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Most Asian Americans are against the recall, but some haven’t forgiven Newsom for his nail salon remark



Vietnamese American Phuoc Dam, center, who has owned a nail salon for more than 20 years, favors recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom.(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Phuoc Dam has not forgiven Gov. Gavin Newsom for alleging that the first coronavirus case in California stemmed from a nail salon.

Dam, who owns Queen Nails in Brea, is still reeling from months without income after Newsom closed many businesses to stop the virus from spreading.

He marked his ballot “yes” on recalling Newsom, putting it in the mail weeks ago.

“It’s simple. He cost us our livelihood,” said Dam, 67, a Republican who moved to the U.S. from Vietnam. “We had to shut down for months and months for no clear reason.”

“I tell you, the governor was partying without a mask with his friends while telling us to wear masks”

Asian Americans have increasingly gravitated toward the Democratic party, overwhelmingly supporting Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the last presidential election.

A poll released Friday by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and cosponsored by the Los Angeles Times showed that 70% of likely Asian American voters are against recalling the Democratic governor.

That’s a higher percentage than white voters at 56% and Latinos at 67%. Only Black voters, at 73%, are more anti-recall than Asian Americans, according to the poll.

But in Little Saigon, opinions are more mixed. Many Vietnamese immigrants are vehemently anti-communist, which often translates into support for the Republican Party.

President Trump’s tough-on-China stance endeared him to many Vietnamese, strengthening their conservative loyalties.

Add to that the plight of business owners during the pandemic and Newsom’s nail salon remark, which was not backed by evidence, and the pro-recall contingent here is passionate.

Nail salons, along with other small businesses, have been an economic mainstay for Vietnamese immigrants, vaulting them into the middle class.

Vietnamese-language radio and television commentators have called the Republican-led recall the “top issue” facing the state, sprinkling their reports with images of Democratic heavyweights like Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Obama campaigning with Newsom.

The Vietnamese media has tried to stay neutral, offering information on what it takes to mount a recall while highlighting the “optimistic” mood among Democrats as well as Republican efforts to topple the status quo.

Larry Elder, the Republican frontrunner to replace Newsom if the recall is successful, has courted Asian voters by attacking the governor’s business shutdowns and highlighting how Asian American students have been hurt by affirmative action.

But Elder, a conservative radio talk show host with roots in South Los Angeles, has not caught on broadly among Asian Americans, either in Little Saigon or statewide.

The UC Berkeley poll showed 23% of likely Asian American voters selecting Elder for question two — the lowest of any ethnic group.

Dam, who has owned his nail salon for more than 20 years, said he left the second question blank because he is not familiar with the challengers.

After reopening last fall, his salon is down from 22 employees to 10. Customers are still fearful of outings like manicures and pedicures that require sustained indoor contact, and some workers are reluctant to come back, he and other salon professionals said.

Dam pointed to the French Laundry incident, when Newsom was caught violating his own coronavirus restrictions by dining with several other families at an expensive restaurant.

“I tell you, the governor was partying without a mask with his friends while telling us to wear masks,” Dam said. “He made it appear as if the law doesn’t apply to him, and this is not what people in Little Saigon respect. They respect the truth.”

At a small rally organized by Vietnamese recall proponents last month in Westminster, manicurists demanded that Newsom be ousted for not publicly apologizing that he and his staff made a mistake in May by singling out a nail salon as ground zero for the coronavirus.

Some passed out fliers with images of Newsom unmasked, to show that he flouted his own safety guidelines. Others gave interviews to radio and television reporters, detailing the huge financial losses they suffered after their salons closed.

At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, California was home to 11,000 nail salons, with 80% owned by Vietnamese Americans, according to the Pro Nails Assn.

Experts say the backlash against Newsom in the Vietnamese community is not surprising.

“Certainly, there’s a sense of insult to the community when a core group of its members has been portrayed negatively like this — especially when that community historically has leaned toward the Republicans” because of the party’s consistent anti-communist messaging, said Sara Sadhwani, assistant professor of politics at Pomona College who has researched voting behavior with an emphasis on the representation of racial, ethnic and immigrant communities.

Sadhwani said that while Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Indian Americans and Korean Americans have steadily leaned toward the Democratic Party, Vietnamese Americans often have followed a different path.

In a poll conducted a few months before the 2020 presidential election, Vietnamese Americans were the only Asian group to support Trump over Biden.

Last week, Elder hopped onstage at the landmark Asian Garden Mall in Little Saigon, trashing the governor’s “draconian” state shutdown.

