Monday, September 20, 2021

The Need for A Representative San Jose Redistricting Boundaries

 

According to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters -

" Every 10 years, the United States Constitution and California’s State Constitution require federal, state and local district divisional boundary lines to be reviewed and redrawn, if necessary, to account for population growth and movement within the entire boundaries of the district. This process is known as Redistricting and is based on the results of the decennial US Census. 

The results of the redistricting process may change the congressional, state senate or assembly district or local supervisorial, city council or school district subdivision elections in order to have equal representation."

Currently, the San Jose Redistricting Advisory Commission is tasked of recommending boundary options that would have equal representation for San Jose residents.   The committee is holding public hearings and asking for inputs from residents.  Ultimately the City Council will vote to approve / disapprove the recommendations of the committee and an ordinance establishing new city council district boundaries.

San Jose City is currently the 10th largest city in the US with a population of 1,013,240 according the 2020 Census.  Asian is the largest racial group for the first time representing 35.9%.  Hispanic population is 31.6% and white alone / non-Hispanic is 25.7%.  And yet the city has not a single Asian American on the City Council representing 10 total districts.  There are currently 5 Hispanic city councilmembers which represent 50% of the City Council seats.  

 The demographic profiles of each of the 10 districts and the respective current representatives might shed light into why there are such lack of representation by Asian-American community.  Since the 2020 demographic profile data are not available yet from the city staff, we will use the 2010 data which can provide adequate background to gain some insights into the current political representation.  




Presently, there are three minority-majority districts where Latino is the majority and hence have Hispanic elected officials.   District 5 is traditionally a Hispanic district with all of its elected officials are Latino in the last 20 years.   Four other minority-majority district where White is the majority and  the elected officials are white (3) and black (1).   Districts 8 and 4 are mostly  Asian demographic but the voters elected Hispanic and White candidates.  This leave District 2 where Hispanic and White are split equally with Asian trailing.  It is not a surprise to see a Latino elected but that district can go either way base on the demographic distribution, White or Latino with  Asian as swing vote.  

The current lack of political representation by Asian-American despite their high voter turnout can be contributed to a number of factors; but the fact of the matter is with the current demographic distributions, there are 3 minority-major districts of Latino,  4 minority-majority districts for White, and only 2 for Asian.  District 2 has an equal majority of White and Hispanic residents.

Asian-American community has been so far not actively mobilized to address the inequality  demographic distribution between districts and the lack of representation.   Nevertheless, the commission should study the issue, understand the legitimate concerns under the Voting Right Act, and recommend new boundaries to reflect the population demographic so that a fair representation can be achieved for the Asian-American community.






Sunday, September 19, 2021

The Myth of High Turnout By Vietnamese-American Voters

 With 95% of the precincts reported for the recall election, Santa Clara County has a turnout of about 55.6%.  This is higher than the statewide of 48%.  It is impressive considering that Gavin Newsom campaign was not active in getting out the vote in Santa Clara County.

A detailed analysis by Viet Poll Media show some interesting data for the recall election, granted these are not the final numbers since it will take time to certify the results but they are indicative: 




The Vietnamese-American registered voters are about 8.7% of the total registered voters in the county.  In San Jose, they are 13.3% since most of the eligible voters live in San Jose, the largest city in county with a population of a little over 1 million.  In comparison, Latino is 17.5% of total in Santa Clara County but 21.6% in San Jose.  

The data show that Vietnamese and Latino have the lowest turnout of all the major demographics, with the Vietnamese the worse,  trailing over 12 percentage points.   This is not surprising since the numbers from the 2016 and 2020  general elections showed a similar trend.   Only 68% Viet turnout in 2016 vs. a total turnout of 83%.  In 2020, a hotly contested election with Trump driving voters out in drove,  78% of eligible Viet actually turned out in comparison to the overall 85%.  Meanwhile, the Chinese and East Indian had turnout over 90%.

The data speaks for themselves, the myth that Viet voters have unusual high turnout is nothing but a myth. Despite all the raucous and active rallies and events with huge participation, when it is time to cast ballot, the Viet voters are either dead last or in comparable to the Latino, a community that traditionally is known for low turnout.  





Sunday, September 12, 2021

Landslide Victory for Newsom Against the Recall

 With more than 2.1 million Californians signed petitions supporting a recall of  popular governor before his policies to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, the poll over the summer showed Governor Gavin Newson only barely surviving the recall. Now with less than 3 days to go,  he will likely be not only the first California to survive a recall election, but with a possible landslide victory.  

With over 7.5 million votes cast, 52%  Democrats, 27% Republicans and 21% Independents, the chances for the Republican driven recall is unlikely to success.  Little Saigon Inside polling research indicates  59% voting no on recall.  This number will end up to be lower to but still be enough to beat back the recall handily. 

