Monday, December 29, 2008

Predictions for The Year of the Ox

LSI will rely on the ancient art of "Fortune Telling" to predict the upcoming Year of the Ox. Here are the "Top 10 Stories":

10. Microsoft, after the departure of Yang, will make an offer for Yahoo! at a discount price in the low 20s.

9. Silicon Valley unemployment rate will hit an all time high.

8. Median house price in San Jose will drop another 10% before bottoming out.

7. Unless her health fails her, Diane Feinstein will run for governor. And if she does, there will be no serious challengers from the Democratic Party.

6. Van Tran will gear up to run against Lou Correa. However, his effort will fall flat and he will end up in a political no man's land as he is termed out in 2010.

5. Nora Campos will run to replace Joe Coto unless Cindy Chavez decides to run. But chances are Cindy will not run. She has doubts about her own political ambitions.

4. If Madison Nguyen lost, a heavy weight candidate will run against Chuck Reed, literally.

3. In a city where there is only 1/3 Whites, 2010 is the last time the city council will have 3/4 city council members as White.

2. Madison Nguyen loses the recall election by a wide margin despite receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists, labors and wealthy business people not from San Jose.

1. Reed, reeling from Nguyen's defeat, will make a blunder while appointing a person to replace Madison Nguyen. Actually, if he is reading, please appoint a Filippino-American woman to ensure no controversy. But he will either appoint a Hispanic or a White.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Spirit

Otto Lee, former mayor and current city councilmember of Sunnyvale, is being deployed in Iraq for a year long. Lee is naval reservist with a rank of commander. He has spent 19 years as part of the Naval Reserve service. He is an intellectual lawyer by training and has two young daughters.

What made the story more special is because of his special link to the Vietnamese-American community who had supported him in the race for supervisor. It was a race that both candidates, Otto Lee and Dave Cortese, actively courted the community. Cortese won because of his deeper root in the community but Lee won their heart. To show apprecation for Lee, the same people from the Vietnamese-American community who supported Cortese will have nice going away party/fund raising for him and his family.

Cortese is invited to the party.

Otto’s Going-Away fundraising Party on:

December 27, 2008, Saturday (5:30pm – 8:00pm)Fu Lam Mum restaurant - 650-967-1688153 Castro StreetMountain View, CA 94041

December 28, 2008, Sunday (4:30pm – 7:00pm)2127 S. 10th StreetSan Jose, CA 95112

RSVP to or 408-318-6103

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Unaccountability of Madison Nguyen

What do Kathy Coles, Doris Allen and Madison Nguyen share in common? Well, they are some of the few women legislatures in California history being recalled by their own constituents. Both Coles and Allen were successfully recalled while Nguyen is on the verge. In 1995, Kathy Coles, San Jose District 8 councilwoman, was recalled for making insensitive remarks toward Asian Americans, specifically Indo-Americans and Chinese-Americans. In the same year, the first woman Speaker in California State Assembly history, Doris Allen, was recalled by her own Republican Party for voting along with the powerful Democratic AssemblymanWillie Brown.

But what makes Nguyen recall different is the fact that she is unaccountable for her actions in secret dealings with wealthy developers and special interest groups in a culture of behind the scene deal cutting and coverup. So far, Nguyen has refused to answers many questions raised by the community despite the fact that emails from her and her staff clearly showed a pattern of secret dealing between her and Tang Lap, the wealthy developer of Vietnam Town as a "quid pro quo" favor. What made the coverup more interesting is the fact while voting for the naming of Little Saigon she did not disclose to the public or council as required her communication and agreement she made with Tang Lap months before the June 5, 2007 vote.

In a post Gonzales era where elected city councilmembers are taken oath to be open, honest and serve the interests of the people and not the special interest groups, Nguyen lied and tried to cover up her actions until she was confronted on her own tantalizing emails that the community had obtained through Freedom of Information Act.

Nguyen strongly feels that she cannot be held accountable by the voters of District 7. Matter of fact, she challenged them by calling them a bunch of unemployed people with nothing to do.

At her recent fund raising on December 17 where 50 people showed up (And that including the press, her staff and her campaign team), she kept insisting that she has the support of the majority of the people and that the 7,000 signatures representing extreme minority groups.

The recall process is about elected official being held accountability to the people and by the people. It is after all, the government of the people, by the people and for the people and not the government of powerful real estate developers, lobbyists and special interest groups.

Nguyen's donors for her anti-recall effort are either out of town real estate developers, lobbyists or special interest groups. And yet she keeps referring to her campaign as grass root movement. Well, may be it is if she is running for city council in Washington DC or San Diego or Sacramento or Phoenix or Las Vegas but not in San Jose. And more specifically not in District 7.

In contrast, the recall team has 95% of their donors living in San Jose and noticeably in District 7.

This is about Nguyen and her 3 years of representing wealthy real estate developers and special interest groups. It is not suprising that the voters of District 7 want a recall election to have their voice heard and Nguyen to be held accountable.

Trinh, Nguyen and Their Pop Culture

Raymon Trinh or otherwise known as Bobby Trendy is made famous by the larger than life Ana Nicole Smith on her realilty show (2000- 2004). He was hired as her personal interior designer and soon everybody knew his name. Specializing in custom furniture and interior design, his business became part of the Hollywood circle and gained famous clients including Catherine Zeta Jones, Janet Jackson, Cypress Hill and Snoop Doggy Dog.

A Valencia native, he claimed the name "Bobby Trendy" was his nick name in high school when people noted the trendy clothing he always wore. He is now starring in Fox Reality's Gimme My Reality Show!

Tila Nguyen, aka Tila Tequila, is the face of Vietnamese by heritage and blond by choice, she is the most popular person on with over 2.5 million friends and counting. She has her own MTV's reality show and of course since the debut on Dec.2, her self-help book is ranked number 5,418 on This made her the most successful Vietnamese-American author/writer ever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sentiment Against Madison Nguyen

To really understand Madison Nguyen and the sentiment of the people in District 7, one must go back to late 2006 where there was a huge banner in front of the American GI Forum headquarters on Story Road declaring " Recall Madison Nguyen. She does not represent the Mexican-American Community".

The American GI Forum has been an important instution of the Mexican-Americans in San jose for the last 45 years advocating for Mexican-American war veterans and their families. In voting against AGI's request for rezoning to allow for entertainment use their assembly hall to generate more revenue, Nguyen forced AGI almost into bankruptcy. They were forced to sell their facility in order to pay off debts. Abel Cota, the former executive diretor of AGI Forum said:"I don't know if this is a pay- back for me supporting her opponent, Linda Nguyen, or not but it was bad governance for somebody who just got elected and really did not understand the issue and basically bankrupted a nonprofit foundation."

But what made the story more interesting was from the buyer of the AGI 's assembly hall, Loannie Lam. A week before closing, she received an unsolicited call from Nguyen. The councilwoman asked her tersely:"Why are you buying the property? This is overprice. You should look at Vietnam Town." Vividly upset, Loannie told Madison Nguyen:" I don't know you and it is none of your business."

Now after spending almost $100,000 to fend off the signature drive for her recall, her consolation price is 8 verified signatures out of the 147 signatures submitted by her campaign to the City Clerk to oppose the recall. The recall team meanwhile spent half the money and gathered over 7,000 signatures and submitted 5,181. Out of that less than 4% were rejected.

Madison Nguyen simply does not get it. It is not only the Vietnamese-American voters, the same voters that brought her into office but also the Hispanics and Whites that could not stand her. If she had walked the precinct, she could see that 6 out of 10 people wanted her to step down to save the city the embarrassment.

She represents so far in the last 3 years the interest of the wealthy and politically powerful people like Tang Lap, a very rich and yet very thrifty real estate developer.

It was her decision to exclude the community from the naming process and had a behind the scene deal with Tang Lap to name the strip according to his wish that got her into trouble. But what made the matter worse, instead of owning up to it, she denied and lied and then stonewalled the whole process.

At a recent two day fund raising event for the Recall of Madison Nguyen, there were over 1,000 people attended. Her well publicized fund raising event on December 17 at the one start Motif Night Club, 50 people attended and they all were from the press, city staff and city council members.

