Rose Pak

Rose Pak has been called the most powerful woman in San Francisco. Many credit the Chinatown political activist with being the kingmaker behind Mayor Ed Lee’s election, and the person most responsible for the increasing political power of Asian-Americans in the city. Pak joins us as part of our First Person series, profiling the leaders, innovators and others that make the Bay Area unique.

Interview Highlights

Rose Pak, general consultant at the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce

  • thucy

    I’m glad you’re doing this program, but I question how objectively anyone can cover Rose Pak. For many in my generation, Rose Pak represented San Francisco as the ultimate suffocating small town controlled by Tweed-like characters and their crony sycophants. (One look at Pak’s counterpart in the arts, Didi Wilsey, and we were out of here. SF has always been too much power in the hands of two few tyrants.)
    New York was an eye-opener for many of us – borough politics was never pretty, but ordinary people were engaged and very tough on their reps. I hope Rose Pak can convince us that the reason she retains her power isn’t simply because most San Franciscans are totally disengaged, but I’m too old not to understand that Pak doesn’t need to convince us anymore than the proverbial 500-pound gorilla needs to – no one’s dumb enough to run up against that monster.

  • thucy

    And you thought interviewing Mike Tyson was intimidating!!!

    I don’t know if the KQED audience is aware of the internal struggle within SF’s Chinese community between Pro-Taiwanese and pro-CCP people, but Rose Pak has been tightly linked with the (more powerful) CCP group.
    Thus, my questions for Rose Pak:
    1) What are her ties to the CCP?
    2) What does she know about the February 2006 hit ordered on pro-Taiwan activist Allen Leung?
    3) What are her ties to Norman Hsu?
    This is going to be a real fun interview…

  • Chris OConnell

    Call someone the “Taliban” for opposing your projects? That’s ridiculous. (You may not be a paid hack but you are a hack for that.) When he starts chopping off limbs and blowing up religious symbols, then call him Taliban.

  • Chris OConnell

    She does not understand the term lobbyist. Just because she has negative associations, and just because many lobbyists may represent heinous causes for cash, that does not mean all lobbyists are bad. Many lobbyists are proud of their causes.

  • Guest

    Ask Rose if it’s true that she helped Eric Mar get re-elected Supervisor after he gave her the vote she wanted for the controversial 8 Washington building project.

  • thucy

    I can’t believe she just played the red-baiting card!

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Did Rose help Eric Mar get re-elected for his vote for the very controversial 8 Washington building project?

    (Stick to the question, please – rather than lifting Peskin as a straw man argument to sidetrack the main question)

  • thucy

    It seems like Chinese San Francisco is being lumped into one pro-Pak entity. Like Jewish-Americans, Arab-Americans and African-Americans, Chinese-Americans are not one monolithic group. A lot of Chinese in SF deeply dislike (that’s putting it nicely) Rose Pak.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    If its ok for the Italians, gay/lesbian community leaders to flex their muscle in San Francisco politics then why isnt it permitted for Ms Pak to do so as well. After all the Chinese community has been around since the 1800’s.

  • Julie Lancelle

    I recognize the values that Rose Pak represents. I have been involved in caring about my community in committees and as an elected official over the nearly 65 years of my life. I don’t want to sound chauvinistic but it has become clear to me that women in general bring qualities to the political realm and interaction that are different than what men bring. Key among these characteristics is perseverance. For whatever reason, women understand the power of perseverance over time. And patience, calmness under duress are qualities that women bring to the table in greater measure than men…and it’s what the world needs more of if we are to succeed as occupants in our local and global communities. Thank you Rose Pak…you are an inspiration to me.
    Julie, Pacifica

    • thucy

      “I don’t want to sound chauvinistic but it has become clear to me that women in general bring qualities to the political realm and interaction that are different than what men bring.”
      You’re so right – George Moscone would never have pimped San Francisco out to the CCP as “feminist” Rose Pak has.

