The Palin Effect Stops at Koreatown

New America Media, News Report, Kenneth Kim Posted: Sep 17, 2008

Editor's Note: Mainstream Republican voters may be enthusiastic about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, but KoreanAmerican voters remain unimpressed, writes NAM reporter Kenneth Kim.

LOS ANGELES – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has generated tremendous excitement among voters across the country. But Korean-American voters remain unimpressed.

At restaurants in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, few pay attention to TV channels that were filling the airwaves with news about Palin. Reports about the candidate are buried in the back pages of Korean-language newspapers.

Unlike their mainstream counterparts, evangelical Korean-American voters – considered a large conservative voter block – have not gravitated toward the McCain-Palin ticket.

No polls have been conducted to measure the Palin effect on Korean American voters, whose political allegiances are similar to those of other Asian-American voters. But a scan of Korean news media reports and interviews with Korean-American voters in Los Angeles and Orange County indicate that most are lukewarm about the Palin candidacy.

“It isn’t fair to say Korean-American voters are uninterested in this historical presidential election,” says Sungchan ‘Steve’ Kim, editor-in-chief of Korea Daily, one of the largest Korean-language daily newspapers published in the United States. “But it’s not inaccurate to say that her candidacy hasn’t stirred up passion among them as the (Hillary) Clinton campaign did during the California primary.”

Observers say the Korean-American community’s indifference toward Palin can largely be attributed to the Republican Party’s failure to reach out to the community. The GOP did not approach the community leadership for support. Unlike the Democratic Party, which set up a field campaign office here, the GOP has been absent from Koreatown.

The perception that Palin hasn’t had opportunities to interact with diverse immigrant populations is another reason why she hasn’t stirred much interest among immigrant voters.

“No one denies she’s highly accomplished as a woman, a mother, a wife and a politician,” says Jason Song, a 47- year-old accountant from Fullerton, Calif. “But her entire life only revolved around in Alaska, one of the most homogeneous states in the United States.”

Palin’s family affairs, especially those involving her pregnant teenaged daughter, also seem in conflict with Korean voters’ value system.

“Of course, it’s a family matter. However, I can’t brush off the thought of how a person who couldn’t even bring (her) own family into order could bring order in the country,” said Bongsoo Kim, a 68-year-old grandfather who lives in the Koreatown area.

The McCain-Palin team may be fighting hard for undecided female voters, but their efforts may be in vain among Korean American women. Those who haven’t made up their minds say Palin isn’t someone they can trust to advance women’s rights. In fact, they see her as taking opposing positions on the issues that matter most to them. She is pro-life, doesn’t care about the environment and supports prolonging the Iraq war.

Mary Kim, 34, who lives in Stevenson Ranch, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, says she has uneasy feelings about Democratic candidate Barack Obama and his running mate Joseph Biden. But after learning about Palin’s positions on abortion and the Iraq war, she knew she would be voting for the Democrats. “I would no longer consider voting for McCain,” explains Kim, who calls herself a church-going Christian.

Some women voters are offended by McCain’s assumption that Palin could win over the women who had hoped to put Clinton in the White House.

“As a woman, I was very disappointed and felt insulted,” says Sunny Chung, a 44-year-old real estate agent who voted for Clinton in the California primary. “Before anything else, you have to be qualified for the job. Her being a woman is the only reason she was picked. It’s a political trick. ”

Some Republican-leaning voters who felt threatened by the energy of Obama supporters show a new interest for the Republican team, but not a lot of enthusiasm.

“It’s good to see the Republican Party getting revived, but I don’t feel thrilled by McCain-Palin because they don’t offer anything I can identify with,” says Steve Kim, a 33-year-old business owner.

Korean American community leaders worry that their community’s attitude toward Palin could result in a low voter turnout in November, thereby further diminishing the community’s political clout.

