David Chiu New President of San Francisco Board of Supervisors

January 8, 2009

Eric Mar was elected to represent the city Richmond District, which has a heavy Chinese population and Carmen Chu was re-elected to represent the Sunset District, which also has a large Chinese population.

This is a watershed year for Asian Americans in city politics. With the addition of Chiu and Mar, this is the largest representation of Asian Americans on the board since district elections were reinstated in 2000. San Francisco has a population that is more than a third Asian American (predominantly Chinese).

San Francisco's Assessor is Phil Ting and the city is represented by Leland Yee in the California State Senate and Fiona Ma in the state Assembly. It'd be nice to have an ethnic mix of Asian American politicians in high positions, but for now we'll take what we can get.

Full disclosure: My wife was a volunteer on Chiu and Ting's election campaigns. Chiu is a former board member for Chinese for Affirmative Action, which is a partner of Hyphen. We have office space in the CAA building.


Harry Mok

Editor in chief

Editor in Chief Harry Mok wrote about growing up on a Chinese vegetable farm for the second issue of Hyphen and has been a volunteer editor since 2004. As a board member of the San Francisco and New York chapters of the Asian American Journalists Association, Harry has recruited and organized events for student members. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also a graduate student instructor in the Asian American Studies Department.



I neglected to point out that David Chiu is the first Asian American president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Harry -I just happen to be inside CAA's community room tonite where I was flipping through pages of Hyphen and ran into Vincent Pan.I'm not sure if this is a "watershed" year for Asian Pacific Americans in city politics.Before the advent of district elections in 2000 (I served on the panel that later recommended district elections), three APAs were elected to the board citywide - Michael Yaki (Japanese and Chinese American), Mabel Teng (Chinese American) and Leland Yee (Chinese American). APAs did reach political parity by 2000 in San Francisco.District elections undid that and APAs were left with no elected APA supervisors until last November (Carmen Chu was the mayor's appointee).In addition to Phil Ting, Fiona Ma and Leland Yee currently in elective office, there is District Attorney Kamala Harris (Indian and African American)who is running for California Attorney General, Jeff Adachi (Public Defender) and James Fang (BART Director).The school board (Jane Kim - first Korean American, Norman Yee - Chinese American, Hydra Mendoza - first Filipina American, Sandra Lee Fewer - Chinese American) is APA-majority. The College Board includes the first Vietnamese American (Steve Ngo) and Lawrence Wong (Chinese American).Finally, David Chiu is the first APA board president. As the film "Milk" depicts, Gordon Lau with Harvey Milk's support in the 1970s could have become the first APA board president except that one supervisor switched and elected Dianne Feinstein president. Because of this quirk of fate, Feinstein not Gordon Lau did not become mayor after the Moscone-Milk assassinations.-Samson WongS.F. Political Columnist (since 1996)
Good article. We've linked to it at http://www.aaa-fund.com/?p=1321.Gautam DuttaExecutive DirectorAsian American Action Fund (aaa-fund.org & aaa-fund.com)
David Chiu is also the first Asian American to head up the San Francisco Board of Supervisiors!
Thanks for the additional history from Samson Wong. History is so important!!
you're welcome Nina !given the possibility that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom could become Governor in 2010, there's an outside chance that any Board of Supervisors president could be elevated to mayor.-Samson Wong, Political Columnist (since 1996)San Francisco Examiner/S.F. Independent/AsianWeek