CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Time for Thanks and Maybe a Keiro Turnaround?



As the month winds down, we catch holiday flu with joy rather than dread. Traditional Thanksgiving transitions into the joyful yule season, followed by a new year that is always uplifting and promising. Happens every year. An annual sequence that does wonders no matter age, gender, ethnicity or left-handed. We just turn into happy campers.

During my halcyon collegiate days, I wrote a fun piece suggesting additional separations between the three major traditions: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. My point being the triumvirate being crammed into a mere six-week period was limiting good cheer; that more time inbetwixt would lengthen everyone’s joyfulness. It would mean longer vacation breaks and more beer busts.

Of course, it wasn’t meant as a challenge to the American Way. Merely a “why not?” suggestion, in a Will Rogers mode, that did have merit when you stopped to think about it. Well, good citizens, this was when a certain USC journalism student was tabbed a person in need of further scrutiny; a potential “*Pinko,” collegiate category. This happened during the infamous reign of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC). Geez, (a contraction of “Jesus”), of course I had given no thought to the religious ramifications of the idea. [*Perhaps CR2S should revisit the dark yellow days when listed on a Secret Service “No-No” list.]

But for now, let’s return to the peaceful serenity of November 2015.

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Good news is always welcome. You know, the kind that makes you feel proud to be a Nisei. You know how we like to be joined at the hip with everything that’s right/nice/positive.

An example appeared in a recent Rafu story: Minoru Yasui was named the recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom (Pres. Obama made the award Tuesday at a White House ceremony). Richly deserving in the eyes of Niseidom, the renowned attorney is best known for his tireless pursuit of justice on behalf of Japanese and Japanese Americans, before and after. Joining previously honored Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu, Yasui’s recognition closes the travails of the famous trio. Matters not the honor was long overdue.

On a personal level, I was flabbergasted when I first heard his voice; maybe awed is a better description. I had never heard such a resonate, vibrant *voice. Moses, maybe, but let’s not quibble (the original, not Masaoka). It was all the more surprising because he was such a little guy! In physical stature only. [*Rev. Jitsuo Morikawa and Daniel Inouye join him at the top of my list.]

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Keiro Sale on Hold?

[Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro public forum was held at Aratani Theatre Monday evening. The column continues with late-breaking news from the proceedings.]

Having just returned from a surprisingly well-attended town meeting, it appears (to me) that the Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro is now more than a speed bump in the path of the Keiro+Pacifica transaction. Being a gambler at heart, CR2S ventures to guess it’s now a 50-50 proposition. Talk about upset, who would’ve given the fledgling protest a chance two months ago when a mishmash group of eight met to seek ways to combat the proposed sale?

Nothing has officially changed: the agreement has the required endorsement of the state Attorney General’s Office; continues in escrow with an early 2015 closing date. But a startling announcement was made during a round of expected platitudes from a trio of politicians voicing ad hoc support. [The Rafu reporting tandem of Monnier/Nakanishi will supply all meeting details. Let’s see what CR2S can squeeze in regarding the forum’s high lights and impact as deadline looms.]

Of three invited politicos speaking, it came as no surprise Congresswoman Maxine Waters riled and roiled a receptive audience of maybe 400+; it’s what she’s famous for. But one declaration she made turned my doubts about the committee’s chance for success. Rather dramatically, she spoke of a one-on-one telephone conversation with state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris (no minor underlings for her). It appears Rep. Waters got a verbal commitment to put the AG’s conditional sale approval on hold. On top of which, a private meeting with Harris was on the books for Tuesday (yesterday) to continue the argument for a public hearing!

[Congresswoman Judy Chu and State Assemblyman David Hadley also vowed their support. With predictable political aplomb, the trio promised fervent 100% support. They also displayed well-prepared awareness of disputed facts as well as history of Keiro. The mangling of Keiro into “Kay-row” continues to grate. Small price to pay, I guess.

Impressive? Yes! With more than 12,000 petition signees, no small achievement when it comes to us kind of people, the Ad Hoc Committee is on an impressive roll. As the meeting came to a close at the specified 9 p.m. hour, a spontaneous cry of “Fire Shawn Miyake” erupted. Alas, no longer Quiet Americans, I guess.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.



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