Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Toys For Tots

Young Lord of San Jose - Lan Diep

After almost two years in office,  San Jose Councilman Lan Diep has managed to offend the Vietnamese-American community to a point that the community leaders are calling him out publicly.  He is not well liked in the community and often not invited to community events.  Most of the time,  if attended, he would appear as guest of  Councilman Tam Nguyen.

In a recent press release, one group called Vietnamese-American Coalition of Northern California, led by Son Pham and Truong Vu, stated that his self-absorbing arrogance, ignorance and  lack of respect for the community have caused the community to turn away from him.

Lan Diep bursted to the political scene in San Jose as a Vietnamese-American candidate and ran his campaign in 2015 by relying on his Vietnamese base heavily.  His District 4 is 54% Asian.  When in office, he basically ignores his Vietnamese supporters.  Some residents  in the community who had voted for him are now lamenting : "He forgets us now that he is in office"

At a recent town hall meeting organized by Mayor Sam Liccardo to update the Vietnamese-American community on issues as part of his outreach effort,  Diep was present and asked why he terminated a signed contract by the city with VIVO for translation and outreach services.   He said it was approved by the former Councilman Manh Nguyen; thus, he did not feel that he should honor it and there is no need for such service.

For some reasons or another, he still holds grudges against Manh Nguyen whom he defeated in 2016 election.   The contract was approved by the city staff and VIVO, a well established nonprofit organization that has served the Vietnamese-American community for over 35 years.   The budget was allocated by Manh Nguyen when he was in office and the city felt that there was a  need for such service.  The work had started at the beginning of 2015.  When Diep found out about it 9 months later, he decided to terminate the project and instructed the city staff not to pay VIVO for the work that has been done.

The city given and Diep taken back.   Yet in the town hall, he lectured the community that they are immature and need to learn how to deal with the city staff properly (?) 

His dealing with the Vietnamese-American community has been known to be Trump-like.  He would tweet tidbits to make fun and put down Councilman Tam Nguyen when he was office.   There is a certain jealousy since Nguyen was the face of the community and he was not and still is not.

When the billionaire Hoang Kieu came to town two years ago for a press conference to announce his donation of $5 million for flood relief,  many people thought Diep displayed his lack of respect,  immaturity, and eagerness to be the face of the Vietnamese-American community.

As Kieu's entourage parked their cars and Hoang Kieu walked out to the press conference staged  near the site of the flood in D7,  Diep rushed toward him and was the first to greet the billionaire.   Hoang Kieu was taken back and asked: " Who are you again?"   He was expecting Councilman Tam Nguyen and Mayor Sam Liccardo.   They were trailing behind Diep.

Nguyen was connected to Hoang Kieu by the owner of Lee's Sandwiches.  His district received the most damage during the flood.  Diep's district is not in the flood zone.

People are now calling him "Young Lord Lan Diep" for his condescending manner as well as his vindictive mentality that so far blinds his ability to serve the Vietnamese-American community.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Tyler Diep and Andrew Do

This Monday, Tyler Diep (R) was officially swore in as the Assemblyman  for California's 72nd District.  It was a  joyous moment for Tyler Diep and his family at the State Capitol in Sacramento.  His supporters chartered a bus from Orange County the night before to be on hand for his ceremony.  His old boss, former Assemblyman Van Tran (R) was also present to congratulate him.   OC Supervisor Andrew Do flew in to join him, his family and Van Tran in the Assembly Chamber Gallery for the oath of office.

It was a bruising battle for Diep against the Democratic candidate Josh Lowenthal.  Diep raised almost a $1 million while Lowenthal had $1.1 million.   There were over 24 hit pieces against him in the last three months of the election.  On top of that,  then State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) went on radio and TV accused him of not supporting her signature legislature SB 895 and urged Vietnamese-American voters to abandon him.   Meanwhile, he received strong support from Supervisor Andrew Do and Tam Le (a Vietnamese media owner).  For helping him from the beginning of his race, Diep publicly thanked Do.

With Nguyen lost her senate race to Tom Umberg (D),  Diep becomes the highest elected Vietnamese-American elected official in California.   He will have a little more than a year to prove himself before another election campaign cycle begins.  With the Blue Wave trend, no Republican is safe in Orange County.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Bitter Lost for Janet Nguyen

It is now official after more than 3 long agonizing weeks for Janet Nguyen.  It is a bitter defeat and she  has not even bother to call Tom Umberg to congratulate.    Umberg two days ago declared victory without Nguyen conceding.  The final tally is:

Orange County

118,125  - Janet Nguyen (R)

118,123 - Tom Umberg (D)

LA County

16,939 - Tom Umberg (D)

13,848 - Janet Nguyen (R)

She lost by 3,089 votes after she was ahead by more than 18,000 votes on election day.   According to her inner circle,  she is quite upset with the defeat and somewhat regretful of things that could have been done otherwise during the campaign.  She just turn 42 a few days ago so she is young and definitely will make a political comeback.   This is after all the land of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon who are well known for their political comebacks.

Nguyen and Umberg in 2022 rematch?