“A good third of all small businesses are gone forever,” he said. “Many of those businesses are owned by racial minorities.”

Manicurist Cathy Nguyen showed up because she was deciding how to vote. Nguyen, a Republican from Garden Grove in her 40s, said she was intrigued by Elder’s “open honesty,” especially on crime and anti-Asian violence.

At a Tuesday press conference, Elder, who is Black, criticized the media for not highlighting the race of anti-Asian hate crime perpetrators, many of whom he alleged were Black.

Nguyen said she “appreciates that this is a man who highlights the race of the perpetrators of crime when sometimes, politicians are afraid to mention race.”

But plenty of Vietnamese American voters are against the recall. Graphic designer Jessie Nguyen, a Democrat, is trying to persuade family and friends to vote “no.” Their attraction to Trump makes it an uphill battle.

“People want to be Trumpists” and do as Trump “would do,” she said.

Watching fellow pingpong players rocket the ball back and forth at the Orange County Table Tennis Assn in Fountain Valley, Vinh Tran said Newsom has handled the pandemic “beautifully.”

The state is still thriving economically and offering opportunities for immigrants, so there is no need to boot Newsom, said Tran, 57, a chemistry professor who is not registered with a political party.

“He did what needed to be done to keep us safe,” Tran said.

Hang Nguyen, 55, of Santa Ana, has been anti-recall from the start.

“No governor has been as visible as Mr. Newsom on fighting COVID,” said Nguyen, a restaurant manager, while in line for quail eggs at Bao-N-Baguette in Fountain Valley. “He deserves to be at the head of the state.”

Anh Do, staff writers Seema Mehta and Julia Wick contributed to this report. (2021, September 12). Most Asian Americans are against the recall, but some haven’t forgiven Newsom for his nail salon remark. Los Angeles Times.






Ở Việt Nam, một quốc gia nổi tiếng với di sản văn hóa phong phú và cộng đồng sôi động, những lo ngại về kiểm duyệt và xói mòn quyền tự do ngôn luận đã phủ bóng đen lên tiến trình hướng tới lý tưởng dân chủ của đất nước. Trong khi những tiến bộ về công nghệ đã tạo điều kiện thuận lợi hơn cho việc tiếp cận các kênh thông tin và truyền thông, thì việc chính phủ Việt Nam kiểm soát chặt chẽ các phương tiện truyền thông và nền tảng trực tuyến đã làm dấy lên cảnh báo đối với những người ủng hộ nhân quyền và những người ủng hộ tự do ngôn luận.

Tự do ngôn luận, một quyền cơ bản của con người được quy định trong luật pháp quốc tế, là điều cần thiết để thúc đẩy một nền dân chủ lành mạnh, thúc đẩy trách nhiệm giải trình và tạo điều kiện cho công dân tham gia vào các cuộc thảo luận công khai. Tuy nhiên, ở Việt Nam, không gian tự do ngôn luận đang ngày càng bị thu hẹp khi chính phủ áp dụng nhiều chiến thuật nhằm trấn áp bất đồng chính kiến và kiểm soát luồng thông tin.

Một trong những biểu hiện rõ ràng nhất của kiểm duyệt ở Việt Nam là sự kiểm soát của chính phủ đối với các phương tiện truyền thông truyền thống, bao gồm báo chí, truyền hình và đài phát thanh. Các tổ chức truyền thông nhà nước thống trị toàn cảnh, phổ biến thông tin phù hợp với chương trình nghị sự của chính phủ đồng thời loại bỏ các quan điểm thay thế. Các nhà báo và cơ quan truyền thông độc lập phải đối mặt với sự quấy rối, đe dọa và kiểm duyệt, khiến họ khó hoạt động tự do và đưa tin về các vấn đề được chính quyền cho là nhạy cảm hoặc gây tranh cãi.

Ngoài việc kiểm soát truyền thông truyền thống, chính phủ Việt Nam còn quản lý chặt chẽ các nền tảng trực tuyến và mạng truyền thông xã hội. Luật an ninh mạng của nước này trao cho chính quyền nhiều quyền hạn để giám sát và kiểm duyệt nội dung trực tuyến, bao gồm các bài đăng và bình luận chỉ trích chính phủ. Các công ty truyền thông xã hội phải tuân thủ yêu cầu của chính phủ về việc xóa nội dung được coi là bất hợp pháp hoặc có hại, dẫn đến việc ngăn chặn những tiếng nói bất đồng chính kiến và bóp nghẹt các cuộc tranh luận trực tuyến.

