John Chiang Remains a Top Contender in Race for California State Governor

California state treasurer John Chiang was in the San Jose area supporting California assemblymember Evan Low on Sunday, March 18th, and I had a chance to catch up with him after the belated Lunar New Year fundraising dinner. The last time I saw John was when he was in town being endorsed by Evan last November.

The more recent exciting news about the race for California governor was at the California Democratic state convention, where no Democrat gained the party endorsement (the threshold is 60%) and John came in second.  According to KTLA’s CNN wire:

“The endorsement battle proved competitive in the governor’s race at at Saturday’s California Democratic party convention, where John Chiang and Gavin Newsom were locked in a close race for the party’s nod.

“After the votes were tallied, no consensus was reached for a gubernatorial candidate. Newsom received the highest percentage of votes with 39 percent, followed by Chiang with 30 percent, Delaine Eastin with 20 percent, and Villaraigosa with 9 percent.”

When I heard that news, I was happy to hear how well John did at the convention. Just a few days before, a recent poll (Thur 3/15/2018) by the Newsom campaign revealed:

“In the survey of 1,000 likely voters done by nationally recognized pollster David Binder, Newsom corrals 26 percent of the vote; Cox, 16 percent; Democratic state Treasurer John Chiang, 13 percent; former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, 12 percent, Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, 10 percent; Democratic former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, 7 percent; and former Hillary Clinton adviser Amanda Renteria, 4 percent. The survey found 12 percent of respondents were undecided.”

With less than 80 days left until the June 5th primary, there’s still some ground for John to pick up.

John discussed how the cost of housing was an issue in California (where 20% of residents live in poverty), how his stance differed from his opponents’, and how he was the first state-wide official in the United States to take on the corrupt practices of Wells Fargo.

I wish the best of luck to John with the rest of the campaign!

Michelle Kwan Endorses Vivek Viswanathan for California State Treasurer

Michelle Kwan and Vivek Viswanathan

Here with Michelle W. Kwan reminiscing about our time on the 2016 campaign trail with Hillary Clinton. Thanks so much for your support, Michelle! Check out our campaign at www.vivekforca.com #VivekforTreasurer #RunwithVivek

Posted by Vivek Viswanathan on Saturday, March 3, 2018

Video & Image courtesy of Vivek Viswanathan for State Treasurer 2018 – https://www.vivekforca.com/

Back in early March, I was on Facebook and I saw a fundraising event titled Happy Hour: Michelle Kwan & Vivek Viswanathan in San Francisco, and I was like, what?!?

I had briefly seen Michelle back in January for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in the security line for the press/VIP entrance but didn’t get a chance to chat with her since I wanted to make the press conference for the announcement of the U.S. Olympic men’s figure skating team. The first and only time I had met Michelle was back in the Fall of 2015 for a fundraiser for Asian Americans for Hillary in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton didn’t become president …

Who is this Vivek Viswanathan candidate and what is he running for was what I first thought? He’s running for California State Treasurer, to replace outgoing Treasurer John Chiang (who is running for Governor of California.) Well, since Michelle was going to the event – I had to go and learn more about Vivek!

At the Happy Hour, Vivek’s remarks were brief, but I was able to stay for dinner and hear more in-depth from not only Vivek, but also:

https://youtu.be/gxzzQ8buvoY

I also had a chance to first chat with Vivek’s Aunt & Uncle, who live near San Jose, as well as his Mom & Dad as well as his brother (who were all in town for the event visiting from New York). At the Happy Hour and also during the dinner reception, I did get to learn that Vivek is a really smart guy, having gone to Harvard for undegrad, and getting his JD/MBA at Stanford.

He’s also been a Special Advisor, Office of Governor Jerry Brown and also a Policy Advisor to Hillary Clinton on her presidential campaign. Michelle Kwan, Ann O’Leary and Dan Schwerin knew Vivek from working on the Hillary Clinton campaign together at the campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York and that’s how they all got to know Vivik and to endorse him.

