AABA Newsletter - January 2017

President’s Message

By Hung Chang

For the past month, I've pondered a lot about the future. It was a mixture of angry placement of blames and frantic search for reasons. I have since concluded that while it's at times satisfying to resist the Administration by pointing out petty facts like the crowd size, it's more impactful to resist by planning to win. The Democrats have won only 3 out of the last 10 federal elections, 2 of which were attributed to the once-a-lifetime candidate, whom I referred to as the best President ever. In addition, Republicans represent 33 governorship and control both chambers of state legislature in 32 states. If we are going to plan to win, then we must first recognize that there is a problem before we can solve the problem. The core problem here is that we must recognize what's important in winning the election. The liberals are supposed to be the smart ones, yet we act as if we don't know the rules on winning elections. Instead, we whine about how the rules are unfair, which by itself does not change the rules. By all means, we should #resist and continue to stand up for injustice when we see them around us. However, more important than hanging a "RESIST" banner over the White House or trolling the twitter-in-chief (as personally gratifying as it may be) is to learn how to obtain power, how to use that power effectively, and how to keep that power. 

So, what can we do? We are obviously all fired up, but are we ready to go? I would suggest that we must channel all that anger and frustration into clear visions and strategies, and we can do that by either being involved in these discussions directly, or donating to worthy causes that fund these efforts. One way to be involved directly is to engage in local-level public interest and public service. AABA is actively involved in supporting qualified candidates with their endeavors in public interest or public service, and our members have generously supported our efforts so far. However, we want to do more, and we need your help to get us there. As Martin Luther King Jr. puts it, "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Stand with AABA at these times of challenge and controversy, and let's work towards the clear visions and strategies together (and maybe subtweeting about a half onion or the rogue NPS later).  

Trump Ushers in New Era in the U.S. Presidency

By Kathy Aoki
Co-Chair of AABA’s Newsletter Committee

For someone who holds an intense job, Donald John Trump seems to be cool, calm and collective but what he is really thinking and feeling is a mystery. As Trump was sworn in on January 20, 2017 as the 45th president of the United States of America, he held the lowest approval rating of any new president.

It was a glorious day for Trump and his family, friends, donors, and millions of voters who believe he will bring change in our country. But, the Republican Party is still fractured; protests occurred throughout the nation and a few blocks away from the inaugural festivities and a divided nation waits to see what happens next.

In Trump’s short, dark and agenda driven inaugural speech, I still felt trepidation because he gave no vision for the future or how he will bring divided nation together, Yes, Trump ambitious agenda includes rebuilding America, creating more jobs, eliminating Islamic terrorists and “ transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”

Trump’s address seemed geared for his supporters especially when he said,

“…hear these words:

Your will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, we will make America strong again.

We will make America wealthy again.

We will make American proud again

We will make America safe again.

And yes, together we will make America great again.”

Since I have been alive and able to vote in presidential elections, I never remember any president doing everything the entire nation approves of. Trump is very confident in what he does and I know likes to win. But, when Trump said, “I will fight for you with every breath in my body -- and I will never, ever let you down,” I already felt let down because no president can keep all his promises no matter how sincere he is or how hard he tries.

Trump has an ambitious agenda which I doubt can be accomplished in four years and probably will cost more than anticipated.  Yes, I am willing to give Trump a chance because whether I like it or not he is my president. I am happy people protested and there was a successful women’s march because everyone has a right to express their opinions and their voices should be heard. No, this will not change Trump being president but he cannot ignore these issues. Healing a divided nation will take time but nothing changes unless Trump starts to take action and show the nation what he can do about it.

Personally, I get tired of Trump and his inner circle blaming the media for misreporting information and should accept the fact less people were in attendance at the inauguration than expected.  Protests were held all over the country and in the world. Trump should understand his words and tweets can have serious ramifications since he is not an ordinary citizen.

When Senator Paul Ryan was asked in an interview on “60 Minutes” if Trump understands the difference of being the CEO of the Trump Organization and being the president of the United States, Ryan responded that Trump knows the difference.  I wonder if Trump has really aligned himself away from his business so there are no conflicts of interest involved here.

This presidency is also different because there will be no First Lady in the White House at this time. It’s understandable why Melania Trump wants to stay in New York with her son while he finishes his school year. But, who will fill-in for Mrs. Trump? Ivanka Trump already said “she is not the first lady.”

Trump does not plan to release his taxes because they are still being audited and supposedly the issue “was litigated during the election.” But, there is a campaign to get Trump to release his taxes because many Americans feel they have a right to know this information. What does Trump have to hide?

At the inauguration there were four past presidents and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite losing to Trump, Clinton showed much class attending an event which she had hoped to have been sworn-in as our first woman president.

As January 2017 comes to a close, my daily life goes on and I hold my breath to see what Trump will do next. Only three of his cabinet members have been confirmed at this time and I wait to see whom Trump will pick to fill the Supreme Court seat held by Antonin Scalia.

Although I thought Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) gave an interesting address, I especially liked the message Rabbi Marvin Hier gave during the benediction. Hier, the dean and founder of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, words gave me something to reflect upon more than what I heard in Trump’s inaugural address.

“The freedoms we enjoy are not granted in perpetuity, but must be reclaimed in each generation. As our ancestors have planted for us so we must plant for others,” said Heir.

AABA Membership Spotlight: Jenny Tseng

Jenny Tseng (Kim) is an associate in Morrison & Foerster's Finance Department and a member of the Real Estate Group. Her practice covers a wide range of real estate equity and debt transactions, including development, financing and disposition of retail, commercial and industrial projects. Jenny represents commercial and residential property owners in sales, permitting, construction, environmental clean-up, easement and corporate matters.  She also negotiates and drafts property management agreements and landlord and tenant side leases.

