Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Van Tran and His Vietnamese Dream

A week after State Assemblyman Van Tran announced his intention to run against incumbent Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in 2010, things have been very quiet on the Vietnamese many e-mail groups, Web news outlets as well as blogs. Apparently, the excitement of being the first in congress is taken away by Congressman Joseph Cao’s successful run in New Orleans last year.

In his press conference with the Vietnamese community, Van reiterated 5 times “….As Vietnamese, we should take care of our own since nobody will…” It was no doubt his way of pleading to the community to forget and forgive his divisive tactics within the community in the last two years trying to bring down his political enemy – County Supervisor Janet Nguyen.

Sensing Tran’s vulnerability, Quang X. Pham, an author, a successful businessman and well respected in community, also announced his intention of challenging Loretta Sanchez. It is not a surprise move since Pham has expressed his interest in running for congress sooner or later.

So what is in play at the moment and the opportunities at hand for Tran.

Currently, the question every political pundit is asking - Would Tran back out at the last minute like last time? Tran is a calculated politician and does not like to commit to a race unless he knows he has a good chance of winning.

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.

According to OC Progressive, there are about 20,000 Vietnamese-Americans voted in Nov 2008 election in the 47th District. In comparison, there were about 50,000 Hispanics voted. The percentage is roughly 15% vs. 40% of the total votes in Nov. 2008 election. If the actual voting numbers as quoted by the OC Progressive blog are true to be directly from PDI (A well known voting database company), Tran will need to do very well within his Vietnamese community.

Now, the bigger issue Tran is facing is something called goodwill and political capital. Almost half of 47th District falls within County Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s District 1. By publicly attacking Nguyen and calling her falsely as a “Viet Gian” (A word implying a traitor working for the communist government) and communist sympathizer, Tran has distanced himself with many Nguyen’s supporters. It was a bitter 2008 election where Tran engineered Dina Nguyen and his cohorts to an at all cost war to ensure Janet Nguyen would not be re-elected. This was not the political leadership and unity that the Vietnamese community expected of Tran.

The lowest point of course was when the Vietnamese households receiving Tran’s personal letter written on state assembly letterhead attacking Nguyen

With all the money that the Republican leadership will be pouring into this race, Tran needs to prove himself again that he is a worthy Vietnamese candidate within his community. He has not done anything to benefit the community except for some Freedom flag waving ceremonies and meaningless jingoism on freedom and democracy for Vietnam. Nevertheless, he has done a job in building up his image as a political Godfather of the Vietnamese community. With his infamous “Trannie”, he has managed to cause a great concern within his own community as a power hungry kingmaker/politician. Political monopoly is something that the community has always leery. After all, it was the abusive political monopoly of the communist that the community fled for their life.

And Tran and his Trannie latest successful attempt in blocking Janet Nguyen and her funding of a pedestrian bridge to help ease the traffic on Bolsa demonstrates to the community that Tran would go to any extent for his political vendetta against his enemies instead of putting the interest of the community first.

Tran as a Vietnamese candidate vs. Sanchez as a Hispanic incumbent is an intriguing race and will make great news and blogs. Tran has criticized Sanchez as a Latino politician with a narrow focus on Latino issues and concerns. Meanwhile, he portrays himself as a candidate of mainstream and can reach across to the Whites and Hispanics. In reality, the party still views him as a Vietnamese candidate and expects him to deliver the Vietnamese votes to them. The irony is that within his Vietnamese community, whether he can regain their trust and respect is still debatable. Currently, Van Tran is damaged good and not well liked by the community. His wife's conviction of insurance fraud and lost her insurance license is itself a story of credibility in a community that is infamous for insurance fraud and Medicare fraud.

And this is where Quang X. Pham potentially can see an opening. He does not have the baggage like Tran. Matter of fact, the community is in need of a fresh voice and not the divisive politics as usual. How he positions himself in the race is still not known, and only time can tell.


Tony said...

I very much agree with your view about Van Tran. He has not shown any leadership or characters as a politician.

