Friday, February 5, 2016

Vietnamese Tet Festival 2016 in San Jose


The "Godfather" Manh Nguyen, His Grand Scheme and Jimmy Nguyen

Various people in the Vietnamese-American community are referring the recently elected Councilmember Manh Nguyen as "Godfather".   Manh Nguyen is well known in the community as a very calculated person and could be a ruthless businessman but  LSI is not sure if the moniker really fits. However, some members of the community are pointing him out for his grand scheme of wanting to be a king maker and populate the San Jose City Council with many Vietnamese-American elected officials as he could.   His latest bid is to encourage and throw his support behind Jimmy Nguyen to run for D8 council seat.  His handler, Bryan Do, is serving as the puppet master.

Jimmy Nguyen is a mysterious fellow. He received his law degree in an obscure law school in Southern California.   After graduated from law school, he worked as a Vietnamese translator for the county and was never seen in the community.  So it was a surprise that he decided to run against the Vice Mayor Rose Herrera in 2012.  He was trounced by her despite the huge support of South Bay Labor and the Vietnamese-American community.   The reason why SBLC and the Vietnamese-American community, i.e., the anti-Madison Nguyen crowd, supported him was that they just could not stand Herrera herself and of course her strong support of Madison Nguyen and Chuck Reed.

After his loss, he simply disappeared from the Vietnamese-American community as well as the D8 community.  Many people in the Vietnamese-American community think that he is  self-absorbed, insincere and has no gratitude.

The people that gave him the most support financially are now saying that they regret the fact that they had supported him.  One of the most influential community  leaders and was his most ardent supporter then even said publicly that on the voting day, he was praying that Jimmy would lose for he suddenly realized that he had supported a terrible person, a person who only cares about himself and is looking at the council seat as a job opportunity but not as a place to serve the public.

Then there are others that he offended so much in 2012 during the election that he is now asking his consultant to ask them if they could forgive him.  Their responses so far to Bryan Do is why Jimmy Nguyen did not apologize then when he deliberately screwed them.   Why waited 3 years later to apologize?  It is a little bit too late for it shows the lack of sincerity.

In the 2012 general election with heavy turn out, D8 saw a little less than 4,000 Vietnamese-Americans  who cast their ballots.  The total cast ballots were over 32,000 with more than $700,000 spent for the election by both sides (mostly by PACs).

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Horizon Cross Cultural Center Suddenly Shut Down

Horizon Cross Cultural Center, an Orange-based nonprofit that provides job, health, transportation and other supportive services to Vietnamese refugees and other immigrant populations since 1976 decided  to close its door on January 15, 2016.  
State Senator Janet Nguyen issued a press release telling those who are affected by this sudden shut down can visit her regional office so that she can help direct them to appropriate agencies that can continue providing support.
The closing took the the community by surprise but was not unexpected.  Last year, the center was reported by Voice of OC Blog to pay out   more than $1.7 million to settle charges that it falsified records and over-billed local government agencies.  The center auctioned off its building in Orange County for $1.5 million  to pay off the settlement while laid off half of its staff after losing major contracts with the county.
On its Facebook, the center still has its New Year's Greetings but its website has been removed from the Internet.

Whether the recent shut down was due to an ongoing investigation by the OC Disrict Attorney's Office for further fraud or lack of funding is unclear but it surely caught the community off guard. 
Its current board members include Garden Grove City Councilmember Chris Phan who is also an attorney for the OC DA's Office.  Here is a picture of the board and their 2015 Holiday's Greetings with Councilmember Chris Phan holding a gift box.

LSI tried to contact Councilmember Chris Phan but received no response so far from him.  


Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Baffling Actions of Manh Nguyen and his handler Bryan Do

Lan Diep draws first blood in his bid for D4 city council seat. He lost by 13 votes to Manh Nguyen less than a year ago in a special election.

Unlike Councilmember Tam Nguyen who is well liked in the Vietnamese-American community, Councilmember Manh Nguyen is a polarizing figure. And of course, he always has to defend the question that whether Bryan Do, his handler, is the one that really running the show and not him.

LSI received this letter along with documents from a former aide of Manh Nguyen. This is nothing new but to confirm persistent rumors. Lan Diep's chance of winning the seat is a long shot but at least he is taking it to his opponent. 


To Whom It May Concern:

This year Councilmember Nguyen will once again be asking the voters of District 4 to choose him as their Council representative. As the voters consider whether or not to reelect Manh Nguyen, it is critical that they make an informed evaluation of the job he has done since taking office in August.