All of this at the age of 30. He’s also doing something unique to get the word out about his race for California State Treasurer – running 500 miles from Sacramento to San Diego over a period of around two months to reach out to Californians and learn & listen.

After the long evening, I did get a chance to do a brief interview with Vivek:

I really admire Vivek putting himself out there and running for office, but it will be a big challenge for him running against a very established Democrat that is very well known and liked among the Democratic establishment even if the general Californian public doesn’t know her that well (a lot of people don’t even know who John Chiang is!)

There is also apparently a Republican in the race for State Treasurer according to Ballotpedia, but given there are no elected Republicans holding state wise offices, I’m pretty sure that his chances are close to zero of being elected, but he might have a chance to make it from the open primary to the general election in November.

The only poll that matters is election day. Stranger things have happened, as we all know, Donald Trump was elected president … And first time candidate Stephanie Murphy made history by beating a 24 year incumbent to become the first Vietnamese American woman elected to Congress.

Oh, and I also did get a chance to meet Michelle and chat with her at both the happy hour and dinner reception:

The above photo got me over 100+ likes on Facebook 🙂 and plenty of comments …

Best of luck to Vivek is his run for California State Treasurer! You can follow Vivek at:

Website: www.vivekforca.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/vivekforca

Twitter: @vivekforca | Instagram: www.instagram.com/vivekforca

Dr. Mai Khanh Tran is running for Congress in hotly contest seat for CA-39

I recently had a chance to meet Dr. Mai Khanh Tran while she was visiting in downtown San Jose. She’s one of many running for an open seat in the 39th Congressional District of California, after Republican incumbent Ed Royce announced, like many Congressional Republicans in “purple” districts, that he was retiring from Congress. But Republican Young Kim is the anointed successor by Royce (having worked for him previously), a Korean American business woman who previously had served a term in the California State Assembly.

I had made a small donation to Tran’s campaign because I was looking to support and flip a Republican Congressional District so that the Democrats can win the House in November 2018 and she was an Asian American woman doctor! This was prior to Taiwanese American Jay Chen entering the race, who had previously ran against Ed Royce back in 2012 – who I supported and also had a chance to interview at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. After Royce had announced he was retiring, Chen announced he was running for the seat. I had heard that he promised not to enter the race, but Royce’s retirement of course changes the dynamics of the whole race and makes the race a jungle primary in June 2018.

I’m glad I don’t live in California’s 39th Congressional District, because I’m not sure who would vote for – Tran or Chen. Tran made a good case for her vote: she’s the only immigrant refugee female Asian American doctor running for office in that district. She also employees 90 people in her medical practice so has practical small business experience.

But I guess I wouldn’t have to make a choice, because in a surprise move, Chen decided for the “greater good” to withdraw from the Congressional race, since it was already a crowded Democratic field:

“Potential candidate Jay Chen said that he won’t file to run in CA-39, the seat held by retiring Republican Ed Royce and one of Democrats’ best pickup opportunities if they can avoid splitting the vote in the top-two primary in June.

“As of now 9 Democratic candidates and 7 Republican candidates have filed for a primary in which Republican turnout may remain higher than Democratic turnout,” Chen said in a statement.  “The probability of two Republicans advancing in November, and Democrats squandering a historic opportunity, is real.”

“The greatest contribution I can make right now is to help consolidate the field, by stepping away from it.  We cannot afford to let this seat slip away, and we must all put the greater good over personal ambition,” he added.

The DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] praised the move in a statement. “

I was kind of shocked when I heard the news, since Chen had gotten a lot of endorsements, but in a recent polling I came across:

didn’t look great for him. Maybe since Chen was the last to enter the race, that many didn’t know he was running yet?

Ed Royce and the Republican Party specifically chose to get behind Young Kim because she’s an Asian American female Republican – someone that the district could get behind. Demographically, the district is:

  • 55.1% White
  • 28.3% Asian
  • 2.4% Black
  • 34.6% Hispanic

There are also two self-funders (including one lottery winner!). So there could be a lot of split votes with a lot of Democrats running and Republicans running – though I think there will be consolidation behind Young Kim as the race gets closer.

