Friday, September 17, 2010

Jade Buddha Controversy and The Mercury News

A recent article written by Bruce Newman of the Mercury News titled :" The Jade Buddha, symbol of peace and harmony, everywhere but in San Jose" depicted the conflict between Madison Nguyen, city official Mike Hannon, businessman Tron Do and the lawyer Michael Luu.

According to Newman, Michael Luu was jealous of Tron Do, a supporter of City Councilmember Madison Nguyen who had illegally allowed Nguyen to use his buidling as a campaign headquarters in the recent primary.  The reason is that Do had successsfully bid for the opportunity  to host the Jade Buddha while Michael Luu could not because Mike Hannon, the head of code enforcement for the city of San Jose shut down his building. 

According to the Buddhist Monk, Tien Lien, who is repsonsible for the Jade Buddha tour, she first approached Michael Luu and asked to use his building in October of 2009.  Michael Luu, was gracious enough to offer the building to her free of charge.   Earlier this year,  Mike Hannon, responding to complaints of Charlie Ly, a non-San Jose resident and a supporter of Madison Nguyen,  decided to shut down the building since it was not zoned for the gathering of 49 people or less. 

Tron Do then approached Monk Tien Lien to host the event for a fee to cover the cost of utility and maintenance..  The city record shows that  the 1980 Senter Road building as of date has no zoning permit for such large gathering.  There are not enough parking spaces and the building is not built to code to maintain safety for crowd expected to be in the thousands.  In an event where there will be thousands of people in a building that has no permit to hold such a large crowd, this zoning violation that can lead to undesirable consequences.

LSI believes that Mercury News has done a disservice to the community by implicating that Michael Luu was bidding to host the event for financial gain (which was totally untrue according to the Buddhist Monk) while ignoring the crux of the issue - the building is not suitable for such a large crowd and the fact why Mike Hannon ignores such zoning violation.  As responsible press and news reporting,  LSI thinks it is a tragedy when public concerns being ignored by city officials for the sake of politics.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Minh Duong Received Endorsement from Abel Maldonado

Minh Duong, candidate for San Jose city council D7,  recently received the endorsement from Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado (R). The following link recorded the event as Abel Maldonado was in town at the request of Assemblyman Van Tran (R) to help Tran raise money from businessmen in San Jose.  Tran is from southern California and running against Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.   He is having difficulty tapping into his constituents in OC Little Saigon so he has been hitting the Bay Area for money.  It was his 6th visit in the last 3 months in the Bay Area.

Will Janet Nguyen Endorse Van Tran?

There are a lot of pressures from the Republican Party to have OC Supervisor Chair Janet Nguyen endorse Assemblyman Van Tran for his US congressional run against the incumbent Loretta Sanchez. Nguyen is undecided at the moment.

In a campaign where 40% of the electoral votes are in her district, Tran has a lot to gain with Nguyen supporting him. Even though he is fully aware of the situation but he still inexplicably has his henchmen attacking Janet Nguyen at every opportunity he has in the Vietnamese-American community.

Currently, his negative is very high within the Vietnamese-American community. They consider him as a selfish politician with an oversize ambition of, as the OC Register called it correctly, “being The Godfather of Vietnamese-American politics”. To the community, he is the product of special interest groups, especially of wealthy Chinese-American businessmen who has close tie with the Vietnamese government. The last 10 years, he has done a lot for the special interest groups while just provide lip-service to the Vietnamese-American community. His image took a beating when he and his gang blocked Nguyen's effort to build a pedestrian bridge across Bolsa Blvd. The bridge has been something that the community wanted for a long time to help alleviate the traffic jam in Little Saigon. He hurt his underlings’ campaigns against Nguyen when he sent out a letter on their behalf using his personal assemblyman letterhead urging the voters not to vote for Janet Nguyen because she is a communist sympathizer. The proof was that she accepted $500 donation from a person who has business in Vietnam. His hatred and despise for Janet Nguyen is so deep that he would do anything to destroy her political career.

