Friday, October 16, 2020

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President Trump in Tough Race Despite Strong Support from His Base


With two weeks to go, the presidential election for the soul of America is on its final leg.   The incumbent, President Donald Trump, has 4 years to prove that he can lead this nation in time of peace and crisis.

Mimicking the old playing book of former President Ronald Reagan " Let's Make America Great Again",  Trump lost the general election by almost 2% (about 3 million) in 2016 but won key states that were traditionally Democrat.  He dealt Hillary Clinton a crushing blow with a landslide in electoral votes, 232 to 306.  

He won Wisconsin by 0.7%, Michigan by 0.3% (11,000 votes out of 5.1 million ballots cast) and Pennsylvania by 0.7%.   If he had lost these three states, Clinton would have won, 278 to 260.  The black turnout in Michigan and Pennsylvania felled more than 7%.  In her new documentary, "To Become",  Michelle Obama lamented: "...So the day I left the White House and wrote about how painful it was to sit on it [inauguration] step. Many of our people did not vote. It was almost like a slap in the face. "   

So after 4 years of constant hard ball politics from the Oval Office and the privilege of a presiding president with a hard core and enthusiastic base of voters,  the reality is settling in.  LSI is seeing the following trends:

Barring anything extraordinary and Biden coming down with viral infection and cannot campaign accordingly,  President Trump is in for a tough race.  All national polling shows he is about 8% behind.  But what about the key states that will ultimately determine the necessary electoral votes needed to win.  Trump is trailing in Wisconsin  by 11% , Michigan by 7% and Pennsylvania by 6%.  These three states alone if Biden wins will give him 278 votes.  This is with the assumption the blue states in 2016 will hold for Biden.  The candidate only needs 270 votes to win.

What makes it more challenging is AZ is leaning for Biden and Florida is a dead heat.  North Carolina, a bastion of Republican strong hold, is also up for grab.  

The groups that Trump has relied on, white seniors and household women are not convinced he can provide the stability that the country needs.  The Vietnamese American voters are the only Asian-American group that has shown strong support for him.  But most are living in California and Trump is 31% behind in the state. 

 Trump's command of shrewd political tactics and his pop cultural understanding of the white's sentiments have propelled him into a historical president and presidency.

Whether the voters will allow him to continue, it will be decided on November 3rd and Las Vegas odds are against him for now.  But for a man who filed bankruptcy 6 times in his career to wipe of his debts, he still has many tricks up his sleeve to file bankruptcy another time to run the table on Biden and wins his second term.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

California Proposition 16: Restoring Affirmative Action

This is a controversial proposition among Asian-American communities for it is viewed  as taking away a merit base selection and replacing with racial quotas.

In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, a constitutional amendment banning affirmative action at state institutions.   The law dictates that government agencies and universities cannot factor in someone's race, gender or ethnicity in making, hiring and admission decisions.   For example, the county cannot set goals for how many contracts they can award to minority owned businesses.  And universities cannot set quota for admission based on ethnic groups.  

The US Supreme Court struck down on the use of quotas for university admissions in its 1978 Bakke case.

But if 2/3 of the voters approve Proposition 16 this coming November, a constitutional amendment will allow affirmative action at state institutions.  

For Asian American families, the main argument is simply why their hard working, overachieving children can be denied the admission to the best public universities because of their race. 

Whether this is myth or fact, there is enough mistrust of the educational system to guard itself and its proper interpretation of the laws that the opposition of this proposition is a serious movement in the Asian American communities.

Let the data speak for themselves and guide the debate: 

No race or ethnic group constitutes a majority of California's population: 39% of state residents are Latino, 37% are white, 15% are Asian American, 6% are African American, 3% are multiracial, and fewer than 1% are American Indian or Pacific Islander, according to 2018 data.

In 2018, for California State University system, 41.5% of enrollment are Hispanic/Latino, 15.9% are Asian, 4% are African American, and 23% are white.  

In 2019, the numbers are actually increased for Hispanic at 43%,  decreased for white at 22.4% while stayed constant for Asian.

In 2018, 25% of enrollment are Hispanic/Latino in University of California system, 4% are African American, 20% are white and 35% are Asian American.  The numbers are similar in 2019.  

The California API Legislative Caucus voted for the ACA 5 measure to ask voters if they want to reinstate affirmative action policies.  

Depending on your viewpoint but some people believe by allowing government agencies to make decision based on affirmative action can be a double-edged sword.  When trying to make strides in diversity for diversity sake, the state can end up sacrificing merit for the sake of diversity.  There is a fine balance between diversity, the elimination of structural racism and being given the opportunity equally based on merit and without prejudice based on race, ethnicity and sex. 

The state has made tremendous strides in the last 50 years  The proof is in a vibrant economy, strong multicultural social fabric and tolerance with great opportunities for immigrants and ethnic minorities.  

