Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Loretta Sanchez vs. Van Tran

Incumbent US Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is clearly in a tough election against termed-out State Assemblyman Van Tran for the CD47 this coming November.  Despite having a sizable advantage on campaign money over Van ($1.3 million vs. $280,000), Sanchez so far has not focused and lacks any clear strategy against a masterful campaigner like Van Tran. 

Van Tran has been hitting her hard within the Vietnamese-American community with negative campaign every night on his own radio station.   There are about 12,000 to 14,000 likely Vietnamese-American voters.  This will represent about 10% to 15% of the total votes depending on the turn-out.  Sanchez needs to capture at least 40% of the votes  in order to be competitive against Van Tran considering a very anti-incumbent climate.   She cannot rely on her Hispanic voters for they are unreliable.  The independent voters are likely to favor Van Tran. 

What is her next step to garner some of the Vietnamese-American votes?  The rumor is that she will get the visa to visit Vietnam and make some noises about human rights.  She is asking the White House to lean on the Vietnamese government to grant her the visa.  Right now the communist government refuses to allow her into Vietnam.

Current conventional wisdom - Despite the fact that this is a Democratic district, the high turn-out from independent voters and Vietnamese-Americans for Van Tran will make Loretta very vulnerable.

Ly Tong As Lady in Red

Ly Tong came to the Dam Vinh Hung concert an  hour before the show began.  Here is a picture of him disguising as lady in red waiting and setting his trap.  Below is the picture of him approaching Dam Vinh Hung giving him a red rose before pulling out the Mace spray.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dam Vinh Hung Shaken Up After Pepper Spray Incidence

Dam Vinh Hung was not in a good mood after receiving pepper spray from anti-communist activist Ly Tong.  His handlers are worrying about this week concert at Anaheim Arena.   The rumor is that  the extremists will sneak in and hit him with flying shoes, a la George Bush in Bagdad.   The demonstration is expected to be small due to the lack of space in front of the arena.

Meanwhile Ly Tong is in jail waiting for a hearing this Thursday.  He refuses to be bailed out.  He said that he will stay in jail if needed to in order to make a case for freedom and human rights in Vietnam.

Demonstration Against Dam Vinh Hung at Santa Clara Convention Center

Dam Vinh Hung, a very popular singer from Vietnam, is doing his annual concert tour in North America.  He was in San Jose over the weekend and  performed at the Santa Clara Convention Center last night.  The event was sold out with all 600 tickets sold.  His concert in San Jose (November 2009) was also a big hit. Dam Vinh Hung has been doing worldwide concert since 2004. Since he is from Vietnam, the critics from the anti-communist folks in the Vietnamese-American community have claimed that he is a cultural agent of the government trying to spread communist propaganda.

By 5:00 PM yesterday,  there was a large contigent of demonstrators (about 350 people) gathered in front of the convention center with their flags and slogans.   US Congressman Joseph Cao (R) from New Orleans was also there to give support.

The Santa Clara police department charged the concert organizer an extra $11,000 for crowd control and security.  Apparently, the additional 15 policemen did not deter Ly Tong, an anti-communist activist, to buy a front row ticket to attend the concert.  He dressed up as an elderly woman and came to the stage pretending to give flowers to Dam Vinh Hung.  And then suddenly he took out a Mace spray and temporarily stunned the singer with the pepper spray -

Security was there quickly to take away Ly Tong and the show went on despite the little interruption.  At the end of the show, the audience stood up and gave Dam Vinh Hung a thunderous standing ovation.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Minh Duong vs. Madison Nguyen, Round 1

For two straight weeks, our mailbox was flooded with email from Charlie Ly and Tuong Pham about the San Jose City Election Commission meeting on July 14 to determine whether candidate for city council Minh Duong had violated city campaign disclosure for his 2008 campaign. The complaint was filed by District 8 resident Robert Sandoval, a Madison Nguyen supporter.

The main theme of the multiple emails to media as well as many Vietnamese-American email groups was that Minh Duong violated the law and if convicted, he would unequivocally be disqualified from the 2010 election.

In the interest of the Vietnamese-American community that has been bombarded with campaign misinformation,  LSI attended the hearing.  The complaint was about Minh Duong’s failure to disclose an unpaid bill to his consultant during his 2008 campaign for city council. The law requires contributions and expenditures to be documented. The unpaid bill is currently a subject of a civil lawsuit. Duong claimed that the bill was for service unrendered and refused to pay.

The hearing was attended by a handful of people, mostly by supporters of Madison Nguyen. Minh Duong was there by himself along with his lawyer Michael Luu.

In picture, back rowCharlie Ly, unnamed supporter of Madison Nguyen, Robert Sandoval, unnamed supporter of Madison Nguyen , an unidentified man.  Front row - Lam van Sang, Tuong Pham and Tracy Siepel.

Usually this type of hearing would not get the attention of the Mercury News, so it must be a slow summer to see Tracy Siepel, a business reporter from the Merc doing the coverage. According to a city hall reporter at the Merc, Charlie Ly, who lives in San Bruno, had sent emails about the case and other innuendos about Duong to the Merc and demanded an investigative article. It was not a surprise to see Lam van Sang, a computer engineer by trade, to be at the hearing. Sang is known for his provocative writing for V-Times.  It was in his article titled “The Past History of Minh Duong” before the primary that he emphasized that Minh Duong would be disqualified from the election if he was found to violate the disclosing rules.

