President and Treasurer of Vietnamese Student Non-Profit Accused of Defrauding Group

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The Garden Grove-based Union of Vietnamese Student Associations (UVSA) announced early this morning that they have filed charges against their president and treasurer after finishing an internal financial review. The group, which organizes one of the oldest and largest Tet festivals in the United States, is accusing former president Nina Tran and former treasurer Helen Nguyen of defrauding them of more than $118,000 over a period of three years.

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Interview with Authors of Vietnamese in Orange County

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Thuy Vo Dang
The authors with their new book!

It's no big news that the flag of South Vietnam flies next to the American flag all across Little Saigon. In fact, Little Saigon is no real big news anymore, multipart Orange County Register series notwithstanding. But while the general public knows of the enclave, there's always more to the story.

In a new book called Vietnamese in Orange County, authors Thuy Vo Dang, Linda Trinh Vo, and Tram Le provide historical accounts and artifacts showing how the Vietnamese community has evolved in the county. The Vietnamese-American experience, they say, is far from binary.

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Brilliant Bookworm Comics Brings Vietnamese Mythology to Orange County

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Brilliant Bookworm Comics
An excerpt from "The Awesome She-Kings"

When King Lac Long Quan (also known as "Dragon Lord of the Seas"--where you at, Daenerys Targaryen?) married a fairy princess named Princess Au Co, she bore him 100 eggs that would hatch into the first 100 people of Vietnamese origin. And that's how Vietnam was born--at least according to the historical Vietnamese legend.

Tales like this one are the premise of Brilliant Bookworm Comics, a comic series about Vietnamese mythological stories and legends by Placentia-based engineer and artist Huey Nguyenhuu. "If you're familiar with Vietnamese history, you know we use a lot of mythology to explain things... it's very similar to Greek mythology," Nguyenhuu explains. Brilliant Bookworm Comics started as a way to teach Nguyenhuu's 7-year-old daughter Hailey and 10-year-old son Hendrick about Vietnamese culture. The first set of comics were created on a computer and printed for kids at Hailey and Hendrick's school three years ago. Today, two of Brilliant Bookworm's comics are published by Viet Toons.

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Horizon Cross Cultural Center to Dole Out $1.7 Million to Settle Government Overbilling Case

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Horizon Cross Cultural Center
Take a picture, it may last longer.
An Orange-based nonprofit that provides job, health, transportation and other supportive services to Vietnamese refugees and other immigrant populations is reportedly doling out more than $1.7 million to settle charges that it falsified records and over-billed local government agencies.

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Younger Vietnamese Show Support for Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen Even As Elders Keep Trashing Him

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City of Garden Grove
Julie Vo during public comments

It's been quite a few weeks for the city of Garden Grove and Mayor Bao Nguyen. First, there was the push to have the city officially send a letter to Riverside in opposition of Riverside's sister-city relationship with the Vietnamese city of Can Tho. That push was defeated when Nguyen announced that he did not support the letter because he felt Riverside had the right to decide its own fate and Councilmember Chris Phan offered a compromise. Then there was the horribly inaccurate article from Vien Dong Daily News about the meeting, not to mention the actual, real issues the city has to deal with (the Brucewater scandal, developing something that's not on Harbor Boulevard, the general brain drain from the city).

But hey, at least something is coming up Bao now. For the past few meetings, he's had to suffer hecklers upset at the fact that he wouldn't sign that pesky official letter, but this past meeting got him a few more allies.

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OC's Southeast Asian Community Commemorates 40 Years of Diaspora with Panels at CSUF

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Kristine Hoang
From left: Leakhenu Nou, Tram Le, and Thuy Vo Dang
1975: Saigon fell, a genocide resulting in an estimated 1.5-3 million deaths was ravaging Cambodia, and Laos remained a moonscape due to a secret American-led bombing campaign executed by the CIA.

In the 1980s, Southeast Asians (many of whom had been political prisoners and/or put in labor camps as a result of the Second Indochina War--or as Americans like to call it, the Vietnam War) escaped their respective countries. Of course, many landed in Orange County, which was the focus of a panel discussion last Friday at Cal State Fullerton.

