TURN ON APA VOTERS OR TURN OUT THE LIGHTS

Print Friendly

 

 

Posticker Sig revisedIMPERFECT STORM: With balloting well under way this month for the June 3 election, there’s no sexy national, state or local races like a White House election to lift turnout and all political campaign boats in California. 2014 early on was shaping up as the Year of the Asian Pacific American in California politics with trial heats for 2018 governor by Indian/African American in State Attorney General Kamala Harris running for re-election and Controller John Chiang, running for Treasurer. Both face relatively soft opposition…. Even former Assistant Secretary of Treasury Neel Kashkari, Indian American, is running for Republican gubernatorial nomination. While he faces long odds defeating incumbent Democrat Governor Jerry Brown’s pursuit of an unprecedented fourth term, Kashkari could reshape his party in California as the establishment GOP wing rebrands itself with major constituencies like APAs, Latinos and women. A Kashkari win would continue a national GOP trend of vanquishing Tea Party insurgents. Kashkari faces Tea Party rival gubernatorial GOP contender and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly on June 3. A loss by Donnelly would continue Tea Party defeats like last week in Kentucky. The GOP appeared less divided as aspiring US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and wife of former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao defeated his own Tea Party challenger to face Democrat Secretary of State Alison Grimes…Other APAs are running for major California offices – Leland Yee for California Secretary of State, Fiona Ma for Board of Equalization seat held by Betty Yee who’s vying for Chiang’s office of Controller. With so many APAs running statewide, these Golden State APA candidacies would stimulate more turnout among 1.6 million APAs making up nine percent of California voters.…

SILICON VALLEY RACES: A turnout surge among 1.6 million could invigorate hotly contested local races with sizeable APA constituencies such as the APA wrestling match in Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Fremont, north San Jose, and Milpitas featuring incumbent Congressman Mike Honda, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Ro Khanna, physician and professor Vanila Singh in a newly formed 17th congressional seat (30% APA voters according to Political Data Incorporated). Honda (40%) commands a 19 point lead among likely June 3 voters over Khanna (21%) in the May 20-22 Survey USA poll sponsored by KPIX-TV…Seeking to be the second ever APA San Jose mayor (Norman Mineta was first) and first ever APA woman, Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen on June 3 will find out whether her early second place showing in early polls holds up and qualifies her for a November runoff to lead the capitol of Silicon Valley (25% APA voters)…

SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, passing out shopping bags to educate residents about blessing scams, has led the fight against 8 Washington condo development.

SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, passing out shopping bags to educate residents about blessing scams, has led the fight against 8 Washington condo development.

EAST SIDE SAN FRANCISCO: Meanwhile in eastside SF (17th Assembly District, 17% APA) Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (District 3, Chinatown/North Beach/Manilatown) is running in a dead heat after an early lead in polls to represent home to SF’s Little Saigon, Manilatown, Chinatown and Japantown and nation’s LGBT capital against gay Latino District 9 (Mission, 17% APA votera) Supervisor David Campos

Assembly candidate David Campos

Assembly candidate David Campos

NO SEXY RACE: But here’s the problem. The top of the ticket isn’t electrifying. Governor Brown is the odds on favorite but hasn’t campaigned as much. Harris, Ma and Chiang have relatively easy races and are likely to win one “Top Two” slot on June 3 to qualify and win outright this November. They are more likely conserving resources (e.g. driving APA voter turnout) for the more expensive fall campaign. Further hurting any statewide APA surge is Leland Yee’s fall from grace, quitting his race in April after alleged bribery and arms dealing scandals. The less intensive campaigns for Ma, Harris, Chiang and Leland Yee’s non-existent bid (his name remains on the ballot) hurts a statewide APA voter drive that helps competitive APA candidate races like Honda-Khanna, Nguyen and Chiu. In the Controller’s race, Betty Yee faces well funded Assembly Speaker John Perez and Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. Yee and Perez are likely battling for second place as they have divided Democrats, allowing the Fresno Mayor to be in first place. An April Field Poll had Betty Yee in second place behind the Fresno Mayor and barely ahead of Perez, a Los Angeles and gay Democrat…

MILK LEGACY: The David Chiu-David Campos Assembly candidate debate has rested on Chiu contending he’s effective while Campos has attacked Chiu’s effectiveness, but for whom? Meanwhile, Campos has argued that the 17th Assembly District seat can’t rely on straight candidates and needs an LGBT candidate like himself to push for his community’s agenda…However, Chiu’s argument resonates, especially given Campos’ major failure retreating on renaming SFO last May 2013 after progressive and LGBT martyr Harvey Milk. To date, naming Milk after a SF landmark remains grounded according to the Bay Area Reporter (May 15-21 at tinyurl.com/mv9olng). The Campos failure is magnified more as the US Postal Service is honoring Milk with potentially 30 million first class “forever” stamps. The Milk stamp took seven years of lobbying the US Postmaster General through the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee and more than 11,000 online signatures backed by the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force. It would seem harder to adopt a Milk stamp nationally than locally renaming a SF monument in the assassinated supervisor’s name…11,000 signatures, if they were SF voters, would have provided momentum to qualify a non-binding SF ballot measure to rename a monument this June or November. And if the signatures were not enough, Campos demonstrated his inability to persuade at least three more supervisors to qualify the measure. Further, the lack of a ballot measure raises questions as to whether Campos has the strategic vision he’ll need as a state legislator. Campos, through his allies like the SF Labor Council and Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, could have qualified a measure and leveraged it to draw progressive and LGBT voters to Campos’ Assembly candidacy…Such a measure would affect the Chiu-Campos November runoff and district supervisor races, especially in District 8 (Castro/Upper Market, 9% APA voter) if progressives choose to challenge liberal-moderate Supervisor Scott Wiener, District 10’s (Bayview, Visitacion Valley, Portola, 24% APA voter) Malia Cohen and District 6’s (Little Saigon/SOMA, 21% APA voter) Jane Kim. All three supervisors had close elections four years ago. However, no elected incumbent has lost re-election since the 2000 advent of district elections…

BEHIND BARS: Honda has distinction being a former World War Two internee like Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento. Then again, Khanna probably is the only congressional candidate who’s taken on two former World War Two prisoners – Honda and the late Rep. Tom Lantos, incarcerated as a Hungarian Jew and losing his family during the Holocaust. Lantos decisively defeated Khanna in 2004…

PERSONAL FOUL?: It’s been nine years since the San Francisco 49ers training film gaff featuring a person with buck teeth with mockingly faux Asian accented. While the team apologized, it was one more coffin nail eventually encouraging the team to leave San Francisco for Santa Clara…San Jose Mercury sports columnist Tim Kawakami last week pushed 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s buttons to discuss the playing and legal status of troubled player Aldon Smith. In verbal salvoes, Harbaugh confessed he could not address Smith’s legal status and blurted to Bay Area media (see tinyurl.com/mkszydc), “You can take bamboo shoots and stick them under my fingernails, and there still wouldn’t be any more I could add further to this discussion”…Now, Kawakami is Japanese American and “bamboo shoots” reference was a torture used in Asia by World War Two Imperial Japanese forces. Supposedly a prisoner tied to a rapidly growing bamboo shoot would be lethally impaled. Kawakami did not fuss about the bamboo remark after going toe-to-toe with Harbaugh who’s had a prickly media relationship…

HARBAUGH IS NO PARCELLS: In 2004, Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells used the phrase “Jap plays” to connote surprise football plays while insisting he meant no offense to anyone, including a Japanese reporter who didn’t find it offensive but acknowledged some Japanese would think it’s a slur…Harbaugh’s remarks come at time when the league will penalize players for using racial slurs and is facing growing criticism for allowing the Washington DC team to use “Redskins” as a team name. Native Americans leading protests view the moniker as a slur. The league is also welcoming its first openly gay player…

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.