SUGAR & SPRITE, OR WAS THAT SPITE

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Posticker Sig revisedAmerican Beverage Association’s $5,000 donation this spring to non-partisan, non-profit Chinese American Voters Education Committee makes for interesting dynamic. ABA’s been spreading goodwill in SF to fight Supervisor Eric Mar’s two cents per ounce soda tax. Among them was David Lee, director of CAVEC, a non-partisan voter registration and education group.  Lee just happened to lose a 2012 bid to oust Mar as incumbent District 1 supervisor (Richmond, 29% Asian Pacific American (APA) voter according to Political Data Inc., est. 46% population in 2012 according to US Census). Two years later, Lee has a wealth of campaign intel from his District 1 defeat. The soda money and other corporate philanthropy helps Lee run a fall non-partisan voter registration, education and turnout campaign among APAs citywide, especially in the political bellwether Richmond. Although he’s not running for any office, he can send out mail pieces with his face and name urging residents to register or turnout to vote as he’s done in previous years. It makes for a nice trial heat for Lee in 2016 or a nest egg of moderate voters for another candidate when progressive Mar terms out…

Supervisor Eric Mar

Supervisor Eric Mar

 

LOSING THEIR POLITICAL VIRGINITY: One big disadvantage Lee and another District 1 (Richmond) loser, then retired Judge Lillian Sing in 2004, was their very limited ability to build “chits” in the reciprocal tit-for-tat of local politics. Lee and Sing’s non-partisan jobs limited their candidates or issues advocacy that could have paved the way to major endorsements from, for example, the influential SF Democratic Party and its network of clubs. The moderate Lee, for example, lost the endorsement of the Chinese American Democratic Club even though he sat on its board years before. He also sat also on non-profit small business developerASIAN Inc. board whose employees and Council of Asian American Business Association trade associations had some sway at CADC…Sing herself was very strict against lending her support (financial or endorsement) to many causes due to ethical restrictions as superior court judge. Progressive activists favored Jake McGoldrick and had forgotten her progressive ties in the late 1970s and early 1980s as an elected SF College Board trustee overseeing SF City College….

 

WINDING ROAD FOR TRAN: Historically African American but emerging Asian Pacific American (APA) plurality district in San Francisco. Back in 2010, retiree Marlene Tran made a credible run, finishing third place for District 10 (24% APA voters, 37% APA population in Bayview/Visitacion Valley/Potrero Hill)Supervisor. The former ESL teacher finished after Potrero Hill non-profit cultural executive Tony Kelly and winner Malia Cohen for an open seat…WEAKEST LINK: For the coming D10 race in Nov. 2014, successful ranked choice voting requires coalition building like chained links with other candidates (see 2010 success of Jean Quan winning Oakland Mayor with Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan ranked votes over former State Senator Don Perata). But any weak link hurts the ranked coalition of candidates. For 2014, Tran’s chances of upsetting incumbent Supervisor Cohen depend partially on coalescing with Potrero Hill’s Kelly. If she can’t draw overwhelming APA voter support, she must rely on another APA candidate who can draw from growing 8500 APA voters (according to PDI). However, that won’t happen like 2010.  This year, there’s no Teresa Duque, non-profit leader and Chinese-speaking former police officer from Macau. Duque drew 1574 votes in District 10. Of Duque’s votes, 77% of them gave Tran temporary lead over Cohen in the overall ranked choice count…

 

POTRERO HILL KEY: Potrero was a major factor in Marlene Tran’s 2010 loss. While she strongly did well in heavy APA neighborhoods – first place in Visitacion Valley, third in Portola and third in Bayview/Hunters Point, Tran started disastrously in Potrero Hill – which isn’t as heavily APA – in ninth place out of 21 candidates. Conceivably, Potrero Hill ultimately doomed Tran’s chances of winning the supervisor seat. This is where a Tran-Kelly coalition this fall is crucial where their second and third choice votes mutually support each other. However, in the final 2010 ranking of votes, 60% of Tran’s 504 votes went to Kelly while Cohen received a significant 40% slice of the votes and won the seat. Four years later, the chances of a Tran-Kelly ranked choice link is shaky with July’s Chronicle revelation about Kelly’s unpaid $200,000 non-profit loan from the city. With $68,218 in public financing available to subsidize Kelly’s supervisor campaign, it looks odd to some voters given that Kelly owed money to the city…

