FREMONT: State Democratic Chairman Jerry Brown waged dual campaigns here Saturday, raising more than $20,000 for a local Hindu temple while working to get the small but affluent East Bay Indo American community involved in partisan politics.
Brown, who emerged from six years in exile last month to win election as the state’s Democratic Leader, displayed both his longstanding interest in Eastern cultures and his newfound emphasis on the nuts and bolts of raising money.
Although a cartoonist recently lampooned Brown’s mystic image by picturing him sitting in a lotus position and traveling by flying carpet, the former governor had his feet firmly planted on the ground Saturday night.
He told of his month long trip to India and his work with Mother Teresa and also fired off a partisan blast against President Bush for reducing immigration quotas for Indians and other Asians in order to admit more Soviet refuseniks.
“I don’t think that’s fair,” Brown said.
“If we want more Russians, let’s bring them in, but don’t cut out the Asians to do it.”
Saturday’s event drew an estimated 500 people and raised more than $20,000 for the building fund of Livermore’s Shiy Vishnu Temple, said organizer Malti Prasad of Los Altos.
Proceeds from the event will help defray the $200,000 construction cost of a roof for the temple’s quarter acre plaza, Prasad said.
Brown urged his listeners to “tangibilitize” their support for the temple, saying they must put money behind their ideals.
Brown said, “If you don’t make your good intentions tangible by giving some cash, you don’t really have good intentions.”
While the official purpose of Rrown’e visit was to raise money for the Hindu center, the former governor also hoped to get Indo Americans more involved in the Democratic Party.
An estimated 20,000 Hindus live in the Bay Area, with the largest concentrations in the East Bay and Silicon Valley. Although they are few in number, they are more affluent that other recent immigrants, because they include a large proportion of professionals.
Indo Americans contributed an estimated $250,000 to Brown’s 1982 U.S Senate campaign, and organizers of Saturday’s event said they believe most Indian immigrants become Democrats.
Mrinam Sarkar of Newark, said Indo Americans are slowly increasing their political involvement.
We look at what happened in Napa this week with the Aryan skinheads and we see it’s important to get organized,” Sarkar said.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 24, 1989