Nevada Sen. Reid picks Paquiao over Bradley


By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS  – U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid has picked Manny Pacquiao over American Timothy Bradley in their 12-round title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, April 12.

The Nevada Democrat said Pacquiao, himself a member of the Philippine Congress, has too much skills and experience for Bradley, who holds the WBO welterweight title he wrested from the Filipino champion two years ago.

“I believe – as many people do – that he won their last fight,” Reid said. “Now, I think, it will be more decisive.”

In the wake of that Bradley split decision victory, Reid had called for a review of the decision and threatened to introduce legislation creating a federal boxing commission to regulate all boxing matches in the United States.

Nothing came out of the threat, but the noise following Bradley’s controversial win forced the WBO to review the fight.

A panel of experienced judges found that Pacquiao, who landed more power punches, had won the fight.

Reid was paying back what he acknowledged as Paquiao’s help in harnessing Filipino-American vote in his bruising bout with Republican and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat.

Pacquiao appeared at a Las Vegas campaign rally for Reid weeks before the midterm elections. Reid, one of the Republican Party’s top targets in 2010, defeated Angle by 6 percentage points for a fifth term in the Senate.

In a visit to Washington, D. C. in 2010, Reid praised the eight-time world champion boxer and politician in a speech on the Senate floor.

“I’m most gratified … that he’s a friend of Nevada’s, ” Reid said, calling Pacquiao “an ambitious young man with a closet full of championship belts and the start of a promising political career already under his belt.”


Kalahi captures best booth in Pinoy Pride fest

The Kalahi Folkloric Ensemble booth at the Pinoy Pride fest in Downtown Las Vegas

The Kalahi Folkloric Ensemble booth at the Pinoy Pride fest in Downtown Las Vegas

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – The colorful booth of Kalahi Folkloric Ensemble, which featured authentic Filipino costumes and musical instrument, captured the best booth overall in the three-day Pinoy Pride fest that ended Sunday in downtown Las Vegas.

A traditional Santa Cruzan staged by the ensemble also provided the climax on Sunday of the annual event that serves to showcase the Philippine culture and tradition in a city with an ever-growing Filipino-American population.

“it was great,” said Jackie Celeste, who took her two daughters to watch the cultural shows and sample the abundant Filipino food. “At least, they discover their culture and found an an appreciation of where the came from.

The three-day affair that began Friday at the Main Street Casino parking lot drew hundreds of Filipino-Americans, even though a picket by casino worker workers, including some Filipnos, was held nearby.

The picketers distributed leaflets explaining the reasons for their mass action. Local 226, the culinary workers union, voted to strike but no date has yet been set.

On Saturday, Filipino-American musicians took the stage.

Those who performed were Elmer Abapo, Left Arm Scar, Timeline, Hope’s Edge, FishBol, Silver Plate, Theory and Blackcouch.

Special guest was San Diego native Jossa in the show dubbed Flip Rock. I

Performers from Manila took the spotlight on Sunday. Actors Enrique Gil, Enchong Dee and Gerald Anderson, who call themselves Bida Boys, performed along with a local dance group, Last Minute Crew.





Union workers picket Las Vegas downtown casinos

Union workers to picket Las Vegas downtown casinos

Union workers to picket Las Vegas downtown casinos

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – After overwhelmingly authorizing a strike two weeks ago, union workers will hold pickets Saturday, April 12, in 10 downtown casinos and two other establishments to speed up contract negotiations with property owners.

The pickets are scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., according to a statement by the workers’ union, the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226.

To be picketed are The Plaza, Binion’s, Golden Nugget, Four Queens, Las Vegas Club, Main Street Station, El Cortez, Fremont, Golden Gate, and the D.

Pickets will also be staged at Margaritaville at the Flamingo Las Vegas and Brady Laundries, which services many resorts on the Strip, the union said.

Union workers are asking for health benefits, better wages and a guaranteed work week. The affected properties represent about 10,000 union workers.

“This is the next step in us getting ready to go on strike,” said union spokeswoman Bethany Khan. “This is an informational picket, letting the public and customers know there’s an active labor dispute at these properties.

She said the union and the property owners have  been in negotiations for a year-and-a-half.




Pacquiao meets Asian Pacific American Democrats

Manny Pacquiao with members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus (Photo by Ivan Louie)

Manny Pacquiao with members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus (Photo by Ivan Louie)

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – Once a politician, always a politician.

Manny Pacquiao took time off from his hectic preparations for Saturday’s title match with Timothy Bradley to meet with the Asian American and Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus, a political group with many Filipino-American members.

Sporting a t-shirt that reads: Fight for a better world!, theSaranggani congressman endorsed the group’s efforts to register more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for the June primaries and elections ahead.

“To have a voice in the political process, you have to register and vote,” Pacquiao told the group.

In 2010, Paquiao was credited for harnessing the Filipino-American vote in Nevada for Democrat Sen. Harry Reid, and allowed him to beat Republican Sharron Angle in a close election.

Reid, who retained his majority leader post in the U.S. Senate after the bruising victory over Angle, a darling of the Tea Party, acknowledged Pacquiao’s help by inviting the Filipino boxing icon to his Washington, D.C. office.

Also in 2010, Pacquiao meet with President Obama in Las Vegas.

However, Paquiao, a potential senate candidate in the Philippines in 2016, has not shown any preference for the Democratic Party.

“We’re so grateful to Manny Paquiao for inviting us to his private suite,” said Rozita Lee, a long-time leader and advocate in the Filipino-American community of Las Vegas.

“He wanted to endorse the AAPIDC and mention the importance of voting in the AAPI community,” said Lee, a member of the White House Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Pacquiao, who arrived to tumultuous welcome from Filipino-American fans on Monday, will go up against Bradley in a 12-round bout for Bradley’s WBO welterweight title, which the American captured in a controversial split decision in 2012.