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Home Columns San Diego Happenings Analyzing the “Myth of the Filipino Voting Block”
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Friday, 07 November 2008 03:00

T hree Filipino candidates, three losses. Where and how did they err in Tuesday's election? The political downfall of these candidates did not have to happen in San Diego County where almost 5-percent of the voting age population of 2,093,080 persons is Filipino. As the losers lick their political wounds, a group of Filipinos tries to avert further political disaster by moving to organize a voters’ coalition that promises to provide a voice for everyone.


Myth of the Filipino Voting Block

Three Filipino Candidates Lose Local Elections;

New Group Moves to Put Up Voters Coalition 

 

 

By Romeo P. Marquez

 

Mr. Marquez is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the National Press Club of the Philippines-USA.

SAN DIEGO - The much-vaunted "Filipino voting block" dissipated under the weight of petty intramurals and unresolved issues, bringing with them the political downfall of the only three Filipino candidates in public offices in the cities of San Diego and National City.

 

The squabbles were pretty evident in the election contest in the City of National City, a small Navy town south of San Diego where Filipinos comprise 18 percent of the population. Here, seven candidates, two of them Filipinos, vied for two seats in the city council.

 

When the counting of the votes in the Nov. 4 elections ended at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, the Filipino candidates -- Mitz Lee, Ditas Yamane and Fideles Ungab -- were nowhere near the winning slate.

 

Ms. Lee, originally from Quezon province, conceded her defeat hours after it became clear she wasn't going to keep her post as a trustee of the San Diego Unified School District for another four years.

 

BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive
Volume 2, Issue No. 23 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . . . . A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public. . . . . .

 

She blamed "special interest groups" for her loss. But local election analysts said Lee could have easily retained her seat had Filipino voters cast their votes in her favor, particularly in the northern district where a huge chunk of Filipino voters live.

 

"Running against a torrent of negative campaign commercials in the campaign's final days made it all but impossible for Lee to win reelection," her press spokesman said in a statement.

 

Ms. Yamane, on the other hand, coasted smoothly to second place in the early hours of the counting Tuesday night. By dawn, her standing  fell two notches lower and the final unofficial count showed that she had amassed only 1,911 votes, or 13.79 percent of the total, to land fourth in a seven-way race for two seats in the city council of National City.

  

Mr. Ungab's showing was a dismal sixth placer with 1,467 votes, or about 10.59 percent of the total. Ungab currently occupies one of the two seats to which he was appointed two years earlier. He had been a councilman once before his appointment.

 

Though Ms. Yamane and Mr. Ungab are not personal adversaries, some of their supporters are caught in petty quarrels among themselves. In one instance, the squabbling had reached the courts and ended in mediation.

 

Voters of Filipino descent residing in San Diego County total to 103,325, or about 4.9-percent of the whole voting-age population of 2,093,080 persons, according to Joann Fields of the Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIA Vote).

 

Fields had organized an Get Out The Vote drive with seven community associations in the hope of coaxing what she called the "Filipino voting block" but failed to interest the Filipino community to support its one and only rally two days before the polls.

 

The poor showing of Filipino candidates in the Nov. 4 polls has prompted a community group to call for the establishment of a voters coalition that is planned "to provide a voice for everyone, regardless of political persuasions and personal beliefs."

 

Organizers of this event on Nov. 12 said the "effort is an unprecedented move to blur the party lines and set the groundwork for immediate formation and mobilization of a coalition group that works to educate Filipino Americans voters and solidify the community countywide as a major voting bloc."

 

 "One object is to identify Filipino Americans who can energize and motivate the community into political action," a press statement said.

 

The two-hour event starting at 6:30 p.m. is slated at the Kalusugan Community Center, 1419 E. 8th Street, National City, Ca. 91950. Contact persons are  Dr. Riz A. Oades, 619-477-3392 or 619-917-0728; Mitz Lee, 858-586-9028 and  Myrna Reyes, 619-988-2210. # # #

 

 (This Breaking News is credited to Romeo P. Marquez, the editor of the Philippine Village Voice, San Diego, California. Mailing address: P.O. Box 2118, La Jolla, CA. 92038. Volume 2, Issue no. 23, November 6, 2008).

 

 



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Last Updated on Sunday, 09 November 2008 05:04
 

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