Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Eye of the Dragon

I wrote previously about a tong related killing in San Franciso. The story isn't over. Below is an excerpt. The full story can be read here.

Change at Chinatown market under city scrutiny

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A notorious former gangster has taken over a Chinatown street market that is financed by San Francisco taxpayers, a development that has set off alarm bells at City Hall.

Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow - who was once sentenced to 25 years in prison on gun charges but says he's gone legit - was named manager of the Chinatown Night Market on Friday by the Chinatown Neighborhood Association, a group with close City Hall ties.

The potential embarrassment of Chow's involvement, we're told, prompted a contentious closed-door debate about the city's $35,000 grant to the program - with Board of Supervisors President David Chiu cautioning against the deal, Mayor Gavin Newsom's staff largely noncommittal, and Planning Commissioner Bill Lee arguing to move ahead.

"The mayor wants the whole deal closely scrutinized," mayoral spokesman Nathan Ballard said Tuesday after news of the controversy spread.

It is unclear, however, whether the city can do anything about Chow or the $35,000 - which the city awarded in a contract it signed with the market's sponsors in December.

The summertime market, where vendors pay a fee to sell their wares in street booths, has been operated since its founding a decade ago by the Chinatown Neighborhood Association, led by two longtime city pols, former Police Commissioner Pius Lee and ex-Redevelopment Commissioner Benny Yee.

Critics have complained that much of the taxpayers' yearly $35,000 contribution to the event has not been accounted for - a charge that was largely confirmed by a city controller's audit two years ago that recommended pulling the plug on the public funding.

Last week, Lee and Yee called a Chinatown news conference to say they were stepping away from the neighborhood association to pave the way for the group's reorganization. They said six of the association's 19 board members would be members of the Chee Kung Tong, or Chinese Freemasons - with Chow, head of the group, serving as the market's new general manager.


walt said...

I remember the Golden Dragon massacre (mentioned in your earlier link) in the '70s; it was big news.

I spent a lot of time in Chinatown, including in the evening. Never had any trouble, or felt threatened. There were always characters around and about who were not just "having a nice day" -- but that's true most anywhere in SF.

But it was apparent that there was a deep undercurrent of distrust between the races, and whenever there was a serious crime, the police struggled to get information about it. Sounds like it hasn't changed much.

Rick Matz said...

There will be more on the Golden Dragon Massacre in a future post in the next month or so.