The fact of the matter is that he could not raise money within his own Vietnamese-American constituents in Orange County. He has to rely on the Chinese-American businessmen in San Jose and Sacramento to help with his fund raising. He spent more time in San Jose and San Francisco with fund raising because his image is better there than within his own district.

Out of the potential 14,000 Vietnamese-American voters in D47, many would vote against him out of disdain for his scorched earth political tactics against Vietnamese-American politicians who are not in his fold. Of course, the voters also are afraid of his giant ego of being the “Godfather”.

Janet Nguyen is a smart and established politician and she has difficulty being Van Tran’s underlings. The rumor mill in Little Saigon told a story of how when she first ran for the supervisor seat, Van insisted that she paid him and his gang to be her consultants. When she refused, he vowed to destroy her political career. So far he fails but his scorched-earth campaign against her has put Nguyen over $200,000 in debt. In return, he manages to destroy the political careers of Trung Nguyen, Andy Quach and Diane Nguyen.

If she decides to endorse Van Tran and he wins, he will guarantee to put her in her place and will continue to destroy her political career. To Van Tran, there is only one top dog in the Vietnamese-American community. He already recruits two people to run against her in 2012.

Janet Nguyen already has granted him a favor by not supporting Quang Pham in the primary. The main reason Pham dropped out of the race was because he knew without her support, he would not win the primary.

So what Janet Nguyen to do? To sleep with her nemesis and prays that he will spare her if he wins or to stay out the race altogether. The lesson that she has learned about politics is that a promise today means nothing tomorrow and politics is personal. It is whoever in power will make or break her. And Van Tran has vowed publicly to teach her a lesson. It is just a matter of time for him to succeed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jade Budha for Universal Peace Tour in San Jose

This coming Wednesday, the Jade Budha for Universal Peace is making its debut in San Jose and is scheduled to be  in town for public viewing until  October 1.  This is part of a 2 years long tour to promote the statue as well as to raise funding for its permanent home in Bendigo, Australia.  Almost 10 ft high, this is the supposedly the largest buddha statue carved out of quality gemstone.   The Jade Budha statue will be exhibited at 1980 Senter Road.   The ceremony as well as fund raising events for the next two weeks are expected to draw thousands of people.  The main ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 18 with Councilmember Madison Nguyen to be the guest of honor.

At a press conference recently to promote the Jade Budha tour, questions were asked by local newspapers including the Viet Tribune about the location and the logistics of the exhibition.  The questions were mundane enough but the responses from the organizer were surprisingly very defensive.

The organizer of the event reiterated that they have permission from San Jose officials to stage the ceremony and exhibit at 1980 Senter Road despite the fact the building has no zoning permit for such an event where there would be thousands of people attending.  How about parking? The question was raised since the building has no more than 50 parking spaces

 Everybody who has been followed the Jade Budha tour  in the Vietnamese-American community in San Jose knows the controversies about the upcoming event.  There were questions about the financial transparency of the tour including fraudulant promotion for profit by people who the organizers recently denounced.  The Jade Budha was origninal planned to be at a building on 10th street.  The monks had approached the owner of the building on the 10th street and he agreed to have the event held there free of charge.  However, Mike Hannon,  the head of San Jose code enforcement, decided to shut down the building for not having the right zoning permit to hold event for more than 49 people. 

And conspiracy theorists in the community also noted that the building on 1980 Senter Road is owned by Tron Do of Vien Thao Media.  Tron Do is a close friend and strong supporter of Madison Nguyen.  His other building on 545 Parrott St (Just a block away) has been Madison Nguyen's campaign headquarters even though they have no zoning permit for such activity.  Mike Hannon has been slow in shutting down the operation on 545 Parrrot St. even though complaints have been filed against Tron Do for allowing  Madison Nguyen using the building illegally.

The monks who brought the Jade Budha  are from San Diego and they are relying on the local promoters and organizers in San Jose to host the event.  They are unlucky to be caught in the spotlight caused by local promoters.