Thursday, September 29, 2016

Al Muratsuchi Abandoned Keiro--David Hadley Fought to Save Keiro!

Al Muratsuchi.

He wants to coast on his Japanese heritage.

He explicitly refers to himself as a "Sansei" who served his community.

And yet ... when they elder Japanese community needed him to stand up for him and stop the sale of the Keiro Japanese-American retirement home, Al was MIA again.

John Kaji explains in Rafu Shimpo:

[Let's] look at Al’s role in the Keiro Senior HealthCare tragedy. What should have Al done in his position as deputy attorney general? Was he paid off for his silence? How has Al been protected from criticism by his political masters?

Yes. But let's get the whole story on this matter.

Now, let’s turn to another current senior rights issue, the abandonment and sell-off of 600-plus Japanese American elderly senior citizens residing at the former Keiro facilities earlier this year.

Here's a picture of the facility:

Here are some warm scenes from the retirement facility:

Al did nothing for these precious people, either:

For those who don’t know the issue, Keiro Senior HealthCare Services is a nonprofit organization that was created more than 50 years ago. The purpose of Keiro was to provide a retirement and healthcare facility for Japanese American elderly.

A Japanese-American senior facility should have received strong and immediate attention from former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi.

He just makes excuses and covers for his absence. 

Over the years, Keiro had gained the support of citizens from throughout California, the United States and Japan, and became a model of culturally sensitive senior care.

And where was Al? Was he sensitive to the needs of the Japanese-American seniors?

But, for reasons that still baffle the general community, Keiro decided to sell off the retirement, intermediate care and nursing home facilities for a discounted price of $41 million to a real estate developer, Pacifica Companies of San Diego.

All of these elderly people are now forced to find their home and healthcare elsewhere. This is wrong.

In order to allow the sale to go forward, the State Attorney General’s Office under Kamala Harris had to provide its approval of the transaction. However, rather than to allow for a public hearing of the sale and obtain input from the affected residents and family members, Keiro requested and obtained a waiver from the attorney general.

So, Korrupt Kammy pushed the sale, and remained hush-hush about public hearings.

But not Assemblyman David Hadley. Check out his remarks on the matter here:

When the attorney general’s conditional approval was announced in September 2015, it triggered massive outrage from throughout the Japanese American community. More than 14,000 individuals petitioned the attorney general to hold a public hearing.

This was an issue and a moment that called for heroism and courage. This was an opportunity to take a stand, and to call on the attorney general herself to stop the sale. This was Al’s defining moment.

So, just what did Al do?

Al blinked. When the Nikkei seniors needed a “first responder,” Al took off running the other way. Exactly at the moment when the most vulnerable in our community needed his help, Al placed his own political future over the lives of the 600 Keiro residents. He grabbed the last “lifeboat” and abandoned the poor, defenseless seniors to figure out where they will live out their so-called golden years.

Al excuses himself, claiming that because he worked for the Attorney General's office, he had a professional obligation to remain neutral.

No he did not. He could have resigned from his position. He could have taken on other work. He could have taken a risk, upset his supervisors, and spoken out in defense of Keiro.

Now, should the community have expected Al to take a position? After all, the attorney general had given him a job after he lost his Assembly seat to David Hadley and gave him the elevated title of “deputy attorney general.”

Al said in a Rafu Shimpo article (Feb. 5, 2016) when asked about the sale of Keiro Senior HealthCare Services, that was one issue he would not discuss.

Why is that? Is he still beholden to Korrupt Kammy?

“As a Japanese American that has been active in the community for almost 30 years now, the pending sale of Keiro is something that I’m very saddened by,” Muratsuchi said. “But unfortunately my hands have been tied, given that I am a prosecutor and deputy attorney general.”


As recent history shows, Mr. David Hadley, the current assemblyman for the 66th Assembly District, was the FIRST elected official to come out against the sale of Keiro and demanded that the attorney general hold a public hearing.

Bravo, David!

Mr. Hadley took a courageous stand on behalf of the 600-plus elderly residents at Keiro, their family members and the Keiro employees. Mr. Hadley stood up for a community that he wasn’t very familiar with, but did so because it was the right thing to do. He didn’t put up a wet finger to test out the political headwinds before deciding to fight for our seniors. He went to war.

Let's not forget that the Keiro retirement community is not based in the 66th Assembly District, although one branch of the facility is located in Gardena. Hadley stepped out of his comfort zone in many ways.

