Asian advocacy group demands DeBerry apologize for calling Sakai ‘Dr. No’ during debate

San Antonio chapter of Chinese American Citizens Alliance says DeBerry ‘dishonored every Bexar County resident with her racist filth’

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance is demanding that Trish DeBerry, the Republican candidate for Bexar County judge, issue an apology for making what it deemed a racist remark about her Democratic opponent, Peter Sakai.

According to Raymond Wong, president of the chapter, DeBerry referred to Sakai as “Dr. No” during a recent debate between the two candidates. “Dr. No” was an Asian scientific genius who played the villain in the first film of the James Bond movie series.

“Her attack on Sakai was out of context to the point she was attempting to make. DeBerry’s comments were none other than an ugly attempt to associate Sakai’s Japanese ancestry with a Hollywood movie Asian villain,” Wong said in a statement. “DeBerry’s despicable display of racism must not be tolerated by any resident of Bexar County. Having to resort to sophomoric name calling and racism, shows the desperate state of DeBerry’s campaign and her willingness to smear racial dirt on her opponent just in hopes of scoring political points. DeBerry dishonored every Bexar County resident with her racist filth. The Chinese American Citizens Alliance demands DeBerry to take responsibility for her despicable actions and to publicly apologize to Judge Sakai, the Asian American community, and to every resident of Bexar County.”

DeBerry responded to the accusations, saying she did call Sakai “Dr. No” but not for racial reasons.

“I referred to Peter Sakai as Dr. No because he specializes in saying ‘No’ to any idea that moves Bexar County forward,” DeBerry said in a statement. “For instance, moving the jail out of the Westside and revitalizing a community ignored for 50 years, Peter’s one word answer: No. He is an expert at saying No. I don’t think about Peter’s race in any policy debate or interaction. It’s off limits and irrelevant. I focus on his total opposition to bold ideas that move this County forward. Dr. No is a commonly used political reference. A Google Search yields many examples of Dr. No used by credible media outlets to describe a leader who says No to everything. I included examples below that I found in 2 minutes.”

While Sakai didn’t accuse DeBerry of racism, he did indicate that her comments toward him have gotten out of hand.

“You know, the issue there is to treat each other with dignity and respect. And I have treated Commissioner DeBerry with all dignity and respect and I really expect the same. That’s what voters have made real clear,” he said at a news conference on Monday. “Let’s quit arguing. Quit name calling. Let’s figure out what the problems are of our community and find solutions. And that’s my pledge as the next county judge. We’re going to treat each other civilly and (with) dignity and respect. The statements from the Asian American Alliance of San Antonio and the San Antonio Lodge, a chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, capture the hurt caused by my opponent’s insensitive remarks. I’ve committed to running a positive campaign and I’ve honored that commitment to not engage in name-calling, baseless accusations, or behavior unbecoming of a Bexar County Leader.”

This is not the first controversy to arise in this campaign.

DeBerry accused Sakai of “lying” about not having anything to do with a negative ad campaign. DeBerry claimed that the “dark money” ads were funded by personal injury attorney Thomas J. Henry and created by Bob Wills, the head of the PM Group. DeBerry has never provided proof of her claim and Henry, Wills, and Sakai all denied being involved.

Also on KSAT.com:


About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.