Trong scandal mới đây trên mạng xã hội liên quan đến hoa hậu Nguyễn Thị Lê Nam Em, hoa hậu nổi tiếng cuộc thi Hoa hậu đồng bằng sông Cửu Long, đã phủ bóng lên hình ảnh nguyên sơ, trong đó phong thái đĩnh đạc của cô là Nội thất, sang trọng và bác ái thường chiếm vị trí trung tâm. , hiện đang bị xâm phạm khi cô chia sẻ các buổi phát sóng trực tiếp nhớ lại mối tình đã qua, đề cập đến những bí mật showbiz ẩn giấu và bình luận. về những người nổi tiếng khác. Nội dung của Nam Em bị cơ quan chức năng Việt Nam đánh giá là gây tiêu cực trên mạng xã hội. Một ví dụ mà giới showbiz Việt và hải ngoại đều biết, đó là nếu không có Hoài Linh thì sao có Đàm Vĩnh Hưng? Và nếu không có Đàm Vĩnh Hưng thì sao có Dương Triệu Vũ? Ai dám chạm vào DTV là chạm vào vùng trời cấm của DVH. Kết quả, Nam Em bị Sở Thông tin và Truyền thông TP.HCM phạt 37,5 triệu đồng vì phát trực tiếp “ồn ào”. Vụ bê bối xảy ra như một lời nhắc nhở rõ ràng về sự phức tạp và thách thức mà các nhân vật của công chúng phải đối mặt trong thời đại kỹ thuật số.

Sự xói mòn quyền tự do ngôn luận ở Việt Nam không chỉ giới hạn ở việc kiểm duyệt truyền thông; nó cũng mở rộng đến các hạn chế đối với hội họp ôn hòa, hoạt động chính trị và tự do học thuật. Các tổ chức xã hội dân sự, những người bất đồng chính kiến và những người bảo vệ nhân quyền phải đối mặt với sự quấy rối, giám sát và bỏ tù nếu lên tiếng phản đối các chính sách của chính phủ hoặc ủng hộ cải cách chính trị. Các tổ chức học thuật phải chịu sự giám sát và kiểm soát của chính phủ, hạn chế quyền tự do học thuật và không khuyến khích những nghiên cứu mang tính phê phán về các chủ đề nhạy cảm.

Việc đàn áp quyền tự do ngôn luận ở Việt Nam đã thu hút sự lên án từ các tổ chức nhân quyền quốc tế và các chính phủ dân chủ trên khắp thế giới. Các nhà phê bình cho rằng các chiến thuật đàn áp của chính phủ làm suy yếu khát vọng dân chủ của đất nước và góp phần tạo ra bầu không khí sợ hãi và tự kiểm duyệt trong công dân. Họ kêu gọi tôn trọng nhân quyền nhiều hơn, bao gồm cả quyền tự do ngôn luận, đồng thời kêu gọi chính phủ Việt Nam chấm dứt kiểm duyệt và cho phép đa nguyên chính trị và sự tham gia nhiều hơn.

Bất chấp những thách thức này, xã hội dân sự Việt Nam vẫn có những dấu hiệu kiên cường và phản kháng khi các nhà hoạt động và người dân bình thường tiếp tục lên tiếng chống lại sự bất công và đòi hỏi nhiều quyền tự do hơn. Sự xuất hiện của hoạt động trực tuyến và các nền tảng truyền thông kỹ thuật số đã tạo ra những con đường mới cho hoạt động bất đồng chính kiến và huy động, thách thức sự độc quyền của chính phủ về thông tin và khuếch đại tiếng nói của những người bị gạt ra ngoài lề xã hội.

Khi Việt Nam đang vật lộn với sự phức tạp của quá trình dân chủ hóa và hiện đại hóa, việc bảo vệ quyền tự do ngôn luận vẫn là một vấn đề quan trọng. Việc duy trì quyền cơ bản này không chỉ cần thiết để thúc đẩy một xã hội cởi mở và toàn diện hơn mà còn để đảm bảo sự ổn định và thịnh vượng lâu dài của quốc gia. Chỉ bằng cách không kiểm duyệt thông tin và đi theo chủ nghĩa đa nguyên, Việt Nam mới thực sự thực hiện được khát vọng về một tương lai tươi sáng hơn, dân chủ hơn.


In Vietnam, a nation known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant community, concerns about censorship and the erosion of freedom of expression have cast a shadow over the country’s progress toward democratic ideals. While advancements in technology have facilitated greater access to information and communication channels, the Vietnamese government’s tight grip on media and online platforms has raised alarms among human rights advocates and free speech proponents.

