SAN FRANCISCO, Ca-When I first ran for the San Francisco Community College Board in 1992, I employed a strategy of putting together a list of the registered Filipino voters in the city - a process of voter extrapolation that included those who listed the Philippines as their place of birth and those with ?Filipino sounding? names - then contacting and connecting with those voters.
After gathering a list of 14,000 names and phone numbers, I started a phone bank of volunteers to call the folks in the list to introduce me, inform them of my experience as president of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and that I initiated the move to transfer 15 acres of SFPUC reservoir land to the Ocean Campus of City College, the most congested community college campus in the state. My volunteers also emphasized the need to empower our community by electing their representatives to policy-making positions.
Although I raised only about $40,000 that year - easily outspent by another candidate who poured $180,000 of her personal funds to win a seat, I won that first race and every election since then. I credit that initial victory to our strategy of getting out the Filipino vote and asking the Filipino voters to encourage their friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers to vote for me.
That strategy may have worked then but I am not sure it will work now. There are 437,995 registered voters in San Francisco. Out of this number, 308,188 were born in the US and 106,497 were born abroad. About 81,608 voters are identified as ?Asian? while another 48,204 are self-identified as Chinese. Only 11,677 identify themselves as Filipinos (source: politicaldata.com).
It may be that this figure is a gross undercount of the actual number of Filipino voters in San Francisco. It may also be that the figure is accurate and reflects the emigration of Filipinos of San Francisco to the suburbs of Daly City (where 35% of the population is Filipino), South San Francisco, Colma and further out to the Alameda cities of Union City, Hayward and Fremont and beyond to Vallejo and Benecia.
The rapid increase in the numbers of Filipinos in those cities has resulted in the election of Filipinos to public office there. But how will it affect the prospect of electing Filipinos in San Francisco now?
Conchita Applegate, a Filipino American Republican in San Francisco, is running for the State Assembly seat of Fiona Ma, a daunting challenge for anyone, but especially in a city where 246,460 voters identify themselves as Democrats and only 43,232 as Republicans.
Myrna Viray Lim, a Filipino American Democrat, is running for Supervisor in District 11 in a district which has a population that is 49% Asian, according to the poll data obtained by Lim. As the only woman and the only Asian in a tight race, Myrna Lim may yet eke out a win over her three male opponents, who are more heavily funded.
According to poll data, Filipinos live all over San Francisco but are especially concentrated in District 6 (South of Market and the Tenderloin) and in District 11 (outer Mission and Excelsior). St. Patrick?s Church in District 6 has a mostly Filipino congregation, like Corpus Christi Church and Epiphany Church in District 11.
In District 6, the supervisor is Chris Daly, the subject of a critical column I wrote (?The Dream of Ed De La Cruz?, Telltale Signs, 04/26/06). I described how Daly maneuvered the cut-off of funds to the West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center, established by the late Filipino community leader Ed de la Cruz, and the subsequent transfer of those funds to groups and individuals allied with and loyal to Daly.
As a result of Daly?s anti-Filipino activities, I actively involved myself in the 2006 campaign to unseat him, supporting his main opponent, Rob Black. But Daly won and, in his election night victory speech, announced that he would get back at those who campaigned against him.
To make good on his threat this year, Daly fielded a slate of candidates to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC), winning a significant plurality of seats in the 34-member DCCC in the June 6 primaries. Daly then threatened wavering members that if they didn?t vote for his candidate for DCCC chair (Aaron Peskin), he would make it his ?personal mission to make sure that (they) never receive the endorsement of the Guardian, Tenants Union, Sierra Club, and Milk Club in subsequent races.? (?Aaron Peskin wins vote for Dem county chair?, Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 07/25/08)
The threat worked and Peskin was elected. As a result, the ?San Francisco Democratic Party has veered dramatically to the left, telling voters that on Nov. 4 they should elect a raft of ultra-liberal supervisorial candidates, decriminalize prostitution, boot JROTC from public schools, embrace public power and reject Mayor Gavin Newsom's special court in the Tenderloin.? (?S.F. Democrats take a sharp turn to the left?, Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 08/15/08).
For the first time since I first ran for office, I did not receive an endorsement from the SFDCCC nor any of the democratic clubs in the city under Daly's control or sway. Among those groups is the San Francisco Filipino American Democratic Club (FADC) under Joe Julian, a DCCC member who won on Daly?s slate. Julian did not even invite me to be interviewed for consideration of endorsement by his FADC.
When one of those endorsed by the FADC for the School Board, Emily Murase, sent in her check to help pay for the FADC slate mailer, she was informed by Roy Recio, chair of the club?s political action committee, that she needed to write a check instead to the ?Change Slate?. She was dismayed to learn that this was a PAC controlled by Chris Daly. (?S.F. Filipino club backs Daly PAC?, Ken Garcia, San Francisco Examiner, 10/17/08).
Boss Daly wants you to know who stuck it to you, to make his revenge all the sweeter. But will he get away with it?
(Send comments to Rodel50@aol.com or write to 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco , CA 94127 . For past issues, log on to www.rodel50.blogspot.com).