BOO BOO AMONG THE GOOS GOOS

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Posticker Sig revisedThere are warning signs about how cohesive progressives and their allies are on the influential SF Democratic Party’s central committee, the 32 elected body responsible for issuing election recommendations to more than 200,000 SF Democrats. The committee’s progressives like Assemblyman Tom AmmianoSF Supervisors John AvalosDavid CamposEric Mar and former State Senator Carole Migden won party endorsements against the 8 Washington Street condo development (Props B and C last Nov. 2013) and barely missed endorsing mandating public plebiscites to exceed waterfront height limits (Prop B on June 3). They had successfully coalesced with liberal and moderate central committee members like Board of Supervisors President David Chiu or former SF prosecutor Bill Fazio, for example, to win the party’s official opposition to the 8 Washington condos last November. Progressives won the war as SF voters rejected Props B and C condos in November while supporting Prop B waterfront limits last month…

LEFT AND LEFT OUT: However, when it comes to good government or goo-goo measures, most of the county committee members have deserted progressives, particularly at Feb. 26 and Jun. 25 meetings – particularly when the left threatened to strip power or remove SF Democratic Party Chair Mary Jung and Treasurer Tom Hsieh – who represent the city’s highest ranking APA party officials and centrists…The two meetings left progressives high and dry, mustering only five votes in the 19-5 Feb. 26 defeat to limit Jung and Hsieh’s participation on the party’s influential slate card. Notably, state and federal officials who usually stay muted on most candidate and proposition endorsements backed Jung and Hsieh – including US Senator Dianne FeinsteinRep. Jackie SpeierAttorney General Kamala HarrisState Senator Leland Yee (before his indictment) and Assemblyman Phil Ting. Meanwhile, progressives likely to vote against Jung-Hsieh were absent or left before the vote – including Supervisors Mar, Avalos and Campos…

UC Hastings Law School Dean Frank Wu and Assemblyman Phil Ting (right)

UC Hastings Law School Dean Frank Wu and Assemblyman Phil Ting (right)

NOT EVEN A VOTE: On June 25, the party did not act on a letter signed by six committee progressives questioning Chair Jung’s work financing the SF Democratic Party June election slate mailer. The letter signed by only Supervisors Avalos, Mar and Campos, attorney Kelly Dwyer, along with Police Commissioner Petra DeJesus and retired teacher Hene Kelly –did not attract any motion after two long hours of debate and public comment…Not only did the party’s central committee refuse to take action on the letter, Jung with the backing of more than 100 supporters and speakers denounced it as politically motivated. She further disclosed an SF Ethics Commission letter absolving her actions and repudiating a complaint that she as party chair authorized a deceptive campaign against Prop B, the measure requiring an election for SF waterfront development exemptions…

WILL LELAND VOTE AGAIN: For progressives, it doesn’t get any easier to sway the central committee. While Leland Yee had taken more progressive stances, his legal situation may prevent him from casting a vote thru his ex-officio – College Board member John Rizzo –on influential endorsements this summer for the November elections like the SF Board of Supervisors. While suspended from State Senate work, it remains to be seen if he will show up or if the SF Democratic Party suspends him as a county committee member. That remains to be seen. Like the embarrassing domestic violence conviction of progressive Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, progressives will have to think twice about aligning themselves with Yee’s votes (if he’s allowed). The very independent Democrat was trending left as the Bay Guardian’s Tim Redmond suggested in Yee’s run up to the 2011 mayor’s race (See 8/30/11 sfbg.com at tinyurl.com/p7wxx4e) ….

Ross Mirkarimi

Ross Mirkarimi

HEY, IT’S FOR HORSE: The second change to the county committee is the return of former Supervisor and Assemblywoman Fiona “horse” Ma once she is certified as the Democratic candidate for District 1 of the California Board of Equalization. Ma has taken moderate positions (e.g. supporting JROTC while the committee opposed it in 2012), but she has long ties to liberal lion and California Democratic Party Chair John Burton as well as close ties with Chair Mary Jung. Ma’s hosted joint meetings of her Westside Chinese Democratic Club with the Asian Pacific Democratic Club, which Jung has led…

MAN WITHOUT A VOTE: John Rizzo can’t vote as the President of the College Board, which oversees SF City College and the once large student APA population (estimated 40%) due to disputed accreditation issues. And Rizzo hasn’t been to a SF Democratic Party central committee meeting since January to represent suspended State Senator Yee…

NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST: APA stereotype levelled on two guys from the 17th District – State Assembly contender David Chiu of eastside SF and incumbent Rep. Mike Honda in the Silicon Valley (See 5/17/14 MercuryNews.com at tinyurl.com/mkm4ovn) as being too “nice guys”. The Chronicle’s CW Nevius (see 5/13/14 sfgate.com at tinyurl.com/osfmrom) deemed straight guy Board of Supervisor Prez Chiu not ruthless enough to beat colleague and District 9 (Mission) Supervisor David Campos in a recent column. Yet, Chiu garnered 48% to 44% over Campos to qualify in a November race for a seat characterized by Campos as an LGBT seat. Meanwhile nice guy Honda trounced lawyer and former Commerce official Ro Khanna 48% to 28% in the opening round last June for what was supposedly a nationally watched Democratic and APA bloodbath…

GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE: No excuses for fat shamer Maria Kang or even local APA women not entering highly anticipated annual October Potsticker eating contest when Miki SudoSonya Thomas and Juliet Lee set records eating sausages while retaining their figures at July 4 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest…BALUT ANYONE?: Bestow the Cool Hand Luke Memorial Award on SF Mayor Ed Lee for ending Sunday parking meters as of July 1…and beautify late Paul Newman’s role as Cool Hand slugging meter heads off pole stands and serving a prison stint where he won hardboiled egg eating contest. Lee’s move is good politics, pitching $500 million transportation bond this November rather than nickeling, diming and ticketing Sunday churchgoers and shoppers for measly $11 million penalties backed by bike, pedestrian safety and transit advocates…

HUGGING WHILE ASIAN: Speaking of driving, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan confessing her weaknesses are rooted in her ethnicity to San Francisco Magazine last June, which partially explains her recent auto accident and why she drives solo. “I get into this real Asian American thing of thinking that working hard is good enough. And it’s not. I tend not to communicate about what I’m doing, and I tend not to ask for help…and learning how to trust other people and ask for help. A good politician does that. I’m not always a good politician,” she said. Then interviewer Ellen Cushing added to Quan’s self-confession with Asian stereotypes such as “wobbly communication skills” and emotional reserve or awkwardness – “uncharismatic” or “she gives terrible hugs”…

FAMILY VALUES: Mr. Patricia Nguyen, aka Jay Cheng, serving up snacks for Democratic Party chair Mary Jung’s supporters at the contentious June 25 SF Democratic County Central Committee, exercised his prerogative as Asian Pacific Democratic Club chair…He rescheduled a hot pot (all you eat, not inhale medicinal) planning meeting this week to next week for wife Patricia’s birthday…Or was it his five-foot-two political boss Mary Jung – who had a regularly scheduled knitting night?

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.