Apparently I am a San Francisco “Pissed off Voter” . . . Sort Of.


Now I know that some people value the idea that people can vote and people need not know how they voted, but being the transparent blogging fool that I am with just a smidge of influence in some areas, I am going to go ahead and share how I voted and what I think is important about today’s San Francisco Election.

Much to my surprise I am a “Pissed Off Voter” as I align greatly with this voters guide put out by the League of Young Voters. I have no affiliation with them, but want offer some kudos for dropping their guide at one of my favorite cafes. I ended up agreeing with all of their positions on propositions and appreciated their attempt at providing some nuance to some of items. Any voter guide that has “Yes, but . . .” or “No, but . . .” as their response understands that nothing is as simple as the doorhangers and radio commercials would like us to believe. Good peeps so be sure to gives some social media love:  Facebook, Twitter and tumblr.

So here it goes, 2012 San Francisco Voter Guide according to Bruce:

  • Washington – I generally vote along party lines, for as much as I appreciate individuals who bring new ideas, I think that the nature of Washington politics requires a consolidated common vision. At this point in our political climate, the overall Democratic platform still most resonates with me. And yes, that makes me somewhat of a conservative in San Francisco. Seriously.
  • YES on Proposition 28, Term Limits: I have always felt that term limits were foolish, reactionary and short-sighted. When they first passed in CA, the fear was that lobbyists would then have more power over the long term. Ding Ding Ding. I say if a politician is not doing a good job, vote them out. Not far enough for me, but Prop 28 is a step in the right direction.
  • YES on Proposition 29, Cigarette Tax Increase: One dollar more money to buy cigarettes: deterrent and fund generator. Big time Yes.
  • NO on Proposition A, Recycling Contracts: This was a “No, But . . .” for me as well. Voting no with the knowledge that we have a great recycling program in San Francisco and there are probably better ways to improve the process.
  • YES on Proposition B, Coit Tower Usage: I was pretty ambivalent about this one and am not big on voting on statements that have no legal teeth. That said, I am voting yes just to make sure that decision makers know that there is a general vibe out there about how public space is used.
  • Democratic County Central Committee: You are on your own, though if you want a few names depending on your district: John Avalos, Leah Pimentel, David Campos, David Chiu and Eric Mar. Lots of other good folks, but you’ll have to read our ballot for more.

I think that’s it. Make sure you get out and vote vite vote vote!

Asian American Identity Politics and the Race for Mayor of San Francisco

In response to my last post, The Race for Room 200 and the #sfmayor Election, a comment on the SF Gate Cross Posting, basically said that I should just shut up about politics because I am a pastor.  Well, sorry to disappoint those who think that being a person of faith automatically excludes him or her from civic engagement, but as many have felt for generations, my Christian faith is inherently political and compels me to be active in public square. As I have said before, issues of church and state are VERY different than issues of faith and politics; church state separation must be upheld, but faith and politics are intrinsically related. So I will keep thinking about politics, thank you very much.

Dismount soapbox.

For those who have been keeping up with the race for mayor here in San Francisco, you will have noticed that there are a couple of pretty cool things going on: one, a large number of legitimate candidates are running and, two,many of them are Asian American, five to be exact: Jeff Adachi, David Chiu, Ed Lee, Phil Ting and Leland Yee.  This post is not about the merits of any of them as candidates – see my disclaimer below – but rather an invitation to a conversation about the nature Asian Pacific Islander (API) political leadership today and what this particular election means to the larger voice of APIs in American culture.  No pressure, I know 😉

I was prompted to think about this by a few interactions over the past week:

  • A group that I have been involved with off and on in the past, Asian Pacific American for Progress (APAP), has invited folks to reflect on this election, AND, as we have discovered, there are many of us who are involved with APAP who are also involved with in various campaigns in this year’s SF mayoral race.
  • A conversation with a friend about the diversity of the Asian American community in San Francisco around class, immigration status, educational achievement, social views, etc.
  • And finally a brief Twitter exchange with @kimberlyychin. She and I do not know each other but I think she raises some really good questions in the following thread . . .

It is that last point that I think is really important for us to think about during this particular election. For those who keep up on Asian American politics, San Francisco’s race for mayor is proving to be a great opportunity for analysis: check out one of my favorite blogs 8asians, the Asian Week analysis of the DCCC endorsement and Bill Wong of the Nichi Bei Weekly. These and other have taken notice of deeper API issues which raise important questions for Asian American voters namely, “Will any of the five Asian American candidates show up on your ballot as #1, #2 or #3 and how much will/does their Asian American background matter?”

Let me be clear. I do not think that anyone should vote for or against someone solely because of their race. I have known far too many politicians for which their ethnic background gives them a unique worldview, but hold a political ideology that is far too conservative for my taste or my vote.  At the same time, folks also know what I think about being “color blind” so in order to assure a breadth of perspectives in decision-making, I also believe that, all else being equal, the ethnic background – could also be said of gender and other important life experiences – should be taken into consideration as one is voting.

So what do you think?

  • What would it mean for San Francisco, with our high percentage of Asian Americans to NOT elect one of the five Asian Americans as our next mayor?  What if we did?
  • How might the election or non-election of and Asian American impact the larger conversations on race and politics in San Francisco and the larger culture?
  • Realizing that many of us probably do not agree 100 percent on policies or positions with candidates we support, are there “intangibles” or other more  subjective criteria that you use when deciding on a candidate?
  • And lastly, knowing that a non-Asian American is my #1 and like many, I am still undecided on #2 and #3, if you do support someone else on the ballot, feel free to make your case.  Seriously, I still don’t know.

Thanks for reading along and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

MY DISCLAIMER: John Avalos is my #1 so if that immediately discounts anything I say, there is not much I can do about that. What I can tell you is that I am not part of his paid staff, no one from the campaign vets my writing and I make no assumptions that I agree with everything that John stands for or against. I simply trust the man and have chosen to give him my support and time. I sit in a few meetings, give some thoughts, tweet a bit and help coordinate the PTA.