 

FOLLOW THAT HORSE: David Lee has a role model in Fiona Ma.  A current ASIAN Inc. board member, former president of CAABA’s Asian Business Association, former CAVEC board member, Ma transitioned from CPA to an apprenticeship under State Senate President John Burton. Ma – a moderate by SF standards – broadened her appeal by working with the Democratic Party network at state, national and local levels – leading her to election as SF Supervisor and State Assembly and is now on the cusp of being member of Board of Equalization this November…

 

THE CIVIC HONDA: SF Board of Appeals Commissioner Darryl “D” Honda could raise eyebrows by claiming to be head Filipino American commissioner in charge. Given the power he has on projects, he might have a point, especially when more FilAms should run the town like School Board member Hydra Mendoza,Entertainment Commissioner Al PerezDennis Normandy of Civil Service… Honda with pride spoke of Tagalog being one of City Hall’s latest official languages of governance after English, Chinese and Spanish thru the Language Access Ordinance as he uttered an appreciative m’goi to libation delivering Cantonese waiter atFar East Café

SF Entertainment Commissioner and The Grand owner Steven Lee (left) with Mayor Lee (Courtesy of Steven Lee on Facebook)

SF Entertainment Commissioner and The Grand owner Steven Lee (left) with Mayor Lee (Courtesy of Steven Lee on Facebook)

 

REAR GUARD ACTION: The Rules Committee and eventually the SF Board of Supervisors sentenced Steven Lee to a four-year term on the SF Entertainment Commission in July. Like Lee himself years before, candidate Demetri Moshoyannis and organizer of the Folsom Street Fair events emerged as a last minute candidate on June 25, just 15 days before the Rules Committee final evaluation of Lee on July 10.  Rules Committee Supervisors Norman YeeKaty Tang andDavid Campos still recommended Lee’s work which includes preserving the legacy of Chinatown’s Sam Wo Restaurant and Edsel Ford Fong…Supervisor Jane Kim celebrated on July 26 her belated 16th anniversary of her 21st birthday (actually July 9) at the Folsom Street Foundry by swearing in Steven to the Commission. In the same neighborhood playpen on Sunday, July 27, Moshoyannis and 15,000 fellow leather men and fetish enthusiasts uh partied “Up Your Alley” with “spanking, punching, whips and floggers, bondage, domination and submission, creative watersports, toys…”

 

DOUBLE EIGHTS: APA candidates - James Fang for BART Board, incumbents Emily Murase and Hydra Mendoza and newcomer Dennis Yang for School Board, did file on double-eight deadline to run (August 8), a lucky number in Chinese and Japanese cultures in time for the November election… Mayor Ed Lee filed on auspicious eighth month of the eighth day in 2011 and won…But then these APAs weren’t so superstitious by not filing on eight-eight – incumbents Public Defender Jeff AdachiCollege Board challenger Dan Choi, Jane Kim and Katy Tang for Supervisor, newbie Lee Hsu for School Board, incumbent Carmen Chufor Assessor. There’s a pragmatic side. You don’t want to misfile on the last day since there’s no time to re-file as one notable education APA candidate did years ago due to a campaign manager’s faux pas. He was disqualified from running…This numerology isn’t hooey. Potstickers leery to be hospitalized at UCSF in room 1414 – guaranteed double death in Chinese…

 

138 YEAR CELEBRATION: Celebrating lucky 88 years will be former school board member Ben Tom on the eighth month, twenty-eighth day…“D” Honda fiftieth bash celebrated his good health on August 9 at Steven Lee’s The Drake

 

SOUP NAZI’S SISTER: Pay attention to Lily Cai trio performance as one of the ladies twirled and thwacked her ribbon into Potsticker and his banquet soup as was case on July 25…Can’t help but eye hobbling Holy Warrior Norman Fong on a cane recovering from balky knee. Thanks in order to cash for toy donations from over 50 Potsticker friends for Santa Claus Norman’s CCDC kids last Xmas. Turned out so many donated that gift cards, not the original request for 10 toys were in order. Couldn’t choose, wrap and fit over 50 toys in a Honda Accord…

 

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.