Rose Pak Interviewed on SF Mayor’s Race

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on June 27, 2011 with 3 Comments

Rose Pak takes questions about the mayor's race in San Francisco from Fog City Journal and KTVU following the opening, Saturday, of the headquarters for the Run Ed Run campaign. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

Editor’s Note: The following interview with Chinese Chamber of Commerce consultant and powerbroker Rose Pak was conducted Saturday following the opening of the campaign headquarters for the Run Ed Run campaign.

June 27, 2011

FCJ: How many people do you estimate came here today?

RP: “Including the 175 that we sent out at 8:30, 9 o’clock this morning, so I think we have over 600 people.

FCJ: You’ve mentioned that you’re organizing a signature gathering campaign. Has that already started or is that starting today?

RP:  “No, we started already.”

FCJ: And when did you start the signature gathering campaign?

RP: “About a week ago.”

FCJ: Do you have an idea of how many signatures you’ve gathered so far?

RP: “We, right now, have about fifteen thousand already.”

FCJ: And what’s your goal?

RP: “Fifty thousand, or whatever.”

FCJ: By the August 6 deadline, or before?

RP: “Before. ”

FCJ: So what do you make of it all? Ed Lee continues to say he’s not going to run.

RP: “Maybe some people are cut out to be your conventional politician candidate and maybe he’ll run an unconventional campaign.”

FCJ: I guess he could be a write-in candidate, couldn’t he?

RP: “I wouldn’t go that far but I think he certainly can keep on doing his job and I know that he will never be on the phone dialing for dollars, that’s for sure.”

FCJ: Has he given any indication to you privately that he might run?

RP: “No, I never ask. I tease him a lot, but I have never asked him.”

FCJ: He seems adamant that he’s not going to run. He’s been asked so many times. What happens if he doesn’t run?

RP: “If he doesn’t run then we’ll meet and reassess.”

FCJ: I understand your goal in the mayor’s race is ‘anybody but Leland Yee.’ If Ed Lee doesn’t run, then whom would you support for mayor? Would you support Herrera or someone else?

RP: “Yes, Herrera or someone else.”

FCJ: Can you clarify your comments in a recent Bay Citizen report about politics in San Francisco moving to the center?

RP: “I think what is so bad, the left movement has been dominated by Chris Daly and Aaron Peskin and we’re all lefties but we’re not their kind of lefties. They are bent on destruction against everything. Their type of left progressiveness is over I think.”

FCJ: What about John Avalos’ campaign? Do you see his campaign as being part of that legacy, or do you see him trying to distance himself from it?

RP: “No, I think John Avalos is a genuine progressive just like I see Ed Lee is a genuine progressive. Your definition of progressiveness, meaning empowering all classes of people, all races of people, and no discrimination about color, religion or background… but you have Chris Daly and run by the Bay Guardian – they’re not talking about people of color and different persuasions is their brand of liberalism and I don’t believe in that.”

FCJ: You’re a progressive and you’re a lefty and you’re supporting Herrera – do you think Herrera is a lefty?

RP: “No, he’s an honorable man. I don’t see they’re trying to push John Avalos into their corner [sic]. The city is sick and tired of the brand of liberalism that is personified by Aaron Peskin and Chris Daly – anybody that’s not associated with them, they call it centrist or whatever – their progressiveness is bent on destroying everything against any growth, against anything. They certainly don’t encompass people of color in their vocabulary.”

FCJ: Who do think is the current frontrunner in this race at the moment?

RP: “Without Ed Lee? I think it’s Dennis [Herrera].”

FCJ: You don’t think Leland Yee is the frontrunner?

RP: “No, I don’t think he’s the frontrunner. He’s spent $3 million in the last two years taking money from everybody and couldn’t break through 14, 15, whatever, percentage – that’s pretty pathetic.”

FCJ: What do you say to those people who say the only reason you want Ed Lee to run for mayor is because you want to defeat Leland Yee?

RP: “I think Leland Yee is a poor example of our people. I don’t see him has any moral turpitude and conviction [sic].”

KTVU: Why are you supporting Ed Lee?

RP: “He is a decent person. He is a hard-working person and he didn’t seek the job.”

KTVU : He’s specifically stated he doesn’t want the job.

RP: “Yes, but he is doing the job very well and so then we should convince him. He has a civic duty to continue what he’s doing for the city.”

KTVU : He has said he doesn’t want to campaign.

RP: “So, let’s campaign for him instead.”

KTVU: Do you think that’s possible?

RP: “Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. It will be a very unconventional campaign.”

KTVU: The person running for office in your eyes is not doing any campaigning…

RP: “Yeah, so what’s wrong with that? That’s why he’s such an attractive candidate.”

KTVU: Because he doesn’t want the office?

RP: “Yes, he doesn’t like the trappings of the office. He doesn’t like to be dialing for dollars. He doesn’t like doing those type of work. [sic]”

KTVU: And that’s why you like him as a candidate?