So even though Royce won re-election in November 2016, the district voted for Hillary Clinton Clinton beat Donald Trump 51% to 43%. This is one of the key Congressional Districts that the Democrats have targeted to win.

Tran has quite the compelling life story:

“When I was 9-years old, a U.S. Marine carried me from the tarmac in San Francisco. He was the first American I ever met.

It was 1975, and I couldn’t thank him because I didn’t speak a word of English. Several months earlier, my dad had dropped my three siblings and me off at an orphanage in Saigon just before the city fell. None of us knew if we’d ever see each other again. I didn’t know it then, but my father’s selfless act of love gave his children a shot at freedom and a better life.

Balancing work and school was difficult, but with the support of my family and community I was able to get the grades to be admitted to Harvard. There I cleaned bathrooms as a janitor, working my way through school with the help of Pell Grants and scholarships. Next came the Dartmouth-Brown joint Medical School program, financed again with the help of scholarships, student loans, and federal grants. I finished my residency in Pediatrics at UCLA, and settled in Orange County, where I have been caring for the children of working families for the past twenty five years.

I’m also a two-time breast cancer survivor, and was blessed to become a mother in my forties. Thankfully, I had reliable health insurance that I could afford, or neither would have been possible.”

After reading and meeting Tran, I feel like I could be doing more with my life! Tran has been living the American dream and contributing to our great country.

Back in January, she made it as part of the cover of Time:

If you didn’t know already, there are already a record number of women running for office.

If elected in November 2018, Tran would be the first female doctor ever elected to Congress (I’m told there was one who represented the U.S. Virgin Islands – but that Representative doesn’t have a vote for the U.S. territory).

Best of luck to Tran in the primary, and in the general election if she makes it through the primary!

 

 

 

8Asians Interview with Dave Min for Congress (CA-45)

Back in January, I was able to meet up with Korean American Dave Min,

who is running for Congress in California’s 45th Congressional District, which is in Southern California, encompassing part of Irvine:

Min was raised in the Palo Alto area and we have a mutual friend who introduced us to each other. Min is currently a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. From his campaign website:

“A first-generation Korean-American, Dave worked as an enforcement attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as an economic and financial policy advisor to Senator Chuck Schumer, and as an economic policy director at the Center for American Progress. Dave grew up in California, and Dave and his wife Jane settled in Irvine where they both teach at the UC Irvine School of Law while raising their three children.”

I had a chance to chat with Min at a local Starbucks for almost 17 minutes to ask him about running against Republican incumbent Representative Mimi Walters along with a field of Democratic candidates (including another UC Irvine professor!)

From a demographics standpoint, the 45th Congressional District (CD-45) is fairly diverse and highly educated:

  • 66.9% White
  • 21.0% Asian
  • 1.4% Black
  • 18.7% Hispanic
  • High school graduation rate: 92.5%
  • College graduation rate: 50%

More importantly, Orange County in 2016 49.8 percent voted for Hillary Clinton compared to 44.9 for Trump when Walters got re-elected. Although Orange County has traditionally been fairly conservative (certain for California), given how unpopular Trump is in California, there’s a good chance for Min or another Democrat to defeat Walters.

Best of luck to Min – it’ll be interesting to see if he can make it past the open “jungle” primary with so many running for the seat.

8th Annual Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties & the Constitution – with Daniel Ellsberg

Every year since the kickoff year in 2011, I’ve tried to make the annual Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties & the Constitution in the Bay Area.

This year, I was particularly interested since after watching the movie The Post (about The Washington Post and its reporting of the Pentagon Papers, which was leaked by Daniel Ellsberg), the keynote speaker this year was was Daniel Ellsberg, who apparently lives in Northern California.

