Thursday, July 12, 2001

A New Affiliate/Improving Odds for AsAm Candidates

(1) Good news: 80-20 adds a new Affiliate to its family of Affiliates in SF. The new member is The Vietnamese-Cambodian-Loatian Association of Ethnic Chinese, VCL Assoc. The others are Citizens for Better Community (CBC) of Fremont, Chinese Am. Political Assoc. of N. California, and Silicon Valley Voter Education Service Center. These Affiliates exhibited superb leadership in 80-20's recent flag-project, for which 80-20 is most grateful

(2) A Proposal: 80-20 was asked by leaders in SF, LA and NYC to submit a proposal to the APA community to improving the chance of victory for APA candidates running a big cities.

Unless you live in a big city and are intimately involved with supporting APA candidates, its contents may not be of high interest to you.

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 Subject: A Proposal To Improve The Chance Of Victory For APA Candidates Running In Big Cities In cities like Houston, NY, LA and SF, the probability of having two or more significant APA political candidates competing against each others (e.g. City council or a party primary) has increased greatly, owing to our growing population. Often the multi-candidate situation resulted in a defeat for all APA candidates, while a single APA candidate could have won the election.
80-20 believes that such unfortunate situations should be avoided. Our numbers are small. Our strength lies in our unity. Hence, 80-20's Steering Committee resolves to recommend the following proposal to the APA community, although 80-20 itself does not intend to get involved in local elections.

Whenever two or more significant APA candidates compete for the same position, our community may want to mediate so that there will be one APA candidate only. Failing to mediate, an equitable way should be found so that a straw vote will be held within the APA community to advise the competing candidates. The one who loses the straw vote by a large margin must drop out or be ostracized by the community in his/her future races. If the straw vote is close and one of the candidate is willing to withdraw, then varying amount of future help should be committed by the community to the withdrawing candidate.

Stating a general principle is easy, the devil is in details. Questions such as 1) who may participate in the straw vote, and 2) what represents "a large margin," 3) what is "a close vote," 4) How good is the commitment for the future help, are hard to define and must be agreed upon, before a straw vote is held.

One way that some of above questions can be settled is for the relevant local community to first hold a "Unity Fundraiser" whose net intake should be at least 25% of the expected cost of the relevant race or $500,000 whichever is the smaller. That is, if a race is expected to cost one million dollars, the Unity Fundraiser should raise at least $250,000. If the race is expected to cost 6 million, the unity-fundraiser should deliver at least $500,000.

A fundraising committee composed of committed supporters of all significant candidates, and uncommitted "movers and shakers" should be formed first. Checks are written and signed, but the "payable to" is not filled out. The voting power of participants is decided by the dollar figure in their checks. Winner of the straw vote takes all the money. That way all relevant significant candidates are likely to encourage their supporters to participate in the fundraiser and are likely to respect the result of the straw vote.

The larger the total dollar figure of the fundraiser, the larger the collective clout of the organizers of the "Unity Fundraiser. A straw vote is not guaranteed to get the losing candidate to bow out. However, it is almost guaranteed to rally support for the winner of the straw vote. That candidate will be at least $500,000 or 25% ahead in the war chest on day one. The other candidate(s) will in effect be forced to drop out.

Note that the method does not favor the rich. An activist who is not financially wealthy could go out and collect 100 checks of $100 each thereby earning the equivalent voting power of $10,000. A billionaire does not dictate the straw vote. The maximum contribution by a participant in the straw vote must be the same as the maximum set by the state law.

The Unity Fundraiser is not a perfect device to break impasses between APA candidates. However, it is overall a win-win policy. The candidates will win for two reasons. The candidate winning the Unity Fundraiser will 1) have a united community behind her/him, and 2) getting a large sum of "early seed money," critical for election victory. Even the losing candidate wins. He/she may get early commitment from the community for his/her next race. The community wins. It captures political seats that it otherwise may not.

The 80-20 National will not participate in local elections or its straw votes for two main reasons. First, all politics is local. 80-20's National normally does not know enough about local politics. Secondly, participating in local elections may damage 80-20's effectiveness in uniting the APA community during the presidential election.

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 80-20 is a national nonpartisan Political Action Committee dedicated to winning equality and justice for all Asian Pacific Americans through a swing bloc-vote. For more details, visit

Monday, July 09, 2001

A Giant First Step

Thanks to all of you, our FLAG project was a great success as a first try. It generated a lot of positive images for the APA community (See details below). It also won great accolades for 80-20.

The World Journal, the largest paper in the Ch-Am community, published an editorial on July 4th: "FLAG Project Effective .."

".... In the past, proposals from APA organizations rarely
induce visible response from the community. They seemed
like the "solo" performances of the elite. But this flag
project has excited our community. Buying flags, selling flags,
and giving away flags have become the fashion. ..."

What better proof is there that 80-20 is a unique grass-roots organization?

Sing Tao Daily, the second largest paper in the Ch-Am community, stated:

"... Asian Americans will become first-class citizens when the
mainstream stops doubting us. This FLAG project is just a
too lovely strategy."

Please visit for the editorials, pictures of our grass-roots enthusiasm in action and "seas of flags." Digitized video tapes will be available later. The URLs for the editorials are: (World Jrnl) (Sing Tao)

In the rest of the e-mail, we list (1) Positive Coverage in Mainstream Media, (2) Locations with Significant FLAG Activities, (3) Episodes That Tightened My Throat, and (4) Areas Needing Improvement in the Future.

