“Asian American Hustle”? With California State Senator Leland Yee’s arrest, Asian American political empowerment in the Bay Area takes a huge hit

Here’s when I last saw Sen. Leland Yee. He’s not a particularly warm guy. But maybe I should have sensed, he was just going through the motions, and that at age 65, he was looking for an exit plan.

I was the emcee of a community event in the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco last October, and he was the featured speaker. The event honored the day the  U.S. landed on Leyte during WWII,  whereby General Douglas MacArthur and Filipinos retook the Philippines and changed the course of the war. Yee was there to present a Senate  resolution honoring the day.

I remember Yee to be all business that day, and not any different from normal. He was there for the community, as always.

And yet, after losing the SF’s mayoral race and gaining a new $70,000 debt, and with the pressure of being term limited and being forced to seek a new job (was Secretary of State, the overseer of elections, really all that appealing?), I should have sensed the musical chairs game of politics was beginning to get old.

If I had, then maybe Wednesday’s sordid tale of a bizarre and surreal FBI sting that includes drugs, convicted gang members nicknamed “Shrimp Boy,” and talk of illegal firearms from Muslim groups in the Philippines would not have been such big a surprise.

But with the key figure in all of that being Yee, I have to admit to being flabbergasted.

This is a case that rocks the Bay Area’s Asian American political scene hard…

Continue reading this piece at  http://www.aaldef.org/blog

 

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“Delano Manongs” gets CAAMFest 2014 screening in SF; Tells true story of Filipino American role as the original instigators in the UFW labor struggle unlike typical stories that delete the Filipino and glorify Cesar Chavez

Marissa Arroy’s “Delano Manongs” gets a sold-out screening at CAAMFest2014 in San Francsico Sunday night. Just saw a preview of the documentary and it fills in the blanks in the Filipino-less, UFW/Cesar Chavez story.

It clearly shows how the Filipinos and the Mexican workers forged a union to fight for fairness.

Arroy’s documentary (which will be making the festival circuit and shown on PBS station KVIE-Sacramento) is  in stark contrast to the new narrative feature film on Cesar Chavez opening up in your nearest 12-plex. But the multi-million dollar feature film very conveniently streamlines the UFW saga to make it seem like Chavez did it all.

Oh, a Filipino actor is seen, but it’s almost like an extra.

Accuracy is not a strong point.

In one historical scene, the feature film leaves out Filipino labor leader Larry Itliong entirely.

I asked Arroy if the filmmakers should have made Larry a more prominent part in the new commercial picture opening next week.

“It was a conscious omission,” said Arroy in a phone interview just. “And I……(long pause) ….I think it’s unfortunate not to have Larry there at the table.”

See my post on Itliong:

http://www.aaldef.org/blog/restoring-larry-itliong-to-his-rightful-place-during-filipino-american-history-month.html

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What the New York Times left out: More on the PETA investigation on the abuse of drugs in horse racing

All the news that’s fit to print? Or that fits? And then what about video?

This PETA-produced video fills in all the gaps left by the New York York Times story (3/20/14)  on horse racing and drugs.

Specifically, there are two main points–the use of thyroxine , and the use of a buzzing device that shocks horses into running faster–that were left out by the Times.

I did the voice-over for this video.

As previously disclosed, my wife is with PETA.

 

New York Times covered the investigation with this story on 3/20/14:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/sports/peta-accuses-two-trainers-of-cruelty-to-horses.html?ref=sports&target=comments#commentsContainer

 

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Politicians bail on effort to revive affirmative action in California; As predicted SCA5 was DOA

There will be no referendum in California this year, after all, as a conservative group of Chinese Americans have scared off legislative support for a move to put race back in public admissions and hiring—at least for now.

Senate Constitution Act 5, or SCA5, was sent back by Democratic leaders to the senate, and a new call was issued to start up a bi-cameral commission to discuss how to solve the state’s diversity issue in college admissions and public hiring.

Starting up a commission to look into a problem is always safer than actually working to solve the problem. Normally it’s a bogus thing. But there needs to be a way to get people out of the polarized debate that usually occurs when the topic of race comes up.

>See my piece: http://diverseeducation.com/article/61218/ <

Last week, an organized group of conservative Chinese Americans gloated that their intimidation tactics had killed SCA5.

Apparently, the heavy handed tactics of targeting Asian American elected and politicians, as well as calling outspoken advocates racists and engaging in nasty name-calling debates, was enough to make some key Asian American politicians withdraw support for the measure as it exists.

Plain and simple, they caved. Not just the Asian Americans, all of the Dems.

Maybe a commission can help build a consensus that can revive the revival effort, and bring a referendum before California voters. 

But it still won’t happen before 2016. 

By then, it should be clear just how far back a generation of Prop.209 has set back this great state’s diversity efforts. And voters should be ready to act. Or not.

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