Immediately following President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation’s students yesterday, a diverse mix of juniors in Mr. Mendoza’s US History class at Andrew Hill High School in South San Jose gave their reactions. By a show hands, the President did not poll well.Read More 22
When news broke of a 27-year-old Vietnamese man being shot and killed at his home by a San Jose police officer, the pain of the tragedy in the local community was amplified by a gut-wrenching and unexpected feeling—familiarity.
While questions are still being asked after the May 10 shooting of Daniel Pham, the basic fact pattern that has been disclosed by the San Jose Police Department is sadly reminiscent of a 2003 incident involving a young Vietnamese mother, Cau Bich Tran, who was shot by San Jose police in her home.Read More 41
In an effort to move the city out of the debacle of the IPA selection of Chris Constantin, the Mayor and several Councilmembers have been trading memos regarding the next attempt to hire an IPA, leading up to a potential Cinco de Mayo vote tomorrow. But rushing forward with another hiring process before a full investigation has been done on “IPA-gate” would do San Jose a disservice, and leave lingering suspicions.Read More 11
Last week Michael Phelps taught me about championship perseverance, Rudy Giuliani schooled me down on never letting terrorists win, Colin Powell explained how American might can defeat all, and Steve Forbes showed me that despite what all the losers say, “there is nothing wrong with the fundamentals of our economy.”
Billed as the “Super Bowl of Success,” the day-long seminar held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose was named simply “Get Motivated,” and drew more than 10,000 people. Sitting in the penthouse suite my friends and I snuck into, I couldn’t help but feel that in spite of the pyrotechnics, the famous people, and the massive energy, which (I assume) can only be matched by a mega-church revival, this was a funeral for an old American way of thinking. It was a celebration of the rock-solid institutions of an American identity that once was—unbridled capitalism, Jesus, and winning—in the face of a new, changing, and confusing America. Phelps, Giuliani, Powell, Forbes and the rest of us came together for once last hoorah.Read More 66
Last Friday night I went to something that seems almost counterintuitive these days given the decline of their industry—a celebration for journalists. The Northern California Ethnic Media Awards, held in San Francisco, honored the various faces and forms of ethnic media outlets—the Sing Toa Daily’s investigation on SRO’s, Allianza’s photo essay on Oaxacan migrants, the Nichi Bei Times full issue on the concept of “mixed race.”Read More 30
Just-released Department of Justice numbers again show racially disproportionate arrest rates in San Jose.
San Jose has more of one type of arrest than many cities with significantly larger populations. And local police are arresting Latinos at a rate well beyond their respective proportion to the general population. In fact, San Jose has more arrests of Latinos than San Diego and San Francisco has total arrests.
No, this isn’t a four-month-old story on public intoxication, but it may change that story’s ending. It is the story of another charge that also relies heavily on police discretion: the charge of “resisting arrest”—also known as 148(a). And the numbers should re-orient the discussion around the public intoxication issue from being about sobering stations and breathalyzers, to the common dominator of both arrest patterns—police practices at the time of arrest.Read More 45
After months of anticipated debate on the politics of airing a reality show documenting the adventures of the Department of Homeland Security on primetime on ABC, the Jan. 6 premiere may have ended the argument before it even could get started. I would like to say that viewers found the notion of celebrating a branch of the government that raids homes and tears apart communities an abhorrent brand of entertainment. But really, Homeland Security USA just sucked.Read More 5
After months of anticipated debate on the politics of airing a reality show documenting the adventures of the Department of Homeland Security on primetime on ABC, the Jan. 6 premiere may have ended the argument before it even could get started. I would like to say that viewers found the notion of celebrating a branch of the government that raids homes and tears apart communities an abhorrent brand of entertainment. But really, Homeland Security USA just sucked.Read More 0
Cell Phones and YouTube Usher in a New Era of Accountability
Through the eye of a cell phone camera, an outraged and shocked public witnessed the shooting death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant at a BART station in Oakland in the early morning hours of the first day of 2009. And now, as a result, a tragically common American story—young black male killed by a police officer—may be headed toward an uncommon ending: justice being served.Read More 15
ESPN is cool, but San Jose Channel 15 is cooler.
The new apartment I moved into has cable, and I’m a new man. And although I was excited about ESPN (and basically any channel that expands my viewing options beyond Law and Order and CSI reruns) I’ve decided that nothing beats Channel 15—our local community access television. Peep the line-up: In the few hours I had it on while moving furniture, I watched sermons on three different religions in three different languages, two shows on paranormal activity, a kids mariachi group dance in the back of a parking lot, and one dude yell at his camera crew for a half hour straight. It was the best. The Civic Center channel is cool, and lets you get a glimpse into the political machinery at City Hall, but if you want a ground up view of San Jose, its diverse interests, beliefs, and unadulterated directions, Channel 15 is your looking glass.Read More 4
Saturday, Dec. 6, marked one the most anticipated boxing matches in recent history—dubbed the “dream fight:” pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao versus the sport’s golden boy, Oscar De La Hoya. The fight was, quite unexpectedly, a drubbing. Pacquiao, the smaller boxer, who was not favored going into the fight, handily destroyed the bigger and older De la Hoya, forcing a stoppage going into the ninth round. It was a mauling. It looked like a video game where one guy plays all the time, and the other guy is still trying to figure out what buttons do what.Read More 7
The voice of experience, and a word of temperance, in the wake of India’s 9/11
For three days, South Asian Americans sat transfixed to their televisions, watching in horror as the bodies of innocent men, women and children lay bullet-ridden and burned in hotels and community centers in Mumbai. Many are calling these events “India’s 9/11,” and in that framing, South Asian Americans have a unique viewpoint that can inform India’s reaction to terror.Read More 4
A Historic Window of Opportunity is Open to Improve Police and Community Relations in San Jose
The November 18, 2008 public hearing regarding the suspiciously high and racially disproportionate drunk in public arrest rate was revealing, heart-breaking and inspiring. Anytime City Hall becomes converted into a place for everyday people to bear witness, to pull out their crumpled hand written notes that described stories that were before only shared over kitchen tables, to give testimonials that show how distant policy can be cut through by the deeply personal, San Jose becomes a more considered and inclusive place.Read More 36