But Al? He was “MIA,” continuing to hide out in the California Department of Justice. Even now, no one really knows exactly what Al does in his position as deputy attorney general. Instead, Al’s job appears to be purely a political plum appointment, a job without a job description. A taxpayer-paid pre-campaign gig. Nice work if you can get it!?


So exactly why did Al remain silent? After all, he did make a brief appearance at the Keiro community meeting held at Nishi Hongwanji in September 2015. Maybe Al got scared. Once he saw how angry and hostile the crowd was, he beat a hasty retreat. Or, maybe it wasn’t the noise from the crowd but the stare from the Keiro Board members who sat at the front of the meeting hall.

What's going on? He's saddened by the sale of Keiro, and yet he claimed that he could do nothing, but then he shows up to catch an easy photo-op. If he really were concerned about a perceived conflict of interest or authority, then he should have stayed away completely.

So, why did Al Muratsuchi do nothing for Keiro? Why indeed?

Let’s connect the dots. Take a look at Al’s 2014 campaign fundraising records on the California Secretary of State’s website. It’s public information.

Guess what? Al received campaign contributions from six Keiro Senior HealthCare Services Board members!

Gary Kawaguchi, Keiro Board chairman, $1,000

Jeffrey Folick, board member, $1,000

Thomas Iino, board member, $1,000

Ernest Doizaki, board member, $2,000

Gerald Fukui, board member, $1,000

Kenneth Kasamatsu, board member, $100

So, for $6,100, it would appear that the Keiro Board effectively bought Al’s silence and obedience! $6,100 in exchange for a Keiro sales price of $41 million in donor-sourced funds? Such a “Trumpian” deal! Small investment, HUGE return!

Ouch! Al Muratsuchi for sale? It can't be true!

Let’s now focus on Al’s political “masters.”

Of course, we all know that Al’s campaign has the highest priority to the Democratic Party leadership. State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon says that the Hadley-Muratsuchi race is one of the top campaigns this November.

Rendon was arrogant enough to call the 66th Assembly District "The Muratsuchi Seat". That is very offensive.

David Hadley (center) speaks out for a public hearing
on the impending sale of Keiro
Should Al regain the Assembly seat, the Democratic Leadership will be able to regain its “super majority” in the Assembly, ensuring that any and all legislation will smoothly steamroll ahead, unobstructed. And, they know that Al will once again do as he is told, just like before.

Al Muratsuchi is a special interest puppet. He does what he is told, nothing more. He will not serve the South Bay. He did nothing for the elderly seniors. He has done nothing for veterans, homeowners, for business owners, for major corporations which serve and benefit the regional economy.

Muratsuchi has been one more cog in the illiberal, regressive Democratic Party political machine out to enrich itself and retain power at the expense of everyone else.

David Hadley (Credit: Rafu Shimpo)

Party leadership, including Rendon and former Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, opposed any public hearing on Keiro. Speaker Rendon held out the possibility of a public hearing, but not until after the June primary election. Then, when that didn’t happen, a possible date would be held AFTER the November election.

They opposed a hearing?! How awful! Rendon is all about helping one constituency, which he terms "Latinos." Rendon is discriminating against hard-working law-abiding citizens

Why? Of course, the party leadership does not want Assemblymember Hadley, vice chairman of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, to gain any publicity for overseeing a public inquiry into the sale of Keiro. Supposedly justice is blind, but Al Muratsuchi made sure to muzzle the people on the Keiro matter.

Now there's another angle which I had not considered. The Democratic Party leadership has absolutely no interest in Hadley getting any good press.

They want him out of office so badly, they would sell out elderly seniors to do it.

Final Reflection

It's truly shameful to see candidates play the race card against their own people, and to play that card just to advance their limited, narrow-minded interests. What kind of a civil rights community leader does nothing to help the elderly, one of the most vulnerable groups in his own community? How could one politicians throw away the necessary well-being of hundreds of his own people to score a few thousand dollars in campaign donations?

The whole matter is simply reprehensible. Muratsuchi has no shame, and has no one but himself to blame when he loses his election bid in November.

The seniors connected to Keiro, their families, their relatives need to know that their elected representatives will advocate for what is best for all of the residents, all of the constituents. I admire what Assemblyman David Hadley did. His decision to fight for a public hearing was intriguing to me at first, since I had no knowledge about the senior care facilities and the impending sale.

Now I understand what was happening, and his actions demonstrate how informed he is about his district and the people whom he represents.

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