The ultimate decision is at the hand of the voters and sometime too much of a good thing might not be enough.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Using Non-Violence to Fight Oppression


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What started as pockets of unrest and challenge to the status quo is now a far-reaching movement across the United States to put a permanent end to oppression and injustice.

Join me, Assemblymember Ash Kalra and the Hindu American Foundation for a webinar from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 29,  on how to use non-violence to fight oppression, drawing on the lessons of Mahatma Gandhi and other champions of civil rights.


To be discussed during this webinar:

  • What are the systems of oppression and bias operating overtly and covertly that continue to permit the exclusivity of race?
  • How can we use our voices and passion to effectively make the world a better place to live?
  • What are the lessons we can learn from the revolutionaries of peace, including Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Cesar Chavez?

Learn more and RSVP at There is a role for each and every one of us in the fight for social change. Join us!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Funding from City of San Jose

 The pandemic has created hardships for many local people and small businesses.  To help, the City of San José is offering several programs funded through the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds.  The resident survey and community leaders forums provided valuable insights that guided our funding recommendations. We are grateful for all who participated. The Community and Economic Recovery Branch will be presenting recommendations to expand childcare opportunities, utility and rental relief as well as community health engagement in neighborhoods most impacted by COVID19. These recommendations and updated spending plan are being considered by the City Council (Item 3.7) on Tuesday September 22, 2020. Please join us if you’re available. 


Learning Pods – R.O.C.K n’ Learn 

Recognizing the many learning challenges caused by school closures, the City of San José is opening learning pods at several Library and Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) Community Centers.  The pods are for students Kindergarten through 8th grade and operate from 8:00 – 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. CDC and local health and safety measures are followed, and the pods provide children with a safe, quiet space to complete distance learning and have a little fun.   


For health and safety, the groups must remain the same for at least 3 weeks at a time. To place a student in a pod, parents can contact their school which will then refer students for placement. New pods are formed weekly as groups of five students are referred.  Families can get questions answered by emailing   


The library provides personal headphones and internet access; students bring their own school-issued device.   


The first three sessions are free and the City is working to fully fund this thru December 31.    


For more information including costs and scholarships, see this flyer.  


WEX (Work Experience)  

This City program supports lower-income job seekers who lost jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The program matches workers with job opportunities at local companies for up to 10 weeks (up to 40 hours per week). The program fully covers wages (up to $20 per hour) as well as funds supportive services for participants such as rental assistance, utilities, childcare, transportation, food, household goods and toiletries, and appropriate clothing, as needed.    

Designed for people who lost employment mostly in food services, the program exposes participants to new occupations and allows them to learn new skills on the job though there is no guarantee of employment after the placement. To minimize the impact to participating companies, participants are placed through a third-party employer which will take care of payroll, etc.      


Occupational Upskilling Sessions  

To help residents prepare for new professions, the City is also offering “Occupational Upskilling Sessions” in the following fields:  

·        medical assisting  

·        home health care  

·        help desk  

·        HVAC  

·        machinist  

·        security  

·        and more  

       To qualify for these programs, participants need to be:  

• residents of the city of San Jose  

• have lost hours or a job due to COVID-19  

• legally able to work in the United States⠀⠀⠀⠀  

• 18 years of age or older  


To sign up, people can go to the San Jose CARES WEX  web page and complete the Job Seeker Form.   


Employers who are interested in participating as an employer contact Lawrence Thoo, Work2future Strategic Engagement Manager.  


San José Coronavirus Relief Fund: NONPROFIT ARTS ORGANIZATIONS.  

This relief grant program is intended to help mitigate COVID-19 related financial impacts by reimbursing San Jose nonprofit arts and cultural organizations for specific and documentable expenses and income losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Totaling $2,120,000, this fund is part of the federal funding received by the City through the federal CARES Act and carries certain use restrictions that are specified in the guidelines.  The expedited relief grant process will be managed by the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), with grant disbursement handled by a third party. 

For complete details, including Guidelines, Application Form, FAQs, and link to the WebGrants portal, please click here.

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Tuesday, September 29 at 5:00 PM 


San José Coronavirus Relief Fund: Artists, a program offered in partnership between the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs and the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI). The City of San José Coronavirus Relief Fund: Artists (San José Fund) is distributing $208,000 in the form of grants up to $2,000 to help mitigate COVID-19 related financial impacts suffered by individual artists and sole proprietor arts businesses. San José Fund is a reimbursement-based fund made possible by federal funding resulting from the United States CARES Act, which was allocated by the State of California to the City of San José.  


For complete details, including Guidelines, FAQs, and link to the application, please click here.

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Tuesday, September 29 at 5 pm PDT. Applicants will be notified by October 16.   

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