City Hemorrhages Filipino American Nurses

Expect San Francisco government employee unions to turn the screws up on incoming supervisors - particularly Eric Mar and David Chiu - after the latest layoffs. Although the city budget is more than $6 billion, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the board face its inflexibility, having to make cuts in a shrinking $1.2 billion discretionary portion of the budget and bridging a $700 million shortfall for the current and next fiscal year. Mar and Chiu were heavily supported by labor in November’s elections. They were among the earliest to be endorsed by the S.F. Labor Council, which buoyed the two over mayoral-supported candidates Sue Lee of the Chinese Historical Society of America and Claudine Cheng of the Treasure Island Development Authority, while snubbing Alicia Wang, former local American Federation of Teachers political director. Mar and Chiu will ascend to office in January after the mayor handed out 409 pink slips, including 285 from the Public Health Department in December…One hundred and sixty-five of those Public Health layoffs were registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and nursing assistants; Filipino Americans likely bore the brunt of the first layoffs, given their disproportionate numbers among nurses…. FILAMs IN NURSING: According to a 2006 Department of Human Resources report, FilAms comprised 41.5 percent of San Francisco’s 1,108 registered nurses, 55.9 percent of 213 LVNs and 68.1 percent of 574 nursing assistants. Non-Filipino Asian Americans made up 11.3 percent of RNs, 6.6 percent of LVNs and 5.1 percent of Nursing Aides…

OVERALL APA CIVIL SERVICE: 35 percent of more than 27,000 city workers were APA as of 2006. Driving calls for a pay freeze are city employees who in 2008-09 averaged $91,404 in wages and $28,513 in benefits totaling $119,917 - up from $74,475 and $23,590 totaling $98,065 for 2005-06, according to the City Controller….Per capita income for a San Franciscan is $43,013, according to the U.S. Census’ 2007 American Community Survey…

THREE’S NOT COMPANY: The third supervisor, Carmen Chu, is considered a moderate and ally of Mayor Gavin Newsom. Although San Francisco elected an unprecedented three APAs - Chiu, Mar and Chu - to district supervisor in November, history indicates that they will not coalesce in the polarized politics of San Francisco. Before the end of the millennium, an unprecedented three APAs were elected citywide: Michael Yaki, Mabel Teng and Leland Yee. However, they did not see eye to eye. Maverick Yee clashed with liberals Yaki and Teng, who were part of a pro-Mayor Willie Brown majority until their ouster in the 2000 elections… Newsom will count on four of eleven total votes to sustain any board overrides. Expect him to look to moderates and his former appointees Chu, Sean Elsbernd and Michaela Alioto-Pier. Newsom can then find a fourth vote from the remaining supes, particularly Bevan Dufty or Sophie Maxwell…

TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE: Commend College Board member Lawrence Wong and the winning coalition of Friends of Education Opportunities in Chinatown which bridged the Chinese American political spectrum of institutions - from Chinese for Affirmative Action to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. They won the final legal settlement last month to build the 14-story, $146 million campus on a site in between four decades Chinatown-Manilatown land use battlefields of the revamped International Hotel and Financial District’s Hilton Hotel…. SILENCE IS GOLDEN: Former College Board members Lillian Sing and Julie Tang courageously walked a fine line between their devotion to community colleges system while upholding their judicial canons of ethics. As superior court judges, the two could not express their opinion for or against the campus. Nevertheless, with sleazy tactics over the campus, Sing and Tang were physically present as beacons of moral authority at the height of the debate while maintaining their impartiality without swinging their gavels…
ITEM LAST: As this column resolves annually, my resolution is to end all resolutions….


Reach Samson Wong at swong@asianweek.com.

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