As Deputy Campaign Manager on Manh Nguyen’s 2015 campaign for City Council and as a Council Assistant to Councilmember Manh Nguyen from August to November 2015, I worked closely with Councilmember Nguyen and his two close advisors, Jonathan Padilla and Bryan Do. During that time I witnessed what can only be described as a pattern of unethical and occasionally illegal behavior. That behavior is summarized as follows:

  • Jonathan Padilla wrote the ethics complaint against Tim Orozco which resulted in investigations of nearly all candidates who ran for City Council and Mayor in 2014. Bryan Do offered to pay the signer, William Bohrer, with city funds, though William declined the offer.

  • Over the course of Manh’s 2015 campaign, Jonathan Padilla used his position with the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce to provide confidential information to Manh Nguyen and Bryan Do without the knowledge of other staff in the Chamber of Commerce.

  • At the request of the Councilmember, District 4 Council Assistant Thao Nguyen called voters using lists from Manh Nguyen’s City Council campaign as her primary office duty.

  • District 4 staff were told that their jobs in the office depended on their willingness to take leaves of absence and work full-time on Manh Nguyen’s reelection campaign.

  • Jonathan Padilla and Bryan Do knowingly misrepresented the duties of one employee, My Nguyen, in order to avoid paying her a union-mandated wage and benefits, and threatened me with termination for not taking adequate measures to hide this scheme.

  • The District 4 office flouted City policies related to government transparency and office administration by giving Bryan Do unreported access to the 18th floor of City Hall and requiring District 4 employees to treat him as a supervisor.

These six examples do not make up a fully comprehensive summary of the increasingly concerning information I learned and behavior I witnessed. For example, there was a dispute over Councilmember Nguyen’s residency in 2015 that I would encourage the media to revisit. However, the above list does include what I feel should be some the most important concerns unknown to the public regarding the short tenure of Councilmember Manh Nguyen.

I have decided to go public with this information in large part because of a phone call I received from a reporter on January 21st, telling me that she had been pitched a story about how I had been fired from the District 4 office. This rumor has been spread by supporters of Councilmember Nguyen in order to weaken my credibility and paint me as a disgruntled former employee. It is defamation at best and whistleblower retaliation at worst.

In the attached pages I provide elaboration on the six statements listed above, as well as corroborating evidence where possible. Additionally, I have attached a copy of my notice of separation from the City of San Jose, which indicates with clarity that it was my own decision to leave my job in Councilmember Nguyen’s office.

I worked very hard to elect Councilmember Nguyen. However, I have been disappointed with his behavior as Councilmember. That is why I have decided to support Councilmember Nguyen’s challenger, Lan Diep. Mr. Diep is an ethical leader capable of representing the residents of District 4, and his background of standing up for the underprivileged speaks to his steadfast moral character. I feel confident that he will be able to represent the residents of District 4 with honor and distinction.

While Manh Nguyen has a short record, I believe it would be a disservice to the democratic process if it did not receive intense scrutiny. I hope that his race for reelection will be marked by an honest evaluation of that record and a fair discussion of the issues facing the City of San Jose and District 4.

Looking forward,
Cole Niblett

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tet Festival in San Jose

Tet Festival 2016 is a team project of Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation (VIVO). 

VISION: Celebrating traditional and modern Vietnamese culture to unite, empower and inspire youth, families and communities.
MISSION: Providing a fresh and dynamic way to bring together entertainment, volunteerism, food, art, activities to celebrate the love and appreciation of culture
NEW YEAR DATE: The holiday, which is 1st day of lunar year calendar. For 2016, the actual date is Feb 8, 2016
FESTIVAL DATE: Feb 21, 2016. 10am-9pm
LOCATIONEvergreen Valley High School. 3300 Quimby Road. San Jose, CA 95148
VIVO is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization serving the Vietnamese community since 1979. Our mission is to empower the underserved communities by encouraging community members to give and contribute their talents through charity, leadership, education, research, advocacy, organizational collaboration, social entrepreneurship and cultural activities.

Happy New Year from County Supervisor Cindy Chavez

Dear Neighbor:

I hope this email finds you well. As we near the beginning of the Year of the Monkey on the Lunar Calendar, I am excited to provide an update on a number of initiatives relevant to the Vietnamese American community.

Please read on for the following updates and more:
  • The County has completed the Vietnamese American Service Center Stakeholder Assessment - the presentation of our findings, next steps and celebration will be on February 11 at 5:30 pm at the County Government Center, 70 West Hedding, San Jose, CA 95110
  • The Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program has formally launched
  • We have incorporated a multi-lingual wayfinding initiative into our Language Access Policy to improve how we serve monolingual visitors at our County Government Center
We could not have accomplished any of this without your support and continued advocacy for issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community of Santa Clara County. I hope that the Year of the Monkey will continue to bring our community good health and great prosperity.