 (1) Positive Coverage in Mainstream Media (those known to us):

NY Times
LA Times
Boston Globe
Plain Dealer, Ohio
Newsweek Magazine (Web version)
South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
ABC, Philadelphia
KCRA/NBC Sacramento
FOX TV, Houston
Nat'l Public Radio, N. CA

 2. MAJOR Locations where organizations participated (Individual homes with flags are not included in this list):

 NYC, New York
Las Vegas, Nevada
Washington, D.C.
Phoenix, Arizona
Cleveland, Ohio
Boston & Wellesley, MA
Dallas and Houston, Texas
 Finally, the Great State of California:
San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Milpitas, Cupertino, Los
Angeles and Monterey Park

 3. Episodes That Touched My Heart:

 "Our day began with planting and flying flags in Chinatown area. 1000 small flags were planted along the esplanade (walkway) and 2' x 3' flags were hang between light poles in a shopping center. While we were working on it, some passers-by showed their support by honking or raising their thumbs. Some liked the flags so much that they either asked us for a flag or were willing to take a risk of having an accident and stop in the middle of the traffic while swiping a flag off from the esplanade."
 - Jenny Yang, who spearheaded the Houston effort

 "It was worth the blisters and sweat for Kitipot and me!"
- Pat and Kitipot Charnveja who helped plant the 100 flags.

 "American Flags all over Boston's Chinatown!!!" - Perry Fong

 "American flags in Chinatown are hung or taped to street lights, mailboxes, green and gold pagoda-topped red Verizon payphones -- literally anything that doesn't move." - wls

 "To your colleagues & Mr. Woo,
 Hats off to you,
 Americans True,
 For Sharing With Others,
 Some Red White and Blue." - a poem from James Villa

 "Lower Rancho, Acadia, CA. A flag in front of every lawn"

 "We won the ‘MOST PATRIOTIC SPIRIT’ Award in the Fremont Parade."
- Garrett Yee, President, CBC

 Title of Boston Globe's article on the FLAG Project:
"Embracing Independence"

 Title of the Newsweek article:
"We Are Americans, Too"

 Title of NY Times article:
"Independence Fete in Chinatown"

Will such coverage improve our image? You be the judge.

(3) A Long, Long Way to Go

Thus far we have pockets of "seas of flags" only. We must persist. We must have more non-Ch-Am organizations join us the next time. If we get so much good publicity this time, after just a 4-week campaign, image what we could get next time. In five to six years, our image will improve greatly.

Again, thank all of you so very much.
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 80-20 is a national nonpartisan Political Action Committee dedicated to winning equality and justice for all Asian Pacific Americans through a swing bloc-vote. For more details, visit [Visit our new "Discrimination Watch"]

Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Exciting News on the Flag Front

Many exciting things are happening on the flag front. It has substance and image; evidence of growing unity in the APA community, and with that growing political clout.

1. NEWSWEEK has an article on 80-20's flag project in its newest web issue.

Its title is "We are Americans too" -- exactly the message that 80-20 wants to pass to America. See and scroll down to "We're Americans Too."

2. ABC, Philadelphia will air the following in the evening on July 4th:

"In the taping was a Vietnamese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Chinese, and a South Pacific Islander, all in their home country attire and all holding an American flag."
Skip Voluntad, Pan Asian Association of Greater Philadelphia.

The shoot will give just the substance and image we want.  We are proud of our own heritage, and are loyal citizens of America.

3. An NBC affiliate, gave us 30 sec in San Francisco, and almost 3 minutes in San Diego, interviewing Tim Chen, one of two full-time 80-20 staff, featuring 80-20's flag project.

4. A Sea of Flags in Houston

80-20's Houston Chapter resolved to "plant 1000 small flags (8" x 12") in the esplanade (walkway) in part of Chinatown on July 4."

5. Republican Nat'l Comm Chair, James Gilmore stated:

Chairman Gilmore was in Silicon Valley, CA having a meeting with APA Republican leaders when he was asked by a reporter concerning 80-20's flag project. He stated that he supported it and thought the idea should spread to all other ethnic group and make it a national movement for a renewed patriotic move. John Tsu, an elder statesman in the APA Republican circle was also present. This was reported in the World Journal.

6. More Media Coverage:

Voice of Am., and Orange County Registry, having the nation's 26th largest circulation, contacted 80-20 to seek an interview regarding our flag project.

The World Journal gave Page A1 coverage to 80-20’s flag project.

7. Some "Returns" Are Already In

"Just to report: Drove past Chinatown in DC yesterday (7/1) and already, some of the flags are up. Good job!"
Myrna Watanabe, a resident of Connecticut who happened to drive past D.C.
Please e-mail 80-20 to tell us what you will have seen in your neighborhood on July 4th. We'll build on what we have, the fruits of a 4-week campaign only, to ensure that there will be seas of flags across the nation in areas identified with Asian Pacific Americans. It takes an image to replace and image. Together, we shall overcome.

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80-20 is a national nonpartisan Political Action Committee dedicated to winning equality and justice for all Asian Pacific Americans through a swing bloc-vote. For more details, visit