PREPARING FOR THE YEE CONTAGION

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Posticker Sig revisedFor Democrats, California is a toxic ethical environment with the legal troubles of State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco and his LA County colleagues – Roderick Wright of Inglewood and Ron Calderon of Montebello. Republicans – thanks to the trio – could regain their influence by stumping on ethics, including the March 26 FBI charges of gun running and bribery against Yee. With Democrats having to defend more state constitutional and legislative offices than Republicans, Democrats may have to build a firewall to inoculate themselves from potential election defeats due to the Yee-Wright-Calderon ethics contagion. The three, encouraged to resign by their party leadership, are likely to linger in office during the 2014 campaign. Yee – indicted with underworld leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow – could end up being a zombie Democrat, suspended like Wright and Calderon but still collecting a paycheck, unable to vote while imperiling the party’s hold on California government…

State Senator Leland Yee

State Senator Leland Yee

ETHICAL FIREWALL: When there’s a crisis, an opportunity presents itself for at least two leading statewide APA Democratic 2014 candidates for office – Attorney General Kamala Harris and Controller John Chiang as the former faces token opposition for re-election and the latter faces the same to become State Treasurer. Harris is the state’s top law enforcement official who held out and won $18 billion from major banks in the National Mortgage Settlement. Chiang has been the state fiscal watchdog as Controller saving or collecting more than $6 billion in taxes, as well as using his auditing powers to root out abuse by municipal executives. Both are leading Democratic candidates for Governor in 2018 and could give law enforcement or fiscal watchdog cred to party candidates unfairly tarnished by the Yee-Calderon-Wright scandals…

 

ART OF COMING CLEAN: Kamala Harris and John Chiang could take a cue from the 1987 SF mayoral campaign of Art Agnos. At a campaign low point, then Assemblyman Agnos tried to come clean, admitting his oversight in not paying state and federal taxes on $171,000 in land deals. Further adding to the ethical cloud, Agnos had acquired the land from his friend, a Sacramento land developer under state investigation. However at a crucial time, the SF Police Officers Association delivered a crucial endorsement of Agnos. Although a peace officer labor union, the support had turned around the Agnos campaign as he went on to trounce Supervisor Jack Molinari and become SF Mayor…With ethics emerging as a major 2014 campaign issue, the endorsements of top law enforcement officials or PACs like the SFPOA could be crucial in putting a favorable good housekeeping seal of good government and integrity on candidates. In SF’s APA community, endorsements by former police chiefs like Fred Lau and Heather Fong, the Asian Police Officers Association or former California Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Harry Low could defend candidates. In 2000, Low’s unimpeachable standing led to his appointment as California Insurance Commissioner after Republican Chuck Quakenbush resigned in 2000 after accusations of misusing his office and acting against consumer interests…

CAMERA SHY: Whom do you believe? Community embracing his rehabilitation or retired cops at last year’s Asian Police Officers Association saying what active duty police won’t – that Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow – among the 26 figures indicted with Yee – is still up to no good…Classic media shy photo (tinyurl.com/mty35r5) of Chow – bald and donning sunglasses – walking thru a funeral phalanx of lieutenants opening newspapers wide to shield him from prying media photographers at the 2007 Chinatown funeral of Allan Leung whose murder is unsolved…. That same year, camera shy Chow appeared at former Golden Dragon Restaurant (location of 1977 massacre) press conference with contingent calling for recall of then District 3 (Chinatown/North Beach) Supervisor Aaron Peskin. Chow was in front of cameras, attired in white silk tunic meticulously embroidered with dragons and other Chinese mythical creatures…When a passing future APA candidate for office was asked if he wanted an introduction to Chow leaving the Golden Dragon on Washington Street, the candidate nervously smiled and quickly snapped, “No way” and darted off before Chow arrived…

ALICE DOES LOVE DAVID: Congressional re-election campaign fundraising party for Rep. Mike Honda at O3 Bistro and Lounge imitating as Star Trek “Sulu” photo and autograph party… Honda slipped in 17th District Assembly (eastside SF) candidate David Chiu for group photo with actor and civil rights activist George Takei and his husband Brad Altman Takei….Honda, running for re-election in 17th District (western San Jose), had timed the group shot well since it was tweeted days before Chiu’s crucial endorsement win at Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club (see “Potstickers” on 3/20/14 at tinyurl.com/k3jr7ks) last Monday, March 24. Months earlier Chiu had received the endorsement of the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance…

George Takei

George Takei (middle) pictured with the SF Hep B Free and Santa Clara Hep B Free team and Congressman Mike Honda (far right). Photo courtesy of Arcadi Kolchak.

WHOM AM I TO JUDGE: This column over the years has received off the wall APA gay-dar sources, some of whom are reputable folks. Guess which APA pols they were speculating about…email about orientation of one male candidate for supervisor just for sharing a unit with a guy…telephone call by one activist who with commissioner spouse who spied on a male candidate seated alone at chick flick…and gossip from a few sources about one straight soon-to-be divorcee primed to come out of the closet…. 

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.