For the past several weeks there has been an organized and concerted effort to attack and undermine the candidacy of the sole Democrat running for the First District Supervisorial seat. The smear campaign leveled at Hoa Van Tran and those around him has come from the left, members of this blog, and the right, Matt Cunningham at Red County. These folks would like you to believe that their criticism of Hoa’s campaign is based strictly on possible campaign reporting errors, however their tactics imply otherwise.
Cunningham reported yesterday that Hoa has until May 18th to come into compliance. I spoke with Hoa’s campaign earlier today and they assured me that the amended campaign reports will be filed on time and any errors in the reports will be corrected. Let me remind you that amended campaign reports are normal procedure and as you can see at the Orange County Registrar of Voters website many campaigns file amended reports including those of Supervisor Janet Nguyen and Supervisorial candidate Dina Nguyen. This is standard stuff folks and is not as sinister as certain folks have tried to paint it.
As I have previously stated I believe that these attacks on Hoa go much deeper than folks simply being worked up over reports being filed properly. Campaign information and photos belonging to the campaign have been distributed to bloggers and subsequently published in an attempt to undermine Hoa’s campaign. Many of these photos are being used to play on the racist fears of the community in what I have coined “the blogosphere’s version of the Willie Horton ad”. As a result of this Hoa’s campaign is fighting back.
The source of the information being fed to Cunningham and others has been well know to myself and Hoa’s campaign from the outset. I was asked by others at this blog to protect this person’s identity and I will respect their wishes on that. For the record when the Register’s Peggy Lowe asked for the identity of the person in question Hoa’s campaign also refused to disclose the name.
As a result of continual attacks on Hoa’s campaign resulting from information they believe was taken without permission by this person, attorney’s for the campaign have sent a letter to that individual have sent a letter demanding the return of the campaigns property. So just as much has been made about the deadline set by the registrar, Hoa’s campaign has itself set a deadline. Here is the text of that letter:
Do Phu & Anh Tuan
A Professional Law Corporation
May 15, 2008
Re: Our client: Hoa Van Tran
Matter: Return of campaign’s property
As a former staff of our client’s campaign, you know that all office equipment acquired by campaign funds belong to the campaign. It is our belief that you are still in possession of our client’s lap top computer, which was bought by you from Costco for our staff to utilize in Mr. Tran’s campaign. Please be advised that holding on to such property, including all campaign information, upon termination o eplt’s termination, would constitute conversion of property. At this time we demand that you are to return the lap top computer to our client’s campaign immediately. Should you fail to do so, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. I we do not receive any constructive response from you by 5 PM, May 19, 2008, we will prosecute against you in state court.
Phu D. Nguyen
Attorney for Hoa Van Tran’s Campaign for Supervisor
So there you have it. People have been asking if something was taken from the campaign why hasn’t Hoa taken any action? Clearly this is the first step in that action. The party involved must now decide what route they want to take and how far they are willing to take their smear campaign against Hoa.
It will also interesting to see if the folks who have been raising all the questions and controversies about Hoa’s campaign will simmer down once the campaign reports are amended. I am especially interested in seeing what the actions of the Democrats that have been involved in this effort will be. Will they actively support the campaign of the sole Democrat in the race or will they continue with the de facto support of Janet Nguyen.
If this is truly about proper campaign reports then the attacks should stop. I however contend that these attacks go much deeper than that and lie with the fact that certain people have an axe to grind with Hoa’s campaign manager Edgardo Reynoso. It is clear to me that some Democratic operatives have partnered up with ultra-partisan Republican Matt Cunningham in this attack in order to provide themselves cover. How else can one explain the fact that alleged “loyal” Democrats ran to Cunningham with the info to undermine Hoa’s campaign?
Sadly all of this petty bickering and hatred of Reynoso will perhaps result in yet another failure for Orange County Democrats to make inroads into the Vietnamese community. I hope party chairman Frank Barbaro is paying close attention to what is going on and when the dust settles he makes the proper moves to insure something like this never happens again. Mr. Barbaro cannot be happy with all of this and I am sure that Lou Correa, Jose Solorio and Loretta Sanchez, who have all worked hard to cultivate support in Little Saigon, must be disappointed as well.
The Democratic Party must begin to do more to insure we build a base in the Vietnamese community. Attacking Hoa Van Tran, Do Phu and others in that community won’t help us do that. Mr. Barbaro is a smart man and he knows that the party’s future in central OC depends on us having a base of support in Little Saigon. Hopefully he will put people in place that can make this happen and will help build bridges rather than burn them.