Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multiultural Age by Claire Jean Kim

Dangerous Crossings: Race, Species, and Nature in a Multiultural Age by Claire Jean Kim

Author:Claire Jean Kim [Kim]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Published: 2015-03-11T16:00:00+00:00

Rachel Gordon’s article “SF Asian Americans Ascending in Halls of Power” (San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 2011) noted that Lee’s appointment and David Chiu’s selection as president of the Board of Supervisors heralded “the coming of age politically of a community.”109 Geron and Lai described Lee’s appointment as the culmination of a long journey for the Chinese “from political outsiders to insiders.”110

The triumphalist narrative about a unified Chinese community awakening to its own strength, overcoming barriers, and making history was haunted by two contradictions. First, the fact that Ed Lee’s appointment as interim mayor resulted from backroom deals and power plays raises questions about whether he represented something new and different. It was widely reported that former mayor Willie Brown and Rose Pak of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce had arranged for Lee’s ascension. In “Behind-the-Scenes Power Politics: The Making of Ed Lee” (The Bay Citizen, January 6, 2011), Gerry Shih reported that Brown called his longtime ally Pak because he didn’t like the three progressive candidates most likely to replace Newsom. Pak then called Lee on his cell phone when he was in the airport on his way to Taiwan and persuaded him to serve as interim mayor. She and Brown spent the next forty-eight hours in an “extraordinary political power play,” outflanking the Board’s progressive wing and securing a majority of votes for Lee. David Chiu, ordinarily allied with the progressives on the Board, provided the decisive vote for Lee.111 Supervisor John Avalos commented: “This was something incredibly orchestrated, and we got played. I’m still trying to figure out what happened. I don’t know what the game was about, except that it was to muscle someone into office.” Pak said to the reporter: “Now you know why they say I play politics like a blood sport.”112

If Rose Pak handpicked Ed Lee and made his appointment happen, would she have too much influence in his administration? Even some Chinese American supporters of Lee, including Reverend Norman Fong and Gordon Chin, conceded that the process had been ugly and that it raised questions about whom Lee would be accountable to.113 Supervisor Chris Daly, who opposed Lee’s appointment, did not pull his punches:

It seems as if according to her, Miss Pak and former Mayor Willie Brown were very involved in setting up this potential appointment of Ed Lee as successor mayor and I think that it was so well done that if nominations were reopened I would go ahead and nominate Rose Pak for the position of interim mayor and vote for her. Why not, why not cut out the middle man. If Rose Pak is putting, is the one who is putting this together. If Rose Pak is the one who has the talents and the ability to make this happen, the most important decision that I have seen on the Board of Supervisors in 10 years, then rightfully why not go ahead and make Rose Pak successor if she has that level of savvy and ability to put together in three short days the most important decision this board has made in 10 years.


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