Friday, November 23, 2018

California Senate Republican Caucus

The outgoing California State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) made recommendation to the California Senate Republican Caucus to terminate their current pollsters.   The reason is because they provided her with erroneous polling indicating that she had a good lead going into the general election.    Meanwhile, the Democratic Caucus had their own polling and it showed that Tom Umberg (D) would at least be tie with Nguyen. 

In the primary, she beat Tom Umberg (D) by a landslide.  She received 60% of the votes while Umberg received 20%. 

The final tally of the SD34 is not known until next week.  Right now Umberg is leading by 1,862 votes.  

Nhat Tam Charity Raises Money for Paradise

Nhat Tam Charity, a local San Jose charity founded by a group of professionals in Silicon Valley has raised over $38,000 for the fire victims at Paradise.  During the week of Thanksgiving, Nhat Tam Charity members drove to the devastated town  and handed out $50 Target Gift Card to each victim.  All money raised were given directly to the victims

The fire storm totally destroyed the small town in its path.  It burned 12,000 homes  to the ground and left 24,000 people homeless.  Also there are still hundreds of people missing from the fire along with 84 known deaths.

Both local and federal governments have established valuable assistance to help the victims.  People from all over the countries are donating essential supplies.  Pallets after pallets are in storage waiting to be distribute as need.    However, according to officials, cash donations and gift cards are the most important right now.  For an idea of how to best help victims - see the link below:

To understand more about Nhat Tam Charity and their relief efforts to directly help the victims, please see the following link:

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Janet Nguyen Loses to Tom Umberg

With most the provisional ballots counted,  California State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) has lost her seat in D34 to retired Army Colonel Tom Umberg (D).   This is quite a turn of event considering Nguyen was the favorite to win as an incumbent and a popular politician in her district.  Many people think that the result is caused by the Democratic Blue Wave movement.

The currently tally is :  128,261 - Nguyen, 129,680 - Umberg.  The race is so close that the two candidates only separate by 0.38% .   As it stands, there might be an automatic machine recount but this will not likely to change the outcome.

This race was not a priority for the Democratic Party in California.  The Democratic Party has super majority in both state houses with or without this seat; thus, Umberg received little support from the party.

Janet Nguyen was confident going into the race with her large war chest and strong name recognition.  She decided to spend considerable amount of her time and campaign money trying to bring down her political enemies during her race.  

In her cross-hair were  two people that were her mentors and campaign managers for her previous  state senatorial and supervisorial  elections -  Nick Le and Andrew Do.    She also went after Tyler Diep trying to destroy his state assembly chance.   Ultimately, he won and she lost.

Tom Umberg (D) has lost the last 3 elections he entered.  Once against Janet Nguyen in 2007 for the supervisorial race by 3%.  This is his second try to win a state senate seat. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Janet Nguyen Now Is Behind By 438 votes

With about 6,000 provisional ballots left in Orange County,  State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) is now behind challenger Tom Umberg (D) by 438 votes.   In a desperate attempt to ensure all the provisional ballots are accurate, she has a team of lawyers challenges every ballots for the last 3 days. 

Nguyen was ahead by more than 16% on election day.  But just like all of the congressional races in Orange County,  Democratic votes catch up steadily and eventually overtake.  So far, all 4 Republican congressional candidates lost.  This will be the first time in 90 years where Orange County will have no Republican represent in congress.

There are still a couple thousands of ballots left in LA County.  She will likely lose another 150 to 200 votes.

California's 34th District covers Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and part of Long Beach.  She won the seat in 2014 by beating Jose Solorio 58% to 42%.

The Democratic Blue Wave really has done her in if the result holds.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Still Counting in Orange County for State Senate - D34

State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) is ahead by 1,179 votes with about 17,000 provisional ballots left to count.  Her lead of 18% on election day has shrunk to 0.8%.   However, there are not a lot of ballots left so she might escape.  She has the history of pulling the rabbit out the hat in close races.

She and Tom Umberg (D) are anxiously awaiting the final tally which might not happen before Thanksgiving. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Janet Nguyen Is Ahead by 1,848 Votes

With less than 27,000 provisional ballots in Orange County and perhaps 1,300 ballots in Los Angeles County,  Janet Nguyen (R) is leading Tom Umberg (D) by 1,848 votes in the California's 34th State Senate district race.

All the 4 congressional districts controlled by Republicans represent parts of Orange County fell to Democratic candidates.  However, at state level, all Republican controlled senate and assembly seats in Orange County held so far.  Tyler Diep (R) won his D72 Assembly race to replace Allen Travis (R) with easy despite 24 hit pieces against him within 5 months leading to the general election.

SD34 currently is too close to call.  Can Nguyen hold on to her seat as an incumbent?  The answer perhaps will be clearer tomorrow.

Both SD34 and AD27 have at least 20% or more Vietnamese-American registered voters.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Janet Nguyen In Another Close Race

After 8 days of counting, the California State Senate District 34 race is still up in the air.   The initial return on election day showed the incumbent Janet Nguyen (R) was 18% ahead of the challenger Tom Umberg (D).  Now, Nguyen is barely ahead by 1.32%. 