The irony of course is this whether win or lose, the same cast of characters will be running in the 2022 gubernatorial election. It is after all the wild wild west and there is a lot of  much ado nothing elections.

Amassing over $70 million to spend against the recall, Newsom has shifted the momentum and made inroads with his base by focusing on his opponents.  The recall will cost the state about $220 million and this begs the question of it is about time to change the recall election process in California so that it will not be easily manipulated by misguided political operators.

A number of suggestions to stop the inflation of recalls in California have been raised like increase the threshold of signatures to 15% instead of 12%.   Whatever the solution might be, rest assure that we will have more frivolous recalls and ballot measures  than ever since there are so much money pouring into politics nowadays.   In 2020, over $1.1 billion spent in California local elections alone.  And for the record, $14.4 billion for the presidential election.   It is definitely good time to be a political consultant.   






Tuesday, April 13, 2021

33 US CONGRESSMEMBERS ASKING BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO STOP DEPORTATION OF VIETNAMESE REFUGEES

 


                                                                                                                   April 13, 2021



The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas

Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

245 Murray Lane, S.W.

Washington, DC 20528

The Honorable Tae Johnson

Acting Director

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

20 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th floor

Washington, D.C. 2052

The Honorable Tae Johnson

Acting Director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

20 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th floor

Washington, D.C. 20529

Dear Secretary Mayorkas and Acting Director Johnson,

We write to express our deep concern about the detention and deportation of Vietnamese refugees, specifically reports that 33 refugees were deported on March 15, 2021 after a new repatriation agreement was signed between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. While we await the details of this situation, we want to unequivocally express our opposition to any agreement that would allow the repatriation of Vietnamese refugees who arrived before 1995, as many of us have done before.

In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands of Southeast Asian refugees fled to the U.S. to seek freedom from political persecution and the Communist take-over of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Many of those who fled fought alongside or supported U.S. forces during the war. Others were born in refugee camps and have never set foot in the country to which they currently face deportation.

Upon their arrival in the U.S., these refugees, many of them young children or teenagers, were resettled in struggling neighborhoods without support or resources to cope with significant trauma from the war. As a result, some made mistakes that funneled them into the criminal justice system. However, these individuals have served their time.

In 2008, the United States and Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. This longstanding agreement, which was honored by both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama, did not outline a bilateral agreement regarding the deportation of any Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States before the two countries reestablished diplomatic relations on July 12, 1995. [Article 2, Para. 2]

Reports have indicated that in February 2021, a new MOU was signed to govern the repatriation of pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants, and that on March 15, 2021, an Omni Air Charter flight was scheduled at 7:45pm PST to leave Dallas and headed to Hanoi, Vietnam with 33 individuals.

We request that you confirm the validity of these reports, and, if true, provide us with a copy of the new agreement. We also request that you confirm the validity of reports that 33 Vietnamese refugees, including some who arrived in the United States prior to July 12, 1995, were deported to Vietnam on March 15th, 2021. If true, we request that you provide us with the names of the deported individuals.

We also encourage you to meet with community organizations, and impacted individuals on the issue of Southeast Asian refugee removal.

Thank you and we look forward to your answers.

Sincerely,

________________________

Alan Lowenthal

MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Elizabeth Warren Mazie K. Hirono

/s/ UNITED STATES SENATOR /s/ UNITED STATES SENATOR

Jerrold Nadler Zoe Lofgren

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Nikema Williams Barbara Lee

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Ritchie Torres Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Seth Moulton Cindy Axne

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Adam Smith James P. McGovern

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Ayanna Pressley Ro Khanna

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Grace Meng Bonnie Watson Coleman

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Jan Schakowsky J. Luis Correa

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Ilhan Omar Eleanor Holmes Norton

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Jake Auchincloss Raul M. Grijalva

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Juan Vargas Pramila Jayapal

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS /s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Scott H. Peters Lori Trahan

/s/ MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Shaping of the San Jose Mayoral Race In 2022

 San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez recently reached out to a couple of Vietnamese-American organizations asking their supports for his mayoral bid in 2022.   For somebody who has neglected the Vietnamese-American community ever since entered office in 2014, it is quite an interesting buzz in the community.   But all is good, better late than never.

And then there is former Councilmember Madison Nguyen and the release of her video leading a private luncheon with the new San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata at Dynasty Restaurant.  Along for the luncheon were former Councilmember Tam Nguyen and some of her most ardent supporters, the owner of  Lee's Sandwiches franchise, and David Duong & Victor Duong, the owners of California Waste Solutions.  This was her first foray into the local Vietnamese  political limelight since her lost to Ash Kalra in the 2016 assembly race.  And just to make sure that people still pay attention to her in San Jose politics, she has been posting her pictures with then candidate Joe Biden (at his fund raiser hug shot).