"A group of 15 South Vietnamese students first arrived on campus in 1967. By the early 1980s, nearly a thousand Vietnamese students began arriving on campus," said Sheryl Fontaine, Dean of Cal State Fullerton's College of Humanities & Social Sciences at SEA Legacies: Commemorating 40 Years of Southeast Asian Diasporas, an event organized by CSUF Asian American Studies professors Dr. Eliza Noh and Dr. Tu-Uyen Nguyen and CSUF community members. "Throughout the decades, Cal State Fullerton remains an engaged part in the Vietnamese community."

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It's Ain't Screwy Voting Districts Killing Latino Political Power in OC; It's the Democratic Party

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Solorio: Former rising star, then the status quo--and now done

Over the past two weeks, much has been written about how former supervisor/state senator/state assemblymember/Lou Sheldon bitch Lou Correa lost the First Supervisorial District race to former Garden Grove councilmember Andrew Do. Coming a couple of months after a disastrous 2014 Election Day that saw Sharon Quirk-Silva lose her State Senate race to Young Kim and Jose Solorio lose handily to Janet Nguyen in the race for Correa's old State Senate seat, and it's been a bitter pill for Democrats but especially OC Latinos, who now find themselves without a wab representative in Sacramento or on the Board of Supervisors for the first time since 1998.

The most popular angle taken by local media and pundits is that Correa and Solorio should've won handily because the district they ran in have a lot of Mexicans in it, but those damn Vietnamese voters in Little Saigon just vote too darn much! For Correa supporters, the main culprit is a 2011 gerrymandering scheme by the all-Republican Board of Supervisors at the time (don't accuse me of exaggerating--no less a conservative lion than then-Supervisor John Moorlach called it "gerrymandering") that diluted Latino voting power in the First by bringing in more Little Saigon voters--you know, those voters who vote too much. Both Latino yaktivists and Democratic Party officials are now mumbling about a possible lawsuit using California's Voting Rights Act to correct the First's alleged wrong and ensure Latino wins in the future. That's fine and all, but that stance will let off the hook the biggest reason why OC electoral gains in higher office for Latinos have now been effectively rolled back two decades: the pendejos running the Democratic Party of Orange County.


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Vietnamese Newspaper Retracts False Quote Attributed to Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen

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Photo by John Gilhooley
It was a simpler time

The Vien Dong Daily News, one of the largest Vietnamese newspapers printed in the United States, issued a correction last Friday after not just misquoting Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen, but making up a quote wholesale.

During a city council meeting last week, Nguyen pushed against Garden Grove's sending a letter to Riverside advising against Riverside's sister city relationship with Can Tho, a Vietnamese city in the Mekong Delta, citing his belief that Garden Grove needed to focus on its own issues. The council eventually voted to send a letter, with Councilmembers Chris Phan, Kris Beard, and Phat Bui choosing to sign.

In their original article, published February 11, Vien Dong reported that Nguyen said "It's been 40 years, why is the Vietnamese community still angry?", prompting an outcry of anti-Communist fervor from its readers and across Little Saigon that has the new mayor in hot water and Republicans dreaming recall. Never mind that Nguyen never even said the phrase "40 years" that night, or anything remotely close to that during the meeting.

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Gustavo's Latest KCRW "OC Line": On Bao Nguyen's Stance Against Little Saigon's Status Quo!

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Garden Grove
Mayor Nguyen making waves

Anyone who knows anything about Little Saigon politics knows the routine: someone brings up something condemning anything remotely related to the commie Republic of Vietnam, and every politician follows forth praising refugees and freedom and damning the Reds--never mind that trade between Little Saigon and Vietnam goes into the hundreds of millions annually. Leading the way, of course, are Vietnamese politicians, who know any deviation from this script will result in angry protests and retribution at the ballot box.

Enter Bao Nguyen, new mayor of Garden Grove. As we wrote last week, Nguyen refused to sign a letter condemning Riverside for agreeing to enter into a sister city partnership with a Vietnamese city, leading to threats of a recall. This is what I talked about this week in my weekly KCRW "Orange County Line" commentary.


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Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen Won't Sign Letter Blasting Riverside-Vietnam Sister City Program

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Photo by Charles Lam
Bao Nguyen (left center) listens as Chris Pham (right) proposes an alternative

Garden Grove will be sending the city of Riverside a letter urging them to dissolve their planned sister city relationship with Can Tho, Vietnam, but Mayor Bao Nguyen's signature won't be on it.

No, in a near four-hour long meeting last night, the Garden Grove City Council voted to send a letter, but to let each member of the city council decide themselves if they want to affix their name to it. That decision came in place of a vote that would have sent a letter signed by the city as a unit.


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