|CHINESE GROUP: ALIOTO'S THE ONE
By Adriel Hampton
San Francisco Examiner
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Anti-discrimination attorney Angela Alioto on Monday pulled down a significant endorsement from a group of politically active Chinese-American businessman and community leaders.
The backing comes from Asian American Community Voice, a 3-month-old organization of about 200 members formed to influence San Francisco politics.
It includes a number of past and current presidents of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, known as the Chinese Six Companies and Ed Jew, a former candidate for Supervisor in the Sunset.
Albert Chin, president of the moderate-to-conservative political group, said the members picked Alioto from the large field of candidates because they believe she will respond proactively to issues in Chinatown. He said they admired her spirit and are concerned that too many politicians come to The City's Chinatown for big fund-raisers but ignore its needs.
"We need to say, 'We will support you, but we need your help,'" Chin said, praising Mayor Willie Brown as a politician who, despite perceived faults, has been there for the community.
Chin said the group's largest issues are rezoning Chinatown to allow taller buildings to reduce the housing shortage and putting some pizzazz into area small businesses. Already, the community is looking at the hurdle of seeking a zoning variance before they can rebuild the aged Chinese Hospital on Jackson Street.
Asian American Community Voice will help to educate voters about Alioto and do a mailer to support her,
"Her neighborhood is right next to us, so at least we have the connection," Chin said, referring to Alioto's history in North Beach.
He said that at night, Little Italy is jumping but Chinatown's shops and restaurants are largely empty, a situation they hope Alioto would remedy.
In a press conference at New Asia restaurant, Alioto said her father, former Mayor Joe Alioto, taught her no citywide candidate can win without Chinatown's support.
She said planning policies in The City are a mess and she's sure she can forge a path that respects neighborhood integrity while creating economic vitality. She stood on her record as a former supervisor, when she put Chinese medicine options into city government health plans and helped raise the number of minority-owned businesses getting city contracts.
"Chinatown is part of my life, not quite as much as North Beach, but it is part of my life," Alioto said.