Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 15, 2020

Asian persuasion

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Shifting away from CRIME for just a bit, I want to talk about the Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County’s candidate forum. This is one of the tightest forums ever because each candidate is given a total of five minutes to answer questions and present their case. I’m not going to talk too much about Malia Vella and Jim Oddie because they did fine in the format and answering the questions. The video is here.

As an aside, these are the formats where Malia Vella really shines and it helps that she, herself, is an API woman so she understands the issues at a level that the other candidates cannot. Jim Oddie was impressive in his answers and it’s clear that he’s come a long way from his less than stellar performance earlier in the summer.

Gig Codiga did not participate because he’s a Republican.

First I’ll take the strange five minutes of Amos White (time starts around 1:35:00 into the video) who had some weird technical issues. Apparently he was on his phone at the time, in the middle of the five minutes his screen went to black because he didn’t set his phone to “do not disturb” which overall showed a lack of respect for this caucus and their process.

During a question about representation of API in City Staff he answered it correctly (not enough) but then launched into some strange tirade about the retirement of police captain Owyang stating that he was “personally upset” and that he “quote unquote…retired and I was like, wait, what Asian representation is there now?” The implication in Amos White’s statement was that there was something nefarious in the timing of Captain Owyang’s retirement. I asked around about this and was told that there is nothing nefarious about Captain Owyang’s retirement.

Then strangely Amos White decided to All Lives Matter Japanese internment saying “we’ve seen it happen before in World War II with our Japanese citizens, with our Italian citizens, okay? 10,000 Italians were sent off to the detainment as well.”

Actually, no.

About 1,600 Italian citizens were interned, all of them here, and about 10,000 Italian-Americans were forced to move from their houses in California coastal communities to inland homes.

And the 600,000 legal Italian immigrants who had not become United States citizens were put under travel restrictions. Dozens of American citizens of Italian origin who had shown sympathy for Mussolini were temporarily banished from California.

The Italian immigrants were caught up, to a milder degree, in the hysteria that swept the West Coast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. While all the interned Italians were citizens of Italy, about two-thirds of the interned Japanese were American citizens. 

About 110,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans were interned in a network of camps, including Fort Missoula. In this sweep of people suspected of sympathy with enemies of the United States, 10,905 Germans and German-Americans as well as a few Bulgarians, Czechs, Hungarians and Romanians were interned.

I mean, I don’t know how the moderators didn’t just boot him off the screen right there and then.

Trish Spencer (starts around 1:44:00 in the video) decides to bond with this group of API people by saying in her opening statement, “I’ve also done substitute teaching including ESL classes.” ESL is, of course, “English as a Second Language.” Now I’ve heard some Trish Spencer opening statements before and I don’t ever recall her adding this bit of information in. In fact, in the all of the questionnaires she has listed on her website that she submitted to various organizations not one references this ESL thing with the exception of the APA Caucus.

This is one of the biggest problems with being Asian in America. The natural othering of Asian people. ESL is something that we should feel a connection with because the assumption is that Asian people are not born in the US. When we speak without an Asian accent we’re told that our English is “so good” rather than the assumption being that we are native born.

This video also contains the whole, “City Council only hires the City Manager position” gaffe which I won’t focus on in detail since I already did.

But then, to win herself a little love from this API group she decides to share that her nomination to the Planning Board, Ruben Tilos, was not confirmed by the City Council majority. This Ruben Tilos. Naturally she left out the fact that she had passed over two API candidates for the Planning Board several times. Those candidates were then nominated by now Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft.

Finally I couldn’t put it any better than when I first listened to the video:


  1. The biggest issue for Asian-Americans this political cycle is Ca. Prop 16 pushed by the Democrat party.

    Despite the focus on racial justice, Californians, and especially Asian-Americans are poised to defeat Proposition16, which seeks to reinstate affirmative action, because they believe this will reduce the number of Asian-American admissions at elite California colleges in favor of African-Americans. In interviews, they feel this is contrary to the American Dream of working hard in a meritocracy. Only 30% of the electorate currently supports it. Vella and Oddie are for it.

    p.s. It’s disturbing to see Twitter and Facebook’s “PRC bamboo wall” like attempt to “block” the latest Biden corruption story from the American voters-especially after four years of media stories based on leaks, hacks and innuendo. It doesn’t appear to be working.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — October 15, 2020 @ 8:02 am

  2. Wow, Amos should have just said “I like trees”, that way he would have at least looked as unprepared as Trish. At one point he refers to the stakeholders involved in converting the Carnegie into a performing art center as “my board”. The site lists him as assisting in community messaging, and we know just how well that went! Lastly, as he has done so many times in this campaign, he lists himself as the founder of yet another organization that apparently doesn’t exist, the “BIPOC Sustainability Network”. Leadership and integrity counts, and Amos seems to be lacking both.

    Comment by notadave — October 15, 2020 @ 11:29 am

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