Freedom of expression, a fundamental human right enshrined in international law, is essential for fostering a healthy democracy, promoting accountability, and enabling citizens to participate in public discourse. However, in Vietnam, the space for free expression has been steadily shrinking, as the government employs a range of tactics to stifle dissent and control the flow of information.

One of the most glaring manifestations of censorship in Vietnam is the government’s control over traditional media outlets, including newspapers, television, and radio. State-owned media organizations dominate the landscape, disseminating information that aligns with the government’s agenda while marginalizing alternative viewpoints. Independent journalists and media outlets face harassment, intimidation, and censorship, making it difficult for them to operate freely and report on issues deemed sensitive or controversial by the authorities.

In addition to controlling traditional media, the Vietnamese government also tightly regulates online platforms and social media networks. The country’s cybersecurity law grants authorities broad powers to monitor and censor online content, including posts and comments critical of the government. Social media companies are required to comply with government requests to remove content deemed illegal or harmful, leading to the suppression of dissenting voices and the stifling of online debate.

In a recent social media scandal involving Beauty Queen Nguyen Thi Le Nam Em, a renowned winner of the Miss Mekong Delta pageant, has cast a shadow over her pristine image where poise, elegance, and philanthropy often take center stage is now damaged because she shared live-streams recalling past relationships, mentioning hidden secrets of showbiz, and commenting on other celebrities. An example that the Vietnamese and overseas showbiz world knows is that if there was no Hoai Linh, then there would be no Dam Vinh Hung. And if there is no Dam Vinh Hung, then there would be no Duong Trieu Vu. Anyone who dares to touch DTV is touching the forbidden airspace of DVH. As a result, Nam Em’s content was assessed by Vietnamese authorities as causing negativity on social networks. Nam Em was fined 37.5 million VND by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Information and Communications for “noisy” livestreams. The scandal that unfolded serves as a stark reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by public figures in the digital age.

The erosion of freedom of expression in Vietnam is not limited to media censorship; it also extends to restrictions on peaceful assembly, political activism, and academic freedom. Civil society organizations, political dissidents, and human rights defenders face harassment, surveillance, and imprisonment for speaking out against government policies or advocating for political reform. Academic institutions are subject to government oversight and control, limiting academic freedom and discouraging critical inquiry into sensitive topics.

The crackdown on freedom of expression in Vietnam has drawn condemnation from international human rights organizations and democratic governments around the world. Critics argue that the government’s repressive tactics undermine the country’s democratic aspirations and contribute to a climate of fear and self-censorship among citizens. They call for greater respect for human rights, including freedom of expression, and urge the Vietnamese government to end censorship and allow for greater political pluralism and participation.

Despite these challenges, there are signs of resilience and resistance among Vietnamese civil society, as activists and ordinary citizens continue to speak out against injustice and demand greater freedoms. The emergence of online activism and digital media platforms has provided new avenues for dissent and mobilization, challenging the government’s monopoly on information and amplifying marginalized voices.

As Vietnam grapples with the complexities of democratization and modernization, the protection of freedom of expression remains a critical issue. Upholding this fundamental right is not only essential for fostering a more open and inclusive society but also for ensuring the long-term stability and prosperity of the nation. Only by confronting censorship and embracing pluralism can Vietnam truly fulfill its aspirations for a brighter, more democratic future.

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If you were to run a search on the Irvine Company you will find that they have had many historical issues with tenants in the City of Irvine. The Irvine Company is privately owned by one man, Donald Bren and he owns a majority of the city’s real estate which includes housing, retail centers, schools, and parks. The organization seems like a corporate conglomerate but they operate more like an organized group of extortionists. They have used tactics to control their tenants and feel that they have the right to change the rules on their tenants and bypass government regulations whenever they deem fit for their own advantage. Of course, they have high-powered attorneys and government officials working for them. They even have their paid lobbyists to work the system so that they can make their own rules on city policies. Many of the Irvine tenants feel like they were misled or controlled by their leases and can never fight for their rights because they don’t have the money, time, and energy to go through the legal battle against one of the wealthiest real estate companies in America.

In a case of a business tenant operating in Irvine with multiple salon locations, a tenant of over 10 years in Irvine, Images Luxury Nail Lounge wanted to sell one of their locations after coming out of the pandemic in order to pay their debt. The Irvine Company would not allow them to reassign their lease and rejected all new tenant applications, even when the applicants had great credit but were told by the Irvine Company, “We just don’t like the applicants.” The reason the Irvine Company wants to hold Images hostage, is because they want to force Images to payout their entire lease terms before they would transfer the lease. They are bullying Images into staying so that they can guarantee their rent, otherwise, the Irvine Company would take over the business and Images would walk away with nothing. Just like any business owner, one would want to have the freedom to come and go and move into or out of a city but the Irvine company is making it challenging.

