Connect with us


OC GOP Rep Speaks Out on Trump Immigration Policy



ORANGE COUNTY (CalMatters) — Assemblyman Tyler Diep’s family needed welfare when they arrived from Vietnam in 1991. So he took umbrage when President Trump announced plans to restrict immigrants who accept public assistance.

Assemblyman Tyler Diep remembers what he saw as a wide-eyed 8-year-old boy arriving in San Diego with his mom and dad from their native Vietnam in 1991.

“Clean. Quiet. Big, compared to Saigon.”

His parents had waited eight years to be allowed to come to America. They spoke no English when they settled into their first apartment near San Diego State University. They had no money, no job, nothing other than aspirations of attaining their piece of the American Dream. They could not have made it without a little help from the government in their home.

Last Monday, Diep, now 36, was flying from John Wayne Airport for another work week in Sacramento when he read a Washington Post report detailing the Trump Administration’s latest plan:

“Immigrants here legally who use public benefits—such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance—could have a tougher time obtaining a green card under a policy change … that is at the center of the Trump administration’s effort to reduce immigration levels.”

A freshman legislator, Diep represents an Orange County district where 20% of voters are Vietnamese-Americans. He’s also a Republican. Although his party is withering in California, Diep is not quite a unicorn. There is one other Vietnamese-American Republican state legislator in the country, in Massachusetts.

Diep doesn’t carry many bills and rarely gives floor speeches. He is not a back-slapping, blustery sort of politician, and definitely is not long on words. But he does know where he came from, and felt he had no choice other than to stand up to the Twitter president. So he tweeted to his 1,451 followers:

Predictably, there was blowback.

“We can’t afford it. That’s what’s wrong.” someone using the handle Fire CalTrans tweeted back at him.

And there was this from @SD_TaxFighters: “Sooo, if I decide to immigrate to your country of origin (Vietnam?), I can go on welfare for several years? Sounds great! Why did you leave?”

Diep shrugged off the reaction, feeling no loyalty to defend a White House policy that “seemed so anti-immigrant.”

“I remember our welfare check was $800 a month; $500 went to rent, $100 went to paying back the airline ticket, and $200 for groceries,” he said. “I don’t remember that there were food stamps, but there was welfare and Medicare.”

His parents enrolled themselves and him in an English class. Though he cannot say for sure, the course almost certainly was government-funded. It took him six months to become proficient. It was harder for his folks, but they learned. They got off welfare in about two years, and stayed on government-funded health care for a little longer.

In Saigon, his mom had been a teacher. Here, she does nails. His dad had been a journalist in the old country. Here, he worked as a bilingual instructor at an elementary school, a printer, and, in recent years, for General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, where he helps build Navy ships that defend his United States.

They had one more child, a daughter, and bought a home in Lemon Grove. Diep’s sister is finishing up at San Diego State University, a taxpayer-supported university. Diep went there, too.

Today he represents constituents in a county—once the throbbing heart of California conservatism—that just gave Democrats a registration edge. And he represents an immigrant community, Vietnamese-Americans, that also has been drifting further from the GOP.

To regain relevance in a rapidly diversifying state, the party is going to need leaders like Diep.

He is a Republican because of the GOP’s emphasis on personal responsibility, and because traditionally it has shunned socialism. Having lived in Vietnam, he wants no part of anything that smacks of socialism.

In the Assembly, he is a moderate. Because of his childhood experiences, he has no problem with safety-net programs including Covered California, this state’s version of the Affordable Care Act for health coverage. Until last week, he had not chimed in on President Donald Trump and his policies.

“I’ve been staying quiet for a while, but it gets to a point where I don’t know if this type of policy is going to stop,” Diep said. “It seems like every day there is more and more stuff coming out targeting immigrants, even the legal ones. “

Diep’s story is not unlike that of many who came here from Vietnam. Pirates killed one of his uncles who was trying to escape Vietnam by boat. Other aunts and uncles made it here. They and his many cousins all got their start in their new land by getting a government hand. For that, Diep makes no apology.