The trend is against Nguyen.  She has lost an average of 2% for the last 8 days.  With still about 15,000 to 20,000 VMB's and 29,000 provisional ballots, this race will not likely to end by Thanksgiving.  The official tally for now is  Janet Nguyen - 113,095 votes, Tom Umberg - 110,131 votes

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Rise of the Hispanic Political Power in San Jose

For 13 years, the district that has one of the highest concentrations of Hispanic residence never had a Hispanic councilmember to call their own.  District 7 of San Jose City composes of  about 48% Hispanic and 38% Asian,  and yet a Vietnamese candidate has always won in the last 4 elections.

Hispanic voters flexed their muscle in 2016 and it showed in the D8 election result.  Sylvia Arenas, a relative unknown, defeated the well known  Jimmy Nguyen who had the endorsement of  SVO and former Vice Mayor Rose Herrera.  D8 is 53% Asian and 25% Hispanic.  But the Donald Trump Effect drove extremely high turnout of Hispanic voters and helped Sylvia won the race by 97 votes.

Currently, the San Jose City Council has 4 Hispanic councilmembers and with Esparza,  history will be made as this would be the first time we have a Hispanic majority-minority City Council.

The rise of Hispanic political power is now reaching its potential  in San Jose where Hispanic is  about 33% of the total population.  The Hispanic population is diverse and concentrated in D5 (62%), D3(52%) and D7(48%).

For Vietnamese-American community, it will take another 6 years at least before any Vietnamese candidate to have a chance in D7 and D8. 

For District 4, incumbent Councilmember Lan Diep is safe since D4 has 61% Asian.  

Sunday, November 11, 2018

An Election Disappointment for Vietnamese-American Candidates in San Jose

The clock has struck at midnight and it is now but all official,  incumbent City Councilmember Tam Nguyen has lost to Maya Esparza.  With mostly provisional ballots left to count, he is trailing by 654 votes.

In the first head to head competition with Esparza four years ago, there were a total of 13,675 ballots cast.  This time so far 15,194 ballots has been counted with another approximately 2,000 ballots left.  This will end up to be the highest midterm election turnout ever in the history of D7.

There were other Vietnamese-American candidates in this year election.  Here are some results -

-  Richarch Tran won re-election for Mayor of Milpitas

-  Van Truong lost city council election of Milpitas

-  Van Le won school board seat for East Side Union High School. 

-  Both Scott Pham and Huong Nguyen lost their re-election bids for SJ Evergreen College.

-  The controversial Khanh Tran is hanging on by 139 votes.  With almost 4,000 ballots left, can he pull it out and  be re-elected as trustee of Alum Rock Union School District.

Maya Esparza Winning Rematch Against Tam Nguyen

With less than 1,500 ballots left, mostly provisional, Maya Esparza seems to have won the rematch against incumbent D7 San Jose City Councilmember Tam Nguyen.   This is district where Vietnamese-American and Hispanic voters dominate the electorate.   Each group represents 1/3 of the total registered voters.

Four years ago in 2014, Nguyen won by 209 votes with a total of 13,675 ballots cast.  This year, with 14,214 cast (and still counting),  Nguyen is behind by 397 votes.  Nguyen will have a tough time catching up since these remaining ballots tend to favor Esparza.

For years, experts have recited about the power of the swing vote of Latino and Asian communities.  Actually, in cities like San Jose, where there is a majority-minority, the white vote is the swing vote.

In San Jose, Hispanics compose 35% of the population, while Asians is 33% and the non-Hispanic whites is 28%.   There are currently 4 Hispanic councilmembers.  With the likely addition of Esparza, San Jose will make history of having 5 Hispanic majority presiding the City Council.

Note that there are five states where there majority - minority as of 2016 - Hawaii, New Mexico, California, Texas and Nevada.  Majority-minority is defined as population is composed of less than 50% non-Hispanic whites.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Tam Nguyen vs. Maya Esparza II and Another Nail Biter

With 9,975 ballots cast, Esparza is trailing Nguyen by 13 votes for the  District 7 San Jose City Council seat.  The trend is in her favor as she was trailing Nguyen by 1,026 votes at the beginning of last night.   There are still over 6,000 ballots to be counted.   Everybody expected this to be a close race just like 4 years.  Esparza lost by less than 200 votes in 2014.  This rematch is nothing but fill of drama so far with Nguyen now the incumbent. 

There will likely be a recount and so this election might not be over until the end of November, it seems.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Janet Nguyen Attacking GOP Candidates to Show Off Her Power

In Tossup State Senate Race, Janet Nguyen Has A Curious Target: Fellow Vietnamese-American GOPs

Locked in a competitive re-election campaign, Republican State Senator Janet Nguyen is lobbing harsh attacks.

And while that's to be expected in the final days of a hard-fought campaign for one California's few remaining tossup seats, the target of Nguyen's harshest attacks is directed at fellow Vietnamese-American Republicans. 

A recent radio ad funded by Nguyen’s campaign features a blistering attack on Tyler Diệp, a fellow Vietnamese-American Orange County Republican in the middle of a close race for the 72nd Assembly District. Nguyen has bitterly opposed Diep for more than a decade, dating back to her feud with her former mentor Assemblyman Van Tran. 

The Nguyen-funded ad claims that those who support her Democratic opponent Tom Umberg “also support Tom Hayden.” 

In addition to an attack on Diep, the ad includes false and out-of-context quotes to imply that Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, Nguyen’s former chief of staff, supports Communist officials. The Nguyen audio clips were taken from a speech Do gave in defense of Nguyen. 

