By Winston Chua
PASADENA – In just three short weeks Troy D. Anderson will
be taking a trip to Thailand. But this is no ordinary excursion, as Anderson
will be working in Thailand to chip away at the problem of human trafficking in
“There is a definite need for
social justice,” Anderson said, in describing the climate of Thailand.
Myanmar and Thailand recently
implemented a joint plan of action against human trafficking, as both countries
cooperate to repatriate and reintegrate trafficked victims. Thai leader Issara
Somchai and Myanmar’s Maung Oo had a heavy hand in putting the agreement
Anderson, 39, is a lawyer with big
visions to stop the exploitation of women and the poor in the ever popular city.
He is so convinced for the immediate need for help there that he has started
his own company, “Speak Up”, which advocates for the oppressed. Despite
not knowing the Thai language, he will be relocating to Thailand on a much more
permanent basis to lend a hand in stopping human trafficking.
Migrants often take up dangerous
and exploitative work to either escape natural disaster or to find better
employment opportunities. Prostitution is one such “opportunity.”
Trafficking sometimes happens when women
are taken from their native country and promised a better life for themselves,
possibly as call girls. These situations usually end up in one form of abuse or
another, as organized criminals steal women’s passports and force them into an
unwanted life in the commercial sex industry. One of Anderson’s goals is
helping would-be-abused women return to their home country. Anderson developed
a heart for the Asian nation when he visited Thailand before entering law
school at UCLA.
His law degree will be put to good
use, as he will represent women who cannot or do not know how to legally
represent themselves before embassies or police. He will be helping women,
teaching them how to defend themselves and assert their rights. He hopes that
one day he can do things to change the system that enables criminals to abuse
women and children.
“Some criminals are making a
lot of nasty money doing this stuff,” Anderson said.
Anderson also has connections
within the Thai government and in the United Nations, though he readily admits
that his is a small operation. He may also in the future work with Thai
attorneys to assist in criminal cases or prosecutions.
While Thailand is a beautiful
country with open arms to the touring public, it is also a country of
controversy. Thailand is a hotbed for human trafficking because government
regulations are rather lenient.
Anderson spends time in the States
to fundraise. His organization is made up primarily of volunteers, some of whom
help in finance or web development.
By Winston Chua
ALHAMBRA – Have you ever thought about teaching your kids
how not to drive? Or have you ever
wondered what a true “California Roll” is? Well, take them to the intersection
of South Curtis Avenue and West Norwood Place, or Curtis and West Glendon Way,
for that matter. That’s where drivers are putting on dangerous clinics on how
to run stop signs without getting caught.
pretty bad. We’ve noticed because we drive a lot, we’ve seen it and it’s constant,”
said Rome Garza, who lives on the Curtis block in between the Norwood and
Glendon Way stops. “People just run right through the stop signs.”
his wife were almost run down after a driver failed to notice them crossing the
street on Curtis. Invited by Garza to see how bad things were, the Tribune
witnessed about a dozen cars speed through the stop signs in a 15 minute time
incredibly frustrating for Garza, who sees countless cars break the rules at
all hours of the day, but mainly when he gets home from work. He has even gone
to speak with the Alhambra City Council and talked to Alhambra police who
assured him that something would be done. The Alhambra Police Department said
that since August 19, they have been sending out more units into the area, but
that their presence is not detected because Garza may or may not be home. The
department said they will release their findings in about a week and a half for
those who are interested.
Gary Yamauchi said that the city may look into investigating the matter
further, possibly sending its traffic commission to analyze the problem.
more than two weeks after addressing authorities and even contacting the police,
Garza still has seen no progress. He has seen just one police officer. Somewhat
surprisingly, that officer alsosped
through the stop sign himself!. He will try to remind the city council of the
issue as soon as possible.
by Winston Chua
blue,” said Eugene Sun when asked what his favorite color was.
blue is the color synonymous with San Marino High School. Sun is the mayor of
Sun did not become San Marino’s well-respected mayor overnight. The Chinese
American worked long and hard as a board member of the South Pasadena and San
Marino YMCA and served as a trustee for the San Marino Educational Foundation.
He was the president of the Chinese Club of San Marino in the early 1990s, as
well as the City Club of San Marino.
explicitly encouraged by his parents to devote his life to public service in
his youth, he nevertheless sees its importance. Sun’s parents had a simpler
hand in his development.
I can say is that I had tough parents. They were loving, but tough. They wanted
me to study hard and to be a productive citizen of society,” Sun said. He
has said he has instilled similar values for his daughter Emily, a graduate
from San Marino High School in 1998. She then completed her college studies at
The 64-year-old Sun grew up in China before
graduating from National Taiwan University with a degree in chemical
engineering. He received his graduate degree from Purdue and worked with an
engineering firm that sent him to Holland.
