Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lan Diep, The Front Runner for SJ D4

Of the 8 candidates actively running for San Jose D4 city council seat, it is now clear that the Attorney Lan Diep, 31, is the front runner.   With the endorsement of the Mercury News and a host of other business associations in San Jose along with his large support from the Vietnamese-American voters,  he likely will be in the runoff. 

Who will join him is a toss up between the journalist Manh Nguyen and Tim Orozco.  If the Viet-American turnout is high, Manh Nguyen will be in the runoff.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Candidates for San Jose City Council D4

To the Viet-American community in California, the election season seems never to be over.   In the last 3 months, two elections were held in Little Saigon Orange County where two Viet-American candidates won the important seats of state senator and county supervisor.   To not  be outdone, Little Saigon San Jose elected Attorney Tam Nguyen to city council in November and will be deciding another city council election this coming April.  

The consensus is that the  front runners in this 8-candidate race are Attorney Lan Diep (R)  and business owner Manh Nguyen (Independent).   Not only they work the hardest, are well organized but also receive substantial endorsements and financial supports from the community.  So far, Diep raised over $42,000 and the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce put in $56,000 of independent expenditure for him.   Meanwhile, Nguyen received over $62,000.    With an estimated 3,000 to 3,500 voters going to poll next month  are Viet-American, the chance of two Viet-Americans facing each other in the runoff in June is high.

Both Lan Diep and Manh Nguyen are actively walking their precincts with their volunteers to get out the votes.  The district has about 20% Viet-American register voters.   However, with four Viet-American candidates and Diep and Nguyen pouring money into the race,  the Viet-American voters will make up a much higher overall percentage. 

In any race, there are always number of spoiler candidates with little chance.  The two noticeable ones for this race are from the extreme of the age spectrum.   Bob Dhilon is a 72 years old real estate investor and self-made millionaire while Khoa Nguyen is a 30 years old school board trustee.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lou Correa to Viet Voters - You Are Cheaters

A week after he lost the OC Supervisor D1 race,  former State Senator Lou Correa was still upset that he would lose an election which he outspent  Attorney Andrew Do 3 to 1.  Worse, this is a district where about 43% of the registered voters are Hispanic while the Vietnamese-American voters constitute only about 25%.  Yet, he would have lost by a landslide if it was not for Garden Grove City Councilman Chris Phan and TV personality Chuyen Nguyen splitting the Vietnamese-American vote.

In his anger and disappointment, he decided to go after the Vietnamese-American voters with vengeance.  To him these people who voted for Andrew Do are cheaters.  He reasoned in a press release in Vietnamese and English for his demand of a recount  -

"My campaign has received a number of reports over the past week or so contending that people who did not really live in the First Supervisorial District registered to vote and cast ballots in this election. We have also received reports regarding irregularities in the handling and processing of vote-by-mail ballots, with campaigns collecting (and even paying for) voted ballots and returning them to the Registrar’s office or at the polls,”

Correa added that  his lawyers found  during the provisional ballot counting - "....provisional ballots being counted even though they were not signed by the voter; ballots cast by voters who appeared to have attempted to vote more than once; and voters who claimed to have moved into the First Supervisorial District just prior to the election without actually re-registering at their supposed new address.”

He emphasized -  “....the recount will allow us to investigate and determine the scope of these and any other irregularities, to analyze whether they might have affected the outcome of the election, and to decide whether further action is warranted, either in the form of a judicial action or the District Attorney’s investigation.”

As reported by Anh Do of LA Times - "......Correa said he was notified of two election-day incidents at polling places in churches in Little Saigon where Vietnamese American volunteers urged voters to cast ballots for Do. One of them, Correa said, told people, "Remember, vote Vietnamese" and then pointed to Do's name. Others, he said, stood outside urging people to vote for Do.

But what Correa failed to mention was that the Santa Ana police was called to a Santa Ana polling station  by a voter on the election day because of possible voting right violation.   The woman  complained to the police that  when she asked for help to show her how to mark her vote for Andrew Do, the poll worker allegedly urged her to vote for Correa and pointed her to mark for Correa instead.

To emphasize the seriousness of his belief that there are voter fraud in the Viet community,  he started asking the Vietnamese media to broadcast a toll free number for people to call in to report fraudulent activities

After 5 days going through the ballots and looking at every possible fraud with a team of high power lawyers,  Correa suspended the recount.   The election result stands,  Lou lost by 43 votes.

However, his portrait of the Vietnamese-American voters in the media as cheaters and unethical are receiving major backlash in the community.