Nguyen Funds Fountain Valley Hit Pieces 

On October 12, a Merced County-based political action committee based in Hilmar spent $7,297.64 in campaign mailers attacking Republican Vietnamese-American candidate Nick Le Cong, according to state campaign finance disclosure filings. The same committee spent an additional $3,621.30 on October 17th to level more attacks on the Fountain Valley candidate. 
Why would a political action committee based in Hilmarspend nearly $11,000 on a city council campaign more than 300 miles away? 

On September 15, the PAC accepted a $25,000 campaign contribution from Janet Nguyen for Senate 2018. Fountain Valley is Nguyen’s hometown.

Nguyen Endorses Democratic Candidates. 

Nguyen has publicly endorsed Mima Velasque (D) over Cecilia Iglesias (R) for Santa Ana city council.  Nguyen also endorsed Jamison Power (D) and Tai Do (D) over other Republican Vietnamese candidates for Westminster city council seats.

In Garden Grove, she went after city council candidate Duy Nguyen with attacks to help his opponent.

Likely to Hurt Vietnamese-American Voter Turnout

The outcome of Nguyen’s attacks could have fallout on other campaigns. Republicans are defending several congressional seats in Orange County and likely need Vietnamese-American voters to turnout in larger numbers. 
Political scientists frequently say that negative campaign suppresses. A 1999 study by professors at Arizona State University found that “voters tend to stay home” when campaigns devolve into negative attacks.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lawsuit Against State Senator Janet Nguyen?

With the upcoming general election finally getting some attention, a strange thing happens in Orange County and State Senator Janet Nguyen (R). 

Currently, she is an incumbent state senator (D34) running basically unopposed since her opponent, Tom Umberg (D), is not serious candidate by any stretch of imagination.   She has a war chest of close to $1.3 million while he has less than 1/10 in his campaign fund.   The Democratic Party has no interest in this race and is not supporting him financially.  He lost to Janet Nguyen 11 years ago in an OC Supervisor race and has not been in politics since.

With all the Vietnamese votes behind her, she is a sure in for landslide win.    However, whether it is paranoia or hubris, she sent out a hit piece to the Vietnamese community calling him a communist sympathizer because 26 years ago, he worked with Tom Hayden, a state legislature who opposed the Vietnam War.

Now, he is a retired Colonel in the Army after tour of duty as a paratrooper and a special prosecutor of terror suspects.    He served over 30 years  and  had top secret / SCI security clearance.  His wife is Brigadier General Robin Umberg.

To many people, this is a far stretch by Nguyen to call him a communist / communist sympathizer. 

But again, Nguyen and her cohorts have been attacking Westminster City Councilmember Tyler Diep as a communist sympathizer for the last 9 months, trying to derail Diep's state assembly campaign.  The reason for this defamation, Diep works for a Vietnamese TV station that is mostly owned by Thuy Nga Paris By Night, the show entertainment production company that hired singers and actors who are also performing in VN.

Umberg's lawyer recently sent out a cease and desist letter.  Nguyen did not response so now the ball is in Umberg's court.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mai Khoi and The Dissidents

NationalSawdust+ in Brooklyn, NY is organizing a music event for Mai Kho and The Dissidents on Tuesday, Sept 11, 2018 at 7:30 PM.

The event is being promoted as follows by NationalSawdust+

NationalSawdust+ presents an evening of international music, literature, and conversation with Mai Khoi and The Dissidents, who make their US debut with this program. Khoi — often dubbed the “Lady Gaga of Vietnam” — has been persecuted for her open criticism of the state, particularly as she evolved from her pop star roots into an experimental folk artist chanting lyrics infused with themes of resistance and protest. Together with fellow activist musicians Quyền Thiện Đắc and Ngyugen Duc Minh, Mai Khoi and The Dissidents are a luminary voice captivating audiences interationally. They will be joined on the bill by the dazzling spoken word poet Paul Tran, winner of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam. The event, presented in partnership with Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and PEN America, will feature a live performance and a reading, followed by a discussion and audience Q+A with NS+ curator Elena Park.
Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) is an initiative of PEN America dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the field of organizations that support them. This event is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Artistic Freedom Initiative.
The event, presented in partnership with Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) and PEN America, will feature a live performance and a reading, followed by a discussion and audience Q+A with NationalSawdust+ curator Elena Park.
About NationalSawdust+
NationalSawdust+ is a lively performance and conversation series in which luminaries from across disciplines share their passion for music and explore ideas, making surprising connections. Curated by Elena Park, the series taps artists and thinkers from theater, film and visual art, literature, science and beyond, to create insightful programs that reflect their own interests. Whether through live performances, conversations, or readings, each program has its own alchemy, engaging the audience in new and unexpected ways. Often topical, and always imaginative, NationalSawdust+ is an ideal space for those with curiosity, adventure, and vision.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Janet Nguyen Stepping Up Her Attacks on Tyler Diep

What in the world is going on with State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) and  her vengeance and hatred against Westminster City Councilmember Tyler Diep (R)?