Ellsberg did not disappoint! Ellsberg’s keynote was I thought, very thought provoking, discussing that the Trump America we know today existed before Trump was elected. Ellsberg also thought that if there was another “9/11” event that there would be indeed Muslim concentration and deportation camps. Ellsberg said the events of Charlottesville with the white supremacist and Trump and Trump’s administrations’ racist attitudes and that a very large fraction of America is actually represented by Trump. Some may want just jobs, and not all are racists, homophobes, misogynists, etc… it is not 1% There are a lot of contradictions in American, like the first 11 out of 15 presidents of the United States owned slaves, 8 of them while they were president.

The whole program in the video includes:

  • Welcome – Jane Katsuyama, Emcee
  • Greeting – Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, 13th District of California
  • Speech Contest Winner – Sarah Khan, Fred T. Korematsu Middle School
  • Statement: Sanctuary State – Office of CA Assembly Rob Bonta, CA 18th Assembly District
  • Guest Speaker – Reyna Grande
  • Lion Dance – Leung’s White Crane and Dragon Group
  • Film Clip: And Then They Came For Us – Abby Ginzberg, Director
  • Fred Korematsu Speaks Up – Laura Atkins & Stan Yogi, Authors
  • 50:451:21:50 – Keynote Speaker – Daniel Ellsberg
  • Call to Action – Adena Ishii
  • Public Service Announcement (PSA) – Fred Korematsu Day
  • Tribute to Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Korematsu Institute Update – Karen Korematsu

Chloe Kim’s Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Box -Sold Out in 7 Hours!

I first heard that Olympic Gold medalist in halfpipe snowboarding Chloe Kim made the cover of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes while watching an interview with her on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and then later, finding the press release:

“To celebrate Chloe Kim’s Gold Medal win with Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Kellogg’s® has announced that she will be featured on Gold Medal edition boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes®. Boxes are available in limited quantities for a short time only on KelloggsFamilyRewards.com.

The Gold Medal Edition Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box is available on KelloggsFamilyRewards.com, while supplies last. Fans can visit KelloggsFamilyRewards.com for information about how to become a member and order their very own collectible box.”

But I was disappointed to not only learn that this special edition box was only available online, but was already sold out:

“On Wednesday night, the Chloe Kim “Gold Medal” box was announced on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and became available online. It sold out in seven hours, according to Sam Minardi, director of brand marketing at Kellogg Company. “That is a record,” Minardi said in an email.”

I wonder why Kellogg decided to only make this available online! I mean, Nathan Chen’s box made it into retail, and he didn’t even medal (though he was expected to …)

Asian American Commercial Watch: Minute Maid’s #ShibSibs Journey – Maia and Alex Shibutani

https://youtu.be/sCxTokW3310

Congratulations to brother-and-sister duo Maia and Alex Shibutani on winning the Bronze in the 2018 Winter Olympics for Ice Dancing. No doubt, if you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics, you’ve seen this ad, which really doesn’t seem like an ad, highlighting the sibilings’ journey to the Olympics:

“Minute Maid is proud to support Maia and Alex Shibutani on their journey to The Olympic Winter Games. The siblings and teammates know a thing or two about healthy competition, but they also know that the best moments – both on and off the rink – are often shared. Cheers to the #ShibSibs

I had noticed recently that the Shib Sibs had posted a YouTube video seeing for themselves for the first time on some Minute Maid cartons:

So I wound up going to my local grocery store to check out the Minute Maid cartons. However, I could only find three out of the four that they mentioned:

I wonder what the 4th carton is?!?

Also, I had noticed that Intel was one of their sponsors as well, when I noticed on Facebook, Intel congratulating them:

I knew that Intel was an Olympic sponsor, given that they powered the Drone exhibition during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.But I didn’t know that Intel had sponsored any athletes. But a quick Google search came across this press release listing their sponsored Intel athletes (which I thought was kind of an oxymoron …):

  • Ayumu Hirano – Japanese snowboarding phenom and silver medalist in halfpipe at the
    Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
  • Fan Kexin – Chinese short track speedskater and silver medalist in the 1,000 meter at the
    Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
  • Hannah Brandt – Forward on the U.S. women’s Ice Hockey Team and University of Minnesota’s
    all-time points leader.
  • Marissa Brandt – South Korean ice hockey defender and former star at Gustavus Adolphus
    College.
  • Maia and Alex Shibutani – U.S. ice dancing team and current two-time U.S. champions.

