 and had started the surge of APAs holding or on the verge of holding major state financial offices – Controller John Chiang (running for Treasurer in 2014), Board of Equalization members Betty Yee (running for Controller in ‘14), and Vice Chair Michelle Park Steel (the GOP’s most senior statewide official running for Orange County Supervisor) and 2014 BOE candidate Fiona Ma who’s also a CPA, Secretary of State candidate Leland Yee who would oversee business filings and campaign finance submissions, and Attorney General Kamala Harris who’s won two major suits against the big banks for billions. Deadline is February 20 at www.asianpacific fund.org/scholarships…Shouldn’t one of these pols become Secretary of Treasury one day? Given Matt’s former right hand man Joe Yew and all the public finance expertise overseeing this, the scholarship should be endowed for the long run…

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.