Tyler Diep is running for the 72nd state assembly seat left open by Travis Allen (R).  In the June primary, he came in second behind the lone Democrat Josh Lowenthal.  The race saw Josh Lowenthal (D) pitted against four Republican candidates.  This is a Republican dominated district that covers part of Westminster and Fountain Valley, a typical Vietnamese-American political strong hold.

Janet Nguyen endorsed  Greg Haskins, an unknown in the Vietnamese-American community and behind the scene asked Long Pham, a perennial straw candidate, to put his name in the ballot.   Nguyen was hoping these two candidates would be able to take the Republican votes away from Diep.  To ensure there would be enough fire power, from Sacramento, she lobbied $180,000 of PAC money from California Chamber of Commerce to send out mailers attacking Tyler Diep.

The cohorts of Nguyen also went on Vietnamese media and even staged a demonstration claiming that Diep is a communist sympathizer.   It is ironic since this group of anti-communist extremists -Phan Ky Nhon and cohorts.  Ironically, this is the same group  that had accused Nguyen of being a communist sympathizer for over a decade until 2016.   Now,  they are major allies along with the controversial Garden Grove City Councilmember Phat Bui. 

Why Diep is a communist sympathizer?  He works as a commentator for the local TV channel called VietFace TV.    The 24 hour TV channel is partially owned by Thuy Nga Paris, a popular entertainment production company that produces and promotes 4 live musical shows annually for the last 40 years.   In order to have enough shows to meet the viewers' demand, VietFace TV often purchases shows from Vietnam.  In the eyes of the extremists, this is dealing with the communist government.  Also, Thuy Nga Paris performers are also doing their gigs in Vietnam; thus, this is another  proof that Thuy Nga Paris has ties with the communist government.   And because Diep is working for VietFace TV which is partially owned by Thuy Nga Paris, he is a communist sympathizer.

Diep and his campaign thought this convoluted logic was so ridiculous that they did not even bother to response.

A week after the primary,  as the extremists still harping about how they let a communist sympathizer won the race, Nguyen sent out an ultimatum to the OC Republican Party Chair (Fred Whitaker) demanding that the party refund her $2,500 donation to 2018 Flag Day (a major fund raising event for OC GOP).   The reason is because the OC GOP would not take back their endorsement of Tyler Diep as she had demanded.

Diep and his supporters finally had enough of the spoiler candidate, the false accusation, the strong- arm tactics to cut off the OC GOP's support.  Their first counter move is to discredit the flimsy accusation of being communist sympathizer by recounting the story of Janet Nguyen and her relationship with the Vietnamese Consulate in San Francisco.  His supporters cried out why attacking him as a communist when you should look at your own Janet Nguyen.

They went on radio and sent out email telling an incredible story -

On July 6, 2006, Janet Nguyen as residing councilmember of Garden Grove, along with her supporter, took a flight from Long Beach to Oakland.   From there she drove  to SF and had lunch with the Consulate General Anh Tuan Tran.   According to her companion, the purpose of the meeting was to ask for fund raising for her supervisorial campaign.   A day later, businessman Eric Le met with her at Monterey Park and donated $5,000.   Eric Le is a close friend of Consulate General Anh Tuan Tran and has  business in Vietnam.  Subsequently, he raised thousands of dollars for her from his business friends who were heavily invested in Vietnam.   She apparently met with Anh Tuan Tran a number of times afterward at Orange Hill via the arrangement by Eric Le.

On June 22,  2007, when the President Nguyen Minh Triet of VN visited Dana Point and had the reception at St. Regis Hotel, Eric Le was one of the main hosts and organizers.   By then as OC supervisor,  Janet Nguyen joined the protest that was organized mainly by Phan Ky Nhon and his group (yes, the same aforementioned extremists).  However, there is an interesting twist to this hot and humid summer afternoon.  According to a witness, while with the demonstration, she made phone call to Eric Le to give him an update on what was going outside the hotel with the demonstration.

TD supporters are waiting for Nguyen to response to the story.  In the mean time, they start to point out her indifferent record for the last 4 years.

There is an interesting point to note about the Vietnamese community and their politics.  Janet Nguyen has used her power and influence trying to destroy candidates before as the state highest elected Vietnamese-American official.  She fervently attacked OC Supervisor Andrew Do during his 2016 re-election campaign and now Tyler Diep and his state assembly campaign.   Yet, they are not even her rivalry or opponent since none are vying for her state senatorial seat.

Many Viet voters in OC are asking why Janet Nguyen is using her political power to divide the community.    She wants absolute power and control of the community?   Or this is a personal vendetta and really about her self-satisfaction and ego trip?   Whatever it is, she better be successful at it or she will be losing a lot of political leverage while spending her political credit negatively.  Well, Andrew Do won his re-election despite Nguyen's all out effort to derail his campaign. 

Latest news -

Rumor has it, she will soon endorse Josh Lowenthal (D) against Tyler Diep (R).  As a Republican elected official, she has endorsed Democratic candidates against her own party's choices before.  In 2016,  she endorsed Michelle Martinez (D) against Andrew Do (R).

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, Rest in Peace

It is sad to hear that the famous chef, author and most of all a gifted story teller who took TV viewers around the world to explore cultures through cuisines has died.  He apparently committed suicide in his hotel room in France.