Even as it is, Korean Americans are among the least civically engaged Asian immigrants, according to a study published by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (APALC). Only 39 percent of Korean American registered voters in Los Angeles County voted in the 2006 general election, compared to 52 percent of all registered voters and 43 percent of all Asian American registered voters. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Korean-American voters live in Southern California.

“Korean American voters’ interest in the presidential election withered away (when) Senator Clinton, who secured overwhelming support from the ethnic community over Senator Barack Obama, dropped out of the race,” says Sungchan Kim of Korea Daily. “It may be a perfect chance for Governor Palin to demonstrate her ability to inspire people.”

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User Comments

chae sone on Oct 01, 2008 at 22:15:14 said:

The corrective majors are long over due or just ignored by the leaders.
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 4:22 PM
Subject: Building Funds Questions – Korean Church

Dear Bishop:

This all sounds as though the leadership of our church has handled a “difficult situation” in a poor way. Are these matters of injustice in the claims of those who cry out about the fraudulent use of building funds and trust funds of the Korean Church in New York? Real leaders not only do things right... but in the critical points of decision the right thing. What is the “right thing” in his matter? It is an embarrassment to the whole community of faith.

Chuck Gummer
Former District Superintendent
Former Wyoming Conference Executive
Wyoming Confeence

Obama is a Nazi on Sep 24, 2008 at 07:46:03 said:

More lies from Obama's Hate Machine.

chae s. sone on Sep 19, 2008 at 15:31:39 said:

Palin's evangelism is urged to reshape the leaders for a church renewal.
=A petition to Bishop Jeremiah J. Park to recover misused Church money

Dear Bishop Jeremiah J. Park:

Current and earlier events need the attention of your office because they will test the meaning of Christian values and of honor among Koreans.

Recently, you advocated, “No torture”, and with other religious luminaries you have marched to the United Nations to protest against the torture and abuse of suspected terrorists held at U.S. facilities in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. However, why did you not condemn the torture and abuse of the innocent members within your church?

Unwittingly it seems to appear the double standard of morality in the episcopacy as you overlooked the torture agony within a Methodist church.

In any event, the church should not be let alone in a Mafia image under your jurisdiction.

More specifically, Mr. Steve Park, and other church officers, had deliberately and consistently tortured and abused my family for many years while the church remained silent. He and his church underlings used the church’s name and trust fund to malign my family and me in order to rid of us from the church. It was to cover up the looting of the church money.

For instance, for one of the three frivolous lawsuits, Mr. Park falsely accused my son and me that we planned to kill him, his family, his attorney, and other church members in one of his court depositions:

12 A “He said watch out, you asshole,
13 Specifically said you asshole, you watch out, if
14 You don’t watch your step; I’m going to kill you.
5 A “I’m going to kill your whole family.”
6 Q That’s what Dr. Sone said to you?
7 A “Yes.”
P. 62; 9-17, 21-23.
9 Q You’re claiming that Dr. Sone
10 threatened to kill you and your whole family?
11 A “Yes.”

Furthermore, he substantiated his assertion that more than 10 persons had witnessed our threats to murder. His witnesses included Reverend Wontae Cha, Y. S. Kim, K. D. Shin, Y. H. Lee, Y. J. Kim, D. J. Chun, Paul Choi, Y. J. Kwon, and I. C. Lee.

Rev. Cha is a good colleague of yours according to information.

Because of his false allegations, my son and I were on trial at the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County. He used the church’s funds to finance his lawsuit against us. In his lawsuit, Mr. Park also demanded $4,000,000 in damages, while pushing us into the jail as felons.

His lawsuit had nothing to do with the church and was simply a personal vendetta against us. My only offense against Rev. Cha, Mr. Park and others was to strictly observe my fiduciary duty as the chairman of the Board to protect the church’s Building Fund. Nevertheless, according to the court records, officials from the church hierarchy and Steven Park had deceived the judge as if the case was a church-related during an ex-parte conference.