Her tired argument against the recall process is that it is very very costly so we should not go forward with it. Well, Madison Nguyen in case you have not heard, the people have spoken. The recall ballot is on because the people have exercised their democratic right. This election is about Madison Nguyen's ethics or lack of and about her representation of not the people of District 7 but only to the powerful and wealthy lobbyists, developers and Labor Union.

Her argument of touting how she has created thousands of jobs and build thousands of homes for the people of District 7 are laughable since all programs are part of San Jose Redevelopment Ageny plan as well as state and county plans before she took office.

The record that she does not want to emphasize right now is rising crime rate in her district for the last 3 years.

What is so sad for Madison Nguyen and a lot of people do feel sorry for her at the moment for this is classic case of the " Empress wears no cloth". Behind her back, the vice mayor to be Judy Chirco, councilmembers Nancy Pyle, Sam Liccardo and Ash Karla are shaking their heads and could not fanthom the arrogance and self delusion Madison Nguyen has of herself.

Her supporters are on radio 24/7 attacking the recall team mercilessly. They questioned the 5,000 signatures by claiming that only 1,000 signatures were from the Vietnamese-American community. The point Nguyen's campaign trying to make is why bringing outsiders into the community to bring down the community.

The Recall Team purposedly is making a point against Nguyen's claim of the "silent majority". Half of the signatures are from non Vietnamese-Americans. It is not that they could not get 5,000 Vietnamese-American signatures or more, they just wanted to see how the other communities see the issue and their sentiment toward Madison Nguyen.


Monday, December 15, 2008

In Support of Madison Nguyen

LSI just received this invitation over email to attend an All-Star Event at a one-star night club (According to Yelp). The owner is a Vietnamese-American friend of Madison Nguyen.


Dear Friends,

Please join me, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilmembers Pete Constant, Forrest Williams, Sam Liccardo, Pierluigi Oliverio, Judy Chirco, Nancy Pyle and Councilmembers-elect Rose Herrera and Ash Kalra for a reception to raise fund for the No Recall campaign.

Below are the details for the event:
Wednesday, December 17, 20085:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Motif Restaurant
389 South First Street
Downtown San José

Checks will be accepted at the door or you can mail them to:No Recall of Madison Nguyen CommitteePO Box 18494San Jose, CA 95158

Make check payable to: No Recall of Madison Nguyen Committeeor you can donate online at

RSVP to Melanie Jimenez (408) 674-8662 or

Please feel free to forward the attached flyer to any of your contacts who would be interested in attending.Thank you for your continued support.

All my best,



As LSI mentioned before, this is not even a fair fight. Madison has the support of influential and important elected officials and the powerful South Bay Labor. In addition, she can at a her fingertip raises boat load of money from wealthy real estate developers, labor unions and powerful lobbyists from all over the country - Arizona, Washington D.C., San Diego, Sacramento, etc...

Now with Melanie Jimenez, a smart policy analyst from the mayor's office helping her along with the most powerful consultant in San Jose, Vic Aljouny, it will not be even a close election.

The recall team is basically a loose group of volunteers with mostly older folks who are either unemployed or low level blue collar workers and of course have no experience in running a campaign. In addition, they have history against them.

They neither have the money nor the media savvy to take on a well oiled machine behind Madison. Nguyen's political sophistication, good look, a mainstream media darling, and her ability to outspend and out message the recall team in the Vietnamese-American community alone would crush even a more seasoned political operative.

Her campaign spent over $19,600 for Vietnamese-American media (from July to September) to write favorable articles and radio talk show touting her record. The media supporting her and receiving her money are: the powerful and influential Que Huong Radio, Vien Thao Media (Do van Tron, the owner, is one of the richest Vietnamese-Americans in the Bay Area), Thoi Bao (one of the oldest Vietnamese-American newspaper in existence), Viet Weekly (a Southern California newspaper that is moving their operation to the Bay Area to support Madison ), Tin Viet News, V-Times, CM Magazine, Hoa Vang, Song Viet Radio (Another powerful radio show owns by a powerful political party within the community- Viet Tan).

The recall team meanwhile only managed to spend $9,927 on Vietnamese-American radio ads and prints.
What amazing of course was against such incredible odd, they managed to gather over 7,000 signatures in which they submitted 5,185 signatures for verification

Recently to put on the pressure, she commissioned Viet Weekly to print 10,000 newspaper issues for the San Jose area. The issue by design featured her and her fight against the recall effort. This is an impressive number since Viet Weekly don't even print that many issues in their own market in southern Cal.

If LSI is a betting person, the odd is 7 to 2, Madison.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Guide To Love, Fame, Hapiness, Success.....

It seems like everyone has a book deal nowadays!

And just in time for the holidays, Tila Tequila recently released her new self-help book : "Hooking Up with Tila Tequila: A Guide to Love, Fame, Happiness, Success, and Being the Life of the Party." Here she is at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Manhattan promoting her book.

How is she is doing with her first ever book? Well, it is number 9,801 on the Amazon Sales Rank. Compare to other known Vietnamese-American authors, she is considered to be quite a success on

A Sense of Duty - My Father, My American Journey - Quang X. Pham - Rank # 281,739

Stealing Buddha's Dinner - Bich Minh Nguyen - #138,311

The Book of Salt - Monique Truong - #65,216

The Gangster We Are All Looking For - Thuy Diem Thuy Le - #25,539

The Tapestries - Kien Nguyen - # 232,522 (But this number is misleading because his promotional outlet was Costco discount chain)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Anh "Joseph" Cao Becomes The First Vietnamese-American US Congressman

In a stunning upset, a relatively unknown Vietnamese-American lawyer, a conservative Republican, won a special election for Louisianna US Congressional 2nd District. He will represent a district that was specifically drawn to give African-Americans an electoral advantage and one in which two of every three voters are registered Democrats.

US Representative William Jefferson has represented the district since 1991 but is now facing corruption charge when investigators found $90,000 cash in his freezer and linked him and several relatives to a wide-ranging bribery scheme. He was the first black Democrat elected to Congress from Louisiana since Reconstruction. The Lousianna 2nd Congressional District has 65% Blacks to 30% Whites voters.

Anh "Joseph" Cao came to the US when he was 8 years old and typical of all Vietnamese-Americans in New Orleans, a devout conservative Catholic. New Orleans and vicinities have about 18,000 Vietnamese-Americans. This rerepsents less than 2% of the population. Joseph Cao has never held any public offices but running for US congressional seat, it is never a criteria. Cao graduated from Loyola Law School in 2000 and works as an immigration lawyer. He had served on the board of Boat People SOS, a nonprofit foundation located in New Jersey. Cao is married with two daughters.

He is a parishioner of the Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church. The same parish that Bishop Mai thanh Luong of Los Angeles Diosce, the only Vietnamese-American bishop, used to reside as a parish priest.

Cao won the election partly because of an extreme low turn out. Last month, nearly 164,000 Democrats and independents in the 2nd District cast ballots. Even with the universe of voters expanded Saturday to include all registered voters, only 66,846 showed up to the polls. At this writing, Cao received 33,122 votes while Jefferson garnered 31,296 votes.
Cao raised almost $90,000 from a slate of party operatives, local executives and members of the Vietnamese community. He also pumped $70,000 of his money into the campaign.
This is a no doubt a historical moment for the Vietnamese-American community.
Cao won because of his perfect timing but also his appeal across the racial line. Whether he can win the re-election in 2010 is still questionable since the Democrats let their guard down with a flaw candidate in a special election.
Nevertheless, with Republican Janet Nguyen won her Orange County supervisor race in 2007 and again 2008 in a heavily populated Democratic and Hispanic district, it shows that Vietnamese-American politicians have the skill to reach out and win in unfavorable demographics.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Spiral Foundation

Why Harrison Ford, Salma Hayek, Linda Hamilton, George Clooney, Oliver Stone, Ben Affleck, Kristin Davis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anjelica Huston, John Travolta, Sofia Milos, Kim Cattrall, Tim Robbins and Steven Spielberg find crafts from Vietnam and Nepal appealing? Well partly because of Marichia Simcik Arese, an art historian from Pacific Palisades who spent 15 years as a curator at the Getty Museum.