In his famous TV series " Part Unknown", he traveled in many places worldwide to film about food dishes and the people and cultural the dishes came from.  But his first love as he would fondly called it is the once capital city of Vietnam  - Hue.   Matter of facts he would made two more episodes about Vietnam and its cuisine.  He would say that Vietnam is a place he would visit again and again for the food and people.    In the 2016 season premier, he visited Hanoi and sat down President Obama for a beer and ate the popular Hanoi noodles with grilled pork.  It was an instant classic.

President Obama tweeted about the meal he shared with the chef:

“Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him. 

Here are some of the links of his Vietnam visits

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Lottery Golden Triangle of America

Within 9 months of 2014,  three Northern California residents hit some of the largest lottery jackpots in history. 

In January,  Steve Tran, a truck driver, split $648 million with Ira Cury from Atlanta.  He bought the ticket at a gift shop in East San Jose.  A few months later in April, retiree Raymond Buxton won $425 million.  The winning ticket was bought at a gas station in Milpitas which is less than 10 miles from the gift shop.  Vinh Nguyen bought the winning $228 million jackpot ticket at grocery store in San Mateo which is about 30 miles from San Jose.

The total value of all three tickets are $977 million.  And now 4 years later in July 2018, a winning jackpot of $543 million will be shared by 11 co-workers at a financial institution.   The ticket, as you guess it, was bought at a liquor store in San Jose, less than 2 miles form the gift shop that sold the $648 million jackpot ticket. 

Just for the last 4 years, over $1.5 billion of lucky money has won here in the Bay Area.  If all other winning jackpots are considered for the last 12 years,  the Bay Area has captured almost $1.8 billion of lottery jackpot.   Not too bad for a place that are already rich with multi-millionaires.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Unofficial Election Results

 San Jose City Council, D7
  Precincts Reporting:  100%

Tam Nguyen                        31.85%       2,275
 Maya Esparza                      22.51%     1,608
 Van T. Le                             14.17%      1,012
Thomas Duong                     12.14%         867
Jonathan Flemming              10.68%         763
Omar Vasquez                       5.59%          399
Hoang Chris Le                      3.05%          218

Completed Precincts: 231 of 231
Vote CountPercentage
TYLER DIEP (REP)16,68329.6%
GREG HASKIN (REP)11,51220.4%
LONG PHAM (REP)4,4918.0%

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Election Early Results

City Council District 7, San Jose

TAM NGUYEN                                        36.64%      1,942

MAYA ESPARZA                                    18.98%       1,064

VAN T. LE                                                15.93%          893

THOMAS DUONG                                 12.65%          709

JONATHAN BENJAMIN FLEMING     9.67%            547

OMAR VASQUEZ                                  4.69%             263

HOANG ''CHRIS'' LE                             3.35%             188


Member of State Assembly 72nd District  (23 of 231 Precinct)

Josh Lowenthal (D)        34.1%    10,678
Tyler Diep (R)                33.2%    10,411
Greg Haskin (R)             19.5%     6,124
Long Pham  (R)              9.0%       2,808
Richard Laird  (R)           4.2%      1,316

Thursday, May 31, 2018

San Jose D7 City Council Race

Here we go again, another hotly contested race pitting 4 Vietnamese-Americans against each others and 3 other candidates ( 2 Hispanic and 1 White candidates)

Current Councilmember Tam Nguyen is having a time of his life in fending off three Vietnamese-American challengers for that crucial Vietnamese voting bloc that makes up about 33% of the overall  registration. 

He is being accused of being a communist sympathizer, unethical lawyer and now false campaign advertising.  The Vietnamese-American community is divided and without a united voting bloc, CM Tam Nguyen has no hope of winning the race outright in the primary.

So what is the conventional wisdom now that we are 5 days away?

CM Tam Nguyen so far has raised the most money.   Here is the breakdown of the top three money raised (not including the money that candidates loan to themselves) -  Tam Nguyen (~$91,000),  Maya Esparza (~$78,000) and Van Le (~$48,000). 

CM Tam Nguyen also has a very dedicated group of 20 volunteers who have been walking the precinct for him since the beginning  of the year.   And he has a strong name recognition in D7. 

Despite his shortcomings, he is actually well liked for his humility and easy going personality. 

His opponents are strong and will split the votes within the Vietnamese-American community.  Van Le has her supporters and she has shown in 2014, she can attract votes.   However, this is her 5th try; will the voters just feel tire of her and her many failed attempts?

Chris Le admitted that he is spoiler.  He did not even bother to raise money or precinct walking.  Thomas Duong is new kid on the bloc with no records of community activism or participation.   Despite such inexperience and lack of record, the Mercury News and SVO (the other name for Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce) are endorsing him just to further splinter the Vietnamese-American voting bloc. 

Maya Esparza is being pushed to run by  South Bay Labor Council.  Does she really want to give up a cushy union job that she cannot be fired from and that pays more than $150,000 a year?  Not really.

Labor is doing all the walking, mailing and fund raising.  They just want to get back at CM Tam Nguyen for not voting for low income housing and other Labor's related agendas.

With such a low turnout expected (with less than 1/3 of the registered voters will cast their ballots), CM Tam Nguyen and Maya Esparza will likely be the top two candidates to go on to the general election.  However,  the wild card factor has always been, will the Hispanic voters go to vote?  If not, we might have two Vietnamese-American candidates in the general election.