He didn’t live long in Holland, in part because he
felt that living so far from the States was not conducive to a good social life
for his family. So after his brief stay in Holland, he made a more permanent
move back to the States and the San Gabriel Valley, which has been his home for
some 25 years.
He calls himself a “transplant” to the United States.
The self-proclaimed transplant has made a good imprint on the city he is the
mayor of. Born of Asian descent yet living much of his life in America, Sun
believes that Asian people should integrate themselves into the American
culture, even recommending that young people serve in the US military so they
can learn to become responsible citizens.
As the mayor of San Marino, he has taken care to make
sure the city has enough in its reserve funds.
Like many cities, however, San Marino’s is not
without its problems.
“We’re in an environment in which we have no
control. The state fiscal crisis is going to affect us.”
Sun said that the state may borrow as much as 8
percent of the city’s property taxes, ballooning the city’s deficit to
$800,000. That deficit will force the city to dip into its reserves.
Despite the tough financial times for the city, Sun
is still working to make the San Marino schools the top in the state.
In his spare time, Sun enjoys playing golf and
spending time with his family.
by Winston Chua
Congressman Adam Schiff and OFA (Organizing for America) Tuesday night in the
Alhambra Public Library hosted a town hall health insurance reform forum.
Health care reform is a hotly contested issue nationwide. All the way from
Florida to down here in Alhambra, people are voicing their opinions.
current level of spending is unsustainable and will eventually bankrupt the
country if it’s not fixed,” said Congressman Adam Schiff. “A
successful reform package should provide the kind of stability where you will
always have coverage, even if your job doesn’t provide it.”
said he wants coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and health
insurance premiums that do not discriminate based on one’s gender.
successful reform should also ensure that the costs of health care don’t
threaten your family’s finances, that your doctor is paid for making you well
and not ordering unnecessary tests,” Schiff said. “And that your
health-care premiums are spent on actual care, not paying for piles of
paperwork and red tape.”
But not everyone is for health care
reform, or not in the way it is currently proposed. Jonathan Wilson, founder of
the Pasadena Patriots, an organization that started spontaneously in protesting
tax increases, said that it gives too much power to the federal government.
Moreover, he feels that giving this power will be hard to wrestle back once it
Although admitting that health care
needs to be fixed, he feels that national security and the economy are bigger
priorities for the nation. As per health care, Wilson favors free market
solutions and health savings accounts that can be used to offset the high price
of health care.
Michael Fell, leader of the
Westside Tea Party Patriots, says the current health care proposal has its own
“The current bill is too
intrusive, it exerts too much control over private lives. My solution is tort reform.
Fell said that tort reform would
limit the currently exorbitant amount of money doctors now have to pay for
medical malpractice insurance and would also limit what he feels are the
ridiculous amounts of tests doctors need to perform in case a medical lawsuit
from a patient does arise.
“Doctors have to practice
defensive medicine that drives up the cost of health care,” Fell said. He
said that tort reform is not being addressed by the Democrats because the
Democrats are all lawyers and funded by the bar association. Instead Fell
proposes stimulating health care competition across state lines and driving the
cost of health care down.
by Winston Chua
SAN GABRIEL – When San
Gabriel doctor Shane S. Pak shares stories about osteoporosis, it hits close to
home. His very mother has osteoporosis. The San Gabriel Valley Medical Center
doctor spoke recently at the Crowell Library in San Marino as part of a monthly
series the hospital is featuring on all things related to health and wellness.
In an interview with the Tribune, Pak said that “Asian
and Caucasian women are most susceptible to osteoporosis,” the silent
disease that makes bones weak and increasingly likely to break. The two classes
of women typically have less fat in their bodies and lower hormone levels
overall, according to Pak. Bone breakage typically occurs in the hip, spine and
The older people get, especially women, the more
likely they are to develop osteoporosis. So what does Dr. Pak recommend for
preventative measures to sustaining healthy bones? Here are a few pointers.
For those who haven’t already, get a DEXA scan.
A DEXA scan is a bone density test that will help your physician determine what
the best course of action for you in either treating or preventing
osteoporosis. Any score higher than -1.0 is considered very good. From -1.0 to
-2.5 means you have osteopenia, otherwise known as early osteoporosis. Those
who have scores from -2.5 to -3.5 have standard osteoporosis and lower than
that means your osteoporosis is severe. Treating any level of osteoporosis
aggressively should stabilize and possibly marginally improve your DEXA scan.
The key word being “aggressively.” It can certainly help in
preventing your osteoporosis from getting worse.