It’s interesting that Intel sponsors non-U.S. athletes, but then again, they are a global company with global customers.

Again, congrats to the Shibutanis on winning the Bronze!

Asian American Commercial Watch: Team United & Nathan Chen

While watching the Olympics, I saw this United TV commercial and was surprised to see U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen, since I wasn’t aware that United was one of his sponsors, unlike Kellogg’s, Bridgestone and John Wilson. The super hero-themed commercial itself is a little bit weird if you ask me:

Helping superheroes fly for 38 years. Proud to fly Team USA.

The behind the scenes video on YouTube on how they made the commercial is pretty interesting.

Also, on United’s YouTube channel, they even have a 60 second “origin” video which discusses how Chen got into figure skating:

Congrats to Nathan Chen on his historic performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics!

Asian American Commercial Watch: Visa’s Real Life Events & Chloe Kim

https://youtu.be/yDTYvtUc8Qc

I caught this Visa commercial while watching the Olympics, which is no surprise since Visa is an Olympic sponsor and was pleasantly surprised to see Chloe Kim towards the end of the commercial:

You know faster is better. We’ve got a faster way to pay.   You don’t have to be an Olympic snowboarder like Chloe Kim to shave seconds off your time at checkout. Tap to pay like a champion with your contactless Visa card where you see the Contactless Symbol. #PyeongChang2018 #TeamVisa

And even before the Olympics started, I’ve seen Visa highlight Chloe Kim in some web ads:

I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Chloe Kim now that she’s an Olympic Gold winner in the halfpipe! Congrats again Chloe – hope to meet you one day!

Let CHENSANITY Begin – Nathan Chen Makes the Cover of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

When I saw a friend post a photo of her young son with a box of Corn Flakes with Nathan Chen on the cover of the box, I knew I had to see it for myself! Apparently, Kellogg’s thought Chen’s chances of Chen making it to the U.S. Olympic Team was very high, since this was announced last October: “Meet The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hopefuls Who Will Make Up Team Kellogg’s 2018”:

Meet the Team Kellogg’s athletes here and follow the evolution of their stories as they share what gets them started each day. Additionally, the athletes will be featured on their very own Kellogg’s limited-edition cereal boxes, available at grocery retailers nationwide in December.

Reigning 2017 U.S. men’s figure skating champion Nathan Chen focuses on small steps each day in order to attain his larger goals. Whether he sets his sights on lifting more weight or working on choreography during training, he knows that he is one step closer to his dream by accomplishing his daily goals. Nathan will appear on boxes of Corn Flakes®.

When I saw a Facebook friend post “CHEN-SANITY” (as in “LINSANITY”) when Chen won the Gold for the 2018 Championships U.S. Figure Skating Men’s Single and named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team, I thought I should try to make “CHENSANITY” a thing (without the hyphen – I don’t think LINSANITY was ever hyphenated!

Especially since there is another Chen representing the United States in U.S. Figure Skating – Karen Chen! I hope some cereal company puts Karen on the cover of their box in the near future – with her with an Olympic Gold!

But Kellogg’s is not the only sponsor Nathan Chen has. When I was walking around SAP Center in San Jose during the 2018 Championships (“Nationals”), I saw this Bridgestone cutout of him:

Chen is indeed a part of “Team Bridgestone.”

And to no one’s surprise, Nathan Chen apparently endorses ice skates – by the brand, John Wilson:

Best of luck with Chen in the Olympics!