Goldman Prize Winner - Nguy thi Khanh

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organisations and individuals.   The prize is considered to be the Nobel Prize for environmental conservation and protection activism.

The 2018 Goldman Prize winners include the first Vietnamese ever to receive the award - Nguy thi Khanh.

The other winners are Francia Márquez, a leader of the Afro-Colombian community; Claire Nouvian, a tireless defender of the oceans and marine life; Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid who built a broad coalition to stop South Africa’s massive nuclear deal with Russia; Manny Calonzo who spearheaded an advocacy campaign that persuaded the Philippine government to enact a national ban on the production, use, and sale of lead paint; and LeeAnne Walters who led a citizens’ movement that tested the tap water in Flint, Michigan, and exposed the Flint water crisis, compelling the local, state, and federal governments to take action to ensure access to clean drinking water.

See excerpt below from an article written by Do Minh Tam and Lars Blume for Energy Transition.

"...Ms. Nguy Thi Khanh was nominated for her work to slow down coal power expansion in Vietnam. For Khanh, Vietnam’s energy future is at a crossroads and every decision and every dollar invested today will be felt in Vietnam and in our earth’s climate for decades to come. When the Vietnamese National Assembly decided not to pursue nuclear power in 2016, Khanh and GreenID saw that changes for the better are achievable.
Born into a rural family in Bac Am, a village in northern Vietnam, and growing up near a coal plant, Ms. Khanh experienced the pollution and dust from coal operations firsthand and witnessed many people in her community developing cancer as a result. She was always passionate about the environment and after graduating from college began working on water conservation issues and community development for a small Vietnamese nonprofit organization.
In 2011, Ms. Khanh founded Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID) in order to promote sustainable energy development in Vietnam, as well as good water and air governance and green development. She also established the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA), a network of 11 Vietnamese and international environmental and social organizations that collaborate on regional energy issues. GreenID helped develop local energy plans to both support the uptake of renewable technologies and manage pollution.
This helped households and entire communities to minimize pollution of rivers, turn waste into energy, and acquire new, affordable technologies such as solar lights and worm farms. The success of the work has shown that there are very real, effective and affordable alternatives to energy from large hydropower and coal-fired power...."

Friday, May 25, 2018

Phong La for Alameda County Assessor

Of all the Vietnamese-American  candidates running for offices in California, Phong La is running a rather quiet campaign within the Vietnamese-American community.

His county covers a 14 cities including Oakland with a population of  over 1.6 million.   The county assessor  is not usually a highly contested seat.  It is not unusual for an incumbent to serve decades in office.  The seat is open after the incumbent decided to retire after 17 years.

Phong La is running against two other candidates.  He has the backing of Alameda County Democratic Party and over 50 elected officials from US representatives, state-elected officials, county-elected officials to mayors and council members.

He is both a tax lawyer and a co-owner of a machine  & metal shop (with his family). 

With the demographics of 43% White, 27% Asian-American, 12% Black and 22% Hispanic, his chance of winning is very high since the other two candidates will split the White vote.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

SB 895 - Establish a Vietnamese-American Refugee Experience Curriculum in School

About 300  Vietnamese-Americans showed up in Sacramento for the State Senate hearing on the SB 895 sponsored by State Senator Janet Nguyen and co-author by Assembly Member Ash Kalra.  

This bill would require the commission to develop and submit to the state board, on or before December 31, 2022, and the state board to adopt, modify, or revise, on or before March 31,2023, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, as specified, for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The bill would encourage a school district, charter school, or county office of education that maintains any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer a standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to offer a course of study based on the model curriculum. 



Introduced by Senator Nguyen
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Kalra)

January 12, 2018

An act to add Section 51207 to the Education Code, relating to pupil instruction.


SB 895, as amended, Nguyen. Pupil instruction: Vietnamese American refugee experience: model curriculum.

Existing law requires the adopted course of study for grades 7 to 12, inclusive, to include, among other subjects, the social sciences. Existing law encourages instruction in the area of social sciences that may include instruction on the Vietnam War, including a component drawn from personal testimony of Southeast Asians who were involved in the Vietnam War and men and women who contributed to the war effort on the homefront, as specified. Existing law requires the State Board of Education, with the assistance of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to establish a list of textbooks and other instructional materials that highlight the contributions of minorities in the development of California and the United States. Existing law establishes the Instructional Quality Commission and requires the commission to, among other things, recommend curriculum frameworks to the state board.
This bill would require the commission to develop and submit to the state board, on or before December 31, 2020, 2022, and the state board to adopt, modify, or revise, on or before March 31, 2021, 2023, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, as specified, for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. The bill would encourage a school district, charter school, or county office of education that maintains any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer a standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to offer a course of study based on the model curriculum. The bill would require the model curriculum to be developed with participation from specified entities, including, among others, Vietnamese American refugees and Vietnamese American cultural centers and community groups located in California. The bill would provide that implementation of its provisions is subject to the receipt of grants, donations, or other financial support from private or public sources for its purposes, including, but not limited to, an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute.

