A few weeks ago, my blog, “We could’ve done better for Joseph Cao” stirred up controversy in the Vietnamese community. I wrote that the amount raised for Louisiana Congressman Cao was low in Seattle.
Trong Pham, president of the Washington Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, the host of Cao’s event, initiated a meeting with the Northwest Asian Weekly last Thursday. We appreciate Pham for doing so.
We are glad to listen in these situations, even when we don’t agree.
Pham explained that Cao’s visit was not intended to be a fundraising event. It is inappropriate for the Chamber to organize a political fundraiser because “the Chamber doesn’t take sides,” said Pham. Also, due to its nonprofit status, it would not be proper to do so.
However, guests took it upon themselves to donate on their own. One man called me and said that he quietly handed an envelope containing a $1,000 check to Cao. So the total amount Cao received was definitely higher than $1,300, as stated in my blog.
Pham said it was tough for the Chamber to handle two big events, Cao’s lunch and the Seafair parade, which were held on the same day. The Vietnamese Seafair float was the collaboration of five Vietnamese organizations.
Pham took pride in the fact that the Vietnamese community worked together.
Additionally, Cao’s visit was confirmed only 10 days prior, Pham said.
Ruth Sherlock, campaign consultant for Cao, also confirmed that Cao wasn’t expecting it to be a fundraising event. He was just happy to meet with leaders of the community.
He said he felt hurt when he read the blog. He worried that the blog might affect the Chamber’s reputation.
I have to say that the Chamber has had several opportunities to serve the community, and these proved successful. It is not limited to a one-shot deal.
The same principle should be applied to the Northwest Asian Weekly. The paper should not be judged on one blog. Over the decades, we have covered the Vietnamese community extensively. The positive stories far exceed the negative ones.
People are often quick to criticize. I am not asking for praise or approval, but it is important to look at the overall balance. We printed an earlier front page story about Cao’s visit and it was positive. My blog was meant to express the concerns and reactions of certain attendees who did not want to approach the organizers directly. It’s important to have diverse views from community members.
Some readers might not understand this, but a blogger is like a columnist who gives definite opinions and observations. He or she does not need to give both sides like a newspaper reporter does. Additionally, this blog consists of my personal thoughts and musings, which do not always match the newspaper’s official stance (you can find the paper’s official stance in our editorials). ♦