Published in The Rafu Shimpo on Dec. 18, 2012

As I often do, I’ll open with an email. This one was sent to me by David of Pasadena regarding my Dec. 1 column on Gardena Mayor and L.A. County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. David requested I only use his first name if I print his email. This is what he wrote:

“Hi Horse. I just read your comments about the race for mayor of Gardena, where you support Paul Tanaka. I am not a resident of Gardena and I have no knowledge of Mr. Tanaka as the mayor or of his personal life.

“As you know, however, he has been on the front page of The Los Angeles Times with regard to abuses in the sheriff’s office, where he is the right-hand man of Sheriff Lee Baca. The commission investigating the abuses has criticized the Sheriff’s Department for these abuses and the department is taking corrective steps.

“My question to you is how you can support/vote for Mr. Tanaka if he is involved in the abuse scandal? I have not read any comments by Mr. Tanaka rebutting the criticism or to explain his position. Maybe I missed it in either the Times or Rafu newspapers.

“I have no affiliation to any political party in support for or against Mr. Tanaka ,but speaking as a senior citizen, I would not vote for anyone with such a ‘tainted’ background unless he has clearly explained what happened and why, or apologized. If he or any candidate does not, then I would not vote for that person because it becomes a matter of character.

“I, like most JAs, wish the JAs do well in an endeavor and especially in politics since we need more representation. However, we have to elect representative that have unquestioned character. To me, Mr. Tanaka has not answered questions I would have asked as a voter.

“I understand you had a new policy of not publishing anonymous comments, but I’ve noticed you have on occasions. I request my comments be anonymous because I am not … accusing/slandering anyone. However, if you want, you can just cite my first name and city. Thank you for listening.”

Thank you for your letter.

As far as Mr. Tanaka is concerned regarding the situation at the Sheriff’s Department, your reference to The Times’ coverage of the Sheriff’s Department is what I expect from the Times.

Although I’ve been a subscriber of The Times for over 50 years, I feel that many of the articles are too often highly opinionated and one-sided.

I’ve known Tanaka since his childhood because he is the same age as my oldest son, with whom he is a close friend, and I have watched him grow to adulthood and become the mayor of Gardena and to become the second-in-command of the Sheriff’s Department.

I don’t think he could have achieved all that he has if his character is as bad as described in The Times.

So, yes, I will vote for Tanaka to be re-elected as mayor and urge others to do so, too.

This past Saturday night, Serra High School won the Division II state championship by trouncing Oakmont High of Lompoc 45 to 15 at the Home Depot Stadium in Carson.

The reason I watched the game on TV is that Serra is a “hometown” team as the school is in Gardena. It’s kind of surprising that a lot of people are not aware of the school being located in Gardena.

In fact, it’s only five blocks from my house. Serra is located on the corner of Marine Avenue and Van Ness Avenue.

They’ve been a state prep powerhouse for five years, winning the state title twice.

I get a chuckle whenever the announcers who work the game on TV say, “Serra is located only five miles from the Home Depot Stadium,” but never tell the audience that it is located in Gardena.

If they did, I’m sure most of the fans outside of the Los Angeles area will say, “Gardena? Where is that?”

Hey, maybe Mayor Tanaka could put together a parade to honor the Serra players and coach.

They could start from their school, go east on Marine to Western, south on Western to Redondo Beach, and east on Redondo Beach, then disband at Pacific Square Shopping Center.

We all know that Pacific Square is a Japanese shopping center.

Mayor Tanaka and City Councilman Ron Ikejiri can make a speech on behalf the city.

Bravo! Or should I make that banzai?

Let me toss this in here. A short note from reader Bob Miyake regarding the piece I did on a new bus service to Las Vegas for only a buck:

“The total cost for two people (his friends who took the new service) was $4.50 per person round-trip. In other words, a $1.25 add-on.

“This is for your info and there’s no need to publish a correction as far as I’m concerned.”

