Sunday, December 27, 2009

Discount up to 22% on Prescription Drugs

According to the San Jose Mercury News -

" Santa Clara County has joined a nationwide program sponsored by the National Association of Counties to buy drugs in bulk. The main idea is to help sick people buy drugs they need but can't afford and to bring more business to pharmacies. Residents of any age, with or without health coverage, can get a free card without having to register or fill out cumbersome paperwork. Locally, 200 pharmacies will participate. The cards can also be used outside the county at about 59,000 pharmacies recruited by the association.

Kicking off the program at Government Hall, Supervisor Liz Kniss said the program won't cost county taxpayers a dime. Pharmacies expect to profit by selling more prescription drugs to patients who can't afford them now."

While new to this county, the program has operated for several years in dozens of states throughout the country.  There is no budget or end date for the program, and residents can use the discount cards as often as they purchase prescription medications.

To get a list of participating pharmacies and counties throughout the US, go to or call 1-877-321-2652.

Residents need only to print out a "prescription discount card" online from a county Web site in order to take advantage of the discount.  The cards are also available at county libraries, Social Service Agency headquarters, and the county administration building.

To get a free prescription drug discount card, link to the website:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hell in An Loc: The 1972 Easter Invasion and the Battle That Saved South Viet Nam

In 1972 a North Vietnamese offensive of more than 30,000 men and one hundred tanks smashed into South Vietnam and raced to capture Saigon.  All that stood in their way was a small band of 6,800 South Vietnamese (ARVN) soldiers and militiamen, and a handful of American advisors with U.S. air support, guarding An Loc, a town 60 miles north of Saigon and on the main highway to it.

This depleted army, outnumbered and outgunned, stood its ground and fought to the end and succeed.  Against all expectations, the ARVN beat back furious assaults from 3 North Vietnamese divisions, supported by artillery and armored regiments, during the three months of savage fighting.

About the Author

Lam Quang Thi was a general in the ARVN.  He is the auther of "The Twenty-five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon (UNT Press).  He lives in Fremont, California.  Andrew West (foreword) is the author of  "Vietnam's Forgotten Army:  Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vietnamese American Community of Northern Cal vs. City of San Jose

The Brown Act lawsuit is grinding through the wheel of justice with the City of San Jose trying to ask for a dismissal.  Recently, the City appealed to the Court of Appeals but lost its appeal on related matter.  The date for the trial will be in early March 2010.  The community recently had a fund raising event to support the trial.  Another event will be on December 13, 2009

According the community's website:

"This lawsuit is not about the naming of an area, it’s about holding public officials accountable for violating a law that protects democracy, and to discourage them from doing it again. Our voting rights are protected in a democracy, whether we vote by ballot or by voice. For ballots there are laws and procedures to protect them from being destroyed before they’re counted.

For legitimate concerns expressed by a significant segment of the public at council meetings (where proposals not suited for citywide elections are deliberated) there are laws to protect the people’s voice from being ignored. The Ralph M. Brown Act prohibits a majority of councilmembers of a California city from secretly discussing a matter prior to a Council meeting regarding that matter -- so that political deliberation and decision-making are in the open, and so that the public’s participation at the Council meeting would be seriously taken into account.

Evidently, a majority of San Jose Councilmembers secretly discussed and decided to vote against the name “Little Saigon” prior to the Council meeting on November 20, 2007 where more than 1,000 “Little Saigon” supporters came to participate in democracy and to vote with their voices. These councilmembers totally ignored the people’s voice due to prior behind-closed-doors dealings, led by Councilmember Madison Nguyen, that are specifically prohibited by the Brown Act.

This is unacceptable in a democratic society. If you value democracy, you should support the Brown Act Lawsuit against the City of San Jose, even if “Little Saigon” is not your choice or the naming issue is not of interest to you."

The lead attorney is James Chadwick, a partner with Sheppard Mullin.  He is considered to be one of the best lawyers in the America in 2008 and 2009.  The other lawyer on the legal team is Steven Dovan and the paralegal is Trina Nguyen.  More information about the trial can be read on the community's Website and

Established in 1994, VACNORCAL is a nonprofit organization represeting Vietnamese-Americans in Northern California.  Headquartered in San Jose, its mission is to support theVietnamese-American community in the Bay Area.  VACNORCAL is the plaintiff. 

Vietnamese American Community Services (VACS) is a nonprofit foundation founded by Dr. Phu Le.   The foundation provides social assistance to San Jose Vietnamese-American residents.  Dr. Phu Le is the treasurer of the legal fund. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Should San Jose Chief Rob Davis Resign?

A coalition of Latino, Asian-American and African-American recently had publicly asked SJ Chief Police Rob Davis to resign.  Their request is published in the Mercury News

The funny thing is due to the disagreement between the two leading organizations of the Vietnamese-American community in San Jose, Viet-AmericanVoters of Northern California and Vietnamese-American Community of Northern California, the colation decided not to include them in the group.   The coalition includes NAACP, Asian Law Alliance, La Raza Lawyers; African-American Community Services Agency; Silicon Valley De-Bug; Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network; San Jose Peace and Justice Center; National Lawyers Guild; Asian-American Center of Santa Clara County and Coalition for Justice and Accountability are united in their call for the police chief to step down.

The coalition will have a press conference in front of the city hall at noon on Tuesday November 24 to update their progress including their succesful effort to have the release of the Daniel Pham's 911 tape.   From the latest rumors, attending the press conference will be members of the Viet-American Voters of Northern Cal. but not the members of VACNORCAL.

VACNORCAL sees this as an issue of not a community being mistreated by those in power but an issue of communist vs. anti-communist.  The logic is simple to VACNORCAL.  Since the exchange student Ho Phuong comes from Vietnam, he is a communist and VACNORCAL cannot be seen as supporting a communist.  Hence, VACNORCAL decided not to join the coalition against their effort of pushing for changes as well as asking for the resign of SJPD Chief Davis

The Viet-America Voters of Norther Cal is made up of mostly younger activists and they only see this is a community issue as a whole.  In order to better the community, there has to be drastic changes.  And Phuong Ho was a victim of an abusive system that needs to be changed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where Was Our Humanity?

Many people see the SJPD beating of the San Jose State student because he is a Vietnamese/Asian/ member of an ethnic community without any weapon and in a position to defend himself, and not because he was from Vietnam or from San Jose. It could have been any of us. When see the videotape and hear Ho’s cry-for-mercy, it sounds like a human being just like anyone regardless of who they are and where they came from. Thus, I see that beating from the perspective of a member of the human family. One could ask whether the police's motivation was from self-defense, disrespect, anger, or hatred toward this student.

For the past 6 years since the 95-pound mother of two toddlers Cau Tran killing until the most recent mentally-ill Daniel Pham killing by the SJPD, I did not see our chief of police or the police department leadership reach out to the Vietnamese American community or the victims’ families in any meaningful way.

At least the name of the Cau Tran's shooter was released, the Daniel Pham's shooter's names were kept secret and were not made known until the no-indictment information, several months later. So, public information became more secretive. It was an open grand jury for Cau Tran's killing, and it was a closed grand jury for the Daniel Pham's killing. Transparency has become a thing of the past. SJPD police on July 13, 2003 killed Cau Tran with one bullet in the safety of her own kitchen. On May 10, 2009, they killed Daniel Pham with 12 bullets. Is it self-defense, or is it hate that these police pumped 12 bullets into this person in his own backyard?

I am one of those who are concerned about the quick erosion and loss of many residents’ trust in our police or the leadership for what they say, what they do, and how sincere they are in what they do and say in relation to what they have done.

The voices of residents of all ethnic groups calling out for help at City Council meetings in the past two years have reached a conclusive level of how many residents’ lives and career opportunities have been deeply damaged due to racial profiling, wrongful arrests of public intoxication, excessive force and beatings against young people / mothers and fathers of young children, and most recently the video-taped cry-for-mercy from a San Jose State student. The call for thorough investigation was made only after pressure from the community and the Mercury’s October 25th exposure of the video-taped beating of the SJSU student that took place nearly two months ago.