Vote: majority   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: yes   Local Program: no  




 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The State of California is committed to providing excellent educational opportunities to all of its pupils.
(b) There are 92 languages other than English spoken throughout the state, with the primary languages being Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
(c) There is a growing body of academic research that shows the importance of culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum.
(d) The state’s educational standards should be guided by core values of equity, inclusiveness, and universally high expectations.
(e) The state is committed to its obligation to ensure its youth are college prepared and career ready, while graduating 100 percent of its pupils.
(f) The implementation of various culturally relevant courses within California’s curriculum that are A–G approved, with the objective of preparing all pupils to be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures, will close the achievement gap, reduce pupil truancy, increase pupil enrollment, reduce dropout rates, and increase graduation rates.
(g) For the past 40 years, Vietnamese American refugees have enriched the social, cultural, and economic landscape of California and have achieved success in many professional fields, including business, politics, law, science, education, literature, journalism, sports, and entertainment.
(h) The state encourages the participation of pupils, community members, and members of California Vietnamese American communities in the development of a model curriculum that recognizes the importance of survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese-American Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.
(i) The state currently encourages the incorporation of survivor, rescuer, liberator, and witness oral testimony into the teaching of human rights, the Holocaust, and genocide, including the Armenian, Cambodian, Darfur, and Rwandan genocides.
(j) Currently, the instructional resources available for use in California public schools do not include sufficient oral testimony from survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in the United States and especially in California.
(k) The state acknowledges the need to elevate tragic personal stories like those of the Vietnamese boat people who, after the fall of Saigon in 1975, risked their lives escaping communism only to spend weeks or months at sea battling storms, diseases, starvation, and pirates.
(l) The state acknowledges the importance of the history and experience of the more than 250,000 members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces who were sent to reeducation camps after the fall of Saigon, where many spent up to 17 years in captivity and more than 20,000 died before they were released.
(m) The state acknowledges that oral histories can help pupils better relate to and understand different perspectives in curriculum by providing first-person accounts from individuals who have experienced some of the most tragic times in international history, helping the subject become more than statistics on a page.
(n) The County of Orange, along with the City of San Jose, are home to the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam.
(o) It is in the best interest of all people and the future of this state to ensure that each school district, charter school, and county office of education has access to a model curriculum and culturally accurate instructional materials relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, including the experiences of the Vietnamese boat people and the members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51207 is added to the Education Code, to read:
 (a) The Instructional Quality Commission shall develop, and the state board shall adopt, modify, or revise, a model curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, that began with the fall of Saigon in 1975, including oral testimony of survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, including Vietnamese-American Vietnamese American refugees, Vietnamese boat people, and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, to ensure quality standards and materials for this area of study. The model curriculum shall be developed with participation from Vietnamese American cultural centers and community groups located in California, survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese American refugees, and a group of representatives of local educational agencies, a majority of which are kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, and teachers who have relevant experience or education backgrounds in the study and teaching of Vietnamese American history. The model curriculum developed pursuant to this subdivision shall include curriculum appropriate for use in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.
(b) The model curriculum shall be written as a guide to allow school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education to adapt their related courses to best meet the educational needs of their communities. The model curriculum developed for use in high schools shall include examples of courses offered by local educational agencies that have been approved as meeting the A–G admissions requirements of the University of California and the California State University, including, to the extent possible, course outlines for those courses.
(c) When teaching about the Vietnam War and the postwar period, the Legislature encourages the incorporation of writings that represent all perspectives of the refugee experience, including oral testimony by survivors, rescuers, and liberators of the Vietnam War, and Vietnamese refugees.
(d) The model curriculum shall include discussion of the Vietnamese boat people and members of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, the reasons behind the exodus, the hardships faced by the Vietnamese people attempting to flee who were apprehended by the communist government, and the conditions that led to the resettlement of Vietnamese people in America.
(e) On or before December 31, 2020, 2022, the Instructional Quality Commission shall submit the model curriculum to the state board, and the state board shall adopt, modify, or revise the model curriculum on or before March 31, 2021. 2023.
(f) The Instructional Quality Commission shall provide a minimum of 45 days for public comment before submitting the model curriculum to the state board.
(g) Beginning in the school year following the adoption of the model curriculum pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (e), each school district, charter school, or county office of education maintaining any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that does not otherwise offer standards-based Vietnamese American studies curriculum relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience, Vietnamese boat people, and the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, is encouraged to offer to pupils a course of study relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience based on the model curriculum. A school district, charter school, or county office of education that serves pupils in any of grades 7 to 12, inclusive, that elects to offer a course of study in the Vietnamese American refugee experience pursuant to this subdivision, shall offer the course as an elective in the social sciences or world history and shall make the course available in at least one year during a pupil’s enrollment in grades 7 to 12, inclusive.
(h) It is the intent of the Legislature that local educational agencies that maintain high schools submit course outlines for studies relative to the Vietnamese American refugee experience for approval as A-G A–G courses.
(i) For purposes of this section, “oral testimony” means the firsthand accounts of significant historical events presented in a format that includes, but is not limited to, in-person testimony, video, or a multimedia option, such as a DVD or an online video.
(j) The implementation of this section is subject to the receipt of grants, donations, or other financial support from private or public sources for its purposes, including, but not limited to, an appropriation in the annual Budget Act or another statute.

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