Posts Tagged San Francisco politics
The “New Mud”: Ranked Choice voting changes everything in SF Mayoral Election; How Lee’s voter fraud controversy puts everything in a new light with less than two weeks to go
A big conference on Asian American activism is taking place in San Francisco this week.
Ed Lee used to be one of them, an unabashed non-profit good guy. But now his life has changed as the lead dog in the San Francisco mayoral race. He just may not be in the lead for long.
Lee, the interim mayor attempting to make it for real, has been tripped up by some overzealous campaigners on his behalf who may have committed voter fraud.
The now infamous “Ed Heads,” blue shirted members of the San Francisco Neighbors Alliance for Ed Lee for Mayor 2011, had been out in Chinatown the last few weeks setting up tents and helping specifically Cantonese speaking voters.
Tents! Or maybe they were voter cabanas?
How much help the voters got is he issue, and with translated ballots and handbooks, how much help is needed, unless the volunteers really were filling out ballots and telling people how to vote.
Beyond language, there’s the issue of taking a ballots in a plastic bag for delivery to the elections office. These are ballots not pizzas. No delivery allowed.
And then there’s the last big question. How direct is the connection of the volunteers to Lee?
As close as Rose Pak?
The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into this after seven candidates faxed a letter of complaint Sunday to D.C.
I talked to one candidate today who said when he talked with Lee over the weekend, Lee wanted to be on the letter to show a united front.
Makes sense. All major candidates want a fair and ethical election, right? In the spirit of Ranked Choice Voting, that would take the sting out of any appearance of mudslinging and show consensus. Take the politics out of it.
But apparently there was no strong feeling to provide Lee a fig leaf.
Besides, this is just what the other candidates were looking for: Acceptable campaign “mud.”
Ranked Choice Voting makes things a bit to collegial sometimes. Like a parish council. You’re looking for consensus? Boring.
So this was too good for the other candidates to pass up.
A little local October surprise to stop the front-runner in his tracks and help others make up ground.
Lee’s best response so far: Proclaiming it’s “Hammer time”?
With all the possible investigations emerging, Lee is going to have to do much more to regain any momentum.
Otherwise, the voter fraud scandal has done the real heavy lifting for the candidates. Its isolated Lee. And it’s changed the dynamic of race. The cloud of voter fraud may even be enough to keep Lee off voters’ RCV top-three.
If an “anyone but Ed” campaign emerges, then the seven who sent the DOJ letter (especially Leland Yee, David Chiu, Jeff Adachi, Dennis Herrera and John Avalos) have just made this race much tighter than expected.
The No.2 vote will be very important. That means candidates will be on good behavior from here one. They know who they’re No.1 with. Now their goal is to be everyone’s No.2.
As candidates get eliminated, those No.2 ballots will eventually make someone a winner.
But who? Chiu? Yee? Adachi?
This historic race in Asian American history is coming up to an exciting finish.
And the winner will be the best No.2 person around.
Whoever gets the majority of Avalos’ or Herrera’s No.2 votes will be the first elected Asian American mayor.
More on the controversy at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog:
Filipino nurse issue turning into leverage point in community demands for equal job opportunity and health care access at new California Pacific Medical Center project
Allegations of discriminatory anti-Filipino hiring practices at St.Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco have been festering at California Pacific Medical Center since last August.
We haven’t heard a lot from either the hospital or the nurses since then.
But now it appears CPMC has simply preferred a subtler approach.
Why not just try to persuade a key witness against them to change his story, maybe by even offering him a higher paying job?
That’s so Filipino!
Send over the CEO of the whole CPMC magilla to sweet talk the witness on Valentine’s Day no less. Nothing like some Bigfoot-sweet-talk to persuade and intimidate a lowly nurse overcome by a momentary sense of outspokenness, and professional self-esteem.
CPMC must think they’re in Manila.
But St.Luke’s nurse Ronald Villanueva, one of three key witnesses who have alleged discriminatory hiring at CPMC, says he’s not budging from his story.
That didn’t stop CPMC CEO, Dr. Warren Browner from stopping by Villanueva’s ICU work station after work this past February 14th.
The nurse recalled Dr. Browner’s plea.
“He asked if there was anything we can do to change my perception and if I was still interested in a management position,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva’s still not interested in a position, mainly because he remembers statements made by Diana Karner, the Chief Nursing Officer at St.Luke’s back in 2007. And she’d still be his superior.