As always, please send me any questions, comments or concerns you may have.
Be well,

Cindy Chavez

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Vân-Ánh Võ - The Odyssey

Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®Award-winning composer Vân-Ánh Võ premieres a new musical epic inspired by the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The Odyssey – from Vietnam to America explores the personal and spiritual journeys of the Boat People escaping war and reflects upon the resilience of the human spirit and the price of freedom.
Conveying stories of human transformation that resonates for all, The Odyssey utilizes the beautiful sound of traditional Vietnamese instruments and lullabies to evoke the deepest sense of comfort, calm, and strength. Complimented by layers of electronic music and Western instruments, the sounds embrace the parallel experiences of people from other communities.
The performances will feature musicians from Vân-Ánh Võ Quartet (The VA’V) with Alex Kelly on cello, Jimi Nakagawa on taiko and percussions, and Dan Cantrell on accordion and piano. Guest artists include award-winning environmental sound artist and ethnomusicologist Philip Blackburn, who has published articles on Vietnamese music, and award-winning video and media artist Ian Winters.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Friday Jan 22 and Saturday Jan 23 at 8:00 PM

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lan Diep Running for City Council Again

January 19, 2016

For more information, contact:
(408) 673-1733,

Statement of Lan Diep Announcing District 4 City Council Bid

When we cast our ballots each election, Americans rededicate ourselves to the founding principles of this great nation: liberty, equality, and self-determination.

But our democracy is undermined when voters aren't presented with a true choice at the polls; it fails when the desire to serve is overcome by the cynical belief that apathy will guarantee victory for the incumbent.

Today, after much reflection on the matter and encouragement from many residents in North San José, I am announcing my candidacy for the office of Councilmember, to represent District 4 on the San José City Council.

North San José has a central role to play in our city’s future development, and it deserves a serious representative who enjoys constituent interaction, who can craft good policy, and who can articulate a shared vision on behalf of the district. We do not have such a representative now, and the majority of residents should not be bound to the result of a low-turnout special election for lack of an alternative.

With the divisive battles of Measure B now behind us, we need thoughtful representatives to lead the healing process. Given the chance, I know I can be such a leader. As councilmember, I will focus my attention on the important issues of public safety, creating well-paying jobs, investing in transit infrastructure, and combating the skyrocketing cost of living in San José.

I hope to have your consideration and look forward to the opportunity to win your support.


Realistically, the chance for Lan Diep to win against the incumbent Councilmember Manh Nguyen is almost nil.   Viet-American voters is 19% of the total electorate.  He and Manh probably will split the Viet-American votes.   However with the endorsements of both the current Mayor Sam Liccardo and ex-Mayor Chuck Reed,  Manh will carry the majority of non-Vietnamese votes.

Lan Diep actually has a better chance at winning the D8 council race.   

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Minh Dang Appointed Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

This month, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint Minh Dang to be on the United State Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.

Minh Dang, a resident of San Jose, CA,  currently serves as the Executive Director for Don’t Sell Bodies, which advocates on behalf of survivors of modern day slavery. 

By sharing her own story of growing up in San Jose and forced in sex slavery in the Bay Area,  Minh has worked to combat child abuse and human trafficking in the United States through direct service, community organizing, and political advocacy. Minh also provides technical assistance and organizational consulting to local, state, and national service providers and government agencies. Recently, Minh helped launch the U.S. Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Jenny Do Recognized for Her Community and Philanthropy Work

On December 7, 2015,  Attorney Jenny Do was recognized by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and San Jose City Council for her community and philanthropy work in the Bay Area and Vietnam.   The proclamations were given by County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and City Councilmember Ash Kalra.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Vietnamese American Service Center of Santa Clara County

Dear Neighbor,

The Office of the County Executive, the Santa Clara County Department of Behavioral Health, the County’s Department of Public Health, the Social Services Agency, and my staff have been hard at work gathering community input through stakeholder sessions and surveys to help create a design proposal for a future Vietnamese American Service Center. I had the pleasure of kicking off the Vietnamese American Service Center Stakeholder process back in September and look forward to seeing the operational and service model blueprint informed by your feedback.