Meanwhile,  she is putting out mixed messages about her second attempt for mayor.   Nguyen is hedging her bet waiting to see who are entering in the field.  There will be at least 5 credible candidates throwing their hats in the ring so the threshold to be in the runoff is minimal.   She is confident that she can get most of the Vietnamese votes to carry her into the runoff election.  She can outraise any candidates in the field and if she loses, she would have made enough noises to set the stage to run for county supervisor seat in D2 either in 2022 or 2024.  However, if she runs, she will be forced to step down from her current position from  the tainted Silicon Valley Organization as EVP overseeing its political advocacy and tactics.

If there is such a thing as a front runner, there would be two and not one due to the incredible diversity of the voting demographics.  It is too early to say but  Nguyen and County Supervisor Cindy Chavez are the leading candidates if they decide to run, due to their name recognitions and abilities to raise money.  Chavez has a free run since her supervisor seat is termed out in 2024. 



The voting trends show Latinx had a low turnout in 2020 presidential election and likely will be even  lower in 2022, an off-year election.  The turnout for Latinx was only 64% vs. the overall 72% in 2020. The Vietnamese voting bloc in San Jose is about 13% while the Latinx is about 22%.   Two of  fastest growing segments of voters are from Indian and Chinese communities.   They have the highest turnout in the last 2 elections, averaging 77%,  5 points higher than the city's average in 2020.   

The Vietnamese votes will play an important role in the June 2022 primary with multiple numbers of candidates relying strongly on their bases to carry them to the next round.   Chavez has strong name recognition in the Vietnamese community, whether it will translate into votes, only a strong phone banking effort can determine.   Nguyen has learned her lesson in 2016 where she thought she had the overwhelming support of the Vietnamese community. 

In another month or so, the picture will be clearer who are the candidates since this is big race and money will be the factor.  No matter what, the Vietnamese community is looking forward to have our voices heard.  



Friday, February 19, 2021

Santa Clara County COVID-19 Vaccine Update

 COVID-19 Cases in Santa Clara County

This past week, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department reported 65 more individuals in the county who contracted COVID-19 have lost their lives.  This brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the county to 1,708.  As of Friday, February 19th, the total case count had reached 108,462, and the 7 day rolling average of new cases (based on specimen collection date) was at 331 cases per day.

 

As of Friday, there were 253 COVID positive patients hospitalized in Santa Clara County (down from 325 the prior week and 377 the week before that).  Of these hospitalizations, 82 were in the ICU.  COVID positive patients now occupy 24% of all ICU beds, and just 17% of beds are currently available.  These ICU bed capacity numbers already factor in surge beds that are staffed.  More data can be found through the Public Health Department’s Data Dashboards.

 

Updates on County Vaccination Efforts

This week, the County continued its efforts to move as quickly as possible to provide shots to the community’s most vulnerable residents.  In an ongoing effort to offer services in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, the County of Santa Clara and Gilroy Unified School District officials announced last Friday that the County’s Health System will open a new large-scale appointment-only vaccination site at Gilroy High School, located at 750 W. 10th Street in Gilroy, and that the site is expected to open by the end of the month.  The site is part of the County’s ongoing, expansive effort to ensure robust access to vaccine in the areas of the county with the highest rates of COVID-19, and Gilroy is one of the most impacted communities in Santa Clara County.

 

On Sunday, the County announced that more than half of county residents age 75 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  Vaccine data from the California Department of Public Health’s California Immunization Registry (CAIR2) now show that 49.3% of county residents age 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 249,442 total residents now partially or fully vaccinated.  These data reflect strong progress towards the County’s goal of vaccinating at least 85% of residents age 16 or older by August 1, 2021. The data also continue to reflect the ongoing need to focus vaccination efforts on ensuring equitable access for those at greatest risk of serious illness and death, and those at greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19.

 

The State of California has established phases and tiers for when different populations are eligible to receive vaccine.  Information on who will be eligible next is available on the State of California’s vaccination website.  Our understanding of the current landscape of other providers in our community is that: Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford, Bay Area Community Health, and El Camino Health are offering vaccinations to eligible healthcare personnel and individuals 65 or older, Kaiser is offering vaccination to healthcare personnel, long term care patients and staff, and people 75 and older, and the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System is currently vaccinating high-risk Veterans, beginning with homeless Veterans, dialysis, transplant patients, chemotherapy patients, and Veterans over 70 years of age. 