Correa is eyeing for his revenge in 2016 and so the Viet community is preparing their vote. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Last Days in Vietnam - Documentary Feature

Rory Kennedy's Last Days in Vietnam
Receives Academy Award® Nomination for  
Documentary Feature
Here is  the link to watch the entire movie of Last Days in Vietnam (for free/complementary) until  the 7th  (midnight Eastern)
Boston, MA, January 15, 2015)  AMERICAN EXPERIENCE announced today that its production, Last Days in Vietnam, directed and produced by Rory Kennedy, has been nominated for the Academy Award® for Documentary Feature. This is Ms. Kennedy's first Academy Award® nomination, and the ninth for the series. 
Last Days in Vietnam chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, American officers on the ground faced a moral dilemma: follow official policy and evacuate U.S. citizens and their dependents only, or ignore orders and save the men, women, and children they had come to value and love in their years in Vietnam. At the risk of their careers and possible court-martial, a handful of individuals took matters into their own hands. Engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations, they waged a desperate effort to evacuate as many South Vietnamese as possible.
Following its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, an eight-month festival run, and 120 engagement theatrical run, Last Days in Vietnam will premiere on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, in conjunction with the fortieth anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Rory Kennedy, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Executive Producer Mark Samels, and participants from Last Days in Vietnam will be featured at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena on Monday, January 19, 2015.
"When we conceived of this film three years ago, we knew it was a powerful story of individual acts of courage set against a background of chaos," said AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Executive Producer Mark Samels. "But we didn't know how relevant it would prove to be. We are honored to have Last Days in Vietnam recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences."
"We are thrilled about this Oscar nomination and are incredibly proud to present this film on PBS as part of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE," said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. "Congratulations to Rory, Mark and everyone involved in Last Days in Vietnam."
In addition to the upcoming broadcast on PBS, Last Days in Vietnam is available for rent or purchase on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, as well as through many cable video-on-demand services. Following the PBS broadcast, the film will be able for streaming free onPBS.org/americanexperience. The DVD will also be available for purchase on ShopPBS.org and other retail outlets on April 28, 2015.  
About the Filmmaker
Rory Kennedy (Director/Producer) is an Emmy Award-winning independent documentary filmmaker as well as co-founder and president of Moxie Firecracker Films. Her films cover an array of issues ranging from poverty to politics to human rights. Her work has been shown on PBS, HBO, A&E, MTV, and Lifetime. Her most recent project, Ethel, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast on HBO, and nominated for five Primetime Emmys. Kennedy has directed and produced more than twenty-five documentaries including Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (Primetime Emmy Award for Best Non-Fiction Film, 2007); Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White HouseAmerican HollowA Boy's Life; and Pandemic: Facing AIDS.
Mark Samels (Executive Producer) was named executive producer of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS' flagship history series, in 2003. Under Samels' leadership, the series has been honored with nearly every industry award, including the Peabody, Primetime Emmys, the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, Writers Guild Awards, Oscar nominations, and Sundance Film Festival Audience and Grand Jury Awards. Prior to joining WGBH, Samels worked as an independent documentary filmmaker, an executive producer for several U.S. public television stations, and as a producer for the first co-production between Japanese and American television. A native of Wisconsin, he is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Television's most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2013. The series has been hailed as "peerless" (The Wall Street Journal), "the most consistently enriching program on television" (Chicago Tribune), and "a beacon of intelligence and purpose" (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America's past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including thirty Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and sixteen George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for the series represented by Freedom Riders, Triangle Fire, and Stonewall Uprising.
Exclusive corporate funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding for Last Days in Vietnam provided by The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations: Dedicated to Strengthening America's Future Through Education; The Documentary Investment Group: Gretchen Stone Cook Charitable Foundation; Roxanne E. & Michael J. Zak; and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
*   *   *
CaraMar Publicity
Mary Lugo                        770-623-8190             lugo@negia.net
Cara White                        843-881-1480             cara.white@mac.com
Abbe Harris                       908-233-7990             abbe@caramar.net
For further information and photos visit http://www.pbs.org/pressroom  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Garden Grove City Councilmember, Phat Bui, Urging Viet-Americans to Disrupt Businesses

There is nasty battle brewing between Riverside City Council and Garden Grove City Council  & Westminster City Council over a war that was over almost 40 years ago.

According to an OC Register article -


"....The Riverside City Council agreed in March, on a 4-3 vote, to enter into a sister-city relationship with Can Tho to cultivate cultural, economic and educational exchanges between them..."

"......Westminster and Garden Grove, the two cities that make up the largest portion of Little Saigon, have a stern message for Riverside: Your new sister-city relationship with Can Tho, Vietnam, is inappropriate and should be dissolved.   The Westminster City Council unanimously directed staff Wednesday to write a letter to Riverside, urging it to rescind its relationship with Can Tho, which the two cities formalized in a ceremony last week...."

Garden Grove City Councilmember, Phat Bui, takes it further by instructing Viet-Americans in Little Saigon to identify businesses in Riverside that are doing business in Vietnam and start demonstrate in front of their offices, with the purpose of disrupting their businesses.