In 1997, Marichia went to Vietnam as tourist and was captivated by a group of young people working in a restaurant in Hanoi but using their spare time to make picture frames out of recycling soda cans. They would sell them to tourists to pay for their college education. She told the young students if they would send her the frames she would sell them in the states. Any money she made would be sent back to VN.

Four months later she received 300 hundreds picture frames. Marichia was stunned and did not know what to do with the frames. However, true to her word, she managed to sell them all to her TPA, neighbors, friends. What made the story very compelling was the fact that the students only kept a small amount of money sent for their education and the rest was given away by them to support orphans in remote villages.

From such kind acts ocean apart came forth Spiral Foundation. In the last 11 years, Marichia raised over $1.3 million for her nonprofit organization by selling crafts made by recycling materials from disadvantage artisans first in Vietnam and later on Nepal. Marichia would display the bowls, the bags, and other housewares on her dining room table, called it a holiday gift bazaar and invited neighbors and friends to come over. Word of mouth did the selling and marketing. Now it has grown into an annual event attracting the Hollywood crowd.

Some of the money are being used to fund educational program as well as healthcare/surgery for children in Hue via East Meets West Foundation, a nonprofit foundation founded by Le Ly Hayslip in the early 90s. Le Ly Hayslip of course is famous for her book about her life as a woman in a war torn Vietnam which later was made into the movie " Heaven and Earth" by Oliver Stone. East Meets West Foundation is the largest NGO operating in Vietnam with an annual budget of over $5 million.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Madiosn Nguyen's Fund Raising Ability?

Last Saturday, at her new campaign headquarters in a building leased by Huong Le, the younger brother of Chieu Le (Lee's Sanwiches owner) who embarassed himself with false claims against the community in front of the city council, Madison Nguyen put forth an event to release her DVD.

The DVD is about her great accomplishment for the community in the last three years in office. There were about 57 people attending the event including the press and Nguyen's staff. At one point, it was emotional as her dad made an appeal to the community asking the community to help "correct Madison" if she made any mistakes.

The community is still not forgeting how Madison referring the Little Saigon supporters as "do nothing unemployed people" and calling the many rallies for Little Saigon as "nothing but a circus act".

Back in the crowd, her paid supporters like Viet Weekly (which pulled it newspaper presence in San Jose after getting downsize by the community in its hometown of the original Little Saigon), was walking about encouraging the 2 dozen people in the crowd to speak up for her. The guy with glasses kneeling in the picture is the owner of Viet Weekly who called himself Le Vu (LSI is not in the business revealing people's true identity and background). He drove all the way up from Santa Ana for the event.

This begs a point, why there are so many people from outside of San Jose supporting Nguyen?

From her 460 filing updated at the end of September, 80% of her money came from big businesses and labor unions, some as far as Washington DC, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco. Phoenix, Las Vegas, ect... The list is very impressive especially with the big name real estate developers and lobbyists.

She has raised so far $114,812 and spent $92,783 to thwart the signature gathering effort. She has now just about $22,030 left in her account. According to people inside her camp (specifically Viet Weekly), she is worrying that she might not be able to raise additional money, especially now with Mayor Reed abandoning her.

In a media war, she spent over $55,000 for all the radio ads, news articles and mailers, trying to deny the signature collecting effort. Of course, there were the consultant fee, the legal fee and the staff fee, that added up to another $19,000 or so. The problem for her is that she does not have a volunteer staff at her disposable. The passion is simply not there for the people in her District 7. But it is sure still with the people from out of town who basically are either being lied to by Nguyen or just wanted to see a good fight while getting paid. Capitalism at its best.

Her ability to raise money so far is amazing with all the out of town contributors.
Matter of fact, she raised almost twice the money than the recent winner of District 8 city council race.

The question is can she raised another $100,000 to keep her hope of retaining her seat?

Footnote: The Recall Team is planning a two day fund raising event next weekend with over 1,200 tickets pre-sold at $35 at ticket. The are expecting about 1,500 people at the two days event.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Human Trafficking

An Open Discussion on Human Trafficking - Dec 2008
When: Sunday, December 7th, 2008, 11am- 1 pm
Where: 2501 Richland Avenue, San Jose, CA 95125

On Sunday, December 7th, 2008, from 11am - 1pm, VA-NGO Network (Vietnamese-American Non-Govermental Organization Network) will be holding a forum on the topic of trafficking of human beings (THB) in Vietnam.

It will be an open discussion to achieve the following goals, but not limited to:

Building a shared understanding of which NGOs are operating anti-THB related projects or have intentions to start new anti-THB related projects and their operational objectives for 2009.

Encouraging NGOs to explore opportunities to collaborate with each other and with the VA-NGO network on anti-THB projects or a component of the project when possible.
Assisting VA-NGO Network to explore and define its roles in working on anti-THB and assisting different NGOs to further their anti-THB project objectives.

Forming an anti-THB working group to further define objectives as discussed and agreed upon in this forum.

For organizations and individuals who are already working or plan to implement new anti-THB project, you are cordially invited and encouraged to attend this open discussion on the topic of trafficking of human beings. Your inputs will be invaluable to this process and will allow us to have better and collaborative strategies to work on this daunting issue in Vietnam!

Footnote: Human Trafficking is a crime in the US. The DOJ estimates there are 50,000 people annually being trafficking in the US. According to the DOJ:

Trafficking in persons — also known as "human trafficking" — is a form of modern-day slavery. Traffickers often prey on individuals who are poor, frequently unemployed or underemployed, and who may lack access to social safety nets, predominantly women and children in certain countries. Victims are often lured with false promises of good jobs and better lives, and then forced to work under brutal and inhuman conditions.

It is a high priority of the Department of Justice to pursue and prosecute human traffickers. Human trafficking frequently involves the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation, a brutal crime the Department is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting. Trafficking also often involves exploitation of agricultural and sweatshop workers, as well as individuals working as domestic servants.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Joseph Cao

Received in LSI mailbox today is an article written by Richard Fausset of LA Times - "In New Orleans, Beyond Black and White Politics" - on a US congressional race this December 6 (A Saturday for that matter) where there is a Vietnamese-American running against a black incumbent.

This is the Lousiana's 2nd Congressional District where the majority is black voters (65% to 30% Whites). Representative William Jefferson has represented the district since 1991 but is now facing corruption charge when investigators found $90,000 cash in his freezer. He is the first black Democrat elected to Congress from Louisiana since Reconstruction. His challenger is Joseph Cao, 41, an immigrant lawyer and a former Jesuit seminarian. Cao is a Republican with limited political experience but with a high hope of transcending race between ethnic voters.

Joseph Cao came to the US when he was 8 years old and typical of all Vietnamese-Americans in New Orleans, a devout conservative Catholic. New Orleans and vicinities have about 18,000 Vietnamese-Americans. This rerepsents less than 2% of the population. Joseph Cao has never held any public offices but running for US congressional seat, it is never a criteria. He is a parishioner of the Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church. The same parish that Bisoph Mai thanh Luong, the only Vietnamese-American bishop, used to reside as a parish priest.

With limited funding and lack of an independent base, so what are his odds for sneaking in? Well it is depending on a number of factors:

1. Typical low turn out for a December election with historically about 20% of registered electorate.

2. Black's satisfaction with electing Obama and deciding to stay home for the race.

3. Republican high turn out and independents who could not stand the status quo corruption.

4. A strong turn out by White Catholic voters.

5. Arrogance of the incumbent for not taking Cao seriously.

6. And of course, miracle does happen to even politician. Don't ever underestimate the power of prayer and the Catholic Church in politics.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Free DVD

LSI received an email in Vietnamese from Madison Nguyen's campaign reminding everybody to attend a special event on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at their new campaign headquarters - 1654 Burdette St, San Jose

The special occasion as emphasized in the email - "Giving Out Of A Speical DVD"

The "Free DVD" as stated in the email is all about Madison Nguyen's ahievement in the last three years in office including how she has generated thousands of job for her district, reduced crimes and built thousands of new homes for the low-income families.