Our most recent stakeholder sessions were held at the Social Services Agency on November 19 and November 21. Both sessions were rousing successes with community members and service providers both in attendance. There remains two opportunities to attend a stakeholder session on December 6th and December 8th – both sessions will be held at the Social Services Agency campus located on 1879 Senter Road.  Refreshments and heavy appetizers will be provided with County staff ready to receive your input. If you are not able to attend a stakeholder session, you can still participate by taking our online survey by clicking on one of the links below.

Online Surveys

Vietnamese American Service Center Stakeholder Sessions
December 6, 2015
1:00 pm – 3:30pm
1879 Senter Road

December 8, 2015
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
1879 Senter Road

Be Well,

Cindy Chavez
County Supervisor, D2

Board of Supervisors
Santa Clara County

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Mansion Sold for $35 Million in Saigon

Earlier this month, a turn-of-the 20th century mansion in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) was sold for $35 million.  The asking price was $47 million.  

The 28,00 sqft mansion was built in French colonial style by a wealthy jewelry and pawn shop merchant.   The mansion needs some TLC due to age and neglect.  The undisclosed buyer bought it from the descendants of the merchant.  Some of the descendants are residents of San Jose.  This is big new  in Vietnam since real real estate transaction is rarely disclosed.   

A lot of Vietnamese-Americans in the Bay Area own real estate and have become wealthy in the last 5 years through an incredible hot market.  The largest real estate transaction in the Vietnamese-American community in the Bay Area  is by Tram Be (a bank CEO and investor from Vietnam).  He sold the interior mall of Vallco shopping complex for $120 million late last year.   He bought the interior mall for $64 million in 2009 as a foreclosure.

Monday, November 16, 2015



The I-SEA Film Fest (International Southeast Asian Film Fest, Nov 21-22, 2015) highlights the histories, imaginaries and identities of those with ties to Southeast Asia and its diasporas.

Featuring work by award-winning directors (Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or, Prince Claus Foundation, MacArthur “Genius" award), Oscar nominees, rebels and art-world stars, I-SEA  showcases world- class feature films, cutting-edge experimental shorts and controversial documentaries.

The Opening night gala will take place on November 20th at Artists' Television Access. The festival takes place at New People Cinema in Japantown from November 21-22nd, 2015--select screenings will have post-screening Q&A with filmmakers and panels.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ash Kalra on Creating Small Business Opportunities in Silicon Valley

Here in Silicon Valley, the economy is booming. The freeways are full and companies like Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, are making record billions of dollars in profits.  However, sometimes lost in the euphoria of the market boom are small businesses and start-up ventures trying to survive in a hyper-competitive environment. 

While on the City Council, I have certainly made an effort to support economic development. In my Council District is the thriving Edenvale Technology Park, the third largest economic engine of our city outside of north San Jose and downtown.  I have worked to ensure that we remove burdens and lessen taxes for companies who want to invest in our city by locating their research facility or manufacturing plant in San Jose. I have personally taken CEO's and COO's on tours of our city to identify locations where we can help them find their new home to grow. 

At the same time, I have been keenly aware of the need to also provide the same customer service and incentives for small businesses and start-ups to find a home here in San Jose. 

Earlier this year, I was pleased when the adopted city budget included a small business liaison in the planning department. I have learned over the years that it is often times in the planning department where businesses get mired in the bureaucracy of plan checks and building permit inspections. This new business ambassador was specifically tasked to focus on immigrant owned businesses. Approximately two-thirds of small businesses are immigrant owned and, often times, city services and resources do not find their way to these hard-working entrepreneurs. 

I have also worked to bring opportunity to businesses that often times been shut out of government contracts. While the Chair of the Valley Transportation Authority, which doles out many millions in private contracts a year, we initiated the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. It is through this program that we increased our target goals for contracts to be earned by women and minority-owned businesses. 

This year, I was proud to bring forward the same program for expanding opportunities to small and minority owned businesses to the city of San Jose. I am also working with Council Member Manh Nguyen to ensure that businesses the city contracts with, such as vendors at the airport, reflect our community and give an opportunity for minority-owned businesses to share their quality food and products. 

An thriving economy needs to work for everyone, not just those with special knowledge or relationships with the right people. Those who work hard to invest in our local economy deserve a fair shake. For seven years, I have worked hard to ensure we are creating an economy that rewards the hard work of small business owners and entrepreneurs. It is great to see, as the economy grows, that many of those businesses are thriving and positioned for long-term success.