 Last week, during the demonstration at the Riverside City Hall,  he urged the crowd to protest and walk into the office of a Vietnamese-American physician whom he claimed to have close relationship with Vietnamese officials.  The doctor's office is located nearby City Hall.

He has been sending to email groups  a detailed plan on how to make sure that Riverside City Council has to rescind their sister-city-relationship decision.   He is asking his people to "attack" UC Riverside and any major agricultural research companies as well as Riverside City Council.

Message from Phát Bùi: Chú ý!

[We won battle one. But the war is still unfinished.  Still a lot of works ahead and the road will be harder.
While Riverside take down the sign, they still insist to continue the relationship in the Press Releases today.  And two of the eight Council members stated they still support and will vote to keep the relationship.   The Council, UC Riverside, and major Agriculture Research companies in Riverside want to continue the relationship.  We need to hit them harders.
What we need to do going forward:
1.       Riveside Council Meeting:  Feb 3rd, 6:30pm

Dr Huu Vo and Anh Phan Ky Nhon, rally as many as Residents/American
Veterans as possible 50 to 100 to come to the City Council Chamber.
Fill out the card to speak at Public Communication to argue for termination of the relationship.
We will work out talking points.  Prepare 40 or more to speak against.  Lobby others State/Fed
Elected Officials to come or sending letter to Riverside Council.  Ask Rep. Ed Royce, Rep Sanchez,
Rep. Tom Daly, Former Senator Correa to help lobbying Riverside County Congress Rep. to help.

2.       Organize a Committee to step up Propaganda Warfare,  Raising money to sending out negative
campaign against council that continue to support Can Tho.  Asking tens of thousands people

from all over the country to email to Riverside Council, UCR.  Let’s them hear our voice wide and loud
from everywhere.  Enlist Hoi Dong Huong Can Tho to join fight.

3.       Form alliance with other organizations like enlisting BPSOS in Washington to help lobbying member of US Congress to help
4.       Step up protesting at Dr Doan Vien office
5.       Gather thousands more Riverside Signatures  (all races).
6.       Prepare Lobbying Kit to Lobby UCR (UC Riverside)
7.       Identify businesses in Riverside that do business with Can Tho
8.       More Protests !!!!  We have to motivate ourselves to do it once every month or every other months.]

Friday, January 30, 2015

Andrew Do Wins by 43 Votes

It is finally over.  All the votes have been counted and the former Garden Grove City Councilmember and deputy DA won by 43 votes over the former State Senator Lou Correa.

What is next?   A recount will unlike change the result and it just drags the process another 2  weeks.  Correa still has a lot of money left in the campaign fund so he can afford the $2,400 per day cost.

Or he can save the money and effort to run against Do in 2016.

County Supervisor First District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 101 of 101
Vote Count Percentage
ANDREW DO 18,905 39.1%
LOU CORREA 18,862 39.0%
CHRIS PHAN 7,857 16.3%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Lotus and The Storm

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez

Cordially Invite You to Meet Vietnamese American Guest Author Lan Cao

Author of
"The Lotus and The Storm”

The event will feature a raffle for the first 50 guests, musical performance, and a question and answer session.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Program 2 – 3 PM

Reception 3 - 4 PM

At Le Petit Trianon Theatre

72 N. 5th Street, San Jose, CA 95112



To RSVP, please access http://bit.ly/1GL0Us2

For questions or to co-sponsor, please contact Vân Lan Trương, (408) 299-5025, Betty Dương, (408) 299-5026, vanlan.truong@bos.sccgov.org

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

San Jose D8 City Council 2016 Race Already?

About  two weeks ago,  Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and his wife, Pattie, came to the swearing-in ceremony for Cam Van Le to be the new board president of  East Side Union High School District.   Afterward, he asked her to go out for coffee at a later date to catch up.

Of course, the news  quickly went viral in the Viet community that Pattie Cortese is planning her bid for city council.  The community always has a soft spot for Dave and his wife for all their supports of the community during the last 8 years.  So it was a welcoming rumor. 

And soon enough,  Pattie is appointed as the new school board trustee to fill the seat vacated by now City Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco. 

The conventional wisdom of this new appointment is that both Lan Nguyen and Cam Van Le will not be running for city council in 2016.  They would not vote for Pattie if they decided to have a run at the council seat. 

Cam Van is still smarting over the council race lost to Attorney Tam Nguyen.  And she still is bitter about her hard fight against Anthony Phan to prevent him taking her school board seat.  And it would be too much for her to move to D8 after transplanted herself to D7 for the council race last year.

Meanwhile, Lan Nguyen has been a person non-grata in the community for the last 6 years after his weak city council election result in 2008.

LSI does not know for sure if Pattie will run  for city council or not but whatever she does, the Viet community will show strong support for her. 


Androw Do's Lead Widens

    With only 1264 provisional ballots left, Andrew Do has widened his lead over Lou Correa since yesterday.  He is leading by 239 votes now instead of 2 votes.    The trend is not looking good for Lou Correa.   The provisional ballot is set for counting tomorrow morning.  