How many more incidents never saw the light of day because they were not brought to the public’s attention or were "not known" by the leadership? How credible is the police investigation of themselves (or the DA's investigations regarding SJPD police shootings in the past) especially when they found that none ("ZERO") of the arrest complaints in 2008 was sustained or had any merit? For the police, is "Zero" an improvement from less than 2% sustained complaints in the 117 (2 out of 117) complaints filed in 2007? When the average should be 8%? Why 82 percent of those arrested are ethnic minorities? (Information according to the Mercury News findings, November 1, 2009).

Should we accept that ethnic minorities could expect to be more disrespected and abused by our police? We should not have to cry for mercy from those who are paid to instill a sense of safety, trust, and respect whenever they are near us.

If we want to know how the next years will be, one of the most reliable indicators is to look at how the past 5 years have been.  If you were not invited to meet and confer in the past 5 years, be thoughtful. Maybe you were not that important to a system that is in principal designed to serve and protect at the interest of the public.

Should our children or members of our community be beaten and victimized by authorities (e.g., police) after being bullied by others (Jeremy Suftin, the friend of the beaten SJSU student) may be because one is a member of the minorities, whether in school or out of school? Many of these victims of police abuse by excessive force have to defend themselves for charges such as "resisting arrest" and all kinds of additional charges. Aren't these afterall Human Rights and Human Dignity issues?

Who knows who the next victims will be? It could be anyone of us if we still think I am too good to be treated like that.

Thanks to our good cops, and many of us have friends who are cops. It's the bad cops that made many of us fearful of them all. Unfortunately, the record shows that they have been in good hands: "Zero complaints sustained in 2008!".  "$861.000 settlement!"

We hope our elected leaders can help repair the damage of community's trust (and respect). We all deserve it.

Could this be the defining moment for San Jose community, and more importantly its leadership so that we can know how to answer if one day our children ask: Where was our humanity?

The article is written by Sam Ho, a long time San Jose resident.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Victor Duong and Meet Vietnam

About 500 - 600 Vietnamese-American protesters demonstrated in front of SF City Hall last Sunday in protest of the Meet Vietnam conference.  This is a business and cultural event took placed on November 15 and 16 in San Francisco to promote Vietnam and strengthen relations with California in trade, investment, education, tourism, science and technology. The event was held in City Hall and at the InterContinental Hotel. 

There were about 350 - 400 people, mostly Vietnamese-American business people and investors, attended the event.  The banquest dinner was at SF city hall but the main investment meetings and reception headed by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong were held at the InterContinental.  The music show on Sunday evening was well attended with singers and performers flew in from Vietnam. Well known singers like Tran thu Ha as well as recent winner of VN Idol were big hits with the audience. 

Deputy Prime Minister Truong also met up with the Vietnamese-American Entrepeneur Association (VAEA).  The association is headed by Nguyen huu Liem, Ngo Hua and Vu Ngoc Trac.  Nguyen huu Liem, a lawyer,  is infamous in the community for his support of Madison Nguyen against the naming of Little Saigon in San Jose as well as his close tie with the communist government.

At the reception, in reference to the protesters, Victor Duong commented with laughter: " The extremists missed the boat and demonstrated at the wrong place".  Victor Duong along with his brother David Duong are owners of California Waste Solution.  They are a big donors to State Assemblyman Van Tran and Madison Nguyen.  Recently, both brothers gave Van Tran $9,600 for his congressional bid in 2010 against Quang Pham, an ex-marine pilot.  Both brothers own real estate and recycling business in VN worth about $65 million.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Fine Line

On 11/07, a group of about 60 college students from San Jose State University (mostly Vietnamese-Americans), demonstrated in front of San Jose City Hall to show support for Phuong Ho.

Phuong Ho is the student who was physically assaulted by 4 SJPD officers while handcuffed. The cell phone video captured the beating by his roommate is everywhere on the Web.

Meanwhile, the week before, Chief Rob Davis, personally paid a visit to the Vietnamese-American Community of Northern Cal (VACNORCAL). His visit came after a rather determined meeting at the Asian Law Alliance’s headquarters where Raj Jayadev (Silicon Valley De-bug) vocally suggested that there should be some concerted legal effort at the federal level against SJPD and the removal of Chief Davis. The meeting was attended by ACLU, NAACP, and other prominent civil rights groups.

The message from the meeting was quickly channeled back to the SJPD.

After being pressure by the Mercury News along with other community activists, Chuck Reed and the city council had decided that they will release the 911 tape of Daniel Pham shooting under certain conditions. It was a pyrrhic victory for the community for a closed door grand jury proceeding already determined not to charge the officers in the shooting death.

Dolores Carr on the other hand is looking hard over her shoulder for she knows that she cannot longer count on the community to deliver her the votes for 2010 election. She tried her best three months ago attending the Community Day event along with her husband asking for their votes. In front of about 2,000 people she asked for their votes while ignoring the fact that she had turned down their request to have an open grand jury proceeding on Daniel Pham as well as the release of the 911 tape.

Meanwhile behind the scene, Madison Nguyen is going after her political enemy with vengeance.

She pulled her hammer after Community Day event in August.  The event was held the parking lot in front of VACNORCAL’s rented building on 10th street. This is the same building that Bill Clinton held his fund raising effort for his wife last year for her presidential run. The parking lot was filled with about 2,000 people. The event was put together by VACNORCAL, the same group that supported the name Little Saigon against Madison Nguyen and is now suing Nguyen for violation of the Brown Act.

At this event, the community elected new officers for VACNORCAL, Viet Voters Foundation along with multiple Vietnamese-American organizations showed unification and joined hands with many dignitaries. Five members of the San Jose City Council attended along with District Attorney Dolores Carr, her husband, State Assembly member Alberto Terrico and Pete McHugh.

VACNORCAL was served the following week with a Compliance Order to cease and desist all activities by City of San Jose Code Enforcement Division. The rationale? Their facility was not zoned for community center and assembly of more than 49 people. Penalties range from civil contempt to fine of $2,500 per day from the time the Compliance order was served. This is the same VACNORCAL that subsists on a $3,000 monthly budget and yet manages to have food kitchen, free health clinics, and provide facility use for all the cultural, religious and community activities. For the last 2 months, the community has to cancel all upcoming events.

Adding insult to injury, City Code Enforcement has set a team of Code Enforcement inspectors to “monitor” the activity of the community center every weekday and weekend since August. They would come during planned small events and meetings and “remind” that VACNORCAL will be shut down and pay stiff fines if their camera captures more than 49 people at the same time. Last week, a police car was seen at the parking lot with a police officer observing and taking notes of people coming and out of the community center.

With the city in budget crisis, the city is definitely going the extra mile spending money to “serve” a nonprofit foundation that happens to disagree with the policy of a city council member.

A city council’s main objective is to serve its community’s interest and to provide support for a community to grow. In a twisted world of Madison Nguyen, this is a second time that she has used zoning law to shut down a nonprofit foundation that did not support her. Remember the GI Forum anyone?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Van Tran and Ability To Raise Money?

In a recent post by the Rose Institute for their analysis of  the  2010 congressional battleground in California, a listing of 8 races that are potential be in play.

Here are the excerpts -

.... Several seats could potentially be in play in California in 2010; this post will examine these potentially competitive races by assessing the current financial health of each campaign (both incumbents and their challengers). The post will look at eight potential 2010 battleground districts. While none are yet clear takeover opportunities for either party, some of them could develop into very competitive races. The races were deemed potentially competitive based on three factors. (1) the race was competitive in 2008, (2) the incumbent won the last election by a narrow margin, or (3) either the Democrats or Republicans have targeted the race. A race is deemed to be targeted if a candidate has been identified as part of (a) the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)’s Frontline Program (vulnerable Democratic incumbents), (b) the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)’s Patriot Program (vulnerable Republican incumbents), or (c) the NRCC’s Young Guns Program (exciting Republican challengers)............

