Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Baffling Actions of Manh Nguyen and his handler Bryan Do

Lan Diep draws first blood in his bid for D4 city council seat. He lost by 13 votes to Manh Nguyen less than a year ago in a special election.

Unlike Councilmember Tam Nguyen who is well liked in the Vietnamese-American community, Councilmember Manh Nguyen is a polarizing figure. And of course, he always has to defend the question that whether Bryan Do, his handler, is the one that really running the show and not him.

LSI received this letter along with documents from a former aide of Manh Nguyen. This is nothing new but to confirm persistent rumors. Lan Diep's chance of winning the seat is a long shot but at least he is taking it to his opponent. 


To Whom It May Concern:

This year Councilmember Nguyen will once again be asking the voters of District 4 to choose him as their Council representative. As the voters consider whether or not to reelect Manh Nguyen, it is critical that they make an informed evaluation of the job he has done since taking office in August.

As Deputy Campaign Manager on Manh Nguyen’s 2015 campaign for City Council and as a Council Assistant to Councilmember Manh Nguyen from August to November 2015, I worked closely with Councilmember Nguyen and his two close advisors, Jonathan Padilla and Bryan Do. During that time I witnessed what can only be described as a pattern of unethical and occasionally illegal behavior. That behavior is summarized as follows:

  • Jonathan Padilla wrote the ethics complaint against Tim Orozco which resulted in investigations of nearly all candidates who ran for City Council and Mayor in 2014. Bryan Do offered to pay the signer, William Bohrer, with city funds, though William declined the offer.

  • Over the course of Manh’s 2015 campaign, Jonathan Padilla used his position with the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce to provide confidential information to Manh Nguyen and Bryan Do without the knowledge of other staff in the Chamber of Commerce.

  • At the request of the Councilmember, District 4 Council Assistant Thao Nguyen called voters using lists from Manh Nguyen’s City Council campaign as her primary office duty.

  • District 4 staff were told that their jobs in the office depended on their willingness to take leaves of absence and work full-time on Manh Nguyen’s reelection campaign.

  • Jonathan Padilla and Bryan Do knowingly misrepresented the duties of one employee, My Nguyen, in order to avoid paying her a union-mandated wage and benefits, and threatened me with termination for not taking adequate measures to hide this scheme.

  • The District 4 office flouted City policies related to government transparency and office administration by giving Bryan Do unreported access to the 18th floor of City Hall and requiring District 4 employees to treat him as a supervisor.

These six examples do not make up a fully comprehensive summary of the increasingly concerning information I learned and behavior I witnessed. For example, there was a dispute over Councilmember Nguyen’s residency in 2015 that I would encourage the media to revisit. However, the above list does include what I feel should be some the most important concerns unknown to the public regarding the short tenure of Councilmember Manh Nguyen.

I have decided to go public with this information in large part because of a phone call I received from a reporter on January 21st, telling me that she had been pitched a story about how I had been fired from the District 4 office. This rumor has been spread by supporters of Councilmember Nguyen in order to weaken my credibility and paint me as a disgruntled former employee. It is defamation at best and whistleblower retaliation at worst.

In the attached pages I provide elaboration on the six statements listed above, as well as corroborating evidence where possible. Additionally, I have attached a copy of my notice of separation from the City of San Jose, which indicates with clarity that it was my own decision to leave my job in Councilmember Nguyen’s office.

I worked very hard to elect Councilmember Nguyen. However, I have been disappointed with his behavior as Councilmember. That is why I have decided to support Councilmember Nguyen’s challenger, Lan Diep. Mr. Diep is an ethical leader capable of representing the residents of District 4, and his background of standing up for the underprivileged speaks to his steadfast moral character. I feel confident that he will be able to represent the residents of District 4 with honor and distinction.

While Manh Nguyen has a short record, I believe it would be a disservice to the democratic process if it did not receive intense scrutiny. I hope that his race for reelection will be marked by an honest evaluation of that record and a fair discussion of the issues facing the City of San Jose and District 4.

Looking forward,
Cole Niblett

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tet Festival in San Jose

Tet Festival 2016 is a team project of Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation (VIVO). 

VISION: Celebrating traditional and modern Vietnamese culture to unite, empower and inspire youth, families and communities.
MISSION: Providing a fresh and dynamic way to bring together entertainment, volunteerism, food, art, activities to celebrate the love and appreciation of culture
NEW YEAR DATE: The holiday, which is 1st day of lunar year calendar. For 2016, the actual date is Feb 8, 2016
FESTIVAL DATE: Feb 21, 2016. 10am-9pm
LOCATIONEvergreen Valley High School. 3300 Quimby Road. San Jose, CA 95148
VIVO is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization serving the Vietnamese community since 1979. Our mission is to empower the underserved communities by encouraging community members to give and contribute their talents through charity, leadership, education, research, advocacy, organizational collaboration, social entrepreneurship and cultural activities.

Happy New Year from County Supervisor Cindy Chavez

Dear Neighbor:

I hope this email finds you well. As we near the beginning of the Year of the Monkey on the Lunar Calendar, I am excited to provide an update on a number of initiatives relevant to the Vietnamese American community.

Please read on for the following updates and more:
  • The County has completed the Vietnamese American Service Center Stakeholder Assessment - the presentation of our findings, next steps and celebration will be on February 11 at 5:30 pm at the County Government Center, 70 West Hedding, San Jose, CA 95110
  • The Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program has formally launched
  • We have incorporated a multi-lingual wayfinding initiative into our Language Access Policy to improve how we serve monolingual visitors at our County Government Center
We could not have accomplished any of this without your support and continued advocacy for issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community of Santa Clara County. I hope that the Year of the Monkey will continue to bring our community good health and great prosperity.

As always, please send me any questions, comments or concerns you may have.
Be well,

Cindy Chavez

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Vân-Ánh Võ - The Odyssey

Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®Award-winning composer Vân-Ánh Võ premieres a new musical epic inspired by the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The Odyssey – from Vietnam to America explores the personal and spiritual journeys of the Boat People escaping war and reflects upon the resilience of the human spirit and the price of freedom.
Conveying stories of human transformation that resonates for all, The Odyssey utilizes the beautiful sound of traditional Vietnamese instruments and lullabies to evoke the deepest sense of comfort, calm, and strength. Complimented by layers of electronic music and Western instruments, the sounds embrace the parallel experiences of people from other communities.
The performances will feature musicians from Vân-Ánh Võ Quartet (The VA’V) with Alex Kelly on cello, Jimi Nakagawa on taiko and percussions, and Dan Cantrell on accordion and piano. Guest artists include award-winning environmental sound artist and ethnomusicologist Philip Blackburn, who has published articles on Vietnamese music, and award-winning video and media artist Ian Winters.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Friday Jan 22 and Saturday Jan 23 at 8:00 PM

The Circle of Life of Navy Captain Huan Nguyen

. ... Its the circle of life All it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On pa...