Will there be a recount? 

County Supervisor First District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 101 of 101

Vote CountPercentage
ANDREW DO18,23039.3%
LOU CORREA17,99138.8%
CHRIS PHAN7,59216.4%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any 

The Election Breakdown for OC Supervisor D1 Race

The race will not be decided until later this week or beyond depending if there is a recount request or not.   However, the preliminary numbers give an insight into why Lou Correa is behind Andrew Do for now.

LSI will try to dissect the voting demographics as being reported  -

Vietnamese-American - 46%
Hispanic - 17%
Republican - 41%
Democrat - 37%
Independent - 22%

The interesting number is that even though Viet-American registered voters only constitute about 25% of the total registered voters, in this special election, they made up close to half of the total vote casted.

Andrew Do would have trounced Lou Correa if the Viet-American votes were not split between the three Viet-American candidates.   

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Andrew Do Ahead By 2 Votes (For Now)

What an amazing result for the OC supervisorial race to replace State Senator Janet Nguyen.  The special election was expected to be a close one but who could have imagined this razor thin margin of victory.

County Supervisor First District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 101 of 101
Vote Count Percentage
ANDREW DO 16,202 39.0%
LOU CORREA 16,200 39.0%
CHRIS PHAN 6,765 16.3%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

The former Garden Grove City Councilmember and deputy DA Andrew Do (R) was trailing former State Senator Lou Correa (D) all night long, at one point by 320 votes. But in the end, the voters pulled through for him.

He would have won this election outright if it was not for the other two Vietnamese-American candidates divided the Vietnamese-American votes.  The Democratic Party with their bogus candidate Chuyen Nguyen almost executed their plan of divide and conquer perfectly.

State Senator Janet Nguyen was at Andrew's election night party and this election night really brought back memory and a sense of deja vu.  She won her first supervisorial election by 3 votes.

Recount lawyers will be flying in all over from both parties by tomorrow morning.  Andrew Do is already calling for reinforcement and preparing his supporters ready for the recount.  The night actually will be longer for both candidates.  And this election might not be over until a judge says so.

Update: There are 6,105 ballots left to count.  These are provisional ballots and vote-by-mail returned at the polls.  So the numbers will change.  Historically, the last minute ballots have been in favor of Vietnamese-American candidates.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tet Flower Festival - Feb 7-8

There are 3 Tet festivals in San Jose this year to celebrate the Lunar  New Year.   They are spread out in three different weekends in Feb.  The first one is the Tet Flower Festival on Feb. 7 - 8 at Yerba Buena High School.  The other Tet Festival is the weekend after at the Santa Clara County Fairground.  And the last one is on Feb. 28 at Kelly Park.


San Jose City Councilmember Ash Kalra for State Assembly 2016

Friday, January 16, 2015

Andrew Do for OC Supervisor

With 10 days before the election,  the supervisorial race for Orange County D1 is getting some actions.   The Democratic Party and labor unions have spent over $1 million in support of former State Senator Lou Correa (D).  Half of that money is in Little Saigon itself. 

His major opponent is Attorney Andrew Do (R) who is also a former Garden Grove City councilmember and deputy district attorney for OC.   Andrew Do is well known in Little Saigon for his community service.  His wife is a superior court judge.

 He receives the support of the OC Republican Party and some of the major elected officials, including State Senator Janet Nguyen, OC Supervisor Michelle Steel, Congressman Ed Royce and Congresswoman Mimi Walters.  There are two other Vietnamese-American candidates who are also running with the intention to split the Vietnamese votes against Andrew Do.

As a last minute bombshell strategy that is often used by the Democrats,  the Voice of OC Blog reported that two county social workers were recently fire for allegedly helping Andrew Do with his campaign.  The blog went on trying to prove that this incident shows that Andrew Do is "corrupt".  However, when county officials were asked, no reason was giving for their dismissal except that these individuals were contract workers,  not permanent employees,  and they had been with the county for seven years.

The Voice of OC Blog is known to be the voice of the labor unions after records show that they received $1 million financing from OCEA (Orange County Employees Association).   In the past election, it attacked Janet Nguyen constantly with sensationalized stories of "alleged corruption".    The political fodder points were disguised as "investigative report" and quite dramatic to a fault in its double speak language during the recent state senatorial race as the blog tried to steer the voters to  former State Assemblyman Jose Solorio.   The result is Solorio still lost by 20 points   in the election despite the fact that he outspent Janet Nguyen 3 to 1. 

Voice of OC reporting is so unethical and inaccurate that the Orange County District Attorney had to release a statement late last year -


The main statement of the press release from OCDA is:

"........Any publication that quotes any future stories from the Voice of OC should proceed with extreme caution and verify its accuracy.  If anyone would like the details of the Voice of OC’s pattern of misconduct and unethical behavior, they should contact me directly.  Meanwhile, the OCDA is contemplating all remedies available on future contacts with the Voice of OC..."