CA-47 Loretta Sanchez (D)

Loretta Sanchez won in 2008 with close to 70% of the vote, and Obama decisively won her District. However, at least initially, the NRCC was very excited about Assemblyman Van Tran’s campaign because the NRCC thought he could be the ideal candidate for the District, so he was placed in the Young Guns Program. Sanchez only raised $134,800 in the third quarter but has $769,000 cash on hand. Tran only raised $85,900 and has $282,500 cash on hand. The NRCC recently released its latest list for the Young Guns Program and did not move Tran up to the next level of “Contender.” Tran may be an exciting candidate, but he will need to have stronger fundraising quarters if he is going to compete with Sanchez.....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Assemblyman Van Tran & His Tactics

For the last few weeks, there have been postings in various Vietnamese-American e-mail groups by Van Tran's cohorts attacking County Supervisor Janet Nguyen as a communist sympathizer.  This is a very strange tone by Assemblyman Van Tran even for his many hard tactics against Nguyen, considering that he is facing a primary against Quang Pham in June 2010 for the right to challenge the incumbent Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D)

Everybody knows in Little Saigon that Tran has many times used the McCarthyism tactic against people whom he feels that could potentially be his political threats.  Last year, he personally sent out 20,000 mailers from his state assembly office as an open letter to the community.  The mailer had his picture and the official letter head of the state assemly.  The letter urged the community not the vote for Janet Nguyen for she is a communist.  Why she is a communist?  Because she received political donation from a businessman who has business in Vietnam. 

Previously, he had asked his henchman, Cao sinh Cuong, to call in the Garden Grove Unified School District to force them to rescind their nomination of Nguyen Lam Kim Oanh as the first Vietnamese-American superitendent ever.  Cao called in and accused Kim Oanh of being a communist agent.  The school board, knowing the anti-communist ferver of Little Saigon, decided to remove Kim Oanh from the position after they had announced her appointment.  Kim Oanh has now sued Cuong for libel and defamation.

So why Van is still on the offensive with Janet Nguyen?  Does he not realize that without Janet Nguyen's support for his congressional candidacy, he has little chance to win.  Nguyen's district is 40% of  the congressional district 47. 

Van is a controversial candidate within in his own community.  His political machine and its intimidating tactic to have complete political control of Little Saigon has the OC Register called him the "Godfather of Little Saigon" and his cohorts are referred in the community as as the "Gang of Seven", including the two infamous Trung Nguyen and Andy Quach. 

The community is ambivalent about Tran and it shows in his lack of fund raising support within his community.   It does not help when people found out that his biggest campaign contributors are David, Duong, Victor Duong and Hoang Kieu.  The three most celebrated businesmen doing business in Vietnam with their multimillion dollars ventures.  Of course, Hoang Kieu earlier this year even had the Vietnam communist government recognized him in a special ceremony with the State President Nguyen minh Triet. 

His name recognition in the mainstream media so far is his ethnicity, his freedom flag issue, his anti-communist resolution against communist agents doing business in Wesminster,   his interference with the DUI investigation and his wife's conviction of one of the largest automobile & medical insurance frauds in the state of California.

For Van Tran to realistically have a chance in D47 where there is only 12% Vietnamese-American voters, he needs to learn that this is a race that if he loses, his political career is over.

San Jose Police Department

Captain Phan Ngo, one of a very few Vietnamese American police officers in the SJPD, was on Vietnamese-American radio trying to calm the community.   He took the department position of this is a very rare case .  Ngo claimed only 1% or less.   He mentioned that the department will go through its internal investigation to determine if there is any wrondoing by the police officers.

Jenny Do, the lawyer who did the interview, reminded him that in this case there was a video.  How many other incidences of police abuse of Asian Americans that are not being brought forward due to lack of witness or video?

SJPD should release all record of resistance arrest by Asian Americans and how many had to go to the hospital afterward.  

At the press conference on Tuesdayheld by Viet-American Voters of Northern California along with Asian Law Alliance, ACLU, NCAAP, Silicon Valley De-Bug other civil rights groups,  Councilmember Sam Liccardo spoke and reiterated his request for an open and full investigation.  Madison Nguyen was inside city hall speaking to reporters. Liccardo, Nguyen and Councilmber Ash Kalra had publicly requested an open and full investigation.

Nguyen in her interviews with Vietnamese-American press has gone as far as saying she wanted a reform of the SJPD. 

What will  DA Dolores Carr do?  She can always have close grand jury investigation similar with Daniel Pham where the evidence is being heard one sided. 

This is now become a waiting game with political consequences for Dolores Carr and an international black eye for Chuck Reed and SJPD.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SJPD Beating and An International Focus on San Jose

The BBC came calling for an interview and so the international media circus has began.  As an international student at San Jose State University, Phuong Ho has become a center of media attention for his unfortunate run-in with 4 San Jose City policemen in his dorm.  He was allegedly beaten with batons and Taser gun while laying on the floor and handcuffed. 

Undoubtly the Vietnamese Consulate will involve at one point or another to protect its citizen, especially one that has his human rights violated.  Today, his lawyer, Nguyen Hoang Duyen, had an interview with an international human rights group and had file a civil rights complain.  Nguyen is an associate dean of Lincoln Law School.  This is a small private law school.  The school's faculty includes - Ash Kalra (ex-public defender and currenlty San Jose city councilmember), three superior court judges including Barrett Thang Nguyen and one of the well known criminal lawyers in California - Guyton Jinkerson.

LSI is not a betting person and do not know enough about the law but it is a safe bet to say that the DA office will not proceed with a trial and that the police officers will not be charged with anything.

Asian  Law Alliance will have a townhall meeting with representatives of community groups this Wednesday at 2:00 PM (at their headquarters) on the issue of police excessive use of force as well as civil rights of minorities in San Jose.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

City Councilmember Ash Kalra + Phuong Ho Beating Incident

Councilmember Ash Kalra stopped by the VANORCAL's community center this afternoon at the invitation to speak to the community about the SJPD beating of an unarmed and handcuffed student from San Jose State University. 

As a minority (He is Indo-American) and an ex-public defender, he said that he was very disturbed by the video.  He mentioned that he will ask other councilmembers to fully investigate the incidence. 

The community will have a press conference at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, Oct. 27, in front of San Jose City Hall.
The press conference will be organized and lead by the Viet American Voters of Northern California, a nonprofit organization focusing on promoting Vietnamese-American voices in the community.

San Jose Police Brutal Beating of a Vietnamese Student in San Jose

The San Jose Mercury News released a video tape of an unarmed  San Jose State UniversityVietnamese student, Phuong Ho, 20 year-old math major from Ho chi Minh City,  being beating 10 times with a baton and and used Taser gun while he was handcuffed.

According to the Mercury News -

"It takes me back to the day I saw the Rodney King video on TV," said Roger Clark, a certified policing expert and a retired lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, where he served for 27 years.

The video tape was made by his roommate using cell phone and sold to Ho's lawyer, Nguyen hoang Duyen.

His roommate is an eyewitness and could not believe the beating of an unarmed classmate.   The SJPD this year shot to death a mentally retarded Daniel Pham and so far has refused to release information about the case despite the community's request.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Van Tran and November 2010 Election.

Today, Nguoi Viet Daily News reported the latest fund raising activity of US congressional candidates Van Tran and Quang Pham in their race against the incumbent Loretta Sanchez.

Nguoi Viet reported that Van Tran has a total of $253,000.  Quang Pham raised $117,000 in his effort since August.   

When asked about the upcoming primary against Quang Pham,  Van Tran replied: " I put my funding to work for November election and not so much focus on the primary."

With his major donors coming from Vietnamese-American multimillionaires who have close business tie with the communist government (e.g. Hoang Kieu, owner of RAAS, who received commendation from State President Triet Nguyen and is now responsible for the promotion of Miss World 2010 to be held in VN), Van Tran was very confident that he could raise $1.5 million. 

He will have at least 1 dozen fund raising events in November, he boasted. 

One interesting note about the Nguoi Viet's article is that they pointed out the fact that he received $4,800 from David Duong, the multimillionaire from San Jose who is has mutliple investments in Vietnam and is a close friend of the former prime minister of Vietnam, Phan van Khai and a strong supporter of the controversial Madison Nguyen, San Jose city councilmember.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Madison Nguyen and Brown Act

The California Court of Appeal last week upheld the jugdement against the gag order requested by the City of San Jose on the Brown Act violation by Madison Nguyen in the naming of Little Saigon. 

A little more than a year ago, The Vietnamese-American Community of Northern California (VACNORCAL) brougth the lawsuit against Nguyen and city for violating the Brown Act.  Nguyen is accused of conspiring with a majority of city councilmembers behind close door before the council open vote on the naming of a 4 block street Little Saigon (In this case against Little Saigon).

The city had requested a gag order asking to not have any discussion of the ongoing lawsuit to be in the public domain, including factual information about the lawsuit available to the public under the law.  VACNORCAL's argument against the gag order is violation of First Amendment. The presiding superior court judge, Kevin Murphy, rejected the request and granted the VACNORCAL and the press to report the progress of the lawsuit as well as the release of the deposition tape interviewing Madison Nguyen, Forrest Williams, Nora Campos, etc...

The trial date is set for Dec 14, 2009.  The judge also has requested additional information from both parties for a possible summary judgement before trial.

The outcome of the lawsuit of is unknown but considered the fact that the community is poor and lacking resources to take on the unlimited resources of city government well funded with tax payer money,  this will be an interesting case to keep an eye on.

The Brown Act is the corner stone of California government to prevent elected officials to conspire against the public before an open vote.  It is the law designed to uphold the integrity and transparency of elected officials.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Daniel Pham and The Silence of Madison Nguyen

After winning the recall earlier this year relying on labor union’s money (most of the record $350,000 she raised came from unions all over the country) and effort, Nguyen has shown to be under their influence substantially.

The latest episode is her silence on the issue of mentally disturbed man, Daniel Pham, who was shot to death in his house by San Jose police officers. Unlike Councilmember Kansen Chu who showed immediate concern for victim’s family by visiting them within a couple weeks of the shooting and taking an official from SJPD to meet with the family, Madison Nguyen has decided not to meet with the victim’s family or even offered support. Being the only elected Vietnamese-American in the city where the population is 10% Vietnamese-Americans, this is a strange action to take.

She was elected to office by her promise that she would represent the Vietnamese-American community. She made her name for herself at that time with her effort against the shooting death of Le Thi Bich Cau, a mentally disturbed woman who was shot to death in her house by San Jose police officers who claimed that she was a threat to them while holding a potato peeler. The policemen later defenfed themselves by claiming that they thought she was holding a knife. The latest victim here was also a mentally retarded man who was shot to death at his house while holding a knife. According to the victim’s brother who called 911, the police officers who arrived at the scene were given warning by family members that the victim was mentally ill and had asked to officers not to shoot him.

Recently, the Vietnamese-American community demonstrated in front of San Jose City Hall and then Santa Clara County Hall demanding to know why the SJPD and the DA office (Dolores Carr) have not released the 911 tape as well as the coroner’s report on Daniel Pham.

The investigation is still pending but it should not preclude the SJPD and the DA office from releasing the information. In the Le Thi Bich Cau’s incident, the same set of information was released without fanfare.

For Nguyen, instead of showing leadership to the community that elected her in office in first place, she has decided to play it safe not to disturb the hand that keeps her in office for now.

Note: The San Jose police union is one of the most powerful unions in the city.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Andrew Lam Receives Award From SPJ

The Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has released its 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards. Winners will be honored at a 6 p.m. awards dinner on November 10, 2009 at Jillian's restaurant in San Francisco.

Among the winners is Andrew Lam for Best Opinion. Andrew Lam is an editor for New America Media, the largest ethnic news organization in the country. He also is a commentator for National Public Radio and recently published his book - "Perfumed Dreams - The Reflection of Vietnamese Diaspora".

He receives the award for "Letter from Athens: Greek Tragedies and News Media in the Age of Twitter", "Our Man Obama: The Post-Imperial Presidency" and "How McCain Became MacBeth", the opinion pieces reflected a unique ability to portray contemporary events in a rich context by drawing on history, literature and philosophy.

Winners in other catogories include:

Journalist of the Year: Holly Kernan, KALW Public Radio
Career Achievement: Susan Sward, formerly of the San Francisco Chronicle
Distinguished Service to Journalism: Paul Kleyman, New America Media
Unsung Hero: Geoff Link, Central City Extra
John Gothberg Award for Meritorious Service to SPJ: Janet Mandelstam, freelance writer
The Economy: Charles Piller, Sacramento Bee
Public Service: Sean Webby, San Jose Mercury News
Breaking News
- Print (daily): The Oakland Tribune
- Broadcast: Steven Short, KALW-FM
Explanatory Journalism
- Print (daily): Nanette Asimov and Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle,
- Print (non-daily): Joe Eskenazi, SF Weekly,
- Broadcast: Craig Miller and the Quest Production Staff, KQED Public Media
- Online: MarketWatch, for "The Spiral of Deflation,"
Investigative Journalism- Print (daily): Sean Webby, San Jose Mercury News

The complete of winner is listed on

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tram Be & Vallco Fashion Park

Tram Be, 50, a real estate tycoon in Vietnam, recently invested $60 million to buy Cupertino Square - previously known as Vallco Fashion Park. .

Tram Be is known to have investment in Southern Bank (Ngan Hang Phuong Nam), Trieu An Hospital in HCM City, and other real estate investments in Binh Chanh (HCM City).

He has close tie with Le thanh Hai who is currently the person in charge of HCM City, the largest city in Vietnam (equivalent to a mayoral position).

This is a first multimillion dollar investment by a Vietnamese from Vietnam (a communist dictatorship country) into Silicon Valley, albeit real estate or hi-tech companies.

Located in one of Silicon Valley’s most prosperous communities, the 4th biggest mall in San Jose has a checkered history.

The origininal investors of the mall is consisted of Vietnamese-American and Chinese-American investors in the Bay Area. One of the Vietnamese-Americans is the owner of Grand Century Mall on Senter Road. They were hoping to turn the mall into the largest Asian mall in the US. They acquiried the mall for $80 million in early 2003 from foreclosure after the previous owners defaulted on the mortgage. They were forced to sell the majority of their equity in late 2007 to an international turnaround specialist OrbitResources (A Tawainese company with Philip Liao as its CEO) after running into financial troubles for missteps, particularly the over construction costs for a new 16-screen theater. Orbit became then the main investor in Cupertino Square LLC and Vallco International Shopping Center, LLC.

According to a San Jose Business Journal's article published on 9-4-2008, Gramercy (a New York-based real estate investment trust) is the lender of a $113 million construction loan. The mall owners filed for bankruptcy on 9-2-2008 because they could not meet their debt obligation.

The reorganization plan proposed in early 2009 by the debtors was supposed to be a compromise with its lenders. Pursuant to the plan, a newly-formed entity would acquire the shopping center for $105 million (plus additional consideration), which purchase price would likely be financed by the pre-petition lenders and other investors.

The $60 million investment by Tram Be is believed to allow him to be the majority stake holder of the shopping mall.

According to San Jose Business Journal, Cupertino Square has more than 1.2 million square feet of retail space situated on slightly more than 50 acres. The mall has four anchor tenants — three department stores and an 80,000-square-foot movie theater — plus more than 500,000 square feet of in-line shop space and a food court. Only about half the building area and 21 acres of land are owned by the debtors, however, with the balance of land and improvements owned by the department stores.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Van Tran & AM 1190 KXMX

State Assemblyman Van Tran and Nguoi Viet Newspaper last week entered an agreement to share 4 hours of radio on AM 1190 KXMX. This is foreign language radio station that is popular with the Vietnamese-American community.

The detail is being worked out but it seems that Van Tran will have one hour for him and his "Gang of Seven". The other three hours ( or two) will be reserved for Dinh Quang Anh Thai and possibly Vu Quy Hao Nhien. They both are recently hired editors for Nguoi Viet. In the case of Hao Nhien, it was a rehire. But knowing Hao Nhien, he might back out from doing radio show. He is more comfortable writing blog (Bolsavik) then doing live radio show. Anh Thai of course came from Little Saigon Radio, the most popular radio show in Little Saigon before financial difficult affected their operation.