  • thucy

    Nick is right – Pak is just as bad, if not worse, as those she replaced. And it’s beyond disingenuous to say that because she has no vote then she has no influence.

  • thucy

    Mike, I don’t blame you for the softball interview – Pak’s a monster with the ability to yank funding in all sorts of venues. But there are a lot of tough questions here that went unasked.

    • Maximus

      Krasny is sometimes willing to ask tough questions. He is at least better than the other interviewers at KQED, who are basically wimps although I think Iverson may actually be a Vichy collaborator.

  • ed from SF

    If Rose Pak were to cross the Chinese Communist Party, would they revoke her travel privileges? Does she have relatives in China who would suffer if Rose Pak spoke out about human rights in China? Does the Chinese government have a veto over candidates who receive support from the Chinese community? The are serious questions you just gloss over with a glib joke, “hold up your right hand…”

    • p0peb

      Yes of course. China, which has 1.3 billion people and litany of problems to solve, really really cares about what happens in SF. No really, they do.

      • thucy

        Shushu Lam,
        If you know anything about the entwined history of SF and China, you wouldn’t say that, would you? There are entire villages that only survived the 19th century because of San Francisco wages sent home. and that was a good thing.
        But, today, there’s still a lot of business to be done, contracts to be won, espionage to be facilitated, etc.
        Rose Pak is no friend of democracy, and no more representative of Chinese Americans than Dr. Faustus.

        • p0peb

          So what if some Chinese over a hundred years ago worked here and send money home?! Somehow in your mind that connects Rose to the Communist.

          SF’s history is entwined with many countries, including Mexico, Ireland, and England. I don’t hear anyone questioning if Gavin Newsom takes order from the IRA or if Matt Gonzalez is in bed with the Mexican government. Which would be just as idiotic as your suggestion about Rose and the CCP.

          This is just as dumb as those people who think the Chinese government stopped Yi Jianlain from playing in the NBA. Oh boy.

  • ed from SF

    Why doesn’t Rose Pak speak out about human rights in China? Why does she, and every other elected official from the Chinese community, refuse to address issues deemed “sensitive” by the Chinese Communist Party?

  • ed from SF

    “Whereas San Francisco City Supervisor Chris Daly, after receiving complaints that Chinese officials were intimidating his constituents, authored a resolution condemning human rights violations and persecution of Falun Gong members by the Chinese Government;

    Whereas Mr. Daly and the other members of the San Francisco City Council subsequently received a letter from the Chinese Consul General in San Francisco, claiming that Falun Gong was an `evil cult’ that was undermining the `normal social order’ in the People’s Republic of China, and that Mr. Daly’s resolution should therefore be rejected, which it subsequently was…”

    • Maximus

      Isn’t Maoism an evil cult? Pot kettle black.

  • ed from SF

    Trade relations. Freedom has a price ha ha $1.7 billion…

    “Big sit-down the other night at the 5A5 Steak Lounge on Jackson Street to try to seal the mega-development deal that Mayor Ed Lee hopes to sign on his upcoming trip to China.

    At issue: finalizing a $1.7 billion deal with China Development Corp., the Chinese national railway and Lennar Corp….

    …In addition to Lee, attendees included Lennar VP Kofi Bonner, former Mayor Willie Brown – who besides his gig as a Chronicle columnist is working to bring in Chinese citizens whose investments here will earn them green cards – and Chinese Chamber of Commerce powerhouse Rose Pak. She’s setting up the mayor’s trip to Beijing at the end of March. ”

  • edwinlee

    This is a example of some peoples issues with Rose Pak —

    She’ll say she travels to China because she can stay with friends, but then you google it and …

    “Report finds Chinatown leader was responsible for nearly half of all travel gifts to city officials”

    KQED: “You were taking a number of trips to the People’s Republic.”

    Rose Pak: “Every year. I take my vacation there because I have friends there. I don’t need to pay hotels. I can stay with friends. “

    • Maximus

      Something tells me she is not visiting people in the labor camps, or those toiling at Foxconn.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor