HORSE’S MOUTH: Thank You, Supervisor Antonovich

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Hopefully, my computer will start up. As of now, the only thing I can do is pound out my column.

My Hotmail line is completely turned off, so the source of the material I usually rely on is completely blacked out, so I will try to fill the space allotted to me by The Rafu using what imagination I can come up with.

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I’ll begin with chatting about my old friend, Supervisor Mike Antonovich. As was announced a few weeks ago, Mike will be leaving his post as supervisor for the 5th District of L.A. County.

Mike has held his post for 35 years now, but they have established term limits, which means he won’t be able to seek re-election.

What a blow for the citizens of L.A. County and what a blow for me to lose such a close friend as supervisor.

I first met Mike before he became a supervisor. He was introduced to me by the late Dr. Bob Watanabe and the meeting developed into a close friendship.

Over the years, Mike has provided our community with his political clout. One of the major examples was his support of recognizing the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

About 19,000 AJAs were interned at the Santa Anita Race Track, which was converted into what they referred to as an “assembly center.”

That was the period when the government was building “relocation centers” in areas away from the West Coast.

I was one of those interned at the Arcadia race track as a young 18-year-old, and in recent years, I wondered why there was no action taken to recognize the site as an “assembly center.”

When I approached the officials at the track about erecting some sort of monument recognizing the site as an “internment site” for Japanese Americans, they flatly denied my requests, saying the race track was a “fun” place and they didn’t want to highlight those dark days during World War II.

When I wrote about this situation, Mike got wind of it and said he would see what he could do. He contacted the mayor of Arcadia and the two of them met with the race track officials.

The intervention opened the doors for me and after several months, the race track officials agreed to erect a monument with a plaque recognizing Santa Anita as an assembly center for Japanese Americans.

I expressed not only my appreciation but the appreciation of all those JAs who spent about six months as internees at Santa Anita.

So, with this column I want everyone to know the role Mike Antonovich played in recognizing the plight of Japanese Americans during the early days of World War II.

It was Mike’s effort on our behalf that made it possible for JAs to be recognized for the hardship we suffered back in 1942.

Thanks, Mike. I know I wrote about this before, but I just want everyone to know the role you played on our behalf as supervisor.

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I tried to get my email working after pounding out this portion of my column but no luck. So I called my son, the “expert” on computers. He was at his job and said he couldn’t drop by until late this evening (Wednesday).

I guess I’ll have to scramble around for other sources to find column materials.

Yeah, I know. Some readers will probably say, “So what else is new?”

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Those of you who watch a lot of TV probably noticed that the two Korean carmakers boast about selling more cars in the U.S. than other makers.

As I drive around L.A., I don’t see any KIA or Hyundai cars. Maybe the makers mean in other parts of the U.S. but not L.A.

Why?

Well, the following article will give you an idea:

“Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. posted double-digit gains in November in U.S. sales of new cars, beating overall market growth, while Honda Motor Co. marked a slight dip, according to data from Autodata Corp.

“Dealers sold 1.25 million new cars and light trucks, up 8.9 percent from a year earlier for the strongest November since 2003 on the back of brisk sales of sport utility vehicles as the U.S. economy steadily expanded. An additional business day in the month also helped lift the total.

“‘Thanksgiving sales from Nov. 28 grew sharply from a year earlier,’ a Toyota official said.

“The overall sales tally translates into an annualized 16.41 million units after seasonal adjustments, the highest level since February 2007. It was the seventh month in a row to cross the 15 million threshold.

“Toyota registered a 10.1 percent sales rise from a year earlier to 178,044 due to solid demand for the RAV4, its key SUV. Toyota ranked third in sales after General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.

“Helped by its main midsize car, the Altima, and other models, Nissan’s sales grew 10.7 percent to 106,528. It ranked sixth in the U.S.

“Honda meanwhile suffered a 0.1 percent sales drop to 116,507 units, making it fifth-biggest.

“Among smaller manufacturers, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., known for its Subaru brand of cars, expanded sales 29.8 percent to 36,621 units. Mazda Motor Corp shed 4.3 percent in sales to 20,754.

“GM, Ford and fourth-ranked Chrysler LLC all marked greater sales in the month, thanks to strong SUV and pickup demand.

“GM increased sales 13.7 percent to 212,060. Ford registered a 7.1 percent gain to 189,705. Chrysler increased sales 17 percent to 139,200.”

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Here’s an article on another topic of interest, Asian tourism to Nevada:

“Key Asian markets are in focus for the Nevada Tourism Commission this year.

“The travel marketplace during the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Tourism will highlight China, South Korea and Japan. The event pairs travel product providers such as tour companies with travel agents who can package and sell the products.

“To kick off the three-day state tourism conference, the Nevada Tourism Commission met Tuesday at Red Rock Resort. The focus there, too, was its work with Asian markets.

“At the meeting, commission Deputy Director Larry Friedman said Asian tourism is important as the area has strong growth potential.