Van Tran realizes that without having control of a radio show, he is at the mercy of talk show hosts who don't like him and his group. Now with Nguoi Viet on board and he has access to 1 hour of radio time every weekday, Tran feels confident knowing that he is sitting pretty next year during the primary.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is Quang Pham for Real?

Last week at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Quang Pham, a Republican congressional candidate running against the incumbent Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D), officially kicked off his fund raising effort.

Quang Pham is a well known figure in the Vietnamese-American community for his autobiography about his journey as a young boy growing in America and ultimately served his country as a Marine pilot fighting in the first Gulf War. He is also an entrepeneur building successful businesses in the health care industry.

The event was packed with his supporters including some of the who's who in OC - Rod McDermott, managing director of the McDermott and Bull (A high power recruiting firm) and a New Majority member, Gen. William Lyon, real estate magnate and heavy-weight GOP donor, Tom Davin, president the Panda Restaurant Group, Robert Mosier, president and CEO of the Mosier & Company, etc..

Pham also announced at the event that he so far has raised over $100,000. This is impressive but his goal is to raise much more in order to have his run at the Republican primary first against State Assemblyman Van Tran.
He is having two additional fund raising events in Philadelphia and Washington DC this week alone.

In the last 3 months after his candidacy announcement, Quang has been working hard to build a team and raise money. He has the name recognition and goodwill in the Vietnamese American community and within the business world. However, similar to Van Tran, his name recognition in CD 47 is limited.

The conventional wisdom is that in the Republican primary, Van Tran will have a big advantage especially with his Vietnamese American constituents. The reality is that Van Tran is a controversial politician within his own Vietnamese-American community and mainstream. His continous personal attacks on County Supervisor Janet Nguyen for last two years as he tries to consolidate his political power has earned him the nickname of the "Godfather" and his political machine as the "Gang of Seven". His recent controversy with the Andy Quach's DUI episode garnered him the headline in the mainstream media as well local Vietnamese-American media: " Van Tran Interferred with Investigation".
But what is more damaging to Tran in the Vietnamese-Ameircan community is him receiving of a lof of money from wealthy businessmen who have close tie with the communist government. There are a lot of questions being raised.
This is a long race from now until June 2010. Both Van Tran and Quang Pham are raising money furiously to prepare for the firework. Van Tran is well known for his viscious politcal tactics so the question is does Quang Pham have what it takes to take on the "Godfather" and his gang?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Annie Le of Yale

From Yale Chief of Police James A. Perrotti:

As you know from the information we provided publicly through the media yesterday, the Yale Police, with assistance from the FBI, the CT State Police, and the New Haven Police, are investigating the disappearance of Annie Le, a graduate student who is pursuing a PhD degree at Yale. Ms. Le’s last known location was in a Yale research facility at 10 Amistad Street on Tuesday morning.

We have appealed to the general public, as well as to the Yale community, for any information about Ms. Le’s whereabouts and are actively pursuing all leads. Ms. Le’s professors, colleagues, friends, family, and her fiancĂ© are assisting in the investigation. The State Police have searched the area of Ms. Le’s last known appearance with their bloodhounds; law enforcement officers are continuing to undertake detailed searches of the surrounding area; and security officials are reviewing images from closed-circuit cameras in the area.

If you have any information that might assist in the efforts to find Ms. Le, please call the Yale Police at 203.432.4400 at any time.

Information about student Annie Le:

Age: 24 years old, 07/03/1985
Race: Asian female Hair: Straight brown shoulder length
Eye color: BrownHeight: 4’11Weight: 90lbs
Missing From: New Haven, CT since the morning of 09/08/2009

Details: Annie Le is a Yale School of Medicine graduate student who has not been seen or heard from by family, co-workers and friends since 09/08/2009. Annie Le’s purse containing her cell phone, credit cards and money was left in her office on the morning of 09/08/2009. She was last seen at 10 Amistad Street wearing a knee length brown skirt, bright green short sleeved tee-shirt, brown shoes, and a brown necklace; photo #2 depicts Annie Le entering 10 Amistad the morning of her disappearance. She does not have access to a vehicle. There are no apparent medical issues.

Anyone with information on Annie Le’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Yale Police Department at (203) 432-4400.

Anyone with information that may be helpful is urged to call the FBI hotline:
24 hour FBI tip-line at 1-877-503-1950

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vietnamese National Day and San Francisco

For the last 2 years on September 2, the Vietnamese Consulate in San Francisco has received permission by SF Mayor Newsome to fly the Vietnamese flag in front of City Hall for one day to celebrate Vietnamese National Day. This is a courtesy given to the consulate as part of the sister city relationship

Just like last year, Mayor Newsome was there to congratualate the Consulate General for the happy occasion.

By the afternoon of the same day, the Vietnamese-American community responsed by asking the flag to be removed. And similarly to last year episosde, the city official politely received the petition. The flag then was removed around 5:00 PM the same day for it is protocol to display foreign nation flag in front of City Hall for one day only.

Van Tran and Fund Raising

Van Tran two weeks ago flooded the Vietnamese-American media and his supporters with a fund raising announcement at Original Mike's. The event was also noted by OC Register.

Invited keynote speaker was Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Chief Deputy Whip. The guests of honors listed on the flyers were Congressmen Ken Calvert, John Campbell, Gary Miller, Dana Rohrabacher and Ed Royce.

The restaurtant was told to expect about 250 people.

The event ended up with about 35 people. Kevin McCarthy did not show up. The MC (Carlos Bustamante of Santa Ana) did not mentioned anything about Kevin McCarthy and his absence. Tran spoke about his background and emphasized his 75% ID recognition in the Vietnamese-American community. The irony is that there were about 10 Vietnamese-Americans at the event. They did not get introduced by the MC or recognized by Van Tran. The controversial Diep Truong and Andy Quach did not dare to be there.

Hugh Nguyen, the county clerk OC Recorder candidate, paid $150 to attend the event, hoping to get Van Tran's endorsement. He did not get introduced or recognized by Van Tran or his people. Hugh Nguyen however tried his best to mingle and make sure that the VIPs know that he is a supporter of Van Tran.

Long Pham, the forever assemblyman candidate (this would be his 4th attempt to run for state assembly) who thought he would get Van Tran's endorsement by giving Van $1,000 was not there. Long Pham found out after giving the money that Van, instead of supporting him, decided to support a viable candidate - Allan Mansoor.

The whisper is loud in Little Saigon OC that Van Tran is being funded by big businessmen who has very close tie with the communist government.

The voters are now questioning Van Tran and his rhetorics. Van Tran major supporters from the community so far are - Frank Jao with his multimillion dollars investment in commercial real estate in Vietnam, David Duong and Victor Duong with their public meeting with the then Prime Minister Phan van Khai to sign business contracts, and of course there is Hoang Kieu who just recently received the highest recognition by the communist government for bringing businesses to Vietnam.

With a credential of strong anti-communist and unequivocal supporter of freedom and democracy, Van Tran has a lot of explaining to do in the next few months to the community why he is receiving money from Vietnamese-Chinese big businesmen who do not view the communist government as anything more than a business partner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Janet Nguyen's Official Response

In the past few days, there have been mass spam emails floating around in Little Saigon alluding to the fact that a Janet Nguyen was convicted of DUI. The email starting with the rhetorical question:" WHO IS THIS JANET NGUYEN?"

This has prompted an official response from the County Supervisor Janet Nguyen's office.

The response is in Vietnamese and English. Here is an excerpt.


Dear Community Members:

In the past few days, numerous mass emails have been sent and circulated in the Vietnamese-American Community, alluding to a DUI conviction by an individual with the name of Janet Tran Nguyen. A rhetorical question was also raised in these emails, asking “who is this Janet Nguyen?” The ambiguous nature of the emails with their obvious reference to Supervisor Janet Nguyen may lead some members of the community to be confused. Therefore, this letter shall serve as an official response from Supervisor Janet Nguyen.

Supervisor Janet Nguyen does not have any DUI conviction, or, for that matter, any history of prior offense. Any attempt by individuals to insinuate that she does in order to re-direct negative public opinion away from them is malicious and ill-conceived. A cursory review of the information with respect to the legal name and description of the person referred to in the emails readily shows that she is not, indeed, the Supervisor. The middle name is different, and the individual in the conviction is four inches shorter than the Supervisor. Other than a common first and last name, there are no similarities between the Supervisor and this individual. The individuals who attempted to defraud the public in this way should not think that the public is so gullible that a juvenile stunt like this would work.....


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quang Pham Making Campaign News

Quang Pham is running for congress against the incumbent Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D).
Pham is an ex Marine pilot, a successful businessman and an author of " A Sense of Duty : My Father, My Amercian Journey". He often writes op-ed pieces and articles for local and national newspapers across the county. Link here is a nice op-ed piece that he wrote for the Washington Post.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Andy Quach and Van Tran

So here is the mug shot of Councilman Andy Quach after his arrest for 0.26 DUI and mowing down car, utility pole and a concrete wall. Of course, his comments to the Vietnamese-American constituents originally were he was working hard late at night and fell asleep at his wheel. Viet Bao and other Vietnamese-American newspapers wrote up a sympathetic story about how Andy Quach had sacrified his own safety for the work of the community. Vietnamese-American media are notoriously known for putting out story for a price for the "Gang of Seven"

Update on the QuachGate.

Assemblyman Van Tran has been out of the town for the last two weeks and his staff is not returning phone call. Little Saigon is buzzing on whether Van Tran was actually in the car with Andy Quach.

Quach and Tran are always seen together in Little Saigon ever since he asked Quach to be part of his assembly campaign in 2003. He hired Quach to be his campaign fund raiser recently for $2000.

The fact is that Andy Quach and Van Tran were partying together along with Diep Tyler Truong until 10:30 PM at West Coast Buffet. They then left for Citryst Restaurant before the evening was over.

Van Tran needs to make a statement to clear the air. Was he with Andy Quach in the car? All facts so far are pointing that he was in the car with Andy Quach.

Whether Van Tran wants it or not, this QuachGate has the potential to bring down his campaign for congress. Replubican leadership is looking at this issue very seriously. LSI had learned that Van Tran now had chance to look at the political numbers carefully and had done his own polling. Of course, his people is talking about Sanchez and ignoring the primary eventhough Tran feels that a drag out primary might bring out negatives that would damage his image further in the run-off.

Tran knows that if he loses in the primary against Quang Pham or in the run-off against Sanchez, his political career is over. As a calculated person and somebody who does not like to take chances unless he knows that he can win, there are many factors that Van Tran is considering at the moment.

His name recognition is low and the demographic is not in his favor in the 47th congressional district. The Vietnamese-American voters make up about 10% while the Hispanic voters is about 45% of the total voters.

Can Van Tran win the majority of the White votes that make up the other 45%? About 22% of the voters are DTS. These are independent voters who will be the swing vote.

And the DST number begs the the question - can they stand a Vietnamese-American candidate who has a reputation according to mainstream press and Vietnamese-American media as the "Godfather" of Vietnamese-American politics and the leader of the "Gang of Seven", the infamous gang who now is showing their true color - power corrupting small town politicians runing amok.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rumors Are Rampant in Little Saigon - Van Tran

Rumors are surfacing about the Andy Quach DUI and his partying friends on the night of August.

Information known at the moment according to reports and eye witnesses are as follows:

1. Andy Quach is not making any comments with regards to the 2 hours between West Coast Buffet Restaurant and the drunk driving episode. The owner of West Coast already claimed that Andy Quach, Van Tran and Diep "Tyler" Truong left his restaurant around 10:00 PM and they were not drunk.

2. According to an eye witness, all three went to Citryst Restaurant. The owner of Citryst, Amanda My Dung Nguyen conveniently shut off the surveillance camera at 10:30 PM even though it was required to be on until midnight.

3. City Councilmember Diep "Tyler" Truong asked staff about possible surveillance camera at the crash site. Truong is also a staff member of State Assemblyman Van Tran and part of his famous "Gang of Seven" in Little Saigon.

The rumor running wild in Little Saigon is that Van Tran was in the car with Andy Quach and left the scene of the accident. He later went back since it was only 15 minutes walk from his house and interfered with the police investigating whether Andy Quach was drunk or not, pretending to be Andy's lawyer.

If this is not true, Van Tran should make a statement to end any speculations for the controversy will drag on and on. This will take away his focus to campaign against Quang Pham in the primary.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Diep "Tyler' Truong And his Tape Conversation

"It is midnight and I have to deal with this crap" Diep Truong snapped at the watch commander, Sgt. Timothy Vu.

Early Feb of this year, Westminster Councilman Diep Truong was awaken by Amanda My Dung Nguyen, the owner of Citryst Restaurant, 20 minutes after the police did their inspection of Citryst Restaurant for possible violation. The restaurant had violations in the past. The owner complained about the police visit and Diep Truong took it upon himself to ask the police to stop the investigation.

Soon after Diep Truong hung up, Westminster Councilman Andy Quach called Sgt. Vu and demanded to know why he was investigating Citryst.

The full story is reported by the OC Register,, and the Liberal OC Blog,

It is noteworthy to point out the taped conversation between Diep Truong and the police officer and how Diep realized that he was being recorded. The conversation is included in both reports above

Westminster City Mayor Rice said she was appalled at Diep's behavior toward the police officer that night.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Diep " Tyler" Truong Interfered with Police Investigation

In a recent article by Nguoi Viet newspaper,, it was reported that Diep "Tyler" Truong had interfered with a police investigation of Citryst Restaurant around Feb. of this year as a city councilman. Truong defended himself by saying that he was just new to the council so he did know the proper "protocol"

After receiving a phone call from the owner of Citryst about police visiting the restaurant for possible violations, Truong asked the police in charge of the investigation, officer Tim Vu, why was he visiting the Citryst Restaurant. The conversation was taped.

Officer Vu responsed by asking Truong if he would like him to stop the investigation. According to Nguoi Viet, Truong met up with the city police chief, Andrew Hall, several days later to clear his action.

Citryst Restaurant is owned by Amanda My Dung Nguyen, a relative of the owner of Pho 54 Restaurant. It was at the same Citryst Restaurant that by all account, Andy Quach, Van Tran and Diep 'Tyler" Truong were last seen together after they had left another restaurant the night Quach took out a corner of Westminster with his DUI. Both owners are financial contributors to Assemblyman Van Tran's campaign and are friends of Tran.

LSI has now been told that Diep "Tyler" Truong was also asking city staff the Monday after Andy Quach DUI if there were any home security camera in the area of the accident.

Diep "Tyler" Truong is a staff of Assemblyman Van Tran and of course is part of the well known "Gang of Seven" in Little Saigon

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Van Tran Looking Ahead

Last week was a week to forget for Assemblyman Van Tran. From blogs, mainstream news and local Vietnamese-American media, the typical headline was "Van Tran Interfers with Andy Quach DUI"

Tran of course is running for congress against Quang Pham, an ex-Marine pilot, author and businessman, in the Republican primary next year. And if successful, he will have a chance to face the incumbent Loretta Sanchez (D).

The 47th Congressional District, according to an Associated Press news release, has 96,000 registered Democrats, 70,000 registered Republicans and 42,000 registered Independents. These numbers are attained from the Orange County Registrar of Voters. The Vietnamese American voters make up about 10% of the total registered voters. Historically, they always have high turn out and some insiders (mostly political consultants) have estimated that they will represent about 15% - 20% of the total votes, depending on how low the overall turnout will be.

Van Tran's assembly district overlaps the congressional district about 20%. In comparison, Janet Nguyen's county district overlaps 40%.

To combat the recent unfavorable press, Tran has instructed his hired guns to spread the words in op-ed pieces in the Vietnamese-American community as well as word of the mouth that Loretta Sanchez is really afraid of Tran for she cannot raise money. Hence she will opt out to run for governor instead.

Also, in response to the community's concern in regards to budget cut, Tran had a townhall meeting recently and informed the community that 80% of the budget cut will be compensated by federal grants and stimulus packages. This of course is really misrepresenting the facts by Tran to assure one his staunchest voting bloc - the old anti-communist voters who are mostly recipients of federal and state social services.

Tran's major concern right now is the primary of course. Even though he is talking tough and tries his best to ignore Quang Pham at the moment, he understands that the Vietnamese-Americans in OC are looking for a fresh face and are tired of the "Trannie" and the "Gang of Seven". Tran is so sensitive to the label "Gang of Seven" now that when in public events, they made a point of not hanging around together. Before the loss to Janet Nguyen in 2008, they were sticking together like glue to show off their unity and power.

Pham is a relative newcomer to politics. He has the name recognition within the Vietnamese-American community and somewhat of a celebrity with his autobiography of a soldier and soldier's son fighting for the idea of freedom and democracy.

So far the race has not been heating up yet. In term of fund raising, Tran managed to raise $250,000 for his race against Pham and Sanchez. Out of the $250,000, about $175,000 can be used for the primary, the rest is earmarked for the run-off. About $26,000 of the donation came from Vietnamese-American owners of companies that have close tie with the communist government in Vietnam. Pham declared his candidacy later in the filing cycle so his filing statement will not be available until Q3.

A number of factors in play in the Republican primary

1. Clearly the Vietnamese-Americans will play a major role in deciding whether it is Pham or Tran to go against Sanchez - An outsider vs. a political insider. Up until now, the conventional wisdom is that both will split the vote for the community is polarized strongly by Van and his "Gang of Seven". The downfall of Andy Quach is probably viewed indifferently by the mainstream voters. However, within the Vietnamese-American community, Andy Quach and Van Tran represents a political machine entity and its power. Whether this will hurt Van or not, only time can tell

2. The mainstream, how are they going to view Tran as a political establishment with records? Whether these records are in his favor or not, it will depend on his opponent to convince the voters. In addition, his wife conviction of insurance fraud in 2005 (a year after he won the election), will that be a factor? Tran was her attorney as a sitting assemblyman. She got off with a slap on a wrist - probation and a revoked insurance license.

3. Pham is inexperience in political campaign. Tran is well known to use dirty tactics in his political machine to destroy his opponents or perceived opponents, case in point - Janet Nguyen in 2007 and 2008. Even though Pham has been successful in business and has the name recognition in the Vietnamese-American community, he is an unknown outside his circle of business and military sphere.

4. Can Pham build a team to go against Tran's political machine and the "Gang of Seven"? Even though the "Gang of Seven" is less powerful than before with political defeats in 2008 and the now Andy Quach DUI.

All these questions will be answered soon enough as the politics will heat up in the fall (hopefully).

Friday, August 7, 2009

Van Tran Declared 80% of Calfornia Budget Cut will be Made Up by Federal Funding

Last Friday, California State Assemblyman Van Tran conducted a town hall meeting at Furiwa Restaurant for the Vietnamese-American community to help answer some of the concerns by the community in regards to the budget cut. The Vietnamese-American community in OC is particularly concerned about healthcare and welfare & social services benefits.

The event was reported by Nguoi Viet Newspaper , The headline is: " Van Tran at Town Hall Meeting in OC: 80% of Budget Cut will be compensated by Federal"

Tran said that despite the $26.3 billion budget cut, this is a short term fiscal reduction and the state is doing all it can to compensate for loss revenue.

Tran emphasized the good news is that the 80% of the cut in education, healthcare and social services will be made up by federal funding and stimulus package so the community should not be worried. He was also proud that despite the cut, the better news is that there was no tax increase in the budget.

Calls were placed to offices of various Democratic and Republican leaders in Sacramento to confirm Van's statement about the good news of receiving federal funding to cover education and health care shortfall was met with skepticism.

Van Tran is running for congress so obviously he did not want to be the bearer of bad news to a strong voting segment of the community that relies heavily on state funded health care and social services for their existence.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Van Tran and Andy Quach DUI Cover Up

Within the Vietnamese American community, the story is well told as follows -

According to those who were at the West Coast Sea Food Buffet, Van Tran, Andy Quach and Diep "Tyler" Truong were there until 10:00 PM when Quach suggested that they go to Citryst. Quach jokingly enticed them with the line "there would be more pretty girls over at Citryst". Citryst is owned by Amanda Nguyen, a relative of the owner of Pho 54 restaurant.

Van Tran and Andy Quach left Citryst together while Tyler Truong left Citris earlier for he is not much of a drinker.

For the record, the owner of West Coast Sea Food Buffet claimed that Quach and Tran were not drunk when they left his restaurant. If there is an ambulance chasing lawyer out there, Citryst would be the place to start your investigation.

City Councilmber Andy Quach of course is part of the " Trannie" known in the Little Saigon as the "Gang of Seven". He is also a paid fund raiser for State Assembly Van Tran. The last bill to Tran was for $2,000.

So far the Andy Quach DUI incident is being implicated in blogs like Red County, Orange Juice, LiberalOC as a cover up by Van Tran and Andy Quach. The blogs have done a great job of vetting out the story. The OC Register also is piecing the story together as more information is being released by the police department.

We now know that Van Tran was there at the scene and tried to interfere with the investigation to a point that the police threatened to arrest him.

Questions are being asked right now in the community:

1. Who was in the car with Andy Quach when he mowed down the utility pole and plowed his car into a residential wall? Was he alone or somebody else was in the passenger seat? This could be easily determined by looking at the passenger side airbag activation.

2. If Van Tran was with And Quach and left the scene and then came back afterward, this is serious cover up and it shows the lack of judgement by Tran for allowing Andy to drive drunk.

3. Were there any security cameras at the scene that could shed light to the event?

Tran had so far have perfect explanation for everything. In the interview with the OC Register, he claimed that he left West Coast Sea Food at 10 PM and went home to read. At midnight, he responsed to Quach's call. Eventhough he admitted that he could not make sense of what Quach was saying, he managed to arrive to interfere with the investigation.

This contradicts with the story that they were both at Citryst after West Coast Sea Food Buffet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

QuachGate Update

Various American blogs like Liberal OC, Orange Juice Blog are calling the Andy Quach DUI as QuachGate. The reason is that there are more to the story. The Liberal OC,, is reporting that State Assembly Van Tran was also at the scene. The issue being raised is whether Van Tran was in the car with Andy Quach or he was just conveniently there afterward. In addition, there is an on going rumor that Westminster City Councilmember Diep "Tyler" Truong was there at the scene also. And again, was he in the car with Quach and Tran?

It was quite an accident, Quach hit a smaller car that had 3 passengers, bounced into the utility pole and then hit a concrete wall of a private yard and brought down a whole section The car bursted into flame. Quach's blood alcohol level was 3 times higher than the legal limit. He was incoherent when the police arrived.

Van Tran claimed that Andy called him while Van was at home and gave him direction to the accident. This of course will need to be confirmed with the people at the scene and also the 911 tape might give us some idea.

This is one those stories that has taken a life of itself. Andy Quach is the one that Van Tran trusted the most in all of his underlings. He does not have the wit but makes up with loyalty and try to be the guy behind the scene for Van Tran.

Nguoi Viet Newspaper Goes Thru More Changes

With Do, Bao Anh's husband removed from the newspaper (he was brought in to keep an eye on the finance) and talented reporters leaving to the newly established Viet Herald, Nguoi Viet decided to hire back Vu, Hao Nhien, the one time fired secretary general of Nguoi Viet, to help bolster the newspaper.

Hao Nhien was fired for his role in the foot washing pan controversy. He went on and started the musing Bolsavik Blog.

Hoang Mai Dat, another young talented writer who was the secretary general until last Saturday, resigned abruptly (probably to make way for Hao Nhien).

With Phan Phu Thien Giao who is now the the editor in chief and the recent hired Dinh Quang Anh Thai as managing editor at large, Nguoi Viet hopes the restructure will boost it sagging ad revenue. It is estimated that after the controversy, NV lost about 15% to 20% of its ad revenue to Vien Dong and Viet Bao.