The article is written by San Jose City Councilmember Ash Kalra for LSI

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bao Nguyen for US Congress

Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair & California Democratic Party Vice Chair Eric C. Bauman and Michael Andraychak cordially invite you to a house party supporting the Honorable Mayor of Garden Grove, Bao Nguyen, Candidate for U.S. Congress (CA-46), on Sunday, November 15, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the home of Eric C. Bauman & Michael Andraychak, at 12777 Victory Blvd., in North Hollywood.
Bao was born in a UN refugee camp while his family escaped communist Vietnam to seek freedom and opportunity in America.
Michael Andraychak and Eric Bauman
Michael Andraychak and Eric Bauman
Bao grew up in the district and is a proud product of public schools. After graduating from UC Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in political science, then a master’s degree in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies from Naropa University, Bao came back home to Garden Grove to teach, before turning to public service.
Bao is trilingual in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. He served on the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education prior to his 2014 election to a two-year term as the first Vietnamese American Democrat LGBTQ mayor in the United States.
For more information, please visit

Monday, November 2, 2015

Prayer Vigil for Jenny Do and Gia Vy Truong

About 100 people gathered to pray  for Attorney Jenny Do and Viet Tribune Publisher Vy Gia Truong last Saturday at Huyen Khong Temple in San Jose.  Huyen Khong Temple is a small house converted into a temple to serve the spiritual need of the Buddhist community.  

The prayer vigil was organized by Lillian Dang and Ngoc Nhi.  It was conducted from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM by the head abbott of the temple.  Some of their close friends including Dr. Nam Tran and Councilmember Ash Kalra were there for them.

This coming Saturday, November 7, there will be another prayer vigil at the Our Lady of Peace Shrine in Santa Clara for Jenny Do.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Jenny Do's Wish List

Attorney Jenny Do recently was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.   The prognosis is 3-6 months survival rate or less.

The community has been rallied around her to support her and her causes.   In the 2007, she was named Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature in her district and she received a number of  recognitions for her anti-human trafficking and charity work in the Bay Area. 


My Wish List

Your outpouring of messages, texts, phone calls and postings on social media since my diagnosis has lifted me up. Your prayers and wishes give me strength and courage. I apologize that I have not been able to thank and answer all of you individually, as I have been overwhelmed by your responses!

But dear brothers and sisters, this is not the time to be sad. If we shed tears, let us crystallize them into positive energy. There is so much left to do, so little time to do it. Here is my short wish list for the causes dear to my heart:

1. The welfare of the Friends of Hue (FHF -
) children and youths continues to be my priority concern! Thanks to the generosity of our donors and supporters, the self-sustainability initiative of FHF’s outsourcing center, and our financially conservative operations, we don't need a huge amount of money to bridge the gap and cover the basic needs of our children.
My first wish therefore is that FHF continues to take care of the children living at the center and those we sponsor in the vicinity. I wish that we keep supporting them until they can fly on their own. Please help me continue the annual fund raising drives.

2. Next on my mind is the Ao Dai Festival (
). Its fourth edition will take place on May 15th, with or without me. More than just a celebration of the Vietnamese culture and history, ADF binds our youths to a common goal and empowers them for years to come!  I wish that this vision continues after I leave you, that ADF’s fourth edition isn’t the last, and that the torch is passed to willing and able volunteers who will carry on the tradition.

3. I have also fallen in love with the children of Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. There I met Father Pedro Opeka, the founder of Akamasoa, an association that built 18 villages housing 3,000 families who used to live in cardboard boxes in the Antananarivo dumps.
I see in him the presence and beauty of human decency and humanity. Please trust this living Saint, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace prize in 2012. Send him your support (
). By donating $100, you can save a child from a garbage rummaging life.

4. Last but not least, I wish that our long-awaited, long-promised and long-dreamed Vietnamese-American Community Center of San José becomes reality. Oh, how I wish this to come true before I leave this world!

Its establishment has received the support of many City Councilmembers, community leaders, businesses, and individuals. Many plans have been proposed, many discussions have taken place, but the center still remains just a dream.

It is now time to make it a reality!

I have discussed with like-minded friends. In a few more days, I will describe our vision for a sustainable Vietnamese-American Community Center. It should be a place where the elders meet, where the youths gather and participate in healthy activities, where certain basic services are provided, and where people from different walks of life or cultures share experiences and enrich the community. It should also be a place where music and arts can thrive.

Self-sustainability will be essential. This will require a strong organization to plan and manage the project. We will need a diverse and robust board of directors, an experienced management team, support from all sectors and seed funding to get the project off the ground.

In order for our wishes to come true, I will need your help beyond anything that you have extended to me in the past. Our community is strong; if we join force, we can move mountains!

Please share the dream with me. Let us make a gift to ourselves and to future generations.And please accept my gratitude. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.