Saturday, January 31, 2009

Larry Stone and the Voters of District 7

One sad thing about the recall election is as the community exercising its given democratic rights, it has experienced threatening phone calls and tremendous amount of racist comments and innuendos. Some of the volunteers, especially young college students were reduced to tears as they walked through some neighborhoods.

Larry Stone, the Santa Clara county assessor, for some inexplicable reason still calls out the community as "bullies and thugs". It was one thing to drink alcohol at a one star night club (to raise money for Nguyen) and let one's foul mouth be out of control, it is another to be still ranting and raving about it. As an elected official (no matter how small), one should not use power of official title to label voters who want ethical government and its representatives to not serve special interest groups and not making deal behind the scene as quid pro quo favor. And most of all, the voters have the right to remove elected officials at their pleasure when they feel that the elected official can no longer have the moral and ethical being to serve the interest of the people. The recall team made up of hundreds of volunteers, they are registered voters with some are health care professionals, dentist, pharmacist, engineer from San Jose State, Stanford, Berkeley, ect....

The recall process is part of California political system and constitution. It is designed as a mechanism to keep elected officials honest. Most people who know Larry Stone do not believe he is a racist but in using his office title to incite hatred with demeaning and false labeling of an ethnic group, he has shown a darker side. The Vietnamese-American community though is very patient, forgiving and knows its value.

There are many Hispanic folks in District 7 and also some folks who live on Robert Street who think the recall team is something that should be in existence sooner. Little more than two years ago, The Hispanic community put up a huge banner on Story Street after Nguyen forced the venerable institution GI Forum (A nonprofit organization founded after WWII supporting Mexican-American war veterans) into almost bankruptcy. The banner said: " Recall Madison Nguyen. She Does Not Represent the Hispanic Community."

The Hispanic community's main concern is the rampant crime increase in District 7 in the last 2 years. They want somebody who can make the difference in their area and Nguyen from her record is not their woman (despite the fact that she is the chair of the safety committee).

And the poor people on Roberts Avenue, all they wanted were for the city to take care of the vacant lot in front of their houses for the weeds were growing out of control. It took months of phone calls to Nguyen's office. Finally, San Jose City Park & Recreational sent a tractor. But for some inexplicable reason, the tractor only did half of the work and left the other half undone. Another months of calling and the reluctant answer from Nguyen's office was the tractor broke down and they did not have another tractor for the job. What's next the people asked as their frustration grew.

The point is that this is a grassroot movement recall with people who are fed up with a city council with high paying salary and 4 full time staff who could not seem to get it. She could get $100,000 for the wealthy developer Tang Lap to enhance his shopping mall but when it comes to get a tractor to mow some weeds, it seemed to need an act of God.

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