For those who could not attend - The number to call to get a free DVD is 408-460-0488. The contact person is Phuoc Nguyen.

As a bonus, the email also mentioned that there will be light snack served.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Year Anniversary and Not Even a Fair Fight

To commenmorate 1 year anniversary of Councilmember Nguyen's controversial decision to go against the wish of the majority, somebody sent LSI this posting on the Mercury News:


To avoid spend and save money, Madison Nguyen should be resigned and re-run, please read a letter of SUE HUBBARD of Cupertino :


Thank you,

Jim Romero,
Zip code 95122 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It is important to note that the recall team actually collected much much more signatures than they submitted. They just did not have the resources to verify them all. And also 50% of the signatures given are from the non-Vietnamese-American voters.

Nguyen's anti recall team is hunkering down of course. Her biggest problem is how to get people to volunteer. She does not want to pay them for phone banking or anything else. Her comment to Dan The Hoang, her old loyalist, was: " I had hundreds of people volunteer for me when I ran for council, why I should pay for these people now?"

Rumor is that Labor will jump in very early in the campaign to help Nguyen. This is unsual for Labor since they usually wait until the last minute.

Anyway, LSI and the rest of the city will pull up a chair and watch the battle royal between the powerful Nguyen vs. the community.

To LSI, this is not even a fair fight. Nguyen has hundreds of thousands of dollars, the backing of powerful business people, the Democratic Party, South Bay Labor and city council machineries while the community is simnply a bunch of unemployed unsophisticated folks (according to Nguyen's comment on Youtube). If LSI is betting, the money should be on Nguyen and her powerful backers.

The Vietnamese-American backers alone would bring fear to any campaign - Dr. Ngai Nguyen (a powerful Republican Party acitivist who has connection in the highest places) Paloma's owner - Linh Nguyen (a neophyte in politics but love to mix with the powerful crowd), Cal Waste Solution CEO - David Duong, Huong Le (The younger brother of the owner of Lee's Sandwiches), GD Commercial Real Estate of Trung Lam and John Luk (the owner), Tina Tien + Sonny Nguyen (the owners of the now defunct Nha Magazine) and of course the self-proclaimed community president of Northern Cal who touted that he received over 20,000 votes for his presidency - Dan The Hoang. Dan is also an executive member of a shadowy political party - Viet Tan - with the aim of overthrowing the communist government in Vietnam.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Madam Secretary" - A Tale of Two Cities (Part II)

In Orange County, a strong bastion of Republican politics, the overwhelming majority of Vietnamese-Americans are Republicans. This reflects in the success of County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, 32, and State Assemblyman Van Tran, 44, as the two top Republican elected officials in the Vietnamese-American community across the US.

However, up north in the Bay Area, the politics is purely Democrat. Even though the majority of the Vietnamese-Americans registered as Republican just like down south, they mostly voted for Democratic candidates and not surprisingly most Vietnamese-American candidates registered as Democrats. All 3 local school board members and one city council member are Democrats.

One well liked Democrat supporter in San Jose (the 10th largest city in the nation) is the lawyer Michael Luu. He once raised over $300,000 for Hillary Clinton's campaign. And he arranged so that Clinton could use part of his building as the calling headquarters for her Northern California campaign as well as other states nearby.

Now that's dedication and a good friend of Bill and Hillary.

Turn back the clock to the first term of Bush's White House, a well known Vietnamese-American lawyer served in the Justice Department under then Attorney General John Ascroft's leadership. He was responsible for federal legal policy as an assistant attorney general. He and a law professor at Berkeley co-authored the legal foundation for the US Patriot Act. His ambition was a federal judgeship in the DC circuit but with the Democratic senate still has not getting over the US Patriot Act, he now settles as a Georgetown faculty teaching constitutional law.

Under the Obama's administration, Little Saigon Inside could not see anything for Vietnamese-Americans who are inspired to serve the government at an important level within Obama's cabinet unless one is a FOB (Friend of Bill) or FOH(Friend of Hillary)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

Steve Ngo, a civil rights lawyer, 32, , finally won his hard earned victory for a seat on the Community College Board in the San Francisco county. The graduate from Hasting School of Law raised $75,000 and had a 50 people volunteer staff. He came in 4th place with over 87,000 votes. He reached out to every ethnic enclave in San Francisco and even had a fund raising event hosted by the Santa Clara county prosecutor Ash Kalra, the newly elected city councilmember of San Jose City. His website is quite impressive with an endorsement list of who's who in the Bay Area. From the website, one can find out that his fiancee, Tina Lee, is also a school board member of Bay Mills Community College and they will soon be married. Honeymoon destination - Hawaii....

Meanwhile, on the south side of the Northern California, a young financial analyst working for Cisco, Khoa Nguyen, 24, decided to put his name in a local school board race in San Jose. The graduate from San Jose State University did not even campaign or bother to have a website or lawn sign. Yet he beat out his opponent for second place by almost a hundred votes. He became a second non-incumbent Vietnamese-American to win an election in the Bay Area. His opponent, a teacher no less, raised $10,000 and received endorsement from the school board but lost by a thin margin - 6,711 to 6,634.

The Mercury News, the only major newspaper in town, lamented on " voter's inattention in local school board races." However, to Little Saigon Inside, Khoa Nguyen's victory is expected since the Beryessa Union School District is almost 45% Asian-Americans with Vietnamese-Americans made up more than 23% of the votes. This is a classical case of having a Nguyen last name will get you the votes no matter what.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Obama's Astrology

A post election survey, conducted by the Asian-Pacific American Legal Center and OCAPICA, in cooperation with National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, showed that in Orange County, about 52% Vietnamese-American voters voted for McCain while 46% for Obama. This is a surprisingly small discrepancy considering that 2 out of 3 Vietnamese-American voters in OC registered as Republican.

Now that people has obtained Obama's birth record, there are a number of astrology websites about his destiny. In the Vietnamese-American community as well as Vietnamese community in VN, the story is more compelling. There are email floating around with the Obama's astrology that foretells an unfinished presidency.

Since the birth record of Obama cannot be confirmed so the prediction of an unfinished presidency might be questionable. However, based on the empirical science of fortune telling of facial characters, many people have predicted the same consequences.

The prominent mole on his face is the tell tale sign of an unfinished term presidency. According to fortune teller, the mole positioned on the smiling crease is a sign of separation of family and loved one. And if one is in position of political power, it speaks of leaving the office that one's held early and never have a chance to fulfill the promises.

Whether this is true or not, only time can tell but not since for a long time has a president coming into office with so much enthusiams from the young and new generation.

Of course, in the art of fortune telling and prediction, whether it is Nostradamus or Saint Malachy, all have their doubters. However, their prophecies cannot simply be ignored for they are sometimes come to realization.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Down to The Wire

With about 800 ballots left (mostly provisional), Diep Truong is 23 votes from winning the Westminster city council seat.

Is this a must win for Diep Truong? Not really, he is in his mid 20s and will have a long political career in front of him. Little Saigon Inside is picking him to win the election anyway.

Is this a must win for State Assemblyman Van Tran? Well, it would have bolstered his existing political image as a "Godfather" who is in control of the Vietnamese-American voters and politics in OC and beyond. So far none of the "Trannies" won in this election. Matter of fact, if Diep lost, the "Trannies" would have lost all of their election campaigns in 2008, a 0-8 record.

Van Tran is looking into his political crystal ball and right now it is cloudy but full of opportunities

His term ends in 2010 and he is looking at different options :

- Hang up his political career temporarily and get a judgeship appointment
- Run against Lou Correa for the state senate seat in 2010.
- Run against Loretta Sanchez. He already floated email to some of his strongest supporters soliciting money for this campaign. The idea to become the first Vietnamese-American serving in US Congress is very appealing.

His chance is strongest against Lou Correa. Lou has a favorable view by the Vietnamese-American community in OC but it is a matter of how much they dislike Van Tran. Tammy Tran, his district director, is a plus for Lou. However, can she bring him at least 40% of Vietnamese-American votes to offset the Republican substantial base in his district is a big question mark. She is politically untested and not savvy enough in the community. Her association with the controversial political organization Viet Tan (With the aim of overthrowing the Vietnamese government in Vietnam) is a turn-off for the community.

Van will not run against Loretta directly for he is very calculated and not a gambling politician. He will run for her seat if she decided to move on. Her option is limited also. Obama will appoint her sister before her for any lower level cabinet position. A US senate run in 2010 is not impossible but difficut. Governor Sanchez, may be but again, it would be difficult in 2010. On the other hand, any thing is possible in politics

County Supervisor Janet Nguyen of course is beaming with pride and satisfaction on her chief of staff's GG city council victory. It was a proxy battle between her and Van Tran. So far this year, Janet Nguyen 2, Van Tran 0.

When will they end this personal war between each others, nobody knows. But knowing Van and his ambition, Janet is the obstacle for his dream of stretching his political influence to all Vietnamese-Americans. So far, it has backfire as it showed in 2008 elections.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shorenstein APARC Events


12:00 to 1:30 pmMonday, 17 November 2008

Philippines Conference

RoomEncina Hall, 616 Serra St.S

Stanford University

A buffet lunch will be provided.

TALK DESCRIPTION: What does variable capital mean in and for Vietnam? Who are the different investors? How do they respond to state efforts to attract investments from overseas Vietnamese? How do global supply chains (corporate buyers, contract factories, and subcontractors) shape the changing nature and impacts of capital in Vietnam? How does a self-described socialist state use policies on investment, labor, and the privatization of state-owned factories to control the relations between workers and owners? What roles in this mix are played by journalists who can ignore neither the party line nor the workers who protest in spite of it? In addition to addressing these questions, Prof. Tran will argue that workers in Vietnam are not resigned to being squeezed between morphing capital and state control. They defend their interests flexibly in diverse forms of protest, overt and covert, including appeals to the state's own socialist vision. Fresh from extensive fieldwork in labor-intensive industries such as textiles, garments, and footwear, Prof. Tran will show how Vietnamese workers use native place, class, gender, and ethnicity to mobilize collective action against morphing capital in a one-party state.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Angie Ngoc Tran is a professor of political economy at California State University, Monterey Bay. Her latest publications include articles in the Labor Studies Journal (2007) on labor media and labor-management-state relations in Vietnam. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Southern California (1996).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And 389 ballots later

Diep Truong, the young assistant to State Assemblyman Van Tran, is 59 votes short of winning a seat in Westminster City. He garnered 9,875 votes and is currently in third place behind a relatively unknown candidate. Next step is the provisional ballots and of course recount. If he is still behind by 58 votes, his chance of overturning the result in the recount is quite slim.

He was the only Vietnamese-American in the race and was well funded by Van Tran and his groups. Westminster is a city where 1/3 of the population is Vietnamese descendants. Diep Truong is currently a member of the Westminster Ciy Traffic Commission.

According to the Red County Blog as written by Jubal:

Westminster Watch: Truong Diep Running Strong Campaign

.........He's hired a talented campaign consultant in Joe Giardiello of TCB Consulting, who ran unknown Trung Nguyen's near-victorious supervisor campaign in 2007. He has racked up an impressive list of endorsements: Republican Party of Orange County, the Lincoln Club of Orange County, the California Republican Assembly, Congressman Ed Royce, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Senator Tom Harman, Assemblyman Van Tran, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, Westminster City Council Members Andy Quach and Tri Ta, Westminster School District Trustees Mary Mangold, Dave Bridgewater, and Andrew Nguyen.

Truong's campaign has put out five mail pieces thus far, -- here's the first one -- with more to come in the remaining two-and-a-half weeks of the campaign, including one touting his endorsement by OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. His campaign has launched two rounds of robocalls -- one from the OC firefighters, and another from Sen. Tom Harman -- and another is in the works.

Fundraising is the life's blood of an effective campaign. Some candidates are good at it, others are not -- and there are the rarer candidates who are political astute, possess a coherent political philosophy and are good fundraisers.Truong falls in the latter category. As of Sept. 30, he had raised $49,560 in 2008, plus $3,300 raised at the tail-end of 2007, and showed $47,990 cash-on-hand. During the last two weeks Truong has added another $14,000 to his total.............

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eight Days and Nights

Eight days past the election, it is finally safe to predict the outcome of these three races:

1. Andrew Do, chief of staff of County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, will win his Garden Grove city council seat. It was a tough race with three Vietnamese-American candidates in the mix. But he is pulling ahead with over 1,000 votes to spare.

2. Steve Ngo, a first time candidate in San Francisco, will win his seat in the Community College Board. At a young age of 32, he is clearly an up and coming Vietnamese-American politician. He ran a masterfully executed campaign to win over 85,000 votes.

3. Diep Truong, an assistant to State Assemblyman Van Tran, is in a tight contest. With only a few hundred ballots left, he is behind by 180 votes. The conventional wisdom is he would win by a few hundred votes. If he loses, it would be no more than a handful and there would be a recount.

Congrats to all three candidates for an exciting campaign full of drama.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


(This piece is written by a San Jose litigator - Dan Do)

You all know the story. When asked to describe an elephant, the blind man who feels the animal’s leg says the elephant is like a pillar. For the one who feels the ear, it is a fan. And so on. What these blind men describe is not totally untrue. They base their descriptions on partial truths.

The blind men have a good excuse for not discerning the truth: they are blind and cannot see the true picture. In our society, however, persons with perfect vision often choose not to say the truth. Instead, they only say half-truths when asked to describe a thing or an event. Because what they say is based on the truth, their statements become highly convincing. These half-truths thus are much more dangerous than outright lies. They expose their recipients to real danger.

During the months leading to the recent presidential election, supporters of the McCain/Palin ticket actively engaged in the dissemination of half-truths. Because he grew up in Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, Barack Obama was called a Muslim. Because he worked in education reform with Bill Ayers, a former member of a militant group, Barack Obama was accused of “palling with terrorists.” Ayers’s former group, the Weathermen, committed violent acts that could be described as terrorist activities. However, such acts were committed at the time Obama was just eight years old.

Those half-truths about Obama’s faith and association were aimed to deceive the voters and to generate their fear of the candidate. Terrorist acts such as the 9/11 attack were committed by Muslim terrorists. It was easy to arouse the anger of the crowd by the mere mentioning of the words “Muslim terrorists.” The “Muslim” and the “terrorist” half-truths about Barack Obama combined into a powerful guilty verdict (Muslim terrorist) rendered by people who already had a strong prejudice against a liberal candidate as well as against the color of his skin.

As the blind man who believes the elephant to be a pillar, a voter who looks at a single act or event concerning a candidate, will reach a voting decision based on half-truth. The McCain campaign employed this half-truth tactic by either disseminating or tolerating the dissemination of information surrounding one single act or event relating to Obama or his running mate. Blogs and emails containing the picture of Obama not putting his hand on his chest during a flag ceremony were widely disseminated to raise questions about the candidate’s patriotism. A statement made by the vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden during the days of the fall of South Vietnam showing his lack of support for the Vietnamese refugees was quoted to the Vietnamese as the reason for this group not to vote for the Democrats. Pictures of African relatives of Obama were shown in the most unflattering manner to expose the “unworthy” roots of the candidate. The voters were asked to contemplate this type of information in deciding their votes. The truly important issues got lost in the process.

A presidential election demands the careful examination of multiple issues. This is particularly true during a time that the people of this country are facing a serious economic crisis, two costly wars, a bitterly divisive society, repeated revelations of political abuses and corruptions, among a myriad of issues of concern.

Many among the Vietnamese intelligentsia supported the McCain/Palin ticket and contributed to this half-truth dissemination effort. These are mainly members of the first generation of Vietnamese refugees resettling in the US. These members are strongly anti-communist as they were witnesses of the atrocities of the Vietnamese communist regime. They somehow identify the Republican party as the party that fights the communists, and on that assumption give the party their full (and almost blind) support. This probably originated from the strong antiwar stance of the Democrat George McGovern who, during his 1972 presidential campaign, made statements that were offensive to the South Vietnamese regime, and in the process offended the South Vietnamese people. History taught us that the Republican president Richard Nixon and his close adviser Henry Kissinger were the authors of the selling out of out South Vietnam. Yet Nixon continues to be admired by many Vietnamese. Lyndon Johnson who had to abandon a bid for a second presidency term because of his commitment to the war, was never much of a friend or comrade-in-arms to them. Gerald Ford who opened the US border to Vietnamese refugees was highly praised, but Jimmy Carter who established a panoply of refugee assistance programs was hardly recognized for his work. The Democrats who were champions of refugee causes such as Ted Kennedy, Frank Church, and Joe Biden did not receive much affection from the Vietnamese refugees.

The danger of the half-truths disseminated by the overly eager McCain supporters is that, while not succeeding in helping McCain win the presidency, they managed to divide the country into two camps, more distinct than ever before. Barack Obama now appeals to both camps to work together. For the winners, it is easy to reconcile. For the losers, resentment will linger. Those people who were responsible for half-truths will seek to justify their conduct, and again will use more half-truths to veil the truth.

For the Vietnamese-Americans, it is time for them to no longer associate with one party or another simply because of the Vietnamese experience. Such association is a half-truth association, which will only alienate them from the mainstream. They exclude people who may sympathize with their plight, lose them as allies, and thus weaken themselves. They will also face with a skeptic younger generation who is more liberal and has no direct experience with communism. As half-truths have divided this country, a half-truth alignment with a party will divide the community.

As a last note, the rhetoric used in disseminating half-truths during this campaign may germinate into trees that bear poisonous fruits. There will be individuals who remain fully convinced that Barack Obama is a Muslim terrorist and that his supporters are unpatriotic and anti-American. Some of them my be susceptible to violent and irrational acts, and may assume for themselves patriotic duties to rectify the situation, which will lead to tragic consequences. This writer wishes that no person shall take upon himself or herself to harm our newly elected president. We need to believe that this is the beginning of a new dawn, full of hope and good intent. Can we turn our hope into reality? This writer certainly hopes that “Yes we can!”

Little Saigon Inside Epilogue: For those who believes in the empirical science of fortune telling, Obama's fate foretells an unfinished term in office. "Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.", said F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It Is Rumor As Usual

Little Saigon Inside is not saying anything but the rumor mill on the 18th floor of San Jose City Hall is shouting out to whoever wants to hear -

1. The council will opt for appointment instead of a general election if the recall is successful in March. Buu Thai is being considered the person to replace Madison Nguyen. Buu Thai, originally an appointed school board member in District 7 in a deal cut by Nguyen and Labor during her run for office in 2005. Of course, Buu Thai is a supporter of Madison Nguyen and did not support calling the area Little Saigon.

2. Madison Nguyen is very upset at the way most councilmembers are turning their back on her. The relationship between her and Reed is cool off substantially with Vic Aljouny doing more damage to her campaign than helping her.

3. And guess who is planning to run in 2010, win or lose the recall? Madison Nguyen, according to her handlers, is determined to run for the same office if she loses the recall election.

4. The vice mayor to be Judy Chirco is also given up on Nguyen. To her, Nguyen is arrogant and out of touch with reality.

The Report of My Demise May Be Premature

On the aftermath of the 2008 Election, the OC press and the many OC blogs reported the demise of the so called " Vietnamese-American voting power in Orange County". They pointed to how all non-incumbent candidates running for office lost their election.

Little Saigon Inside begged the differ since not all the votes had been counted and also, many candidates were running for the same seats - for example, three Vietnamese-American candidates ran for Garden Grove city council seat.

True enough, 7 days after the election, with still thousands of ballots uncounted, the well respected lawyer Andrew Do now has pulled ahead and will win the GG city council seat.

Diep Truong with only 400 votes behind will have a very good chance to squeak by with 100 votes to spare.

Good for the community! Now if only we can all be a big happy family.....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Political Statement in Orange County

For the last two years, the on-going battle between Republican State Assemblyman Van Tran and Republican Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen has been viscious. With Van Tran throwing everything but the kitchen sink to derail Janet Nguyen's election bid for county supervisor not once but twice in 1 year, the Vietnamese-American community begins to realize that not every Vietnamese-American can be qualified for office.

With Van Tran building his political influence by throwing financial as well as his office supports for unqualified candidates to every imaginable seats and hoping that one of them would win, the 2008 election shows that the community at large in general is taking notice. The OC Register calls Van Tran's underlings as "The Trannie" and Van Tran as the "Godfather"

For those who are not familiar with Orange County, this is the home of the largest Vietnamese-American community in the US. With about 450,000 Vietnamese-Americans, OC has the highest number of Vietnamese-American elected officials - 1 state assemblyman, 1 county supervisor, 4 city councilmembers (including a mayor) and half dozen others in smaller elected offices.

Of course, Van Tran is a strong supporter of Madison Nguyen while Janet Nguyen has no lost love for Madison Nguyen for she supported the two Trannies - Mr. Photoshop Trung Nguyen and Dina Nguyen - who ran against Janet in 2007 and 2008.

Why would somebody from San Jose venture into politics of Orange County (even though at the behest of Van Tran)? Well, it is because Janet Nguyen publicly supported the Little Saigon.

Following is the latest assessment of the 2008 election for "The Trannies":

Van Tran - In 2006 and 2000 general election, he won by at least 20% - 30% against his Democratic opponents. However, in this election he is barely at 6%. In all three elections, none of his opponents put any efforts or had the resources to campaign against Tran. Basically, they just put their names out for show. However, this election is different because the VN voters made it clear to vote against Tran to send a message of "No Confidence".

Joseph Dovinh (the divisive Viet Star editor who constantly uses his newspaper to attack Janet Nguyen as a "commie") - Lost both the Midway Sanitary District and Coastline Community College elections where he was the only Vientamese-American candidate.

Alex Lam - Lost in the City of Stanton council election. He came in a distant 3rd. Van Tran's district director, Dave Everette, was the campaign manager for Alex Lam and the appointed councilmember, Dave Cardenas. Ironically, both lost.

Trung Nguyen (This is his 2nd election in less than 1.5 years) - Lost in the supervisorial election and a sitting school board member ended up in 5th place on the Garden Grove council election. Van's district director, Dave Everette, also was the campaign manager for Trung.

Linh Ho - According to swirling rumors in OC, she was the Democrat token of Van to make sure Andrew Do would lose in the Garden Grove city council race. That is the theory at least. There is no direct proof to it. She is similar to Hoa Van Tran, a token Democrat acting as a spolier?

Frank Tran and Linh Nguyen in the Westminster School district - Both lost in the Westminster school board race.

Diep Mien Truong (Van's district assistant) - No final result yet since there are still at least 7,000 ballots not fully counted in Wesminster. But he is about 1250 votes behind in the Westminster city council race.

Footnote: The only candidate running in this election affiliated with Janet Nguyen is Andrew Do, her chief of staff and a seasoned lawyer. He is 361 votes behind with thousands of ballots still not counted for the Garden Grove city council seat.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Acknowledgement

The day started out with the Little Saigon community gathered in City Hall to ensure that the council hear their argument for having one single election for both recall and replacement ballots. Under the guidance of the city attorney, all councilmembers voted to set March 3 as a recall election date and if Nguyen is recalled, the council will reserve the option of appointing or calling for a general election.

The crowd filed out disappointed and totally missed the political acknowledgement to the community by Reed as well as councilmembers who have supported Nguyen. It was one of the hardest votes for him as his senior staff would later shared.

Later in the evening, the community gathered to celebrate Dave Cortese's victory. Over at Pete Mchugh's victory party, it was a sweet confirmation that unqualified Vietnamese-American candidates would never get the votes of the community.

The community is burned badly over Madison Nguyen and they have vowed to only support qualified and proven candidates. Losing candidates like Heidi Pham, Khoa Nguyen, Vance Vuong and Kathy Tran either are unknown in the community or have not been a part of the community period. These candidates were also unprepared and naively thought that by having a Vietnamese last name, they would automatically have the support of the community

It would have been a much better day for the community if Pat Waite would have won but the race is too close to call and will take at least two more days to determine. There is a good chance that there will be a recount. However, at the end of the day, whether it is Rose or Pat, they have gained two very good friends.

