How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The richest man in L.A. (and new owner of Magic's stake in the Lakers), part 2

Photo: Abraxis BioScience

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong

Yesterday I wrote about Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the former surgeon turned billionaire cancer-drug developer, philanthropist, and now owner of what was Magic Johnson's small share in the Los Angeles Lakers.

Soon-Shiong started out in South Africa as the child of an immigrant Chinese village doctor. Today the 58-year-old is the wealthiest person in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, ahead of familiar names like Eli Broad and David Geffen.

I shared a bit of what I learned about the billionaire Lakers fan on this morning's Madeleine Brand Show, which featured a segment on Soon-Shiong and how he became the wealthiest Angeleno that most people have never heard of, until now.


In the news this morning: Whitman and Latino voters, Williams' extended Fox contract, immigration dismissals, more

Whitman struggling to close the deal with Latinos - 89.3 KPCC Meg Whitman had hoped to win over more Latino voters, who make up about a fifth of the state's electorate, to beat Jerry Brown in the race for governor.

Fox News Gives Juan Williams $2 Million Contract - 89.3 KPCC NPR has been sharply criticized for firing news analyst Juan Williams for remarks he made about Muslims on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor." Fox, meanwhile, has extended Williams' contract with the network.

In WA, illegal immigrants canvassing for votes - The Washington Post They know it's risky, but undocumented immigrants are among the volunteers canvassing neighborhoods in the Seattle area trying to get naturalized citizens to cast ballots.

Three Latino stars shine for GOP - The Washington Post New Mexico's Republican candidate for governor Susana Martinez is one of a trio of Latino Republicans poised to win high office this year, in part by running on an anti-immigration platform.


From La Casa Blanca to la casa de Piolín

Photo by David Cohen/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Los Angeles billboard for the top-rated show, September 2006

L.A's Univision radio host Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo traveled last year to "La Casa Blanca," Spanish for the White House, to interview President Obama in the Oval Office; today, Obama will visit "la casa de Piolín" for an in-studio interview with Sotelo during his visit to Los Angeles.

Scheduled to air Monday, it will be Obama's third interview with nationally syndicated host of the immensely popular Spanish-language morning show "Piolín por la Mañana." The first took place when he was campaigning for office in 2007 (and during which Obama sang "Mi Mexico Lindo y Querido," below).

This interview will cover the upcoming elections, immigration reform (for which Sotelo has been an influential advocate, rallying listeners to march in 2006) and "other themes of interest to the Hispanic community in the United States," the show's website reads.


In the news, this afternoon: 'Don't vote' fallout, Juan Williams fired over Muslim remarks, Ozomatli at USC rally, more

Latinos for Reform Head Robert de Posada Defends Controversial 'Don't Vote' Ad - The Note - ABC News The longtime GOP operative said he’s not planning to buy any more airtime, but he'll continue to push the ad, which tells Latinos not to vote, on the Internet. The ad was pulled by Univision.

Republicans Alienate Nevada Latinos With Immigration Ads - It's All Politics - NPR Immigration-related campaign ads appear to be boomeranging in the Silver State, home to a large population of immigrants.

Latino support for marijuana legalization is eroding, poll finds. Is Prop. 19 doomed? - Los Angeles Times A poll shows that 51 percent of Latinos now support the measure, compared to 63 percent in September.

Ozomatli and Jamie Foxx to perform at Obama rally at USC - Los Angeles Times The planned Friday rally aims to counter a perceived lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters.


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.