Thursday, March 26, 2009

Salute to the Magnificent 11

You may agree that 80-20 calls a spade a spade.

When government officials are not treating our community fairly, be they Asian Ams or non Asian Ams, whether they hold high or low office, 80-20 takes them to task.

However, we love to give credit when credit is due.

An extremely significant trend has developed among the elected Asian American Assemblypersons and Senators in CA. The 11 members formed a Joint Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. They

1) openly and responsibly share the rightful concerns of the Asian Am. community, and
2) exercise the clout of their offices as all other elected officials would.

In other words, these elected officials have come of age, and they are our heroes and heroines and are roles for other elected Asian Americans.

Who are they? They are:
CA State Senators: Carol Liu & Leland Yee.
Assembly-persons: Mike Eng, Paul Fong, Warren Furutani, Mary Hayashi, Ted Lieu, Fiona Ma, Alberto Torrico, Van Tran, and Mariko Yamada.

80-20 salutes them.

The following article by Peter Schmidt of The San Francisco Chronicle will make clear why 80-20 salutes them. The issue is the change of admission policy by the U. of Calif, Berkeley. The implicit issue is about whether a higher admission bar is set for Asian American students to enter first tier universities or not. Whatever UC Berkeley decides to do will impact other first tier universities. 80-20 has reported this matter to you earlier in its 2/19/09 e-newsletter entitled "UC Changes Admission Policy & Reactions to It."

"Asian-American Lawmakers Pressure U. of California Over New Admissions Policy" By PETER SCHMIDT

Two panels of the California Legislature that deal with Asian-American issues plan to jointly hold a hearing next week to scrutinize a new University of California undergraduate admissions policy that could lower Asian-American enrollments. The State Senate's select committee on Asian and Pacific Islander affairs and the state's 11-member Joint Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus plan to hear testimony from Asian-American activists, a member of the university Academic Senate who helped develop the policy, and a legislative analyst who examined the policy's impact, Andrew T. Medina, a consultant on the caucus's staff, said on Monday.

The university system's own analysis of the likely impact of the new admissions policy, adopted last month, had projected that it would cause a decline in the share of admitted students who are Asian American or Pacific Islander, with white students accounting for most of those who take their place.

University officials had argued, however, that such projections of the policy's impact on various racial and ethnic groups should not be given much weight because the system's estimates were based on outdated student data, from 2007, and did not take into account expected changes in student behavior or the uncertainty of the admissions process.

Speaking last month at the Education Writers Association conference in San Francisco, Mark G. Yudof, the university's president, called the new admissions policy "fair" and said, "I think Asian Americans will do well. That is my prediction."

Such statements have done little to reassure Asian American members of the State Legislature, who had responded to the concerns of many of their constituents by urging the system's Board
of Regents to postpone its February 4 vote on the policy change to allow more time to study its likely impact on minority groups. In a letter sent to the board the day before its vote, the leaders of the Joint Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus accused the system of doing nothing to solicit feedback on the policy from the caucus or the ethnic groups that it represents, and said the policy "has not received the proper vetting it deserves"

In a recent interview, State Assemblyman Ted Lieu, a Democrat who serves as co-chairman of the caucus, said the Asian-American community "feels it was blindsided by this decision." He said he objects to the policy change partly because the university's analysis of its impact had lumped all Asian-American populations together into what he called "one monolithic block," thus failing to tease out how specific ethnic groups would be affected. He also complained that the policy change will do little to diversify the university's enrollments or to tackle the inequities in elementary and secondary education that have left the university's campuses with enrollments that do not reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the state. Mr. Lieu acknowledged that, under his state's Constitution, the Legislature has little direct say over the University of California's policies, which are set by the Board of Regents. But, he said, "Lawmakers do determine how much financial support the university receives in the state budget, and now "you have 11 upset legislators looking at this."

Ted Lieu, one of the 2 co-chairs of the Caucus, is running for Attorney General in CA. Checks are payable to "Friends of Ted Lieu 2010" and mailed to

Friends of Ted Lieu 2010
Attn: Campaign Accountant
1212 S. Victory Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502

For more information, please visit his site: http://www.tedlieu.com

If you think 80-20 is doing the right things, please consider joining 80-20 as a dues paying member. Go http://www.80-20initiative.net & click on the "JOIN 80-20" button.

Respectfully yours,

S. B. Woo
Acting Exec. Director (a volunteer), 80-20 PAC, Inc.

 

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