 

78% of Asian American Millennials Disapprove Trump’s Job Performance

In a recent NBC News/GenForward Survey poll at the end of September, 78% of Asian American Millennials disapprove of Trump’s job performance. That is not a surprise given that 64% of Millennials overall disapprove of Trump’s performance.

Additionally, the poll found 68% of Asian American Millennials said that the Democratic Party “Cares About People Like You.” That is not terribly surprising either given that in 2012, 71% of Asian Americans voters casted their ballot for President Obama (77% according to the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)) and 79% for for Clinton in 2016).

 

Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou Make U.S. Men’s 2018 Olympic Figure Skating Team; Zhou Responds to Racist Tweet

Part 2 of the press conference here.

On Sunday, Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou were named to the U.S. Figure Skating Team:

“U.S. Figure Skating announced today the men who will compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 as part of the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team.

The men’s singles team is Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou.

Nathan Chen is the 2018 U.S. champion, successfully defending his 2017 title. Chen entered the 2018 U.S. Championships as the only undefeated male skater in the 2017-18 season, winning two Grand Prix Series titles and the Grand Prix Final. Chen is the only man in the world to receive credit for landing five different types of quadruple jumps in international competition.

Adam Rippon is the 2016 U.S. champion, and placed fourth at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships. After winning silver at both of his Grand Prix Series assignments this season, Rippon earned his second-straight trip to the Grand Prix Final, where he placed fifth.

Vincent Zhou is the 2018 U.S. bronze medalist. He won the 2017 U.S. silver medal and ended last season as the 2017 World Junior champion. Chen has won U.S. titles at the intermediate (2011), novice (2012) and junior (2013) levels.

Alternates for the 2018 men’s Olympic Team have been named as Jason Brown (first alternate),Ross Miner (second alternate), and Max Aaron (third alternate).”

 

There was absolutely no doubt, especially after Saturday’s performance, that Nathan Chen would be named to the 2018 U.S. Men’s Olympic Figure skating team. However, the second two spots were up for grabs after some disastrous performances by Adam Rippon and Jason Brown at Nationals. Ultimately, Rippon was selected to be part of the team due to his body of work the past year and beyond.

Palo Alto native Vincent Zhou, was selected as the third member of the men’s figure skating team. To be honest, I don’t really follow Zhou even though he lives in the next town over, and only usually follow figure skating during the Olympics unless I happen to catch it on TV.

After the press conference, I had the chance to ask Zhou a question towards the end of the concurrent individual interview sessions of the press conference, asking him what was about Palo Alto that produced athletes such as Jeremy Lin and himself. He obviously recognized what I was getting at and responded (minute 5:56)

At first, I think I had noticed one reporter seemed to be a little put off by the question, as if it was not relevant (which annoyed me and definitely reinforced my thoughts on diversity in the newsroom). However, after Zhou answered my question, an Asian/Asian American reporter (I think from a local Chinese language television news station) asked about the racist tweet sent less than several hours ago after Zhou won the Bronze (minute 8:04):

(Of course that spineless racist tweeter deleted that tweet. I’d love to really found out who that tweeter was …)

To be honest, I was a little surprised that Zhou had received such a tweet, since I had not heard of other such racist tweets regarding Mirari Nigasu, Karen Chen or even Nathen Chen. But in the press conference, Zhou reiterated what he had tweeted. After that response, I felt that I was definitely happy to have asked my question regarding Zhou and his Asian American background.

Since I knew Nathan Chen was going to bombarded by reporters, I wanted to focus in on Vincent Zhou (and also, since he lives in the next town over, I figured I might be able to interview him down the road – though I haven’t had a chance to interview Jeremy Lin yet …). With some time remaining, I moved over to see what Chen was answering:

I think at this point in time, Chen is highly likely to medal at the Olympics and has a very good chance to win the Gold. From the past few days of observing Chen, he is supremely confident and a bit stoic and a bit matter-of-fact, something that his teammate Adam Rippon said that he was quite the opposite (with Chen nodding in approval of his description of their skating styles and personalities).