San Francisco's progressive Board of Supervisors now more moderate

In any other city, the elevation to mayor of the first Asian-American in history would be a cause for celebration for liberals. But to listen to them somberly speak on Jan. 11, minutes before unanimously approving Ed Lee as San Francisco's 43rd mayor, you'd have thought someone just died. "There has been a significant change in City Hall ... progressives no longer control the Board of Supervisors," said a dour-looking Supervisor David Campos, who, with other lefties, bemoaned the "identity politics" that helped select Lee.

Whatever the cause, most progressives agree that they've missed their shot at landing one of their own in the mayor's office, the prime goal for more than a decade. And it's their own damn fault, Chinatown activist Rose Pak tells SF Weekly, for supporting old white men like Art Agnos, Tom Ammiano, and Michael Hennessey rather than a person of color like Lee. "They had a plantation mentality," Pak says. "They were acting like a white man's club." (Though, to be fair, the only white men on the board today are decidedly moderate.)

There were warning signs well before this that the former kingmakers — Chris Daly, Aaron Peskin, or whoever — needed to adjust their focus or face peril. When the Dalys and Peskins of the world opposed Jane Kim in her bid for District 6 supervisor, Asian community leaders complained that the city's progressive establishment was stifling a movement for Asian-American empowerment. It appears that the progressives made the same mistake again in December and January with their support for non-Asians, and left an opening for Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown to swoop in and seize the moment with their support for Lee.

"It became about personalities," says Chinatown organizer David Ho, who notes that Lee supports left-leaning policies like local hiring and should have been a fine choice — and, indeed, is supported by white liberals like Tenderloin Housing clinic honcho Randy Shaw and Haight-Ashbury activist Calvin Welch. Yet he was opposed. "Now they're trying to say that we're a bunch of Chinese nationalists?" Ho says, noting that former board president "Matt Gonzalez built coalitions. But they just assume [Lee supporters] are part of the whole downtown power structure."

Whatever lefty movement that emerges from the power vacuum — "Frankly, I don't even know who the progressive leaders are anymore," Ho says — needs to not make the same mistake thrice. As for the plantation mentality allegation: "A lot of work has to be done to bring back trust and get things back on track," says Supervisor John Avalos, a former Daly legislative aide. "Without the progressive kingmakers all around giving heartfelt mea culpas, we'll never even lay the groundwork for unity. Mods up — progs down."

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Evan 88
Evan 88

Now that Asians have gained more power in CityHall, perhaps, finally, they(we) can do something about the longstanding problem of loud,obnoxious,rude, and intimidating malcontents that sit at the back of Muni buses(especially at the back of the #30,#8,#45).Those of us who live here and ride Muni, have long had to endure the rude behaviour of a few of our fellow residents. I know they live here because I have often seen them coming and going to and from their sec.8 housing. Every Chinatown/Northbeach resident knows who these people are and how they behave. Though small in number, these abrasive(mostly young people) are having a large impact on the daily psychology and quality of life of all who live here and ride Muni thru Chinatown. Resident and tourist alike should not have to endure such obnoxious and threatening behavior. They joy it is to live in this area where tourists happily spend their vacations, seems to much for a few malcontents to bear... Tourists apparently rich enough to go about enjoying themselves while they are stuck in dreary public housing living off foodstamps. And who gets the brunt of their frustration? The local resident(mostly Asian). These malcontents often seem to be begging for a confrontation or fight, know all too well that their loud, insulting behavior will usually be met with silence and averted eyes from tourists and locals alike. They know there is little consequence for their behavior. And should the police appear, they quickly become quite civilized don't they?


If a non-Chinese had been elected as mayor of Shanghai, Rose Pak would be screaming like a witch.


I'm waiting for Rose Pak, or any of the elected officials she pays for to go to China, to say one single thing that is against official policy of the Chinese Communist Party; whether Falun Gong, human rights, Liu Xiaobo, TIbet, Taiwan, North Korea, the value of the currency, the military build up aimed at the United States, halting import of rare earth metals, threatening its neighbors...or creepier things like sentencing people to death in order to harvest their organs, genocidal eugenics programs designed to create taller Chinese, torture deaths of dissidents -- the Chinese community in San Francisco and their elected officials are eerily silent.

Time and time again Chinese elected officials in San Francisco have thwarted attempts by the city to use its influence to publicize truly troubling practices of the Chinese government. In 2006 is was Fiona Ma......there is a REAL pattern here.....

(01-31) 04:07 PST -- The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted this afternoon to condemn persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Falun Gong was banned by Chinese government in 1999 as a cult and has seen its members imprisoned by Bejing.

"The resolution, which the supervisors passed on a 9-2 vote, stopped short of condemning China by name because Supervisor Fiona Ma removed that language by amendment.

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