 

On Wednesday, County officials announced that healthcare providers across Santa Clara County will expand access to COVID-19 vaccination to county residents who work in education and childcare, emergency services, and the food and agriculture industries, starting February 28, 2021.  The latest updates on vaccine eligibility and how to schedule an appointment are available on the County’s website at [sccfreevax.org]sccfreevax.org, including information on when those newly eligible can start to schedule vaccine appointments.  Residents without internet access or who need additional assistance can call 211 for assistance in multiple languages.  Appointments fill up quickly, but new appointments will be regularly released as vaccine supply allows, and community members are encouraged to check regularly.

 


 

Simplified COVID Testing Through Saliva Collection

Over the weekend, the County announced that the County’s COVID-19 pop-up testing sites in Santa Clara County will be switching to testing via saliva specimen.  Saliva collection simplifies the logistics of COVID-19 testing and is less invasive, providing a faster and easier experience for residents.  Please be aware that individuals cannot eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum thirty minutes before saliva collection for accurate results, and that as with all testing sites, there is always a staff member available to provide assistance as needed.

 

County COVID Testing Locations

The community testing program operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center continues to offer extensive drop-in and appointment-based COVID-19 testing at several locations across the county.  Residents can book an appointment for the Fairgrounds or the various rotating city sites, and appointments can be made in VietnameseChineseSpanish, or English.  

 

Visit www.sccfreetest.org to search for an available site by City or Date, or to see the complete list of available County testing sites.

 

Additional Community-Based and State-Operated Testing Options

Roots Community Health Center and Gardner Health Services continue to organize free, community-based drop-in COVID-19 testing events every Wednesday.  Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) provides similar community-based testing every Friday at their Story Road site.  No appointments are necessary, and all individuals are served regardless of insurance or immigration status. 

  • Gardner Health Services: Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San José, 95116. Testing offered Wednesday from 1pm to 7pm. For more information, call 408-457-7100.
  • AACI Health Center: Story Road Clinic: 749 Story Rd, #50, San Jose CA 95122. Testing offered Friday from 9am-12pm. For more information, call 408-975-2763.

 

In addition, there are several testing sites now operated OptumServe, a State contractor.  These sites are free but require appointments.  Visit here or call (888) 634-1123 to schedule an appointment:

  • Independence High School (drive through): 617 N. Jackson Ave., San José. Testing offered Sunday through Friday from 7am to 7pm.
  • Mount Pleasant High School (drive through): 1750 S. White Road, San José. Testing offered Monday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm.
  • Gilroy Civic Center: 7351 Church St., Gilroy.  Testing offered Friday through Tuesday from 7am to 7pm. 
  • Gavilan College:  Social Science Building, 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd, Gilroy CA  95020. Testing offered Tuesday through Thursday from 7 am to 7 pm
  • Grange in Morgan Hill:  40 E 4th Street, Morgan Hill CA  95037. Testing offered Friday from 7 am to 7 pm.
  • James Lick High School: 2951 Alum Rock Ave., San José. Testing offered Tuesday through Saturday from 7am to 7pm. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Nick Ut Receives National Medal of Arts by President Donald Trump

 


Vietnamese-American photojournalist Nick Ut received the National Medal of Arts from President Donald Trump this week for his work during the Vietnam War.  He spent his entire career of 51 years with AP until his retirement in 2017 and currently resides in LA. 


The National Medal of Arts is an award and titled created by the US Congress in 1984 as the highest honor given to an artists and arts patrons by the US government.  In giving him the award, President Donald Trump noted in the announcement:

" .....for his decades of contributions to wartime photojournalism. Through his lens, Ut captures moments in time that remind us of the horrors of conflict. His most famous photograph, “The Terror of War,” is a permanent reminder of the past and an inspiration for a peaceful future...."

Nick Ut, 69, is best known of his Pulitzer Prize winning photograph titled " Terror of War" capturing children fleeing a napalm bombing mistakenly dropped by the South Vietnamese Air Force near a Trang Bang during the Vietnam War.  The burned and screaming naked 9 year-old girl, Phuc Kim Phan, became known as " Napalm Girl".  


The image, taken on June 8, 1972, became a symbol of brutality of war and US involvement in VN.  It is considered one of the most memorable and iconic photographs of the 20th century.   In 1973, the Pulitzer committee awarded him its prize and made him the first Vietnamese to win a Pulitzer Prize award.  His picture is viewed by those who supported the Vietnam conflict as a symbol of anti-war. In the same year, the US ended its involvement in Vietnam.  

Before he submitted his picture to the office, he took the girl to the hospital.  She survived the third - degree burn and they became long time friends.  She immigrated to Canada with her husband in 1992.



Shortly after his retirement, Nick donated his famous photo to Vietnamese Women's Museum in Ha Noi,  along with a Nikkomat camera he used during his time covering the Vietnam War. 






The Need for A Representative San Jose Redistricting Boundaries

  According to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters - " Every 10 years, the United States Constitution and California’s State Con...