Best Political Puppetmaster - 2012
If Ed Lee ever appears uptight, it's not a fork that's up the career-bureaucrat-turned-mayor's ass — it's the very visible hand of Rose Pak. A longtime political force in San Francisco (read: long the only conduit to Chinatown for vote- and money-hungry pols like Willie Brown and the Burton brothers), the Columbia journalism school grad and former Chronicle reporter has seen her influence hit its apex, especially after being credited by the media with engineering Lee's ascent, a power play executed by Pak while Lee was overseas in Taiwan. Known to enjoy a drink, sometimes with her longtime friend Brown, the profane Pak has an immense reputation as a dealmaker. Thanks to her success with Lee — who was convinced to "Run, Ed, Run" for a full term in office in no small part because of the money Pak dug up — these days Pak is known for damn near running a city in addition to directing Chinatown money and influence, and lobbing insults at politicians as they roll by her reviewing stand at the Chinese New Year parade.