• 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
    Bangkok.

    “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
    together.

    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.

    “It’s
    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.”

    Garza and
    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
    span.

    This is
    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.

    Councilman
    Gary Yamauchi said that the city may look into investigating the matter
    further, possibly sending its traffic commission to analyze the problem.

    Nevertheless,
    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 

    “Titan
    blue,” said Eugene Sun when asked what his favorite color was.

    Titan
    blue is the color synonymous with San Marino High School. Sun is the mayor of
    San Marino.

    But Eugene
    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.

    Not
    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.

    “All
    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
    UC Berkeley.

    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.

    ...Read More

    by Winston Chua

    ALHAMBRA –
    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.

    “Our
    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.”

    Schiff has
    said he wants coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and health
    insurance premiums that do not discriminate based on one’s gender.

    “A
    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
    is given.

    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
    problems.

    “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.

    ...Read More

    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
    wrist.

    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.

    1.
    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.

    2.
    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:

    1.
    Cannot be taken with an empty stomach

    2.
    Cannot be taken with fried foods or lots of
    salads

    3.
    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

    recommended daily
    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.

    And
    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.

    ...Read More

    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
    30,000 movies.

    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.

    Lin began
    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.

    A physician
    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.

    “Wow,
    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.

    The
    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
    surviving.

    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.

    ...Read More

    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.

    Like
    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.

    While
    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.

    Repaving
    the road is important especially where handicapped portions of streets are
    involved, as well as where there are broken gutters or cracks that affect
    drainage.

    Despite
    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.

    Joe Nestor,
    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.

    United
    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.

    Since 2005,
    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.

    In 2005,
    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.

    Unified
    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.

    The San
    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
    better.

    by Winston Chua

    As you
    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.

    “It is
    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
    unity.

    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.

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