When the truth was told, he is nothing more than an opportunistic politician with no real agenda that can help build and contribute to the Vietnamese community in particular and to the wider community in general.

But watch out, he has a lot of accomplices. To name a few, Lan Nguyen, Dina Nguyen, Andy Quach, etc. These so-called "elected officials" need to be examined as well.

NguyenMichael said...

Trans popularity is waning because the elderly he used to scam with his anti communist propaganda are slowly dying and the younger more educated generation will never vote for a guy like Tran, let alone fall for his fear mongering propaganda. He is on the wrong side of progress. Little Saigon is changing and in a few years all the politicians will have to make the switch to the Democratic party or have a more progressive platform.

NguyenMichael said...

The Van Tran group, which includes Andy Quach, Dina, and Trung Diep is the most dangerous group in Little Saigon. We must stop this threat to our community.

Viet said...

Vietnamese are very much into being the first and being at the very top. So anyone interested in being a politician will have to deal with all the chiefs and having too few Indians. How do a Vietnamese make sure that he is one of the chiefs? Simple, he has to make sure that all the elected officials and group representatives attend his event to honor him, and then he trashes them like they cannot exist without his support. The Vietnamese elected officials have a dilemma that will never be resolved until there is a new Vietnamese generation who will only vote for a candidate that has the ability to make changes and improvements to the community such as, adding parks or recreation centers, changing laws, opposing taxes, add more housing benefits, etc. Each Vietnamese innately and conscientiously wants to make sure that no one else will be able to achieve what he has achieved… the best, the one and only. This explains why an entire civilization of original Cham people was wiped out in Vietnam. A wise unknown author once said, “making sure that you’re not the last is more important than being the first or the best.” It’s probably the law of nature for the survival of the human kind.

The verbatim translation of Tran’s comment is, “there is no one who loves the Vietnamese as much as the Vietnamese.”

It appears that Quang X Pham also has a Vietnamese dream. It’s actually healthy for Loretta to have another competitor. Although, the 15% v. 40% prediction is rather funny in that it didn’t mention how the two Vietnamese candidates would have to also work hard for Latino votes. Did the author believe that the need to mention the Latinos is not necessary since neither of these men will have a chance in the Latino community? That would be an interesting conclusion that the Latinos will automatically vote for Loretta while the two Vietnamese candidates, particularly Tran, will struggle within their own Vietnamese community.

From observation, the Latino leaders have not gone out of their way to welcome Vietnamese leaders, not limited to elected officials, while the Vietnamese leaders have traditionally welcomed other ethnic leaders into the Vietnamese community. It’s quite disturbing to believe Latino people will take care of their own, Sanchez, while the Vietnamese leaders will be easily convinced to ditch their own, Tran or Pham? This same theory may be applied to the Janey Nguyen v. Lou Correa campaign. Tran’s statement may not hold true since, in history, Vietnamese have turned against Vietnamese in support of the Chinese, Japanese, and French even when they have been warned again and again that only Vietnamese will sincerely care about Vietnamese causes. The Latinos will trust their own, Sanchez and Correa, while some Vietnamese would rather it be that no Vietnamese (Pham, Tran or Nguyen) has enough support to be an effective leader (king of the jungle).

Viet said...

Nguyen’s supporters were never close to Tran so anything that Tran does, good or bad, would cause them to remain afar. Perhaps, Nguyen is not Tran’s political enemy but rather her allies who are consistently involved with Vietnam, i.e. former general, Ky Cao Nguyen, who has been seen on Youtube partying with Vietnam communist party; former Westminster City Councilman, Tony Lam, who hangs around with Ky Cao Nguyen and frequently visits Vietnam for ???; Nick LeCong not only visited Vietnam numerous times but has been seen with at least one wealthy businessman from Vietnam; Viet Weekly, a newspaper that has been receiving adds from Vietnam businesses and was printing news from the Vietnam communist party; and Andrew Do, who has been defending the legitimacy of one of Nguyen’s supporters who is heavily involved with businesses in Vietnam. It should be common knowledge that anyone who promotes businesses in Vietnam will take away from businesses here. It is impossible to collect tax benefits from businesses in Vietnam! Should Tran trust anyone who assists in the transfer of financial opportunities to Vietnam or in the extortion of resources from local businesses for the benefit of Vietnam?