This  will be a very close election and whoever can get out their base will have an advantage.  The Democratic Party is determined not to lose the election and they are willing to throw the kitchen sink at Andrew Do if they could.   If the Vietnamese-American turnout is high, Andrew Do will have a good chance.  Right now, there are 20,340 absentee ballots returned already.  LSI is not expecting the turn out to be more than in the 2007 special election where there were about 48,000 ballots casted. 

Tet Festival in San Jose

     For 39 years ever since the Vietnamese refugees came to San Jose, there has always a Tet festival to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the city.   In most years, there are more than one festival and for this Year of The Goat, there will be three galas organized by different community groups.  

      What makes this particular Tet gala quite special is the fact that it will be organized by a group of people that either were born or  their whole life raised in the US.  The main organizers are professional folks in their late 20's and early 30's.  

      In the past, the festival is put together by their parents or their grandparents and the events are mostly aimed at their own community.    However, the upcoming festival in History Park is catered for a city wide audience of all ages to come and share the Vietnamese New Year's traditions and culture.  So come and enjoy the Lunar New Year with Vietnamese food, carnival games, all kind of contests and performances by local artists.    The organizers hope that this gala will be the first of many for years to come to show off the diversity and unique multiculture city that San Jose is. 

Happy Tet! 

Footnote: Tet means New Year in Vietnamese 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Chris Phan and Van Tran's Gang of Seven

The special supervisorial election in Orange County is two weeks away and the community is gearing up for a battle between Chris Phan's supporters and Andrew Do's supporters. 

Over the weekend,  Chris Phan organized a meet and greet event to rally his supporters.  Phan is mainly being supported by the same folks that were ardent supporters of Van Tran, the former state assemblyman.    Van has been calling on these folks to support Chris Phan.  Thus it was not surprise to see  some members or what left of Van Tran's Gang of Seven showed up and spoke enthusiastically in support of Phan.

Attorney Lan Nguyen,  a Garden Groves Unified School District trustee, and Van's original Gang of Seven member, declared loudly into the microphone: "Chris Phan is the only qualified candidate and deserve the community votes."   Tyler Diep,  a Westminster City councilmember, was also there to show his support.  He spoke highly of Phan and turned the table on Andrew Do by throwing some softball questions at Phan on  "how he felt about Andrew's supporters attacking Phan's record so far as a politician."  Diep  also went to Phan's campaign headquarters couple weeks ago to help Phan opening his campaign. 

Andrew Do meanwhile is taking full advantage of the anti-Van Tran's Gang of Seven supporters.   These are also the voters that helped Janet Nguyen won her election.

So you have it, a community divides again by the ghost of Van Tran and his cohorts.    Van  has politically  disappeared from the community after his bitter defeat in 2010 against Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.   And the community still has a sour taste of the  all out war he waged against Janet Nguyen a few years back.  Yet he is still trying and  stubbornly insists to be the Godfather of Little Saigon.   Van is a family man with kids so he probably has heard of the famous song " Let It Go!"


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chris Phan for OC Supervisor

There are a number of people in the Vietnamese-American community asking about Garden Grove City Councilmember Chris Phan's role in the Garden Grove City Fire Department corruption as well as the Horizon Cross Cultural Center billing scandal.

Since Phan is running for OC Supervisor  in hope to fill the seat left open by Janet Nguyen, it is useful for the voters to have information in order to understand one's judgement and leadership.

As a lawyer and a deputy district attorney,  Phan curiously has exhibited laid back attitude  for the law and tendency to plead ignorance.

Phan was elected  Garden City Councilmember two years ago and then got a job as deputy district attorney for OC.   During his short tenure as a councilmember, he was confronted with a nepotism corruption involving the hiring of the son of the then mayor of Garden Grove to the fire department despite the fact that he was unqualified.  In the wake of the scandal, the mayor lost his re-election and the fire chief was forced to resign.   But the city council then approved a sweet settlement in secret with the fire chief worth more than $500,000 so that he would not sue the city.   The deal was considered illegal by law experts since it violated the Brown Act -


When asked about the nature of the settlement and why it was not made public,  Chris Phan replied: "I don't know".    It took the Voice of OC reporter to figure out the story and make it public.

Chris Phan has been a board member and one time even Chairman of the Board for the Horizon Cross Cultural Center in Orange County.  The nonprofit center mostly serves the Asian community.   They receives funding from Orange County and other governmental agencies.   In the last few years, the Orange County Transportation Authority had been questioning the center about some billing irregularities and the actual transportation services that they claimed to provide to the elders and handicaps.  The center could not justify some of its billing and services and ultimately the funding for the particular program was terminated at the end of this summer.   