Robert Sandoval told the commission that he has been a supporter of Madison Nguyen for the last 6 years. When asked by Commissioner Shepard what prompted him to file the complaint, Sandoval gave a lengthy answer. According to him, he was surfing the Net and noticed a lawsuit brought by Ron Wong (President of ICG) against Minh Duong. Being a “concerned citizen” living in District 8, he promptly brought it to the attention of  City Clerk Lee Price to see if Minh Duong could be disqualified as a candidate not having good moral character. Next, he brought the case to the attention of Mayor Chuck Reed. Sandoval said that the Mayor thought the lawsuit has merit and recommended City Attorney Rick Doyle to file the complaint with the Election Commission to disqualify Minh Duong. Still according to Sandoval, he then filed the comnplaint and personally followed up with the lawyer, Mike Moye, who was responsible for the investigation on behalf of the Election Commission. His reason was to "assist so that the investigation can be successful”

After two hours of deliberation, the Election Commission unanimously agreed that the original 460 form filed in June 2008 did not accurately reflect the actual debt because it is in dispute. Therefore it should have being amended. Second, Minh Duong Campaign Committee should have reflected the new amendment before the termination paper was filed in 2009. The commission felt that, as quoted by Commissioner Shepard: "Minh Duong should have gone to paper filing school for bad reporting or paperwork error, not anything more sinister".

In the end, the commission fined Minh Duong for $500 for the two violations of incorrect filing of form 460 and termination without new amendment.

The Election Commission, recognizing that there are members of the press in the room, made it clear that this should not be a  negative reflection on the current 2010 campaign. They insisted for the record as well as on the final resolution that this complaint has heavy political overtone to influence the upcoming campaign runoff between Minh Duong and Madison Nguyen.

I would like to make it clear that I don't like the timing of this, and I think there was a motivation behind it," said commission Chairman Fred de Funiak.

Commissioner Shepard added, “This is simply a case of paperwork error and should not be impugned on the integrity of the candidate.”

In addition, to clarify the rumor floating by Madison Nguyen's supporters to the media,  Lee Price said that Minh Duong cannot be disqualifed in the 2010 election.

It was noted that during the deliberation, Charlie Ly would make disgruntled gestures and garbled comments every time any commission made a favorable remark about Minh Duong as a recipient of political dirty play. Chairman Fred de Funiak finally had enough and told him to either stop or leave the room permanently.

Vinh Hoi Bay Resort & Outrigger Hotels

Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Asia signed an agreement with developer Vietnamese American Hotel and Resort Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of American company ITC Spectrum, LLC, to co-design and manage a luxury resort to be built along the central coast of Vietnam. The Outrigger Vinh Hoi Bay Resort and Spa will be part of the fully integrated Vinh Hoi Bay Golf Resort being constructed on 325 hectares with four other hotels along a 1.6-mile secluded white sand beach five miles north of Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh province.

"We look forward to being a part of what is sure to become Vietnam's most recognized resort destination," said Darren Edmonstone, Outrigger's senior vice president for Asia.

Outrigger, a family-owned company with more than 60 years of hospitality experience, said its participation is included in an agreement signed with developer Vietnamese American Hotel and Resort Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American company ITC Spectrum LLC.

"Vinh Hoi Bay is a world of peace and tranquility in an off-the-beaten-path area of rural charm," said Canh Tran, chairman and CEO of ITC Spectrum, "The pristine mountain and beach setting of the Vinh Hoi Bay Golf Resort offers a distinctive variety of environments and varied terrain to provide the basis for the most unique and memorable integrated resort experience in Vietnam."

The five-star Outrigger Vinh Hoi Bay Resort and Spa will offer 210 rooms and themed suites, plus a collection of 46 private villas offering one- and two-bedroom accommodations, and a two-story Grand Villa. Six food and beverage outlets are planned, in addition to a cooking school, a Navasana wellness center, a kids’ and teenager amusement zone, fitness center, library, adventure center and retail outlets.

The Vinh Hoi Bay Golf Resort will include a total of five luxury destination hotels, as well as individual villas, with the centerpiece of the resort being an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Other outdoor amenities will include an equestrian center, marina and arboretum. The resort will be completed in multiple phases. Outrigger Vinh Hoi Resort and Spa will begin construction during phase one, with the hotel expected to accept its first guest in late 2013.

Vinh Hoi Bay Resort is located in Binh Dinh province on Vietnam’s central coast, between Danang and Nha Trang. Its origins date back to the 11th century and the Champa kingdom, whose legacy, the Cham culture’s temple complexes, can be seen throughout the province. The topography of Binh Dinh province is diverse and attractive, offering visitors lush highlands, forests, alluvial plains, lakes and beaches, all in one destination. The area is currently served by Phu Cat Airport from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The airport, which is located 21 minutes from Vinh Hoi Bay, is slated to offer direct international flights in the coming years. For more information, visit