“In 2012, for example, the U.S. ranked No. 8 for outbound tourism from China with 1.72 million visitors coming to this country, up 26.6 percent from 2011. The Tourism Commission operates offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, among other cities.

“Amy Lee, who works in its South Korea office, gave an overview of that market with 50 million people. Two weeks ago, Delta Air Lines hosted a tour of the Reno-Tahoe area for 12 travel professionals in conjunction with the carrier’s new Seoul-to-Seattle flight.

“Reno-Tahoe is about a two-hour flight from Seattle via Alaska Airlines, which is a Delta partner. The commission said contract commitments were made during the familiarization event.

“In Japan, overseas travel is down from previous years but is expected to recover, said Kyoko Okabe, who works in the Japan office of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

“One challenge in bringing in Japanese travelers is the lack of a direct flight from Japan to Las Vegas. Travelers have to go through San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego or Denver.

“Even so, Okabe said, Las Vegas is on Japanese minds.

“‘At this moment, Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations for Japanese,’ she said.

“More familiarization is planned. Each representative from the commission’s Asia-based offices will be staying in a rural Nevada town Thursday evening.

“‘The camaraderie and working relations are incredibly helpful to all of Nevada,’ Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, commission chairman, said of the Asian offices.

“After the conference, the commission is planning other group familiarization trips showcasing areas such as Tonopah, Beatty, Rhyolite, Death Valley, Pahrump, Cathedral Gorge State Park, Ely, Great Basin National Park and Pioche.

“Separately, applications for projects to be considered for $200,000 in tourism grants opened Nov. 4 with a deadline of Jan.17.

“For its rural marketing grants, the commission received 85 requests this quarter totaling $675,628. Seventy-nine grants were approved for a total of $428,812.

“‘For those that were funded, they were distributed very fairly,’ said Commissioner Don Newman, executive director of the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority.

”The Tourism Commission is in the midst of its fall/winter marketing campaign, which consists of 1,675  ads on 14 television stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, costing $1.3 million.

“The most recent marketing study available regarding the commission’s advertising efforts found that its $1.3 million investment in the spring/summer 2013 campaign has resulted in a 22-to-1 return, compared with a 19-to-1 return the year before.

“‘I think generally speaking we’re moving in the right direction,’ said Claudia Vecchio, Nevada Tourism and Cultural Affairs director.

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I guess I’ll go back to July 1944 to fill today’s column until I get my computer repaired. It’s a column I wrote during our days at Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

Did my writing improve after 70 years? Heh, heh.

From The Heart Mountain Sentinel, July 29, 1944:

Sport Tidbits by George Yoshinaga

Not only classed as a promising moundsman, youthful Bill Shundo of the Zebra Ayes has become feared at the plate with his heavy stickwork. Although slugging pitchers are very few, Shundo, a left-handed batter, leads the current bat parade, hitting around the .500 mark.

In the recent Aye-Oldtimer game, Shundo actually won his own game by driving in the winning run in the last half of the tenth frame. On the hill, Bill did equally well, handcuffing some of the Oldtimers’ heavy stickers.

This game, incidentally, went over the regulation nine innings and was the first game of its kind played here. Both teams displayed a brand of baseball which is rarely seen on the local diamonds. The fans especially appreciate such ball games instead of the long, drawn-out slugfests which are so common here. The fastest game played here was the 1943 Zebra-Sportsmen tilt, which was played in approximately one hour and 45 minutes.

Nisei Star: Hailed as one of the outstanding Nisei ball players to don a uniform, Jack Kakuuchi, former ace third sacker on the strong Camp Grant baseball team, paid a visit to Heart Mountain during the past week.

Jack, who is perhaps one of the few Nisei to break into big-time baseball, saw action against the Chicago White Sox of the American League and the Cubs of the National loop. The Camp Granters defeated the Cubs, but lost to the Sox.

Although claiming only one major leaguer in Bob Carpenter, ex-New York Giant performer, the Grant team had a very successful season against Double-A League teams.

Kakuuchi also saw a lot of action with the Grant football team. Playing tackle, he got into the Washington Redskin, Iowa Pre-flight, Purdue, Michigan and Minnesota games.

Tennis Court: The tennis court, which was scheduled to be completed by this time, was finally near its finishing stage. Although plans called for three courts, only one will be constructed due to the lack of volunteer workers. Many tennis fans are, no doubt, anxious to swing into action, but it seems very few are willing to work on the court.

Much of the credit for the present condition of the court should go to Hank Sakauye and Ray Thompson of the high school physical education department. Thompson requested that people keep off the court, especially in rainy weather, because the hard pack clay will stick to the shoes.

Loops Near Completion: With nearly all the organized baseball leagues coming to a close, after a hectic season, fans are looking forward and wondering what the future athletic program holds in store for them.

Football, which is just round the corner, will be minus some of its greatest name stars.

No longer will Tosh Asano thrill the crowd with his broken field running. Nor will the Nomura boys, Tak and Babe, bring the fans to their feet with their great passing performances. Attempting to fill their shoes will be the up-and-coming stars.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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