MADISON WIN OR NO NGUYEN FOR MAYOR

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MADISON WIN OR NO NGUYEN FOR MAYOR

Spins in two different stories on a scientific poll for a 2014 election that could make Madison Nguyen the first Vietnamese American Mayor of San Jose and leader of the tech capital of Silicon Valley and the world. Nguyen ostensibly polled a strong second place behind labor-backed Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese. The labor-sponsored EMC Research poll popped up on a February 25 Silicon Valley Newsroom blog (owned by the Metro weekly and founded by former Mayor Tom McEnery) and then San Jose Mercury online March 2, five days before the filing deadline for mayor…In both stories, union-backed candidate Cortese leads in a field of four city councilmembers. However, 39% undecided will determine this race…This race is a eight month marathon. With at least five major candidates (19% Cortese, 15% Nguyen followed by San Jose Councilmembers Sam Liccardo – 10%, Pierluigi Oliverio – 8% and Rose Herrera – 6%), no one will garner a majority, which will force a November runoff. So, the June election is about the top two finishers qualifying for the runoff…

SMOKE SCREEN: Labor and their pollster sound worried about Nguyen, who’s likely not to be pro-labor as Cortese. Worried enough that in the Silicon Valley Newsroom they downplayed her strong second place showing by noting she had “just a 6-point edge on Cortese with Asian voters.” Asian Pacific Americans (APA) make up 24.5 percent or over 99,000 voters out of San Jose’s 404,000 electorate, according to Political Data Inc.….

WHO’S LABOR WORKING FOR: Labor has a stake in the race for San Jose mayor. They stymied Mayor Reed’s drive for a statewide measure to rein in public employee pensions. Locally, San Jose has faced police understaffing as Reed slashed the force from 1400 to 1100 officers in the last three years with opposition from the police union…Seen as a DINO (Democrat in Name Only), Reed’s stands won’t make Nguyen labor’s first choice given Reed selected her as Vice Mayor and her pro-business leanings …

THANK U BERRY MUNCH: Pot-sticker senses a political prescription combining Do-si-dos, Samoas, Tagalongs, medicinal cannabis and an APA Girl Scout. Picture of 13-year old super cookie sales-scout Danielle Lei, who’s no Cheech and Chong, foreshadows a trend – greater acceptance and legalizing medicinal and recreational pot in the Bay Area APA community. Snapshot of Lei selling out those yummy cookies on President’s Day in front of Excelsior’s Green Cross went viral last month…

SHORTER MESSAGE: SF Status of Women Commissioner and former College Board member Andrea Shorter alluding to domestic violence by beeping out her Assembly 17th District (east SF) race support of David Chiu on International Women’s Day. The women’s card is significant in this race given his rival, Supervisor David Campos, was one of three and one-half supervisor votes (John Avalos, Christina Olague, Jane Kim, who agonizingly split her votes) killing the ouster of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, accused of domestic violence incident with wife Eliana Lopez. Shorter was one of ringleaders for Mirkarimi’s removal recommended by Mayor Ed Lee…Meanwhile, Mirkarimi has spent most of his term rehabbing his image and focusing on running the office (rehabbing inmates). If Chiu and his allies successfully exploit the Campos vote for Mirkarimi, then the Sheriff faces a tough re-election next year. If not, Mirkarimi might survive and squeak by with a second term…

THIRD RAIL ISSUE: In 2012, District 11 (Excelsior) brief supervisor candidate and labor leader Leon Chow organized anti-pot Chinese American residents to protest medicinal marijuana boutiques. In 2010, the Excelsior, which is in Supervisor District 11 (47% APA according to 2010 Census, primarily Filipino and Chinese American), barely defeated Proposition 19 to legalize pot with 54% to 46% opposition. To compare, SF heartily endorsed it 64%-36%. Statewide, Prop 19 lost barely by a 53% to 47%. It’s likely a future statewide measure will come close to passing statewide as well in the Excelsior and other heavily APA (40% or more residents) neighborhoods like Visitacion Valley (40% No on Prop 19, 55% APA), Outer Sunset (47% No, 57% APA), Portola (45% No, part of the Excelsior neighborhood). They will eventually shift like the California electorate towards Washington and Colorado which have endorsed legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana…Other APA SF areas have already gone for weed – Chinatown (60% Yes on 19, 84% APA) and Inner/Outer Richmond (57% Yes on 19, 48% APA in Outer and 38% in Inner)…

INDECISION 2014: For Campos-Chiu (see “Potstickers” on 3/6/14), banana split by two progressive APA supervisors – District 1 (Richmond) Supervisor Eric Mar and District 6 (SOMA/Little Saigon) Jane Kim are backing both Campos and Chiu. Kim is a former roommate of Chiu’s. While Mar is in his last term, Kim’s up for re-election in November and is a major contender for the board presidency in January if she’s re-elected and if Chiu or Campos moves to Sacramento in December. Also slicing his Chiquita in half, Assemblyman Phil Ting50-Plus principal Nicole Derse is running Chiu’s campaign. Derse took Mar’s campaign which pundits thought was a loser or a very close race and turned it into a 2012 rout…

NOT A NGUYEN WIN: That alleged 6-point APA edge in the poll comes out of her last two elections in her city council district where about one-third of the district were VietAms split over a 2008 renaming a commercial area “Little Saigon”, “Saigon Business District” (which she preferred) or a variant that included “New Saigon”. Saigon was capitol of South Vietnam until North Vietnam won the civil war in 1975 and renamed it Ho Chi Minh City…Democrat Nguyen won the elections but her VietAm base was split as she beat the recall by 10 points in 2009 and won re-election in 2010 by a mere 9 points over Republican small businessman and commissioner Minh Duong. The labor poll hints at a potential Nguyen vulnerability in a citywide mayoral election among over 45,000 VietAm voters making up 11.2% of over 404,000 city voters. Chinese and Filipino Americans largely comprise the balance of remaining APA voters. Labor is also implying Cortese, their favorite candidate, can compete for Vietnamese and APA votes…

SIGN UP, SIGN DOWN: David Chiu for Assembly HQ not so height friendly for the little guys. While too tall District 8 (Castro) Supervisor Scott Wiener can sign up at the top of the Chiu volunteer list, Commissioner and petite postal pensioner Richard Ow barely reached the bottom of a wall volunteer list as he signed up for Chiu…

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.