“That is the America Dream,” he said. “You come here and don’t have anything. As long as you are willing to work hard and seize the opportunity given to you, then you can do well in this country. Your background or place of birth doesn’t matter.”

This article is produced as part of WeHo Daily’s partnership with CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Santa Monica Man Arrested for Cyberattacks on Congressional Candidate



LOS ANGELES – FBI agents this morning arrested a Santa Monica man on federal charges stemming from a series of distributed denial-of-service – or DDoS – attacks on a website for a candidate who was campaigning for a California congressional seat.

Arthur Jan Dam, 32, was taken into custody pursuant to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday that charges him with one count of intentionally damaging and attempting to damage a protected computer.

According to Buzzfeed news, the attack was on an opponent to Katie Hill. “Hill, who flipped a Republican-held seat in California two years ago, resigned from Congress last year after nude photos of her were released without her consent. While she was a candidate in 2018, the website of one of her Democratic rivals — Bryan Caforio — was hacked.”

Dam allegedly staged four cyberattacks in April and May of 2018 that took down the candidate’s website for a total of 21 hours. “The victim reported suffering losses, including website downtime, a reduction in campaign donations, and time spent by campaign staff and others conducting critical incident response,” according to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint.

The victim further reported spending $27,000 to $30,000 to respond to the attacks, and the candidate believes the attacks contributed to the loss in the primary election in June 2018.

 “Law enforcement at all levels has pledged to ensure the integrity of every election,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “We will not tolerate interference with computer systems associated with candidates or voting. Cases like this demonstrate our commitment to preserving our democratic system.”

“The arrest shows the FBI’s commitment to hold accountable anyone who interferes with an American’s right to vote or who deprives a candidate the right to compete fairly in an election,” said Paul Delacourt, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “As part of our mission to defend the democratic process, the FBI is equipped with the expertise to respond to allegations of election interference; whether by fraud, intimidation or – as in this case – cyber intrusions.”

The investigation outlined in the affidavit found that the cyberattacks all originated from one Amazon Web Services (AWS) account, which Dam controlled, and the four attacks corresponded to logins into that AWS account from either Dam’s residence or his workplace. Furthermore, Dam had conducted “extensive research” on both the victim and cyberattacks, the complaint alleges.

 DDoS attacks typically are accomplished by flooding the targeted computer with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems and prevent some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled. After the third cyberattack, the victim increased cybersecurity measures and retained a website security company, but that was not enough to prevent a final disruption to the campaign’s website just one week before the primary election.

 Dam was married to a woman who was employed by another candidate – and the eventual winner – in the congressional race, according to the complaint. The FBI has not uncovered any evidence that the winning candidate or Dam’s wife orchestrated or were involved in the series of cyberattacks.

Dam was arrested after surrendering to FBI agents at the United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Dam is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon.

Continue Reading


LA County Eliminates Criminal Fees. Will California Follow?



by Jackie Botts for CalMatters

LOS ANGELES — The county will stop collecting fees that often amount to thousands of dollars per person. Los Angeles County will stop billing people millions of dollars a year for the costs of their incarceration in an effort to lighten the financial burden on former inmates.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to eliminate all criminal administrative fees over which the county has discretion after hearing testimony from dozens of formerly incarcerated residents.

The county is the fourth in California to eliminate the fees. If a bill introduced in the state Senate is approved, the rest of California could soon follow.

“Most of the people who have contact with the criminal justice system are already struggling to make ends meet,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, who co-wrote the measure. “It’s most definitely not the purpose of the justice system to punish poor people for their poverty.”

Among the fees that Los Angeles will no longer collect are a monthly $155 charge for probation supervision, $769 for a pre-sentence report, $50 for alcohol testing and legal counsel fees that can reach hundreds of dollars, according to a November report from a coalition of criminal justice reform advocacy groups.

“It’s just never-ending. It’s a revolving door of fees and stipulations,” Cynthia Blake told the supervisors. A mother of seven, Blake said she was homeless when she was assessed more than $5,000 in probation fees nearly a decade ago. Unable to pay, she “ducked and dodged” the probation department, ultimately ending up in prison.

The vote followed a December report from the county’s Chief Executive Office finding that the county assessed an average of $121 million in fines and fees each year since 2014, but collected about $11.4 million annually, or 9%.

Including all fees, fines and restitution, Los Angeles still has over $1.8 billion in outstanding debt on the books, dating back 50 years. The measure doesn’t touch restitution or fees and fines required by state law, however.

The county’s 2019-2020 budget for public protection — which includes the sheriff’s department, which operates county jails, probation and the courts — is $8.9 billion. 

Los Angeles follows the lead of San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, which have passed similar measures in the past two years. More than 30% of California’s nearly 73,000 jailed inmates and 356,000 probationers reside in the four counties that have eliminated fees, according to data from the Board of State and Community Corrections and Chief Probation Officers of California. Another 127,000 inmates are in state prisons and 45,000 are on state-run parole.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis (right) authored the measure to eliminate the fees. Photo by Jackie Botts

The supervisors also resolved to write Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators in support of SB 144, which would eliminate several of the most common and costly criminal administrative fees charged by counties and the state prison system.

“We are further hampering an already fragile family or community economically,” said Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who authored the bill.

The bill is opposed by counties and law enforcement groups, which say that eliminating fees would leave gaping funding holes.

“One of the problems is that the legislature passes laws that have to be paid for… When they didn’t want to use general funds, they allowed it to be done as a fine or fee,” said Darby Kernan, deputy executive director of the California State Association of Counties. “That’s what holds the system together, and minus those dollars, the system will collapse.”

Kernan pointed to a 2016 state law that required people convicted of driving under the influence to install in their cars an interlock device — a breathalyzer that must be passed to turn on the ignition — and pay an administrative fee to cover the cost.

But Mitchell urged the governor to recognize that criminal fees are a “self-defeating, anemic source of revenue,” in a statement Tuesday.

“If LA can afford it, California can to,” Mitchell said.

Los Angeles’ move may bode well for Mitchell’s bill, if history is an indication. The county was a trendsetter when it stopped charging fees to parents for their kids’ time in the juvenile justice system in 2009. Three Bay Area counties followed, Mitchell introduced a bill to do so statewide and in 2018, California became the first state in the nation to abolish juvenile fees.

But that law didn’t do away with pre-existing debt from the juvenile fees. While most counties, including Los Angeles, stopped collecting the old fees from parents, 22 counties haven’t.

Both the Los Angeles ordinance and MItchell’s proposal make old administrative fees uncollectible.

Marquies Nunez has struggled to pay off his county criminal justice fees. Photo by Jackie Botts

That could make a big difference for Marquies Nunez. When the 28-year-old finished a 13-year sentence four months ago, he received a new bill for $1,000 from Los Angeles County. That was on top of the $12,000 he already owed in restitution fees, $2,000 of which he had paid off by working for 30 to 60 cents per hour while imprisoned.

“I was actually devastated and hurt… knowing that I worked so hard while I was in jail to pay off my restitution and now here it is, I got bumped up an extra $1,000,” said Nunez.

After Los Angeles’ vote, Nunez is optimistic about spreading the wave of reform to the rest of the state.

‘We’re going in the right direction. We got a good governor, we got good people outside here voting for these laws, good people in the Senate,” Nunez said. “We’ve got a bright future ahead of us.”

Jackie Botts is a reporter with CalMatters. This article is part of The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California.

This article is produced as part of WeHo Daily’s partnership with CalMatters, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

Continue Reading


Impeachment Role Makes Schiff a Top Prospect for Senate



CALIFORNIA (Ukiah Daily Journal) –It’s been clear for several years, that U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff would love to run for the U.S. Senate. So would California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, best known as a constant irritant for President Trump, and several others.

But Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the chief prosecutor in Trump’s impeachment trial, has a big leg up on his competition because of his months in the national limelight managing the effort to oust a president for the first time ever.

If running an impeachment effort should propel Schiff into the Senate, it would be a ironic sign of the massive changes California politics has seen over the last 25 years.

The congressman would likely have run for the Senate two years ago if veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein, then 84, […]

Continue reading at

Continue Reading

This Just In…