Please check out this post in the OC Register’s Buzz Blog on the money raised by candidates for Irvine Mayor and City Council.
The story coincides with a mailer than arrived to my home on Mr. Duong, only a three year resident of Irvine; his tagline is honesty and integrity. Yet he neglected to turn in reports for his financial contributions when due (Thursday, Oct 5 at 5PM).
Tardiness doesn’t suit a public official very well. So Mr. Duong faces a $10 a day fine until he produces documents on contributions, which the Register reports will be next week or will have an October 5 postmark (love those old Postage Meters).
So with his brochure in hand, I read his touching personal story; how his father was imprisoned in a communist concentration camp. His escape by boat with his mother, elluding sharks and being “chased by communists and pirates….made a searing a lasting impact on John.”
Honestly, I got misty reading it.
But what does this have to do with qualifications for leadership? How does it make him suitable to be Mayor?
But Mr. Duong, like legions of Republican candidates before him, wants to have his cake and eat it too. He is a vice president for Bridgecreek Development of Westminister, run by Frank Jao, whom some call the “Godfather of Little Saigon,” and depending on who you talk to, associating the term “Godfather” and Mr. Jao runs into positive and negative definitions. I don’t know the man and offer no opinion.
The Godfather reference above is linked to a September 30,2006 OC Register article by John Gittlesohn that goes into detail of Mr. Jao’s plans to invest $10 million in projects in Communist Vietnam. The very same Communists who imprisoned Mr. Duong’s father and chased Mr. Duong and his mother as they fled this Communist nation.
Stay with me on this….
Mr. Duong has been critical of Mayor Krom and the City Council’s attempt to stike a sister city agreement with the PRC (or as Jubal and Greenhut refer to it as ChiCom for Communist China); its classic “divide the community” stuff that the Republicans tried to do in 2002 and 2004 by questioning the ethics of Krom and councilmember Larry Agran (and later opposing the strong ethics ordinance passed by the city council earlier this year..carefl what you ask for).
So having established anti-Communism credentials with his personal “boat people” story and his opposition to the One China Policy lauded by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Colin Powell, Condi Rice and other prominent Republican leaders (Google “One China”+”Bush Administration” for quotes), I find it ironic that Duong’s paychecks come from someone investing heavily in a Communist nation, Google searches turn up no documents that, while a Bush-43 appointee, Mr. Duong attempted to affect changes to the One China policy to the President or anyone else in the Bush Administration (nice picture with W on Mr. Duong’s site; Christina Shea has a nice old pic with President Bush as well on her site). In fact Google turns up precious little on Mr. Duong (John Duong+Irvine=222 hits and most of it on the race for Mayor).
So Mr. Duong is having it both ways; he is making a major issue of the Sister City situation in Irvine while collecting paychecks from a developer investing in a Communist Nation.
And with his criticism of the attempts to establish a sister city relationship in the PRC, he is on the opposite side on long standing and vigorously supported federal foreign policy on diplomatic relations with the PRC. An as a Bush appointee, has voiced no public statement on the vast amount of U.S. federal debt held by the PRC that can be found on Interest searches or federal government web sites.
So what kind of Republican is he? One who will say whatever he can to divide the city into Red and Blue in order to get elected.
I am reminded of Molly Ivins’ book, “Shrub: the short happy political life of George W. Bush” where Ms. Ivins, one of the truly gifted political writers of all time, actually apologizes for the “thin” book on W’s political past and record. Ivins told the readers there wasn’t much there and assured us that she looked for it.
Funny, I get the same impression from trying to learn more about the record of our city’s Republican candidate for mayor.