When Images first signed their lease at the Eastbluff location with the Irvine Company, Images was not informed of parking construction delays so this caused the grand opening of their salon to be postponed for over a year.

Then during COVID, Governor Gavin Newsom had required complete closures of salons but the Irvine Company told Images that they could go ahead and reopen and that the City would allow it. Images was informed that the Sheriff and city officials will not shut the business down but Images was afraid to open due to the fear of the Governor’s order, the County reopening guidelines, and safety for their patrons and employees so they remained closed, but this shows how The Irvine Company would disregard Government orders and public safety so that they can collect rent from their tenants. Irvine did not really help the businesses or tenants in their city during the pandemic by establishing a “rent relief” which was really only a deferral of rent of 90 days that made it difficult for many businesses to pay both the current rent and deferral in such a short period of time.

There are plenty of blogs, websites, and social media stories written by first-hand incidences of tenants similar to Images Luxury Nail Lounge complaining about the Irvine Company. Irvine tenants, whether they are business tenants or housing tenants feel extorted or misled into thinking that Irvine is one of the most “desirable” places to live and work but if you see the endless complaints on BBB’s website, and blogs by tenants being kicked out of their properties even when they have leases in place or an entire website dedicated to Irvine Company violating building codes and trying to cover it up, you’ll see that Irvine is not a desirable place to live or work and the Irvine Company is to blame.

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Those who have been independent contractors or “gig” workers in California are familiar with Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). This is a legislation that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and is supposed to regulate companies that hire gig workers such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to reclassify them as employees. Under AB5, independent contractors must pass the strict three-pronged test (ABC Test). This caused issues for many independent contractors who did not consider themselves an employee and could not pass the ABC test. So in September 2020, Assembly Bill 2257 was passed, which rewrote a number of the requirements of AB5 and exempted a substantial list of job categories. Instead of the ABC Test, they must pass the Borello Test, which is not as strict and is used by the IRS.

Under the Borello Test, the most significant factor is whether the hiring company has control or the right to control the worker both as to the work done, the manner, and the means in which it is performed.

Then on September 30, 2021, AB1561 passes to amend AB2257, which allows licensed barbers, electrologists, cosmetologists, manicurists, and estheticians to  qualify as Independent Contractors if they meet the Borello test and also:

 (ii) Sets their own hours of work and has sole discretion to decide the number of clients and which clients for whom they will provide services.

(iii) Has their own book of business and schedules their own appointments.

(iv) Maintains their own business license for the services offered to clients.

(v) If the individual is performing services at the location of the hiring entity, then the individual issues a Form 1099 to the salon or business owner from which they rent their business space.


This last subparagraph (vi) only mentions “manicurists.” Why are manicurists singled out? Cosmetologists, Barbers, Estheticians, and Manicurists are all licensed and governed by the same State Board of Barbering & Cosmetology, so why do manicurists become inoperative under AB5 exemptions on January 1, 2025, and not the other licensed techs in the industry?  Is this discrimination against manicurists?

Financial Summit Inc., which contracts many licensed manicurists for salons in Southern California, became an advocate for manicurists due to the passing of this discriminating provision. When Financial Summit Inc. went public and drew attention to the unfair law, they were singled out and audited by EDD as a form of government retaliation. Financial Summit Inc. provided evidence to satisfy the Borello Test and requirements under AB1561 but was still fined $178K for 2017-2019, for the years conveniently right before the AB5 law passed.

Financial Summit Inc. had provided written contracts between them and their 1099 techs which were reported to the IRS. Each of the licensed techs under this contract had to provide their own liability & malpractice insurance. They were given their own keys to access the salons at any time and made appointments with their clients directly. The techs set their own schedules, bought their own tools and supplies, and charged their own rates.

So when Financial Summit Inc.’s attorney contested the fines, EDD threatened to audit 2020-2023 as well, even when the current AB1561 law allows licensed manicurists to qualify as Independent Contractors until 2025. Therefore, this action by EDD against Financial Summit is an act of totalitarianism.

A new bill AB1818 has been proposed by Senator Janet Nguyen to delete the January 1, 2025, inoperative date, thereby making licensed manicurists subject to this exemption indefinitely. You can fight the discrimination and help pass this bill by visiting to vote and provide public comments.

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