Strangely enough, Chris Phan,  instead of launching his own investigation as board member on this issue, took offense with the OC  Board of Supervisors.  On July 24, 2014 at the weekly OC Board of Supervisors meeting, he went off on them and complained how they had mistreated the center.

Chris Phan is running as a Republican but with neither the support of the Republican Party nor their elected officials in Orange County.   He is hoping to capture some Vietnamese-American votes away  from the leading Republican candidate Attorney Andrew Do.    Andrew Do meanwhile has the name recognition and the record serving the community as chief of staff for now State Senator Janet Nguyen.   Thus, he is getting her supporters behind him.   And Janet Nguyen has quite a lot of supporters and it showed in the recent election where she trounced Jose Solorio by 20 points.

This will be a tight race with such a short timeline to prepare and  raise money for the five candidates - 3 Vietnamese-American and 2 Hispanic.   Since it is a special election, the turn-out will be low.  Extrapolating from past special elections in OC, there will probably be less than 45,000 voters expected.  The 2 main candidates, Lou Correa (D) and Andrew Do (R) will mostly likely  receive bulk of the votes and it might come down to a few vote difference again.  So go to vote for every vote counts!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cong Do Running for State Assembly

With so many Vietnamese-Americans running for office in San Jose this year and next year, it would not be complete without mentioning 2016.  With still 2 years away, Cong Do already announced his candidacy to replace State Assemblywoman Nora Campos for District 27.   He is so eager that his website is already up.  Of course, when you are not working and just staying home painting for fun, he has plenty of time to do whatever he wants. 


A self-proclaimed anti-communist activist who has been trying to destabilize the Vietnamese government for years, he went back to Vietnam to promote his anti-communist activity and was jailed in June, 2006 on terrorist charges by the local law enforcement.  Three months later, he was freed when US Congresswoman Lofgren petitioned with the US Department to help her constituent. 

This will be an interest race since the infamous Madison Nguyen is also running.  The district has 33% Asian and 46% Hispanic.  It covers most of D7, D8 and D5.   Now whether the Vietnamese-American voters will vote for a Ly Tong clone or a former elected official who is not quite popular with her own ethnic base, we will have to wait for another 720 days.

Ash Kalra and Darcie Green are happy of course since at least they don't have to worry about the Vietnamese-American votes going mostly to Madison Nguyen. 


Tam Nguyen's Inaugural Ceremony

While Mayor-Elect Sam Liccardo and other newly elected city councilmembers will have their inaugural ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel, Tam Nguyen will have his at the city council chamber first and then joined the other in the evening.  He has invited his friend, State Senator Janet Nguyen, to officiate the swearing in.

He will also throw an open party for District 7 voters on January 18 at the Unified Center on Story Road to show his appreciation for their support during his campaign

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Andrew Do vs. Lou Correa & Others for D1 Supervisorial Race

The race is officially on to fill the supervisor seat held by Janet Nguyen until she recently elected to State Senate.  The official election date is January 27, 2015 with  the mailing of absentee ballot starting December 26, 2014. 

The Orange County D1 has approximately 600,000 residents and covers part or most of Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Westminster, Midway City and Santa Ana.  The last time a special election was held, close to  48,000 votes were casted and Janet Nguyen won the election over Trung Nguyen by 3 votes.   There are about 51,000 registered Vietnamese-American voters in the district.

There are a total of 5 candidates, two Hispanic and 3 Vietnamese-American.  But the two main candidates with their respective party's endorsement and support are Lou Correa (D) and Andrew Do (R).

Lou Correa, 56,  is a termed-out state senator and was a D1 supervisor for 2 years (2006-2007).   Andrew Do, 51,  is a former Garden Grove city councilmember and former OC deputy district attorney.  He also serves as chief of staff for Janet Nguyen. 

Andrew Do has the endorsement of the OC Republican Party and many big names Republican included OC Supervisor Michelle Steel, State Senator Mimi Walters, and Congressman Ed Royce.  Of course, State Senator Janet Nguyen is supporting him strongly and her constituents within the Vietnamese-American community are likely to follow her suit.   He has a strong presence in the community with the many community programs that bring healthcare and social benefits.  

Even though Correa works very hard to win Vietnamese-American support but his unequivocal support of SCA-5 to repeal  the ban of colleges and universities in California to use racial preferences has angered many people in the community.   They see this legislature as threat to their children's education advancement since SCA-5 essential will limit the numbers of Asian students to be accepted to college.

This special election will be won by whoever can get their base to turn out.  Correa and his close support of President Obama and his amnesty policy for illegal aliens can be a plus to drive the Hispanic vote.  While Do with his Republican Party's endorsement will get the hard core party vote.