The publisher is still Phan, Huy Dat, the lawyer. Do Bao Anh's role is unclear for now but she and her family still control the large share of the newspaper. There will be more changes to NV as the newspaper struggles to gain back its lost reputation.

Loretta Sanchez and her Vietnamese-American Support

There is no doubt that the Vietnamese-American community in OC has embraced Congreswoman Loretta Sanchez (D) warmly in the last 5-6 years in response to her staunch anti-communist stand against the current Vietnamese government. Morevover, her many appearances in community events and show of supports have won her many supporters. Unlike other politicians who only provide lip service, Sanchez shows her outward commitment to the community by having two Vietnamese-Americans in her staff - Lilly Nguyen (field rep) and Diep Nguyen (case worker).

In contrast, Congressman Ed Royce (R) has no Vietnamese-American in his staff. It is noteworthy that none of the Republican congressmembers who are well known for their anti-communist stands and work closely with the Vietnamese-American community have any Vietnamese-Americans in their staff. Meanwhile, Democratic congressmembers like Mike Honda, Zoe Lofgren and Senator Jim Webb all have Vietnamese-American serving in their staff.

In a community that is quite politically active, this is is something to take note.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jacqueline Nguyen Nominated as US Federal District Judge

President Obama last Friday nominated California Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, 44, for United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California. If confirmed, Judge Nguyen would be the nation’s first-ever Vietnamese American to serve as an Article III judge. She would also become the third-ever Asian Pacific American female Article III judge in United States history, and the first-ever Asian Pacific American woman to serve as an Article III judge in California.

Nguyen arrived in 1975 as part of the first wave of Vietnamese refugee after the fall of Vietnam. She graduated from UCLA law school in 1991.

In California there are currently 5 Vietnamese-American judges (including Jacqueline Nguyen). They are superior court judges - John Nho Trong Nguyen, Jacqueline My Le Duong, Thang Barret Nguyen, Jacqueline Nguyen and federal immigration judge - Tue Phan.

Quang Pham Received Asian Heritage Award

Republican Quang Pham, who is running for Congress in the 47th Congressional District to replace Loretta Sanchez, recently received the prestigious Asian Heritage Award for Literature for his memoir, “A Sense of Duty: My Father, My American Journey.” Published in 2005 by Random House to wide acclaim by Vietnamese American, Vietnam veterans and mainstream readership, it was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and selected by the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association as a finalist for its Nonfiction Book Award. “A Sense of Duty” will be released in paperback and Vietnamese-language edition in 2010. Books sales proceeds will be donated to charities.

Each year, the Asian American community is asked to recommend the best and brightest in 15 categories, ranging from education to community service. This year 119 nominations were received. The nominees’ names were placed on a ballot and uploaded to for members of the community to select someone in each category worthy of recognition. Those names were announced during a gala, star-studded ceremony on Saturday, July 25, 2009 aboard the aircraft carrier museum USS Midway in San Diego. The event, this year titled “Legacy and Legends,” also paid special tribute to Retired Army Major General Antonio Taguba, a profile in courage for revealing conditions at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Other outstanding Asian Americans currently serving in the military were also recognized.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Suspicious of Drunk Driving, Andy Quach Was Arrested

City Councilmember Andy Quach of Westminstern City, 37, was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving. He was taken to the police station and chemical blodd alcohol content was submitted. The OC Register reported today.

It is important to be clear that the chemical BAC test is a test requested after an arrest for DUI and/or DWI. Its purpose is to provide officers with evidence that you were driving under the influence. It is distinctly separate from the roadside sobriety test and preliminary alcohol screening test (roadside breath test) conducted before an arrest to help officers determine if there is probable cause for an arrest.

According to the OC Register, Quach drove his $100,000 plus Mercedes S550 into a pole after partying with his friends and knocked out power of 300 homes. Electricity is not expected to restore until 8:00 PM tonight.

The former Mayor Pro Term Andy Quach, part of State Assemblyman Van Tran's political machine known in Little Saigon as " The Gang of Seven", has served 7 years as city council member of Westminter.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hoang Kieu and Miss World 2010 in Nha Trang

Hoang Kieu, the general director of RAAS Group in Agoura Hills, CA, has been spearheading the effort of bringing, planning and promoting of Miss World 2010 to Nha Trang. He is collaborating with Miss World Organization and the Vietnamese communist government to make the event as one of the major attractions for the Vietnam tourism industry. The picture above is the signing ceromony in Ho Chi Minh City by Hoang Kieu and Julia Morley (Chairwoman of Miss World Organization) late last year.

Hoang Kieu is the founder of RAAS Group, a plasmapheresis company. The company specializes in providing fractionated plasma for therapeutic use such intensive care, immunology and hematology. The company has a joint venture with Shanghai Blood Center (owned by the Chinese government) and boasts to be the largest processor of fractionated plasma in the world.

Her are some of his pictures with Miss World 2007 and Miss World 2008. Additional pictures show him and Miss World 2008 parading in Hanoi in celebrating the 2009 New Year celebration. And at a great hall, he was given a commendation by the Vietnamese government in front of the Uncle Ho Chi Minh giant bust.

Hoang Kieu is well known in Vietnam for his generous charity work as well as his involvement in exporting Vietnam goods to China market. In Orange County, he stays away from the limeline unlike Frank Jao (Phuoc Loc Tho Mall) or Chieu Le (Lee's Sandwiches). However, he is politically quite active with his money. Recently he, his CFO and two other RAAS employees donated $4800 each to Sate Assemblyman Van Tran's congressional campaign war chest.

With Van Tran receiving political donation from businessmen who have close tie with the Vietnamese communist government - Frank Jao gave Van $1,000, David Duong and Victor Duong gave $4,800 each - Is the right wing anti-communist crowd in Little Saigon given in to the fact that their anti-communist stand (I see red communist flag everywhere) have gone soft after 35 years since the Fall of Vietnam??

The Duong brothers are owners of California Waste Solutions, a San Jose recycle company. They have exclusive contract with Ho Chi Minh City signed by the ex prime minister Phan van Khai. And of course Frank Jao is the head of V-Home Group, a real estate investment group that develops commercial real estate in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tam Toa Crisis in Vietnam

Tam Toa church is an old Catholic church built during the late 1800s in the province of Quang Binh in central Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the church was destroyed by American bombs in 1968. As part of the current communist government propaganda, it remains undisturbed as a war relic.

Tam Toa parish is one of the oldest Catholic parish in VN with its root date back to the mid 1600s.

There have been on going dispute between the government and the rebuilding of the church. The Diosce of Vinh and the Archdiosce of Hue have been trying to reclaim the church (what left of it and its ground) since 1996 when it was taken back by the local government in an attempt to turn into a war symbol of American aggression. Up until 1996, mass was celebrated weekly in front of the church's tower.

In February of this year, after years of unfruitful negotiation, 14 parish priests and Bishop Cao of Vinh Disosce decided to concelebrated mass on the property without obtaining permission.

Recently, rumor was spreading that the local government will build a tourist resort next to the church. The parish people in response started building an alter and erecting a giant cross on the property. On July 21, the government finally had enough and sent in police to disperse the crowd who were gathering to continue their construction and also to protest. A dozen people were arrested and some were beaten badly by the police. The situation made worse when the police attacked two priests from other parishes who went to Vinh Diosce to show support. The two are in critical conditions.

Some of the Vietnamese Catholics in Vietnam (about 10 million strong or 12% of the population) responsed by holding vigil masses and silent protests all weekend long in central Vietnam. This is a direct challenge to a dictatorship government.

Even though the situation is view as conflict between the Catholic Church and the Vietnamese government by the rest of the country, the issue of confiscated land and the rights of land ownership have been a flashing point between government and the general public for many years. Whether the Tam Toa crisis will lead to major changes in the government or force the government to take harsh actions against those who challenge its absolute authority is remained to be seen.

Here are some pictures of the many vigil masses and open peaceful demonstration by the thousands (some estimate to be in the hundreds of thousands) against the government in VN last week.

The Circle of Life of Navy Captain Huan Nguyen

. ... Its the circle of life All it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On pa...