SFMTA votes to name Muni station in Chinatown after political activist Rose Pak

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
SFMTA votes to name Muni station in Chinatown after political activist Rose Pak
The SFMTA has voted to name a Muni station after Rose Pak. The decision passed four to three Tuesday night.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There was a divisive vote at San Francisco's City Hall tonight, over the naming of San Francisco's Central Subway line that ends in Chinatown at Washington and Stockton Streets.

People were lined up inside at City Hall for eight hours. Then after five hours of public comment, the SFMTA board voted four to three to name the central subway station after Rose Pak, which is scheduled to open next year.

Rose Pak died three years ago, but she's still igniting controversy. Lines of people waited for hours to make public comment at an SFMTA board meeting about whether Pak's name and legacy should be enshrined at San Francisco's new central subway station in Chinatown.

"So many people do not love her. Why do they want to impose this naming upon all of us," asked one man during public comment.

Pak, a journalist and activist, is a storied character in Chinatown, with plenty of enemies.

"Anytime she wants to get things done, she doesn't ask us, she just goes and does it on her own. And if she doesn't like what you're doing, she will just ram it down your throat, or threaten you, or bully you, or demean you, or extort you or terrorize you," said Betty Louie, an organizer with the 'No Rose Pak' movement at City Hall on Tuesday.

Polarizing as she was, Pak was a political force in Chinatown and City Hall.

"Rose literally willed this project into existence and it was her tenaciousness and persistence and yes, her bullying, that got us to this place," said former San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim.

That place will now be her namesake-- the Chinatown-Rose Pak Station.

"Rose was someone who cared very deeply, and so every curse word, every zinger, every call where she threatened us, was really based on a deep-rooted love," said Kim.

Tuesday's meeting itself was not without controversy. Someone shared a string of messages with ABC7, written in Chinese. ABC7 translated them, and it seems as if a company was telling their employees to come to City Hall and support the Rose Pak naming, in exchange for snacks and $25 an hour. ABC7 did not speak to anyone who admitted to being a part of this.