How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The man who bought Magic's Lakers stake

Photo by health2con/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong

So who is the billionaire Lakers season ticket holder to whom Magic Johnson has sold his 4.5 percent ownership stake in the team?

Besides being a cancer-treatment innovator and reportedly the wealthiest guy in town (he was ranked wealthiest Angeleno by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and tied with others for 154th among the world's billionaires by Forbes), Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has an interesting personal history. He's a second-generation South African of Chinese descent, transplanted to Los Angeles.

His parents left China, where his father was a village doctor, during World War II. Soon-Shiong was born and raised in South Africa under apartheid rules, which were also applied to Asians.

KCET, which gave him a Visionary Award earlier this year, has a video interview on its website in which Soon-Shiong describes one experience as a young physician in South Africa during which his first cancer patient, a white man, initially refused to let him examine him. Later, after all went well, the patient praised the "Chinaman" for his work.


Q&A: NALEO's Arturo Vargas on the "don't vote" ad and getting Latinos to the polls

Photo by Terry Chay/Flickr (Creative Commons)

At a polling place in San Francisco, November 2008

It's been the most outrageous political story of the week so far: Television ads produced by a GOP-affiliated 527 group called Latinos for Reform that, in the most direct way possible, urged Latinos not to vote. “Yes, you heard right," the voiceover in Spanish went. "Don’t vote.”

The logic espoused in the ads, produced in Spanish and English, went something like this: If you're disappointed by a lack of progress on immigration reform, then send a message to politicians by, well, simply not voting.

The group that produced the ads, which were set to air this week in Nevada, is led by Robert De Posada, a longtime GOP operative who is a former director of Hispanic affairs for the Republican National Committee, a former Bush appointee, and an occasional Univision political analyst. Since the story began making the rounds early Tuesday, the spots have drawn outrage from Latinos and Democrats alike, who have blasted them as a cynical attempt by a Republican front group to keep Latino voters from the polls (assuming they were to vote for Democrats, although not all Latinos do). De Posada has said that he paid the Spanish-language Univision network $80,000 begin airing the spots.


In the news this morning: The man behind the 'Don't vote' ads, a nationwide challenge to birthright citizenship, more

The Last Word - GOP past of leader behind 'Don't Vote' ad - Video of host Lawrence O'Donnell grilling Latinos for Reform leader and longtime GOP political operative Robert De Posada on his 'Don't vote' ads targeting Latinos and his background.

‘Don’t Vote’ Ads Aimed at Latinos Pulled - Wall Street Journal On Univision's decisions not to run the ads, produced by a GOP-affiliated group, which tell Latinos not to vote.

Hispanic media influence grows in election year - The Washington Post Spanish-language networks and publications have taken on a more prominent role this election season, airing debates with major candidates and expanding political coverage.

GOP group challenges outright citizenship birthright - USA Today Republican legislators in 15 states announced a nationwide effort yesterday to change the interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which grants automatic U.S. citizenship to people born in this country.


A 'nationwide task force' takes on the 14th Amendment

Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

Latino elementary school students recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a September 11 memorial service in Tyler, Texas, 2003

Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce held a press conference today in Phoenix to discuss plans for a state measure challenging automatic U.S. citizenship for children born in this country to undocumented immigrants. But unlike the Republican lawmaker's stringent SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law, which was limited to Arizona (though it has spawned numerous imitations), it's not just an Arizona story this time.

Pearce was one of 15 state legislators around the country holding press events in support of such plans today, according to the story in the Arizona Republic. Pearce and Arizona Rep. John Kavanagh have teamed up with Kansas law professor Kris Kobach, the legal brains behind SB 1070, to draft an anti-birthright citizenship bill that the other states could propose as part of a larger national effort to force a revision of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees U.S. citizenship to those born here.


Featured comment: A reader on the 'Don't vote' ad targeting Latinos

"Settling on an adjective to describe this ad, and campaign, escapes me now; I've no hope of finding one any time soon."

- a reader identified as "etc" on the Multi-American site

The comment was posted beneath an item from earlier this morning about a new television ad from a GOP-affiliated group called Latinos for Reform that urges Latinos not to vote in the coming election.

“Yes, you heard right,” the voiceover goes in Spanish. “Don’t vote.”