Andrew Do, with his strong Republican and natural Vietnamese-American base, has the most visibility with his party and in Little Saigon despite the fact that there are two other Vietnamese-American candidates.   According to conventional wisdom, candidate Chuyen van Nguyen, a relative unknown in the community, is there to dilute the vote on purpose.  Chuyen van Nguyen was a retired aide to former State Senator Joe Dunn (D).   Garden Grove Councilmember Chris Phan, meanwhile, has no record in the community during his 2 years in office except for his public ambition ever since he took council office to become the next supervisor .  He is being supported in the Vietnamese-American community by the remnant of Van Tran's supporters.  These are the same people that would not vote for Janet Nguyen or anybody who received her support.  Phan can play the role of the spoiler of course.

Expect the race will be a close one and LSI cannot wait to see another nail-biter like 2007.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vietnamese-American Candidates for San Jose City D4

Things are already heating up in the Vietnamese-American community as three  candidates of their own are gearing up for the special election next year to fill the vacated council seat in D4.   This is to replace Kansen Chu who now is the new assemblyman. 

So far,  Lan Diep, a  young lawyer from Houston who recently  moved to D4, has announced his intention to run to the community.

Johnny Lee, another young candidate, who  was a candidate for D7 in the last election, also made it known that he will run. 

And there is Manh Nguyen, an older man in his 60s, is thinking of  throw his hat in the ring. He is a producer of local Vietnamese radio show.  His English speaking skill is not what you would expect for a public figure but who cares when you are aiming for the Vietnamese-American vote only. 

The race really opens up with the decision by Daisy Chu (Kansen's wife) not to run for now.  She would be the clear favorite due to the name recognition.  The D4 has about 22% Vietnamese-American voters.   In comparison,  D7 has about 30% Vietnamese-American voters.   But due to the high turnout, the Viet vote in D7 is usually about 40% of the total vote. 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chris Phan and His Ambition

Chris Phan, the current Garden Grove City councilmember, is aggressively campaigning for the vacant OC supervisor seat that was recently held by State Senator Janet Nguyen.   In his recent mailer asking for money, he declares that he is currently the front runner and that his opponents are running at the behest of special interests.

LSI senses that this will  be a rough and tumble campaign with Chris Phan spearheading the smearing.  Reporting here at the Liberal OC Blog:  http://www.theliberaloc.com/2014/11/06/correa-to-run-for-supervisor-to-replace-nguyen/

".......In the Voice of OC article Phan is quoted criticizing Correa for only serving two years of his first term as Supervisor.
“I have a lot of respect for the senator — he’s definitely done a great job,” Phan said. “At the same time, if you follow history, he was a supervisor before. I don’t think these seats should be a safe harbor waiting for another opportunity.”
Phan however should have thought about the irony of his comment before he made it. Having been only elected to his council seat two-years ago, the same question could be raised about Phan using his current position as a “safe harbor” and stepping stone for the higher office of Supervisor...."

In his two years in office,  the community has not seen him accomplish anything except letting people know that one day he will be replacing Janet Nguyen.   His power hungry for higher office is insatiable.  Earlier this year, four months before the primary election in June  for the 34th District State Senate, he  filed an intent statement to run for First District Supervisor seat.    So basically, a year into his city council, he made up his mind that he would be moving on and the city council seat (to him) is a "safe harbor" and stepping stones for bigger things.

The readers of this Blog are mostly voters  and  common citizens who tend to vote for candidates who truly believe that they would use the elected office to serve the people.    And like  typical voters, the readers  also tend to be afraid of ambitious politician like Phan whose only purpose so far in running for offices is so that he could have power.

Be afraid and even be more afraid of Chris Phan if he gets elected.   Overly ambitious man with power usually will lead to corruption and unwanted consequences.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Bao Nguyen Becomes the New Mayor of Garden Grove

It has been a successful year for Vietnamese-American candidates in California.  The two cities that made up Little Saigon in Orange County now have two Vietnamese-American mayors.  Bao Nguyen won his race by 15 votes to be the first Vietnamese-American mayor in Garden Grove, population 175,000.   Both Garden Grove  and Westminster (population 90,000) have council members that are also Vietnamese descend. 

Of course, Janet Nguyen becomes the first Vietnamese-American state senator in California.  She trounced her opponent by 20%.

In San Jose,  Tam Nguyen won the D7 councilmember race by 214 votes while 4 other Vietnamese-Americans won their school board trustee election.  Meanwhile, it was an expected reaction as the majority of the Vietnamese-American voters  in D7 and D4 rejoiced and celebrated when one of their own,  Madison Nguyen, lost her mayoral race early in the primary. 

As more and more Vietnamese-Americans are actively participate in political offices,  it would not be surprised that 8 years from now, there are more Vietnamese-Americans elected to city and state government in California


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tam Nguyen, A Ponytail "Politivist" and A Catbird Seat

Next year, San Jose City Hall will definitely have a colorful cast of newly elected councilmembers both from ethnic background and profession.  We have a smiling corporate man from Apple, a young Hispanic policeman and then there is the Asian lawyer Tam Nguyen. 