Take calcium citrate. Dr. Pak’s own mom takes
this specific form of calcium because it is the most easily digested. That does
mean, however, it’s more expensive. But don’t just take calcium citrate, Pak
warned that without adequate vitamin D, there can be no calcium absorption. The
best way for seniors to get in the vitamin D is through a senior multivitamin
or consuming the less appealing food products of milk, liver or fish. Calcium
citrate also protects against kidney stones.
Calcium citrate can run about $20 per month at Costco, but
Dr. Pak cautions consumers to
please read the FDA
labels and ingredients carefully. Citracal, which one would think contains
calcium citrate, actually has products that contain calcium carbonate. Calcium
carbonate is considered less effective than calcium citrate because it is
harder to absorb and:
Cannot be taken with an empty stomach
Cannot be taken with fried foods or lots of
Can cause bloating and constipation and even
promote kidney stones
How else can you help yourself? Dr. Pak said to make sure
to get 100 percent of your
allowance (RDA) of calcium and vitamin D. Dr. Pak recommends 1,500 to 2,000 mg
of calcium per day. A healthy diet should take care of 1,200 mg of calcium. Men
do not necessarily need as much calcium because they tend not to eat as much
nor work out as strenuously. When women reach menopause, estrogen production
grinds to a halt, further contributing to the likelihood of osteoporosis.
practice Tai Chi. Tai Chi, which promotes balance in many respects, is the only
course of action that has been proven to reduce the amount of hip fracture.
The Crowell Library in the coming months will feature
San Gabriel Valley Medical Center lectures on the following topics: prostate,
women’s health, incontinence and allergies. In October Dr. Pak will return to
talk about lower back pain.
by Winston Chua
SAN MARINO – It is one of his
favorite games, one of strategy and training the mind to think several steps of
ahead of one’s opponent, so as to capture his or her pieces. Known as Japan’s
“Go”, it is Matthew Lin’s game of choice for his pleasure and his life. And he
has certainly captured a lot of pieces!
The same forward thinking and
deliberation Lin uses in the game has propelled Lin to where he is today, years
ago becoming the first Asian American city councilman in San Marino, an
orthopedic surgeon and owner of the tallest house in San Marino.
For those familiar with MTV Cribs,
it is a television show that takes everyday people into extraordinary, even
palatial pieces of property owned by the most glamorous of celebrities who have
the money for mansions.
Walking around the home of Dr.
Matthew Lin is like watching MTV Cribs, only without a remote control and eyes
glued to the boob tube.
His house is San Marino’s version
of the White House. Four stories high, it was awarded the honor of becoming
Pasadena’s Showcase House of Design for 2009. Designers remade parts of his
home and the city even modified his family’s driveway to accommodate the
throngs of people outside of San Marino to view his behemoth home. What was
once his parking garage is now a home entertainment center with a collection of
Given his success, it is hard to
believe that Lin came to the United States with no more than a suitcase full of
clothes and a few hundred dollars in his pocket.
the fulfillment to an American dream after coming alongside his lifelong
companion, Joy, to Baltimore, Md. as an orthopedic surgeon in 1973. Medicine is
in his family’s blood. He is the son of a physician. His sister married a
doctor. Another sister is a pharmacist whose husband is also a pharmacist, his
brother is a dentist and his younger brother is a nephrologist.
in the 1970s who is still practicing today, he has serious thoughts on how he
would reform health care, as well as the United States. But part of his road to
success has not only come from medicine but sound judgment in real estate.
In Baltimore, after several years
as a doctor and some financial help from his cousin, he made a $1,500 down
payment on a condominium. After making what now seem like paltry monthly
payments, he in1978 turned that investment into a profit of almost $10,000 as
his property appreciated in equity.
now that is good business,” said Lin, as he remembered how he felt during
the time of one of his first major business transaction in America.
business deal was the first in a series of prudent choices for Lin, whether
they be revamping and renovating existing residences or branching out into
income generating properties.
After leaving Baltimore for the
City of Angels, Lin invested in apartments, redeveloped them and then turned
them around. Meanwhile, he practiced medicine in Monterey Park, Alhambra and
the San Gabriel Valley.
Today he is involved in the
development and investment of a senior center and health care properties. The
management skills he developed in real estate gave him both the foundation and
platform for the influential positions he holds today, which include his
thoughts on health care reform.
Lin said that our nation’s health care
system is in nothing short of an inefficient mess, where at 17-percent of the
GDP in the United States, hospitals struggle to break even. When prosthesis
procedures that cost $9,000 require week-long hospital stays that exceed
$10,000, hospitals that are reimbursed by just $12,000 have no chance of
Lin is not very hopeful about what
national health care reform might look like, especially if it means cutting
personnel that are required to maintain a healthy hospital. St. Luke’s Medical
Center, Santa Teresita Hospital, Monrovia Community Hospital and Elastar
Community Hospital are among the nearby hospitals that have closed down in the
past dozen years.
Making his mark internationally,
Lin has served the underprivileged in Italy, Sri Lanka and El Salvador. He and
his sons donated 400 pounds of books to Malawi and brought medicine with a
friend to the Tibetans in the Himalayas. Lin has four children.
by Winston Chua
The federal government in the
spring awarded the city of Arcadia with around $2.7 million, the bulk of which
is to be used for street and road repair. About $530,000 is to be used for
energy efficiency projects in city hall, including making air condition and
heating systems more efficient as well as putting in dual glazed windows. The
new windows will retain heat in the winter and reduce heat gain in the summer. Around
$200,000 will also be used for further energy rehabilitation and the
improvement of senior citizen homes.
similar stimulus moneys, the offering is a one time grant. So what is Arcadia
going to do with the money? They are already underway with repaving the roads
that run near the perimeter of Longden Road, Santa Anita Avenue and Live Oak
Avenue. They will also be repaving roads up Santa Anita Avenue from Foothill
Boulevard to the city’s northern limit and also working along Duarte Road from
Santa Anita Avenue to El Monte Avenue.
the grant may seem like more than a drop in the bucket, the state has already
taken $1.3 million worth of redevelopment money and property tax money which is
the state’s to keep unless the city, through legal action, can reclaim it. That
is according to Arcadia City Manager Don Penman.
the road is important especially where handicapped portions of streets are
involved, as well as where there are broken gutters or cracks that affect
the stimulus success, Arcadia was denied more money for city police enforcement
or a new fire department training facility or a new city hall.
by Winston Chua
It’s good to know that in the San
Gabriel Valley, fire engines and paramedics are on their way, quicker than ever
before, in spite of the today’s sagging economy. By adjusting their budget so that
no major services compromise their ability to respond to emergency situations,
the San Gabriel Fire Department has made it their priority to make sure their commitment
to help is quicker than ever.
“Quicker than ever” means
that help is on the way within a minute from the time you press 911.
San Gabriel’s six foot six fire chief, says that that could only be possible
through the development of United Response in 2005 that provides automatic aid.
Response took over the system known as mutual aid, where a call would be made
to a dispatcher who was required to seek permission from various local fire
departments before any units would be allowed to be sent out. The more fire
stations that were unavailable, the longer the wait would be. Response times
could stretch as long as 15 minutes.
11 cities are all connected to the same dispatch center. Just by telling just
one central dispatcher, located in Glendale using the Verdugo Fire
Communications System, help is on the way. Whether your house is on fire,
you’ve got a heart attack or you’ve fallen down the stairs, the caller receives
an immediate response from the first available fire department closest to the
scene. At that point the notified stations are then ordered to be sent out,
with no middle man in the way.
Monrovia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra and Monterey Park fire
departments, paramedics and ambulances responded to an arson fire that saved
the lives of three people, one being the arsonist, all within 30 minutes.
Response has been successful in reducing the number “brownouts” over
the past fiscal year. These brownouts, which can take place when the economy
suffers, would have meant closing down one of San Gabriel’s two fire stations
for periods of time, thus leaving one stations with the increased
responsibility of covering a four square mile radius instead of its usual two.
Gabriel Fire Department does not leave the state budget cuts unscathed,
however. They will tighten their belts by deferring the purchases of new
equipment and reducing travel to conferences. There will also be less money
available for extensive training, at least until things get financially
by Winston Chua
might surmise, the Alhambra Beautiful and Alhambra Pride projects are just
that, to make Alhambra more beautiful and to make Alhambrans proud of their
city. When Councilwoman Barbara Messina last year became mayor, she vowed to
spruce up the city.
a revitalization of our neighborhoods,” said Messina, who wants to rid the city
of decrepit chain-linked fences and replace them with clean,
neighborhood-friendly picket fences.
The Alhambra Pride project began in the 1970s as a
collaborative effort by the community to not only clean up the community but
also to bring the community together to resurrect the image of Alhambra. Now,
she said that many neighbors hardly know each other and are not even aware of
their own neighbor’s needs.
“We want to maintain the integrity of the
neighborhood,” Messina said, referring both to the city’s looks as well as its
Messina is teaming up with many of the city’s
Neighborhood Watch leaders to not only look out for crime, but also to build
teamwork among street blocks in case of an emergency. She hopes that this
teaming philosophy will help those who cannot maintain their property receive
help from those who have extra resources to do so.
The Alhambra City Manager may have the resources to
continue Messina’s efforts, as community block grant funds are set aside for
projects like these.
The Alhambra Beautiful project awards the most
exceptional homes from Alhambra’s four districts. The city’s chamber of
commerce oversees the judging and later this month will announce awards for
best residential properties.