The Vietnamese-American community in San Jose is getting tagged with what could be the city’s worst election dirty trick, and the several Viets fighting to oust Councilwoman Madison Nguyen are busy fighting each other.
The dirty trick is a phony flyer, pretending to be on behalf of a city council candidate and sent to Viet voters, and it carries a picture of the communist flag.
Some Viet voters who received the flyer were incensed, and called the campaign offices of District 5 candidate Magdalena Carrasco to protest, and that’s how she found out about it.
It’s unclear what Carrasco did or didn’t do to make her the target. All sides rallied to condemn this fake mailer. The District Attorney is investigating. Mayor Chuck Reed in a written statement called it “a new low in San Jose campaigns.”
Councilwoman Nguyen in a message to Nguoi Viet Daily News said, “The recent mailer with the Communist flag that emerged in the District 5 council race has no place in San Jose politics. Voters should denounce such negative campaign.”
Her main opponent in the recall election, the Vietnamese American Community of Northern California, sent out a bilingual press release (English here, Vietnamese here) calling the flyer a “deplorable act of election fraud” that has “damaged the reputation of San Jose’s community.”
Even as some unknown person, who may not even be Viet, is giving the community a bad name, the Viets among themselves are slinging mud at each other and ensuring the reelection of Madison Nguyen.
As early as April 5, in District 7 (where Nguyen is the incumbent) candidates Minh Duong and Patrick Phu Le were attacking each other. Not too long before, the two were side by side in efforts to recall the only Viet councilwoman in San Jose.
Duong accuses Le of mishandling the recall campaign’s finances resulting in a fine imposed on them by the city. Le said all that happened was a late fee on the post-election report, which Le paid using his own money anyway. (Read a lengthy email from Le on the issue, here.)
Le in turn takes to task Duong’s public statement that he used to sell food stamps for cash. Selling food stamps for cash is a crime.
Things are now getting really bad. Some of the additional mud being flung (and some conspiracy theorists are saying Madison did it):
* Thomas Nguyen, another former recall activist now running for mayor, is accused of embezzling recall campaign funds and siphoning it into his campaign for mayor.
* Le’s father, a Buddhist activist in Vietnam, got called a communist.
* Duong is accused of being ethnic Chinese with the real last name Wong, as if it were a bad thing. And anyway he’s not.
Then Duong got hit with a complaint by the local firefighter’s union for a flyer featuring Duong and uniformed firemen. Apparently, it’s some kind of violation for firefighters to appear in uniform in political literature.
The funny thing is, it’s not even Duong’s flyer. The flyer is soft money, supposedly unconnected to the campaign, and paid for by the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce PAC, which has endorsed Duong for the position. The firefighters aren’t amused because they’ve endorsed Nguyen.