Jenny serves on the board of directors of the San Francisco Real Estate Exchange (SF|Rex) and the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California.  

First job:  When I was in high school, my neighbors paid me $10/day to feed their cats and dog whenever they went out of town.

What annoys you the most:  Poor signage.

Describe yourself:  I enjoy going to live indie music shows, reading sci-fi and non-fiction, playing poker and strategic board games, organizing via the KonMari method and cooking.  I also enjoy running, yoga and biking, but I don't make enough time for these activities. 

Favorite TV show/movie:  It's a close tie among Reality Bites, Edward Scissorhands and Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael.  All of these are coming-of-age stories starring a quirky Winona Ryder.  Currently my favorite show is the Netflix original series Stranger Things, also starring Winona Ryder.

Hidden talent:  Making buntings.

Favorite food:  My mother's homemade kimchi.

Why did you enter the law:  I saw a legal career as a way to help people concretely, tangibly and immediately.  I also enjoyed research and writing in undergrad and I placed a high priority on having a stable career with room for growth.

Dream job if you could do anything you wanted in this world: I would love to run an animal rescue ranch.

AABA is: Like the wise old parent whom I appreciate more as I get older.

AABA Membership Spotlight: Rhean Fajardo

Rhean Fajardo is Corporate Counsel at Symantec Corporation. Her practice focuses on a wide range of commercial and licensing agreements for both domestic and international deals including OEM, service provider, channel retail, and distributor/reseller agreements within Symantec’s consumer business unit - Norton. Prior to her role at Symantec, she was in house counsel at Complete Genomics (a bio tech company) and Lucky Money (a financial services company). Her legal experience also includes a stint in the public sector as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Daly City and, somewhere in the middle, she was in private practice sharing office space and witty banter with AABA Past President, Billy Chan (definitely a career highlight). Rhean is a graduate of USF School of Law and UC Santa Barbara.

A long-time supporter of AABA, Rhean was the Co-Chair of the Newsletter/Web Development committee from 2004-2008, the Operations Director from 2007-2010, and an elected Board Member from 2010-2013. She is also a Past President of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California (FBANC) and currently serves as a member of its Advisory Board.

First job: My parents were small business owners so I grew up working at their optical dusting displays, filing patient records, and even fitting patients for contact lenses. But my first “real” job was as a Customer Service Representative at Survival Insurance Brokerage in my hometown of Los Angeles, literally on the corner of Sunset and Vine. I was 18 years old and I worked the phones handling calls from really angry folks who didn’t understand that we were a brokerage and not their actual insurance carrier. The big upside of this job was that it was next door to Pacific’s Cinerama Dome Theatre, now the Arclight Hollywood Cinema. I love movies.

Most treasured possession: An autographed, mint condition Rolling Stone magazine from May 16, 1996 featuring a centerfold of X-Files stars David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and show creator Chris Carter in bed. Chris Carter spoke at UCSB while I was in undergrad and had already signed so many “I Want To Believe” UFO posters when I approached him in line with the magazine. He smiled, pleasantly surprised and maybe even a little impressed. I like to think the moment meant as much to him as it did to me.

Describe yourself: This is impossible to convey without a fully functioning emoji keyboard on my ThinkPad…

Favorite TV show: Too many. But I recently binge watched Stranger Things and that’s a current favorite of mine. I would also add SNL, Mad Men, and X-Files (see anecdote above).

Hidden talent: Before becoming a mom, and therefore losing much of my free time, I was a walking, talking IMDB. I still consider myself very knowledgeable about many films made prior to 2008.

Favorite food: Filipino food cooked by my dad, especially tortang talong (eggplant omelet) with rice and lots of Heinz ketchup. But since LA is a significant trek from SF just for breakfast, my husband/Vilaska Nguyen has learned to make a pretty spot on version.

Why did you enter law? I was barely 21 when I started law school, so I was asked this question in the form of “Why are you here?!” A LOT back then. As a Political Science major, I tossed around the idea of pursuing a career in politics, specifically roles in campaign management (I actually still think this would be fun). One day, in a class whose subject I can’t recall, there was a guest speaker who was the Executive Director of the Slamdance Film Festival, an alternative film festival that is presented concurrently with the more well known Sundance Film Festival. He spoke about his background as a lawyer and how his education and training provided him the tools to have a varied career path. Until then, I had only imagined lawyers as adversarial trial attorneys doing battle in the courtroom. This planted the seed that lawyers could do anything. I didn’t know a single lawyer before I went to law school but “lawyer” was one of three acceptable professions according to my parents: doctor, engineer, lawyer. And in the grand tradition of lawyers, I didn’t excel at math or science. Easy choice. I’m pretty sure I would have come to the same conclusion even if my parents hadn’t nudged me in that direction.

Dream job if you could do anything you wanted in this world: I feel like I’m living the dream. My team is awesome and Symantec’s mission to protect the digital lives of our customers couldn’t be more timely. Although if SNL suddenly recruits me to be a staff writer, I’m jumping on that opportunity.

AABA is… my extended family. I’m so grateful for the friendships and mentor relationships that began over drinks at Happy Hours and networking after informational panels. I remember attending the AABA Dinner as a law student when Vilaska was awarded the AABA Scholarship. We hovered around the bar area of the Far East Restaurant remarking how we didn’t know anyone there save for a few other law students and professors. Now each annual AABA Gala is like a wonderful homecoming or reunion. I encourage our members to pick a committee that speaks to your interests and engage. 

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