With the smell of backroom deals and corruption permeating the L.A. City Council chambers, residents and stakeholders of L.A.’s dynamic Koreatown/Wilshire Center community escalated their drive for increased self-determination and representation in city government by taking their demand to be made part of Council District 13 right into city hall.

About 200 Korean Americans wearing yellow t-shirts proclaiming “I (Heart) Koreatown” responded to a last-minute call for action to attend the morning council session only to be met with the oldest stall   tactic in politics. Council President Herb Wesson, whose staff had been the target of graft and bribery allegations at L.A. Redistricting Commission meetings all last month, apologized profusely for having to delay the public comments 2½ hours until after several ceremonial presentations and perfunctory unanimous votes were finished.

However, despite their long wait, the Koreatown speakers thanked CD10 Councilman Wesson for the opportunity to speak and asked the council to rethink the redistricting body’s recommendation that their neighborhood be divided between two council districts. There was no chanting or shouting. Several speakers read passages from the Bible.

But the stick to the carrot wielded by Koreatown Wednesday is a plan to sue the city, alleging that the redistricting process has been illegally politicized. There is also talk of calling in the FBI to investigate charges made by Koreatown business owners of bribe-solicitation and shakedowns by Wesson Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Bai, a Korean American and a high-profile figure in the community.

As the 20th anniversary of “Sa-I-Gu” (the Korean American community’s cipher for the 1992 L.A. economic and race riots which decimated their businesses throughout the city) approaches,  Koreatown is tired of pay-to-play, business as usual political corruption they have allegedly been subjected to by officeholders. After years of being represented by the controversial former 10th District Councilman Nate Holden (and his chief deputy Herb Wesson), Korean Americans, who supplied more than one-third of Holden’s campaign finances, are looking to eliminate the middle man, get more bang for their buck and elect a councilman of their own. Thus, the drive to be included in Councilman Eric Garcetti’s CD13.

Garcetti, son of former L.A. County DA Gil Garcetti, has already announced he will run for L.A. mayor in 2013. Political strategists say the election to fill the council vacancy created by a Garcetti victory next March would give a Korean American favorite son/daughter candidate a great chance to become the first Asian American on the L.A. City Council since Chinese American urban planner Michael Woo was elected over CD13 incumbent Peggy Stevenson 27 years ago.

From 1985 to 1993, Woo, the son of an influential Chinatown banker, was the first—and so far the only— Asian American on the L.A. City Council. Koreatown’s  savvy new generation of political leaders are hungry and seem ready to make history, and nobody’s mentioned it yet, but it looks like the Holden-Wesson golden goose has flown.

Jeremy’s Spoken

February 17, 2012


The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you.

—Mao Zedong, 1957

Clueless TMZ producers pitch lame nicknames for NBA star Jeremy Lin.

Okay, we can all relax, rapper Dumbfoundead is still a card-carrying member of the 99%. Despite all his recent homegrown success~a new album, a million subscribers on YouTube, sold out shows on both coasts and overseas and major mainstream media coverage~”CNN”‘s Jonathan Park (aka LA Koreatown rap artist Dumbfoundead) found himself being informed on the red carpet by a “angry PR person” that he “wasn’t part of this” at the Nov. 2 L.A. premiere of  “A Very Merry Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.” DFD speculated that his FlipCam wasn’t official enough. The good news is DFD appeared to be well medicated when the incident went down. To be fair, I think John Cho (Harold) just didn’t recognize his dogg Ded. Afterall, Asian bruthas got to stick together, yeah?

Dr. Robert

September 29, 2011


NEW YORK (NHK)~A farmer from Fukushima Prefecture has urged people around the world to get rid of nuclear power plants, saying there is no such thing as safe nuclear power.
53-year Sachiko Sato from Kawamata Town spoke at a gathering in central New York on Thursday. The event, organized by a US anti-nuclear group, was attended by about 70 people.
Sato was forced to evacuate from Fukushima to neighboring Yamagata Prefecture with her family after the accident in March at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Sato called on people all over the world to work together to get rid of nuclear plants, for the sake of the children of the world.

Friday, September 23, 2011 09:30 +0900 (JST)

TOKYO [9:30 am, Thursday, Sept. 22 JST]~Typhoon Roke, packing 100 mph+ winds and torrential rains, swept the length of Japan from Shizuoka to Hokkaido. Seven are dead and evacuation orders were issued for more than a million people. From the Tokai region the Category 2 storm then headed northeast drenching Tokyo during the evening commute and disrupting public transportation. Roke then whirled its way toward the stricken Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

Workers at the now-infamous Tokyo Electric Power Company-operated nuclear facility had been scurrying to strengthen explosion-damaged reactor buildings, but TEPCO reported control buildings were leaking and that workers had to resort to using ropes to secure vital piping systems against Roke’s high winds. The measures seemed to be working, then at 10:30 pm JST Wednesday night a 5.1 earthquake struck in nearby Ibaraki.

Not to worry, Japan. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) is reporting that “no irregular activities” were reported following Roke’s glancing blow and the ill-timed tremor did not further damage the beleaguered complex.

After a long night, the typhoon cleared the Japanese archipelago, evacuation orders were being lifted, radioactive cooling water had not overflowed from FukuDaiichi.

Here’s NHK World’s report, broadcast Wednesday evening JST as workers at Fukushima Daiichi waited for the full force of Typhoon Roke. Hiro Morita is at the anchor desk.

(This report was prepared using  Katsuyuki Ueno’s Yokosonews Twitter stream. Yokosonews is  headquartered in Yokkaichi, Japan, a region that has taken big hits from the last two typhoons. Ueno is a former L.A. resident.)

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