On April 25, 2007, Villanueva was to be interviewed for an open nurse supervisor position. Prior to that, he overheard Karner and then nurse manager, Ron Rivera, in conversation.
Villanueva has no memory loss here. He said Karner told Rivera bluntly, “Do not hire foreign graduate nurses.”
Ultimately, Villanueva did get that job. But since then, there’s been little advancement at CPMC as a foreign nurse.
In 2008, despite high praise on his performance from CPMC officials, including nursing heads Karner and her associate, Heather Sebanc the associate VP of nursing, Villanueva’s career path has been stymied.
In December 2008, Sebanc administered a job evaluation that kept him from a 5 percent raise and a 3 percent bonus, and then strongly discouraged him from applying for an ICU manager position.
“Sebanc told me…I strongly advise you not to apply for the position,” Villanueva said.
The hostility Villanueva received once again called to mind Karner’s original comments, and he has since decided to no longer apply for manager positions at CPMC. He even requested to go back to ICU as staff nurse where he currently works.
All of Villanueva’s words are in a sworn affidavit declared to be true and correct under penalty of perjury under California law.
The nurses representatives and community members have asked CPMC officials to do the same, but they have declined.
CPMC spokesman Kevin McCormac confirmed that Dr. Browner did talk to Villanueva that day but said the meeting has been “misconstrued for other purposes.”
McCormac said Browner had heard Villanueva had received favorable employee performance marks and wanted to find out if Villanueva was interested in advancing at CPMC.
So has Villanueva’s good performance changed the perception by CPMC of Filipino and foreign nurses there?
“There is no perception about foreign nurses,” McCormac told me. “The perception is they have the skills, the perception and the background. We think they’re great.”
The California Nurses Union and the Filipino Community Center still aren’t sure about that, and have witness affidavits at the ready for potential legal action at CPMC. Ironically, one nursing official involved, Heather Sebanc, left CPMC last month. McCormac said it was unrelated to this issue.
In the meantime, the larger battle ground may just be CPMC’s proposed new hospital at the old Jack Tar Hotel site. A hearing is upcoming before the health and planning commission, McCormac said.
The discriminatory hiring issue may simply be used as a key leverage point to push CPMC to assure equal access to job opportunities and healthcare services at the new facility.
San Francisco Mayor’s race: David Chiu’s candidacy no surprise; he’s readymade for Rank Choice Voting
I’m not surprised that David Chiu, despite the short resume, has announced his run for mayor of San Francisco.
I’ve called David Obamaesque in the past. He may not be a rock star yet. But I know he’s Ivy smart and ambitious and likes to work both sides of the street. That said, his opportunity is really defined by the new rules of the game.
Democracy has become more horse race than ever with Rank Choice voting.
Now it’s like picking a trifecta at Golden Gate Fields, creating totally new strategies for winning.
Throw mud? Not anymore. Now it’s time to cozy up and go tandem. By trading 2nd and 3rd votes, in a non-majority race, an underdog can rise to the top and even win.
It seems like you’d want to be No.1 with your base. But if you can also be No.2 or No.3 with others in alliance, you end up campaigning at others’ events for the subvotes. It happened to Oakland’s Jean Quan, the first Asian American woman mayor last year.
Running against the big Democratic political operative Don Perata, Quan actually lost the first round of voting by 11 percentage points.
But with no majority, the second ballots were counted. Quan who campaigned with the third place candidate Rebecca Kaplan, surged ahead of Perata simply by being named on more votes as No.2.
The new rules rule. Perata the pernniel Big Dog machine politician was out. Quan, the city councilwoman was in.
The Quan blueprint will be the Chiu strategy across the Bay in San Francisco. And I thought it was the waxed eyebrows.
For Asian Americans in San Francisco, the list now includes David Chiu and two other Asian American candidates: State Senator Leland Yee and City Assessor Phil Ting. (Interim Mayor Ed Lee may still announce a run as the incumbent, but he may be odd man out).
It used to be that one Asian American would split the vote. But with rank choice, you want lots of candidates to create a for sure non-majority. And then you want it to go to the 2nd and 3rd ballot. A free-for-all? Could be. Unless strategists are thinking about the new rules.
So the question will be who teams up with whom?
Will there be an all-Asian 1-2-3? (Unlikely).
Or will there be an effort to leave any Asian Ameican off the top 3?
Hey, politics is interesting again. The big money can’t control it any longer. But that doesn’t mean someone won’t be out there trying to manipulate things with the new election math.
With new rules come new deal making. Expect to see it in November.
Check out my Amok column at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund site.