Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chris Phan for OC Supervisor

There are a number of people in the Vietnamese-American community asking about Garden Grove City Councilmember Chris Phan's role in the Garden Grove City Fire Department corruption as well as the Horizon Cross Cultural Center billing scandal.

Since Phan is running for OC Supervisor  in hope to fill the seat left open by Janet Nguyen, it is useful for the voters to have information in order to understand one's judgement and leadership.

As a lawyer and a deputy district attorney,  Phan curiously has exhibited laid back attitude  for the law and tendency to plead ignorance.

Phan was elected  Garden City Councilmember two years ago and then got a job as deputy district attorney for OC.   During his short tenure as a councilmember, he was confronted with a nepotism corruption involving the hiring of the son of the then mayor of Garden Grove to the fire department despite the fact that he was unqualified.  In the wake of the scandal, the mayor lost his re-election and the fire chief was forced to resign.   But the city council then approved a sweet settlement in secret with the fire chief worth more than $500,000 so that he would not sue the city.   The deal was considered illegal by law experts since it violated the Brown Act -

When asked about the nature of the settlement and why it was not made public,  Chris Phan replied: "I don't know".    It took the Voice of OC reporter to figure out the story and make it public.

Chris Phan has been a board member and one time even Chairman of the Board for the Horizon Cross Cultural Center in Orange County.  The nonprofit center mostly serves the Asian community.   They receives funding from Orange County and other governmental agencies.   In the last few years, the Orange County Transportation Authority had been questioning the center about some billing irregularities and the actual transportation services that they claimed to provide to the elders and handicaps.  The center could not justify some of its billing and services and ultimately the funding for the particular program was terminated at the end of this summer.   

Strangely enough, Chris Phan,  instead of launching his own investigation as board member on this issue, took offense with the OC  Board of Supervisors.  On July 24, 2014 at the weekly OC Board of Supervisors meeting, he went off on them and complained how they had mistreated the center.

Chris Phan is running as a Republican but with neither the support of the Republican Party nor their elected officials in Orange County.   He is hoping to capture some Vietnamese-American votes away  from the leading Republican candidate Attorney Andrew Do.    Andrew Do meanwhile has the name recognition and the record serving the community as chief of staff for now State Senator Janet Nguyen.   Thus, he is getting her supporters behind him.   And Janet Nguyen has quite a lot of supporters and it showed in the recent election where she trounced Jose Solorio by 20 points.

This will be a tight race with such a short timeline to prepare and  raise money for the five candidates - 3 Vietnamese-American and 2 Hispanic.   Since it is a special election, the turn-out will be low.  Extrapolating from past special elections in OC, there will probably be less than 45,000 voters expected.  The 2 main candidates, Lou Correa (D) and Andrew Do (R) will mostly likely  receive bulk of the votes and it might come down to a few vote difference again.  So go to vote for every vote counts!


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