The real winner of course is a well known lawyer and developer in the community. His even handed approach and fair play show that he is a voice of reason that the political mainstream can rely on. Well, his money and ability to raise a lot of cash may have a lot to do with it too.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heart of Saigon

While the Recall Team was having their coming out party and celebration on 10th Street with over 1,500 people in attendance, about 700 people showed up for a fund raising event for Miss Tim on Story Road.

While 7 elected officials and candidates took the podium and spoke defending the recall process as well as why Madison Nguyen should be recalled, at the other end of District 7, Miss Tim spoke in her soft and no-accent Vietnamese about her hopes and dreams.

Miss Tim (or Miss Heart) is a Vietnamese given name for a beautiful Swiss lady, Aline Rebeaud. In 1992, as a young art major backpacking in Vietnam, she heard a whimpering cry of a 10 years old orphan lying in hunger on an empty street of Saigon. The child was too weak to walk so she carried him to a safehouse and helped fed him. It was that moment that made her decided to further investigate the poor and homeless kids in VN and ultimately made the decision to stay to make a difference. For the last 17 years, she took in homeless kids and handicapped kids and raised them in a building she called "Masion Chance" or "House of Chance". The building is in Saigon, the former capital of South Vietnam (Now known as Ho Chi Minh City). Maison Chance is a well known landmark among the Viet expatriates returning to Vietnam for visits.

When asked how many kids have she helped, she replied : "About 700 kids". Some have grown up, have jobs and have kids of their own. Tothem, Miss Tim is the mother they never had.

She is currently visiting the US for the first time to raise money to expand her Maison Chance. It was a delay visit for she was recovering from a terrible accident that almost ended her life. In San Jose, despite economic hard time, the Vietnamese-Americans responded with over $110,000 in two nights of fund raising.

In the US alone, there are about 3 dozens registered nongovernmental agencies, founded by Vietnamese-Americans, actively working in Vietnam. Each year, they contribute millions of dollars to many educational, environmental and health care projects in Vietnam.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Little Saigon Insider's Pick

According to the popular sentiment of the Vietnamese-American community in San Jose, these are the candidates of their choice. And with some of the voting districts where they are 20% of the total registered voters, the Vietnamese-Americans are the crucial swing votes all candidates are vying for.

1. Supervisor Race District 3 (Replacing the popular Pete "Co Vang" McHugh)

Dave Cortese over Otto Lee. This is a tough choice with the Little Saigon community leaders supporting Otto behind the scene. However, Cortese has been a part of the community for so long that the name recognition and goodwill will give him the edge.

2. Supervisor Race District 2

The community picks Richard Hobbs over George Shirakawa. The choice is easy for the community when Shirakawa decided to side with Madison Nguyen over the Little Saigon issue. This is a toss-up and it will be decided by voter turnout. The Vietnamese-American voters make up about 12% of the total registered voters.

3. District 8 City Council (Replacing the popular Dave Cortese)

Rose Herrera over Pat Waite. Cortese finally endorsed Herrera two weeks ago. Waite understood the sentiment of the Little Saigon issue. He is very active in the community via monetary contribution and outspoken public support for community's issues. Herrera is a political novice but she is not about the let Pat taking away the crucial swing vote without a fight. She is working with the lawyer Michael Luu to build up a support base to counter Pat's inroad into the community. Pat is hoping that the majority of the Vietnamese-Americans will vote for him and make this a close race. Nevertheless, the number is not there for Pat.

4. Milpitas City Council

Pete McHugh over Heidi Pham. This is a no brainer despite Pete's really late start in the campaign (Typical of Pete).

5. Milpitas Mayor

Bob Livengood over Heidi's new husband. This is again a no brainer since Heidi's husband is making a mockery of the Milpitas voters.

A Defacto Influence

At the unfurling of Little Saigon banners last week, political pundits could see the who's who running for the election on November 4 and beyond.

There was the usual presence of Sunnyvale Councilmember Otto Lee and San Jose City Vice Mayor Dave Cortese. Of course they both are vying votes for the county supervisor race in District 3. Supervisor Pete McHugh was there with the announcement he is running for Milpitas city council. District 8 city council candidate Pat Waite was given a commendation by the Little Saigon Foundation for his monetary contribution and support of the Little Saigon cause. His opponent, Rose Herrera, wearing her Vietnamese traditional dress " Ao dai", was also given center stage. District 2 supervisor candidate Richard Hobbs was on hand to make sure that the people know his strong support of the Vietnamese-American community. His opponent George Shirakawa decided to take the stand against the community with Madison Nguyen. Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteve also made his usual appearance.

Mayor Chuck Reed sent out email to the foundation a week in advance and informed of his presence. Last minute phone call to Reed by his young Vietnamese-American aide, Khoa Nguyen, to warn him that the area was surrounded by recall banners and tables caused a change of heart. The story as told by Khoa Nguyen to the media was that Reed was halfway to the event and then he changed his mind because he did not want to be seen with the recall crowd.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Politics as Usual In San Jose

First it was the assistant city clerk, Dennis Hawkins, who made the comment while he was being interviewed by the press. The video tape appeared on the Internet video of Vietnam Daily newspaper. Hawkins declared as matter of fact: ".... the city is considering an all mail-in ballot for the Madison Nguyen recall initiative to save money..."

Then the city clerk, Lee Price herself, appeared onVietnam Liberty TV and reinterated the same position.

The community of course was very anxious and up in arm ready to protest against such voting limitation. The term disfranchisement was throwing around in the media and a civil rights lawyer was consulted. After all, more than 7,200 recall signatures were collected even thoug the community only submitted 5,181 signatures. They surely wanted to protect their civil rights granted by the constitution.

Madison Nguyen and Mayor Chuck Reed are well known for having political tin ear but not this time. Immediately they both appeared on Que Huong Radio and declared that they had heard unfơund rumors on the voting process. The city would not deny voters the right to go to the poll to vote.

It was a smart move for thus far a series of disastrous political miscalculations by Madison Nguyen. The fact is that the city has not been very fortunate when it comes to civil rigths matter. A recent civil rights lawsuit against the city in 2003 ended up costing the taxpayers $8.2 million in settlement and an embarrasing forced resignation of the city councilman of District 7. The irony here of course is that Madison Nguyen ended up as his replacement of District 7.

The whole community is waiting for the city to reach a decision on the supposedly Brown Act violation by Councilmembers Madison Nguyen and Forrest Williams. The city supposedly will submit to the judge on October 23 their response. The community meanwhile is pressing for a full trial.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Flag Raising on Vietnam's National Day

For the first time in the history of San Francisco City Hall, the official Vietnamese flag of a yellow star on a red background was hoisted in celebration of Vietnam's National Day of September 2.

The Consulate General Le quoc Hung and representatives of SF city government was on hand for the flag raising ceremony. There were about 3 dozen people present at the ceremony. At 9:30 AM, the flag was rasied from the second floor balcony looking down the main plaza. At the ceremony, Consulate General Hung was given a certificate of recognition from Mayor Newsom declaring September 2 is " Vietnamese National Heritage Day" in San Francisco.

On Thursday 9/28/2008, the general consulate had a reception at city hall to celebrate the National Day with Vietnamese-Americans in the Bay Area.

Now on the same day the flag was raised, a group of anti-communist Vietnamese-Americans found out about it and they formally demanded the removal of the flag with a protest letter. The meeting was held at 3:30 PM in the mayor's office and the flag was removed by 4:45 PM that afternoon.

The official city's policy only allows flag of another country to fly in front of city hall no more than 1 day, in this case as a courtesy of sister city friendship between Ho chi Minh City and San Francisco.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Punch Them in the Face"

Little Saigon Inside received this in an email chain. It is a press release by South Bay Labor Council:

On Saturday, over 250 labor and community activists gathered at the South Bay Labor Council to hit the streets, letting residents of San Jose City Council District 7 know why the recall of Madison Nguyen should be rejected.

The volunteers knocked on thousands of doors, and discovered a simple fact: overwhelmingly, local residents think recalling Madison Nguyen is a bad idea. Emphasizing Nguyen's accomplishments in office, the volunteers covered every precinct in the Council District, talking to voters in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

At the end of the day, well over 80% of respondents indicated they opposed a recall.