Being of equal concern, how do people from Vietnam become wealthy? Most likely, they have to be part of the communist party or cater to the party’s goals. All Vietnamese, whether they support Correa, Sanchez, Nguyen, Pham or Tran, knows that the Vietnam communist party’s goals are nowhere near democracy or basic human rights for certain individuals or groups in Vietnam. For the Vietnamese-American who are concerned with Vietnam, it boils down to 1. who understands the deep rooted issues that are affecting Vietnam, 2. who will act ethically and morally in performing his/her duty (meaning-you cannot take a double position when many lives are at stake by, on the one hand, taking contribution from a person well connected with the Vietnam communist party and speaking out in Congress against human rights violations in Vietnam as Nguyen has committed. It just doesn’t jive.

Viet said...

(Cont 2)
Assuming that the writer’s intended readers also included those who cannot read Vietnamese, for those who cannot read Vietnamese, the letter written from Tran was in response to an attack by Nguyen in one of her campaign mailers. Of course, Tran cannot verbally attack Nguyen in any way without cause, because that would be illegal campaign contribution and may be illegitimately labeled as gang activity by Tran haters. Who started the “Godfather” propaganda and put Tran on probation? The charismatic Tony Lam? The swift Nick LeCong? The jack of all trades, A Nguyen? Sanchez and Correa’s Vietnamese supporters? Viet Tan ( a group with political ambition in Vietnam)? Disgruntle supporters who needed Tran’s acknowledgement? Whoever started the prop did quite an excellent job. Boom, boom, boom, another one bites the dust, and another one bites, and another one bites, another one bites the dust... Yes, the writer did use, “Godfather”. Come one, that’s giving Tran too much credit.

The Vietnamese community is keen enough to see not only leadership but true and sincere leadership. Many of us would not want to support Tran if he ever teams up with Nguyen and her gang, because that would mean that he has fallen into the complicated political web created by Ky Nguyen, Lam, LeCong, and others. The fact that Tran is talking to Viet Weekly, a magazine that has printed communist news, is disturbing. All the politicians, including Sanchez and Correa, have committed Freedom flag waving ceremonies but NOT MEANINGLESS jingoism on freedom and democracy for Vietnam. No matter how long the war has been, the scars remain for those whose lives were hinging day by day on pure faith while being locked up and enchained in dungeons without food or water for years. Some physically and mentally tortured up to umpteen years. Of course, they either died or lost their place of standing in society (citizenship & benefits such as: jobs, rights to purchase foods, etc) after their releases. No, you cannot tour the dungeons, because political prisoners are still housed there. Pham will be challenged by some, especially humanitarian operation (HO) members, for his lack of attendance at Freedom flag waving ceremonies. It means a lot to the VCP concentration camp victims,some has made it a lifelong dedication, to educate and to place a mark in history about the cruelty of communism.

The one thing about Vietnamese press is that it will not go to the news, and the news has to come to it. If you want something on the Vietnamese newspaper, you have to send them an invitation. Sometimes, you’d even have to pay to get on the Vietnamese news. Some people believe that they have to pay the tabloids to stop writing about them. Let’s start talking about voting records for Nguyen, Correa, Sanchez, Tran, and others. Why does the Vietnamese press feel like Vietnamese-Americans are not privileged enough to know what counts. HOW DO THESE PEOPLE VOTE IN OFFICE? WHERE DO THEY STAND ON ISSUES AFFECTING U.S. RESIDENTS? KNOWING THE DETAILS OF THE WARS AMONGST POLITICIANS ARE NOT INFORMATIVE ENOUGH FOR US TO MAKE VOTING DECISIONS.

Voters shouldn’t have to tell the press to be informative and shouldn't have to tell the elected officials to do press releases on what counts. By now, we already know who cares about freedom and democracy for Vietnam. Let’s cut to the chase and talk about what has been done.

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