RP: “That’s right, he is unconventional. He is hard working and you know he’s doing it not for the glory of Ed Lee and he’s not using this as a stepping stone to run for higher office or another office, so there’s a lot to be said about that.”

KTVU : Do you like some of the other candidates?

RP: “Some of them.”

KTVU: You like Dennis?

RP: “Yes.”

KTVU : Anybody else in particular?

RP: “Yes, I like quite a few of them, but I don’t think they can win.”

KTVU: Clearly you’re giving money to the whole idea to get Ed to run.

RP: “I’m not giving money to anything. I’m helping to raise money to recruit Ed.”

FCJ: And if he doesn’t run?

RP: “Well, then we’ll re-examine. I’ll talk to my people and we’ll come to a conclusion then.”

KTVU: When I talked to him he didn’t say he wasn’t running. He basically said he doesn’t want to run.

RP: “I know. I know. So, yes, he didn’t want to be the [interim] mayor and he became the [interim] mayor and he’s doing a bang up job.”

KTVU: And so you’d be okay leading that campaign without him really being actively involved?

“That’s correct.”

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Comments for Rose Pak Interviewed on SF Mayor’s Race are now closed.

  1. Apparently the defeats from 2000 remain a source of bitterness for Rose Pak. She’s fighting Willie’s last battle. This is politics as therapy. But who has the appetite for yet another orgy of cliquishness that defines public policy around a handful of people who hate each other? The goal of 2011 should be about meeting a city’s existing needs, not about refighting a battle from the last century, living for small-minded revenge or a dated clique’s amour-propre. That is not a principled way forward. It’s a time sink for all, including Ed Lee.

    Setting aside the predictable puffery, Lee’s 2011-12 budget was easier to pull off and came with less pain because the City is pulling out of the recession faster than other parts of the country. Even before the Twitter and IPO deals (hint), unemployment was dropping and is now at 8.1%, well below the California average of 11.7%. Payroll taxes, property tax revenue, real estate transfer tax revenue and sales taxes are up from 2010. This year’s deficit is only about 1/2 the size of what it was the year before.

    What does this “bang up job” consist of? Appointing a white, straight man as Police Chief who comes out of the SFPD’s Alex Fagan wing — the “people of color” critique is merely tactically useful against Daly and Peskin who are white, Irish and Jewish respectively — but not to the criminal justice system apparently for all “lefties.” Will the Suhr appointment stem the misconduct cases, tossed criminal cases, end the SFPD overtime cash cow, or costly civil police misconduct suits filed against San Francisco? Doubtful.

    Even a neo-liberal who likes the Twitter deal that benefits a handful of firms in a compact geographic area must question the smarts of giving away a tax benefit prior to having a community benefit agreement or even the watered-down fig leaf of an advisory panel in place. Money for social services and affordable housing was sacrificed to fatten a few portfolios before they may go public as well as the Shorenstein family. These are the interests that are laughing all the way to the bank thanks to Mayor Lee, and a rubber stamp Board of Supervisors.

    Lee’s pension plan is at best a half-step that straddles the tension between city unions that long for the status quo ante, oppose permanent givebacks set into the Charter and Jeff Adachi. His reform does tackle the high cost of future retirement obligations that makes such a claim against SF’s general fund. Lee’s plan will not solve the problem, short or long term. Even Warren Hellman said SF needed to come up with $400 million in new savings but the Mayor’s plan scores at around $60 million. Since Lee’s plan is so weak a small group of unknown political appointees to the Retirement Board will have to employ an Enron-style accounting gimmick to avoid huge layoffs and service cuts in future years.

    So this “bang up job” consists of riding an economic cycle in the near term, going back in time at the SFPD, handing tax cuts to a social network company that wants to fatten its bottom line before going public without even paying for the new MUNI line that will service its front door and then exploiting Adachi’s insight that San Francisco cannot afford existing employee benefit levels. After the hype and empty name dropping, that’s the drill as a former Mayor used to say. Helium balloons, mustaches and “earned media” in daily papers eager to do the bidding of the City’s establishment, can not obscure such a prosaic record.

  2. I think she’s overestimating herself a bit. A lot of San Franciscans who don’t obsess over local politics the way Fog City readers do would be hard pressed to name Gavin Newsom’s placeholder.

  3. It does not take a math genius to review the facts on the record and conclude that both Willie Brown and Dennis Herrera have successfully promoted policies to promote “growth” that have contributed to the displacement of Latinos and African Americans from San Francisco.

    The beneficiaries of these “growth” policies, on the other hand, have generally been people of color as well, only pallid, not much more colorful than pink.

    We need a soundtrack to accompany this, equal parts Sorcerers’ Apprentice and Return of the Zombies.

    They’re B-a-a-a-a-a-ck, grab onto your wallets!