Labor Council Executive Officer Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins said: "To get so many volunteers out on a beautiful summer weekend demonstrates Madison's support in San Jose. And such a high percentage of opposition to the recall shows how deep her support is in the district she represents."

But the real buzz in the comunity was the quote from a woman who introduced herself as Mary, chief strategist for South Bay Labor (showed here in picture). When asked by the volunteers what to do when they come across the recall people, stragegist Mary replied without a blink:" You should punch them in the face."

There was a dead silence in the room. Noticing the Freudian slip, Lamkins took the microphone from Mary and tried to ease the tension: " She was just joking of course."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Rendezvous with History

It was quite a week for politcs nationally and locally. Through their determinations, Obama and McCain have made remarkable history. Come February 2009, the country will have either a first African American president or a first woman vice president. Locally, in the same month, Madison Nguyen will either be the first elected Asian American in San Jose (if not California) to be recalled or to survive the recall.

Whatever the case may be, it is safe to say that democracy is healthy and well in the land of free and the home of the brave.

For Nguyen, it would be a bitter sweet ordeal. She is elected to serve the people and now the people have spoken demanding their lawful rights within the democratic process to ask her to step down. She has an army of high power consultants, the powerful Democratic Party, the ever vocal Labor, the mayor, city councilmembers and all the political machinery and lobbyist money to buy her case that she deserves to stay in office.

The people on the other hand are mostly blue collar and middle class voters who stronlgy feel through irrefutable evidences that she only represents the powerful status quo of lobbyists, developers and wealthy influential and powerful people of San Jose.

The people have the right to expect their elected officials to be honest and ethical. Nguyen lied to the people and violated Brown Act, the corner stone of ethical and fair government, to protect a behind the scene deal that she struck with a wealthy developer as a quid pro quo favor.

The people of San Jose deserve better than that. The San Jose voters have a proud history of speaking out with their votes against elected officials who are unethical and unfit for the job.

Fourteen years ago, Councilmember Kathy Coles was recalled for showing disrespect toward the Asian community. Appearantly, Nguyen doesn't recall much about history and heritage. She rhetorically asked the thousands of people supporting Little Saigon why they have so much free time on their hands vs. those that have real jobs.

She is about to have her rendezvous with history and the name Madison Nguyen will live forever in infamy, win or lose her recall election.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Political Stunner

The Madison Nguyen Recall Team surprised everyone with their submission of 5181 signatures to the city clerk office this afternoon, two weeks before the deadline. This is 60% more than the required signatures to force a recall ballot iniative. City Clerk Lee Price officially accepted the signature packages on Friday 8/28/2008 at 1:52 PM.

The Recall Team said they actually gathered closer to 7,000 signatures. However, some of them could not be verified properly. With the team running on empty after a very long exhausting 10 weeks, they decided to have the cut off at 5181 signatures.

From her office looking down to the recall team as they were talking to the media, Madison Nguyen commented: "I don't believe these are real signatures. It is impossible for them to gather these many signatures. Many of them I bet are fake."

The County of Registrar Office will have 4 weeks to verify the signatures and if verified, city council will have to decide on when and what format to hold the recall election. The last recall ballot in San Jose was 14 years ago with Councilmember Kathy Coles removed from office by voters in District 8 for making an offensive comment to the Asian community.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Maggie Q

Number 17 on the list of the Top 99 Women of 2008 in the popular site, she is a Vietnamese-American actress that has garnered a bit of attention in Hollywood. Born and raised in Hawaii, Maggie Q's unique look of being half Vietnamese and half European propels her modeling career that graces the covers of major publications like Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, FHM, Maxxim and Marie Claire.

She started her acting career in Hong Kong action movies. Among her first appearances in film was the lead roles in action thrillers Gen-Y-Cops and Naked Weapon in which she played the sexy but vulnerable martial artist assassin Charlene Ching.

She also appeared in well known movies such as Rush Hour 2, Around the World in 80 Days, Mission Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard. She is rumored to have landed a role in the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

In a soon to be released epic movie, "Three Kingdoms: The Resurection of the Dragon", Maggie is starring as fictional Cao Ying, a grand-daughter of the warlord Cao Cao.

In the meantime, fan can download her nude pictures promoting vegetarianism on the Web.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Vietnamese Women

With a long list of heroic women throughout Vietnamese history, it is not surprising to see some of the most successful people in the Vietnamese diaspora are women. The lastest heroines adding their names to history are diverse in their background and profession.

Wrestler Carol Huynh, 27, a Vietnamese refugee from tiny Hazelton, British Columbia, won Canada's first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics, beating two-time reigning world champion Chibaru Icho of Japan in the final of the women's 48 kg class.

Marine pilot Captain Liz Pham, 28, an F/A -18 Hornet "Top Hook" and a member of the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242. She is a daughter of a family doctor in Seattle and came to the US when she was 2 years old. Liz Pham is one of a very few women
F/A -18 pilots in the Marine. She is married to Captain Alexander Roloss, also a marine pilot in the same squadron.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vic Aljouny’s Strategy and The Silent Majority

During the heated Little Saigon debate that lasted for 8 months, one of the main arguments that put forth by council members and Mayor Reed was the majority of the people in District 7 really did not want the name Little Saigon. From their “private conversations”, there is a silent large majority who opposes the name Little Saigon while supports Madison Nguyen.

With the mayor himself personally involved in the fund raising efforts along with his senior budget advisor, Nguyen raised over $103,000 with most of the money came from wealthy real estate developers like $2,500 from Mark Faulkner of Fairfield Residential in San Diego, $2,500 from Core Homes in San Jose, $1,000 from ROEM Development in Santa Clara. She also received money from business owners of far flung places like Concord (Dana Foods – $3,500) and mysterious entity like China Town LLC ($2,500). She also received over $25,000 from well known political players and lobbyists like Dustin DeRollo, Tom Saggau and Chris Neale.

This is to the contrast of the Recall Committee where they received most of the funding from a mix of white collar and blue collar working families in San Jose. More than 400 people donated about $43,000 to date.

Without big donors and limited resources, the Recall Committee has to rely on a grass root movement. By law, they have 120 days from start to gather a minimum of 3,200 signatures to have the recall initiative on the ballot. With only 3 more weeks left, the Recall Committee looks forward to achieving their goal. Their goal is 5,000 or more signatures. The conventional wisdom is that they will attain about 4,000 signatures.

Privately, Nguyen and her consultant, Vic Aljouny, decide to save their war chest for the recall ballot election for they know that the recall committee will attain the required signatures. Memo from the mayor’s office showed that the mayor has already asked the city clerk to look into a recall ballot similar to the Kathy Coles recall. They feel very confident that with powerful political machines like Labor, the Democratic Party, a cadre of influential lobbyists and consultants and a boat load of money, they will crush the recall team.

Little Saigon Inside does not believe in recalling elected official for making unpopular decision. Nevertheless in California, there have been precedents for such recall and the latest one is with the Gray Davis recall.

However in Nguyen recall, it is more than an unpopular decision. Unless Nguyen can make an honest case for herself – justify the reason for her back-door dealing with the real estate developer to name the area with a name preferred by the developer two months before a public vote – and the silent majority speaks up, the grass root movement will continue to gain momentum

As voters and taxpayers, people should be quite angry at the way the situation was dragged on for 8 months without resolution and now it will end up costing the taxpayer at least $400,000 because their city council member lied and tried to cover up a quid pro quo favor for a wealthy developer. Nguyen clearly violated ethics in her action. She admitted to the Mercury News but shrugged it off and said that nothing happened since the city attorney stopped it when he found out from the RDA, for it was also illegal.

And voters should be very mad with the way their city council members violated the Brown Act to collude behind close door in naming the area against the masses. This is serious matter for it is the corner stone of fair and ethical government.

As the Mercury News commentator Scott Herhold mentioned in his recent video blog about Little Saigon: “In many ways, Madison Nguyen brought this upon herself.”

Santa Clara County Free COVID-19 Testing Site

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