Tam Nguyen  is a familiar face in the Vietnamese-American community with his guitar and musical performances.   He is a member of a well known musical group based in Orange County that performs throughout the US.  He is passionate about music and poetry.   He even composed his own theme song for his recent city council campaign.   And  he dons a ponytail and rides a Harley-Davidson.  How many candidates can have this much fun running?

But he is an analytical person by training.   He started out as a computer engineer for Tandem Computer, received his MBA and then decided to get a law degree because there were only 4 Vietnamese-American lawyers for the whole community of 60,000 or so people.   For almost 20 years, his law practice is built around community activism and helping the voiceless.  Along the way, he co-founded a newspaper and is a co-owner of a restaurant.  But it is his love for music and for the arts that the community sees him as a person.    And as he grows older, his pony tail is noticeable getting longer.   Whether this is a statement of being a confident self-made man who is quite content with his life and work, only he can tell. 

He is not the first ponytail lawyer to appear in  court to defend his clients but he is definitely the only lawyer right now with a ponytail appearing in court as a city councilmember-elect.   A year and a half ago, the idea of running for city council in D7 never crossed his mind.  He showed no interest at all.  But when he was convinced by community leaders that it was for the best of the community (both Vietnamese-American and at large) and he can make an impact, he was ready to go.  

He raised money anywhere he could find a friend.  And he has a lot of them.  People in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Orange County hosted many fund raisers for him. He organized a 40-people team to canvas the precincts for him.  His theme as a "politivist" resonated with the voters from middle class to low income.   He introduced himself as " my name is Tam which means heart"  to voters that he met. 

In 2015, how he will use his swing vote to move San Jose forward and help his constituents, only time can tell.  But he is smart a "politivist", a word that he coined to show his commitment through city government to the common man's cause.  One can sense that he will do the right thing with his big heart.  

Both current mayor and mayor-elect know this and they were already courting him over a private lunch less than a week after the election.   He is a maverick leader  as they come and he wears his heart on his sleeve. 

As a self-made man, he has many stories that he loves to share  but his favorite is from the story told by Bishop Desmond Tutu:

"...An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them.  He put candies in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree. Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said “now”, the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.  So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now”, all of the children took each other by the hand ran together towards the tree. 

They all arrived at the same time divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.   The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves. The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”  

Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Madison Nguyen Determines to Run for CA Assembly D27

As the dust just settled in this cycle of election, San Jose City Councilmember Madison Nguyen already is planning ahead for 2016.  She is being termed out this year after 8 controversial years at city hall.   She already tells anyone who is listening that she intends to file for statement of intent to run for the 27th California Assembly District very soon.   This is the office that is currently held by  her one time friend and now arch nemesis,  Assemblymember  Nora Campos.

She will be joining a number of potential candidates.  Conventional wisdom predicts  that San Jose City Councilmember Ash Kalra and Darcy Green are the other two contenders.  Darcy Green is a former aide to Manny Diaz and Joe Coto.  She is currently a Relations Manager for Kaiser Permanente.   A potential wild card is Xavier Campos.   A former city councilmember who recently lost his race as an incumbent due to allegations of unethical conduct,  Campos might not be running.   But as a younger brother of Nora Campos, he has instant name recognition for a district of 465,000 people.  The district composes of 33% Asian, 46% Latino and 16% White.   It has 180,000 registered voters.

Of the four people planning to run, Darcy Green is the most intrigue and will bring a fresh face to politics.   Whether she can run an effective campaign or not is unknown.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dave Cortese Concedes and Maya Esparza Waits

With Dave Cortese conceded earlier this evening, the provisional ballot counting is now becoming less of a story.  The only intrigue is whether Tam Nguyen will have enough votes to keep the surging Maya Esparza from winning the San Jose D7 city council seat.  We will find out by the end of the week.  It is not impossible to overcome  the 258 vote difference (as of this evening) but there might not be enough votes left to save her.   Maya's campaign staff was a no show at this morning at the ROV while Tam's campaign manager and 4 of his supporters stopped by to check on the process.


Only 14,000 Provisional Ballots Left in Santa Clara County

Now that all the ballots are tallied except for the provisional ballots, Santa Clara County ROV's office  suddenly became quite crowded this morning with at least 20 people from Sam Liccardo's campaign and a half a dozen from Dave Cortese's campaign.   They were all there ready for the counting of the provisional ballots which should finish by the end of the week.

The two still contested races are the San Jose mayoral race and San Jose D7.   Tam Nguyen is ahead of Maya Esparza by 267 votes while Sam Liccardo has a 3,668 votes lead on Dave Cortese.   If the lead is less than 1% for either candidate, there is a possibility of a recount.  The provisional ballots for D7 will not be tallied until Wednesday.

SAM LICCARDO      87,950    51.06%
DAVE CORTESE      84,282    48.94%

TAM NGUYEN 6,581    51.04%
MAYA ESPARZA       6,31348.96%