By Luke Thomas
September 22, 2011
Yesterday’s failed attempt by the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC) to muster enough votes for a third-place Asian-American mayoral candidate endorsement vote was blocked by interim Mayor Ed Lee, according to Senator Leland Yee’s campaign consultant Jim Stearns.
“Once again, it is evident that calls for Chinese American unity by the Ed Lee campaign and his supporters are self serving and hypocritical,” Stearns wrote in a statement. “For them, unity only matters if it helps Ed Lee, not if it helps the community.”
“Ed Lee’s calls for unity are a complete sham,” Stearns added. “We had an historic opportunity for the Democratic Party to endorse an Asian-American for mayor and Ed Lee prevented it.”
As Fog City Journal reported last eve, the DCCC failed by a close 14-16 vote to vote for a third-place candidate endorsement. According to Stearns, the vote was derailed by Lee’s “operatives” on the DCCC, namely Arlo Hale Smith (brother of Ace Smith, Lee’s campaign consultant), Mary Jung, and Leslie Katz.
What’s interesting about this development is that after the DCCC on August 17 voted for its (failed) third-place mayoral candidate endorsement – in which Lee received one vote, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu received three votes, and Yee received eight votes – Lee went on the offensive stopping short of accusing the DCCC of racism for not endorsing him or other possible Asian-American mayoral candidates.
“Even though our Chinese-American population is growing so powerfully in this city, and even though we have a Chinese-American board president and an interim mayor, there are still some political associations that don’t think that we deserve their attention,” Lee reportedly said September 2 during a ceremony held by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.
Supervisor John Avalos and City Attorney Dennis Herrera were the only mayoral candidates endorsed by the DCCC at its August 17 meeting.
Lee supporter and Chinatown powerbroker Rose Pak, never one to shy away from playing the race card when things don’t go her way, accused DCCC Chair Aaron Peskin of being a racist in an op-ed published by the Beijing-aligned Sing Tao Daily.
Responding to Stearns’ claims, Lee campaign spokesperson Tony Winnicker wrote via email: “Is he (Yee) really attacking other candidates because their supporters didn’t vote for him? That’s pretty rich. One could just as easily ask why Leland Yee’s supporters didn’t vote for Mayor Lee? Or David Chiu? Or Phil Ting? Why didn’t the other candidates ask their supporters to vote for Leland Yee? Talk about sour grapes! The simple truth is that Leland Yee and Aaron Peskin picked a fight they couldn’t win and now that they’ve been rejected, their only excuse is to blame Mayor Lee. These are the kind of politics Mayor Lee has worked hard to change these last 8 months to get things done. It’s really getting a bit silly. Is there anything these guys won’t try to attack Mayor Lee over at this point?”
As to why Peskin called for last night’s vote? Reliable sources told Fog City Journal the DCCC needed a third candidate on the Democratic Party slate to help pay for endorsement literature.