Now, Bishop Jeremiah J. Park must be responsible to identify the persons who were at the secretive meeting with the judge. He must investigate all and any conspiracy against the church and its members. The bishop’s actions matter much with the prestige of the episcopacy.

The year 2008 is the 87th anniversary of the Korean United Methoidst Church and Institute. Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, Reverend Won Tae Cha, Steven Park, Young So Kim and other such characters one day must come to the church and faithfully explain to the worshippers for the justification of the looting for either personal gain or criminal racketeering against the innocent loyal members.

The cowardly leadership owes an explanation to the fellow church members about the mismanagement of church finances: For example, an $180,000 building renovation contract lost for nothing. It only enriched the related parties. Or, another example when the chairman of the board of trustees embezzled $70,000 he is awarded with church money to pay for his legal fees and for part of his embezzlement. Also his faction paid the fines for the sanctions and the contempt of court with the trust fund although they had to pay. Another irony is Methoidst Mission Fund donated $50,000 to the trust as if an incentive to the looting

The judge and NYS Attorney General advised to recover the funds from the abusers. But, why anyone in the church leadership has done anything about these malfeasances?

Now, the time has come to your office to clarify the ultimate moral issues. On July 15, 2007, the church decided to hire a certified public accountant (excluding Korean CPA) to audit the church finances starting from year 2000. The audit is to determine if any fraud has occurred. But, since then, Reverend Chang, the current pastor, who is a friend of yours according to information, has not yet started it.

The church must recover the stolen funds from Mr. Park and the embezzlers. Perhaps, the church may file an insurance claim for the stolen funds so that the insurance company can compensate them. But, you, the bishop, must enforce church rules and order to help this church recover financially as well as morally. Otherwise, the church has no standing as “a light house” to the dark world.

Now, remember that any decent mind cannot allow our historic church to be built on the foundation of the age-old scandals, but on “the rock”. Most of all, the church should be liberated from evil capitulation still in power. If Mr. Park and others like him have succeeded to scapegoat the church scandals on an innocent family, then they would have said, “Halleluiah!!” The church should be maintained as a house of prayer, but a “den of robbers.” (Matthew 21; 13)

Without any further delay, you must recognize that the Korean United Methodist Church and Institute has been under the control of the spiritually-dead clergies and criminals who are filled with demons, falsehoods, hatreds, and deception. It does appear to be a moral crisis of the Korean Church, the NY Annual Conference, and, perhaps, the United Methodist denomination.

I am praying for your spiritual victory in good faith and for the renewal of our historic church. The Book of Discipline guarantees open meetings and free speech. Why can’t we have an open debate for the renewal at the church or a public media? The congregation wants your spiritual leadership as the bishop of the NY Annual Conference as well as the top church leader of the Korean immigrant Christian community.

Please let me remind your office that it is my duty and mission to continuously protect the church’s common interests, according to the church’s rules and the Christian teachings. That is my only way to seek justice and to restore our family name as I have learned from the church throughout my life.
Alas! The church is spiritually, morally broken as it is now.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Chae S. Sone and family

Please forward the e-mail petition to:
Reverend Jeremiah J. Park, Bishop
New York Annual Conference
White Plains, New York
e-mail address:

Reverend Chul Woo Chang
e-mail address:, OR WRITE TO

Feed back;

Let us pray for the Bishop to do His will accordingly. Especially it is a wakeup call for Korean Christian community – It is a cyber age.


Dzung on Sep 18, 2008 at 20:26:41 said:

"I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live."
-John McCain, February 17, 2000

Why any Asian American would even CONSIDER voting for this RACIST is completely beyond me. Spread the word, our people need to know about this man.

jharris on Sep 17, 2008 at 14:07:49 said:

I couldn't agree with you more Terri. Amen.

Terri on Sep 17, 2008 at 10:04:04 said:

This woman is nothing but trouble. Who in their right mind would pick a candidate under investigation. That is only a sign of things to come if they are elected.

What a mess.




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