Well, Bob, quite a few readers reacted to my original story about the dollar fare, so I feel I should run your letter about the higher fare.

Thanks for your information about the higher price.

Since I’m working on holding a reunion for folks who spent time at the Santa Anita Race Track when it was called an assembly center, I thought I would run a photo of the last gathering about three or four years ago.

The group gathered around a plaque that was set up in front of the grandstand so that those who were unaware of the Japanese Americans being incarcerated at the track could view it when they visited the track during racing season.

About 50 people were in the photo when the track photographer snapped it.

Those in the photo who might want a copy can contact me.

As I mention from time to time when I have a lot of space to fill but very few subjects to write about, I do toss in repeat subjects.

Yeah I know. Those who are kind enough to read my column will utter, “Ugh, not again.”

Yup, again. It’s about the California lottery.

I’ve been buying tickets since the lottery was first introduced, which means nearly 20 years.

It’s gotten to a point where I am going to hang ’em up. The problem is, when should I quit?

I have to prepare myself mentally in case I quit and all six of my numbers finally pop up.

This week the winning prize hit $20 million and I made up my mind to quit.

However, my son, who often goes to the liquor store where I’ve been buying my tickets, said, “You didn’t buy your ticket yet. You want me to go and get it?”

It was 7:30 p.m. when he said he’d go buy a ticket for me, not knowing that I had quit. Cutoff time is 7:40 p.m.

I figured it might be an omen, so I gave him the money and told him, “Okay, go for the last ticket I’m buying.”

He made it. And I didn’t come close to winning, again.

So, next Wednesday will be my last purchase.

Guess what?

When my wife heard me say that, she told me, “Do you remember our friend who forgot to buy a ticket before she went on a two-week vacation?”

Well, my friend’s ticket number came up and she missed the $7 million prize.

After that she began buying again and like me, has never come close to winning.

The prize for Wednesday is $22 million, which makes it very tempting, so I have two days to decide.

I’ve been debating with myself with such thoughts as “What the heck will I do with $22 million?”

Heh, heh, maybe move to Las Vegas.

One of my sons had a better idea. “You can make all of us (four sons) millionaires.”

Naw, moving to Vegas is a much better idea.

This past week I was invited to attend the “Mahalo” party presented by Boyd Properties (The California, Fremont, Main Street Hotel and Casinos).

It’s an annual event to which Boyd Properties invites its patrons to say, “Mahalo.” That’s the Hawaiian term for “Thank you.”

No, the party is not held in Vegas but at a swanky hotel in Anaheim, near Disneyland.

Since those invited are mainly residents of Southern California, the turnout is great.

Most of the guests are Japanese Americans, indicating that the patrons at their Vegas sites are JAs.

I usually see a number of people I know. But this year most of the faces were strangers, so I must assume that a lot of the old-timers I used to see are starting to hang it up.

The only ones that I met this year were Al Morita and his wife, Pauline, who are more regular than my wife and me.

My next trip to Vegas? Probably about the middle of January, unless some of my relatives from Maui tell us they are coming over in a week or two.

Well, I guess I’ll have to start answering the question, “Hey, what’s that stuck in your ear?”

About two months ago, I lost my cell phone earpiece.

I use it to answer my cell phone when I’m driving. I don’t have to hold my cell phone in my hand and instead chat using my headset.

I thought I had lost it for good after looking high and low for hours.

So, where did I finally find it? Underneath the front seat of my car. I have no idea how it got there.

So, now I can chat when I’m driving down the freeway.

Those who have tried to call me on my cell phone can get me to respond now. I don’t have to hold my cell phone in my hand and risk getting stop by a CHP officer or city policeman for talking and holding a phone while I’m behind the wheel.

Laugh time:

As I was driving home worrying about all the junk going on in Washington and how my life was falling apart, I saw a yard sign that read:

“Need help? Call Jesus at 1-800-005-3381.”

Out of curiosity and desperation, I did.

A Mexican gardener showed up with a lawnmower.

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *