NEWS: Meeting the challenge of poverty and calamity

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Building up clout

Now that 80-20 has endorsed Al Gore for President, the true test comes.

Asian Pacific Americans from all political parties are better organized than ever before. True, not everyone has rallied behind the 80-20 movement. But according to SB Woo, if the election were held in lateSeptember, 80-20 could deliver at least 70 percent of the vote in California.

The organization will concentrate most of its effort the first time around in this important state. APAs can easily swing things one way or another in California because they make a large chunk of the population. Because of the large number of electoral votes here, the state will be important in maintaining political influence in future elections.

Woo and company want to achieve the target of 80 percent of the California APA vote by November. They readily admit it is not an easy task. Party loyalty runs deep.

What can't be denied though is the ability of APAs to make a difference, their small numbers notwithstanding. By late September, many polls show Bush and Gore in a statistical dead heat.That means that even a small chunk of the overall vote, i.e. the APA vote, can make a differenceif it comes in a bloc.

The same type of leverage can be applied in other contests from local to state levels, and to the Congressional races.

But influence only comes when people see that you are organized and can deliver the goods. African Americans and Latinos have been able to do this -- the latter only relatively recently.

The challenge now does not lie so much with groups like 80-20 as it does in grass roots efforts.The ability of local APA organizations to mobilize and get out the vote is all-important.

In fact, one can even question whether the group should even bother with California which appears solidly behind Gore. The state of Washington might need the APA swing vote a lot more.

Either way, the time for individual and local community efforts is now. The absentee ballot period is crucial. We can come together and succeed or wait to try again another day.



Headlines

Central Asia

Children of War
(Times of Central Asia)

US set to
name new Tibet
coordinator
(World Tibet News)

East Asia

Sacred-peak try
likely to spark
row
(Japan Times)

Chen works on
goodwill in New York
(Taipei Times)

Pacific Islands

The big ones
don't get away:
Guam aquaculture
(Pacific Daily News)

Islands to make
presentation in UN
decolonization seminar
(Saipan Tribune)

South Asia

Pakistan refuses
Most Favoured Nation
status to India
(Dawn)

Turf war among
intelligence agencies may
intensify
(Hindustan Times)

Southeast Asia

Thai Airways sucks,
says PM
(Bangkok Post)

Political families winning
in Luzon
(PDI)



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