Governor Gray Davis - Digital Library
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Celebrating Diversity: Asian Pacific American

Working with the Asian Pacific Community

  • Signed legislation to establish the first California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs.
  • Provided funding for the preservation of Asian Pacific American history at the Korean American Museum, Museum of Chinese American History and Japanese American National Museum.
  • Signed legislation allowing Filipino World War II veterans who served with the US to return to their homeland without forfeiting their state benefit payments.
  • Signed a bill to preserve the traditional serving of Korean rice cakes at room temperature.
  • Increased acupuncture training standards and oversight by the California Acupuncture Board.
  • Created a pilot program to help preserve the Japantown districts located in Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco.
  • Signed into law the California Civil Liberties Public Education Act to provide funding for educating the public about the World War II internment of Japanese Americans.
  • Signed legislation recognizing Southeast Asians who fought with the US in the Vietnam War and the Secret War in Laos.
  • Signed legislation requiring businesses that negotiate consumer contracts in Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean to provide the consumer with a written translation of the contract in that language. (This law applies to auto sales/leasing, rental, personal loans, and legal services contracts.)
  • Signed legislation allowing victims of internment during World War II to be granted a high school diploma.

Combating Discrimination

  • Made the nation's toughest hate crimes laws even tougher by increasing maximum penalties available under law.
  • Expanded the definition of hate crimes to include "national origin."
  • Helped school personnel identify hate groups on campus, cracking down on hate-related vandalism.
  • Outlawed racial profiling. Ordered CHP to collect data in order to study racial statistics involving traffic stops.

Investing in Education

Under Governor Davis' leadership, California's public schools have emerged from decades of neglect to lead the nation in school reform. Key improvements include:

  • Increased access to higher education through an historic expansion of the Cal-Grant program.
  • Provided the resources and tools needed for educators to properly evaluate student achievement; test scores are up five years in a row.
  • In 2000, established the English Language and Intensive Literacy Program, a $250 million effort to improve the English language and literacy skills of students who are experiencing difficulty learning English and reading.
  • Since 1999, $284.6 million has been provided to improve the English proficiency of California students and prepare them to meet the state content standards through the English Language Acquisition Program (ELAP).

Empowering Asian Pacific-Owned Businesses

  • Governor Davis sought to increase the participation of Asian Pacific American-owned businesses in state contracting. He signed an Executive Order to increase participation of small businesses to 25 percent - a great majority of which are owned by minorities.
  • During 2000-01, the state awarded 57 construction contracts through Caltrans - valued at $15.6 million - to certified Asian Pacific American-owned businesses.

Expanding Trade with Asia

During the Davis Administration, Asian countries have made up a significant part of California's total trade market. From 1999 to 2001, exports to Asia increased by 15 percent, creating $137.5 billion worth of trade. More than 423,000 jobs in California are supported by trade with Asia.

  • California exports more to Asia than any other state, and represents nearly one-quarter of total U.S. exports to the region.
  • During 2002, exports to Asia accounted for 40 percent of California's exports.
  • Five of California's top 10 export markets are in Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China and Hong Kong.
  • California exported $3.7 billion worth of goods to Hong Kong in 2002. Exports to mainland China and Hong Kong combined totaled more than $8.2 billion. In 2000 and 2001, China was California's fastest-growing major export market, posting increases of 48 and 31 percent, respectively.
  • Governor Davis helped seal a historic deal in 2000, marking the first time a California wine producer has entered the South Korean market with a major local firm.

Improving Health Care

  • Governor Davis expanded the Healthy Families program by increasing overall enrollment from 50,000 to more than 660,000 previously uninsured children. Among Asian Pacific Americans, more than 77,800 children are enrolled today as compared to 21,260 in 1999 - a 366% increase.
  • Under Governor Davis' leadership, California created a massive public education and outreach Healthy Families campaign including print ads in Chinese, Korean, Cambodian and Vietnamese.
  • The Department of Managed Health Care provides 24-hour assistance to those having difficulties with their HMOs in all the major Asian languages spoken in California.
  • Governor Davis included funding in the 2002-03 State Budget to make permanent two safety-net programs, the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), for legal immigrants, regardless of their date of entry to the United States.

Affordable Housing

  • Governor Gray Davis has provided more than $6.5 million for Asian Pacific American housing since 1999. This includes: $1.5 million for the Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco, $2.2 million for the Chinatown Service Center in Los Angeles, and $1.9 million for the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation in Oakland.
  • Governor Davis also signed legislation helping the Korean community in the tight Los Angeles real-estate market by banning landlords from charging a "keying fee" to tenants as a condition of beginning or renewing a commercial lease.

Increasing Funding for Parks

Under Governor Davis' leadership, California purchased the 32-acre "Cornfields" property in Los Angeles' Chinatown district to create the first major state park in park-starved downtown Los Angeles. Governor Davis has increased funding for urban parks beyond that provided by any previous governor in California.

Record Breakthroughs in Asian Pacific American Appointments

Governor Davis has appointed a greater percentage of Asian Pacific American judges and other appointees than any previous California governor:

  • Judge Harry W. Low as Insurance Commissioner in August 2000.
  • First Asian Pacific American Cabinet Member Lon Hatamiya as Secretary of the Technology, Trade & Commerce Agency.
  • First Vietnamese American Superior Court Judge Nho Trong Nguyen (Orange County Superior Court).
  • First Vietnamese American female Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen (Los Angeles County Superior Court).
  • First Korean American female Superior Court Judge Tammy Chung Ryu (Los Angeles County Superior Court).
  • The only Asians on the Solano (Jerry Ichikawa) and Fresno (Dale Ikeda) County Benches.
  • More than 280 Asian Pacific American appointments: including Michael Yamaki as the Governor's Appointments Secretary, Darryl Young as the Director of the Department of Conservation. Governor Davis also appointed the first Asian Pacific American Deputy Director of CalTrans, Randall Iwasaki; the first Asian Pacific American Deputy Director at the Department of Managed Health Care, Joy Higa; and Agnes Lee, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services.