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San Jose Councilman joins race against Khanna, Honda

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Portrait of San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio is one of five major contenders for mayor in the June primary at apartment building at 34 Willow Street, where he spent the first five years of his life in San Jose, Calif. on Monday, March 31, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

Portrait of San Jose Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio is one of five major contenders for mayor in the June primary at apartment building at 34 Willow Street, where he spent the first five years of his life in San Jose, Calif. on Monday, March 31, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (DIYA TV) — The race for the Bay Area’s 17th Congressional District just heated up — already pitted against each other are incumbent Mike Honda and Indian American businessman Ro Khanna, now, Pierluigi Oliverio, a San Jose City Councilman has thrown his hat in the ring as well.

Olivero, 46, said he drew inspiration to declare his candicacy as an independent after watching the “mudslinging” in the race between Honda and Khanna. He votes his conscience and follows his heart, and has no obligations to any special interest or need to play dirty trick politics, he said. “Rather than having a mudslinging race, maybe there can actually be a discussion of issues that are facing the country,” Olivero told the San Jose Mercury News in an interview this week. “I think the current campaign is like Donald Trump and Marco Rubio yelling at each other. But with me in the race, we can have a civil discussion like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.”

Olivero will have his work cut out for him — like Honda, he does not live in the district for which he is seeking election, and several political analysts have already labeled his chances as a sever longshot. Some experts claim his candidacy will hardly change the dynamics of the election, which also features two republican candidates, Ron Cohen and Peter Kuo. For Kuo, it’s a shot of redemption after his 2014 District 10 state senate defeat at the hands of Bob Wieckowski.

“Oliverio is not well-known outside his council district and much of the congressional district is actually beyond San Jose,” said Terry Christensen, a political-science professor emeritus at San Jose State. “I can’t imagine him being able to raise enough money — hundreds of thousands of dollars — to compete with Honda and Khanna.”

Christensen added the race might be a tactic Olivero is using to keep his name in the headlines, something several politicians do to stay relevant and spice up their future candidacies. After being eliminated in last year’s San Jose mayoral primary, Olivero could possibly have his sights set on the county supervisor seat which is currently held by Ken Yeager.

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Khanna’s contingency admitted to knowing little of Olivero’s history, but is well aware of his familiarity with Honda.

“Like Congressman Honda, he doesn’t live in the district and like Congressman Honda he doesn’t represent the district,” Khanna spokesman Hari Sevugan said. “But what’s clear from his candidacy, and that of so many others, is that there’s a deep desire for change among voters.”

For Honda, Olivero’s announcement was used as a chance to take another jab at his main rival.

“We are glad that a second Democrat has finally joined us in this election,” said campaign manager Michael Beckendorf. “Unlike Ro, Councilmember Oliverio has spent many years in the community interacting with residents and serving his constituents in local government. We welcome him to the race and look forward to a spirited campaign.”

Since joining the City Council in 2007, Olivero, who works a day-job in the tech industry, has spearheaded two successful ballot measures to tax the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries and pension changes for new hires to cut costs to the city. Both measures were met with overwhelming support by the voters. Additionally, Olivero introduced a competitive bidding process for San Jose’s park maintenance services, which resulted in tripling the city’s savings. Widely considered one of the most unorthodox of Bay Area politicians, Olivero employs hardly any staff in his council administration, and carries with him at all times an iPad which allows for live and direct communication with each of his constituents.

However, since 2010, he has been engaged in a battle with the Democrats’ labor wing. During that same year, he was accused of removing campaign signs as a political advantage, Olivero combatted the accusations by saying the signs had been placed illegally on traffic medians throughout the city. Last year, he was named in a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former staffer in his administration, who later dropped his name from the suit.

Information from the San Jose Mercury News and Ramona Giwargis contributed to this report.

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US sends aid, and bans travel from India

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US ends aid, bans travel from India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — The Covid-19 crisis continues to spiral out of control in India. And now the U.S. is instituting a travel ban.  It goes into effect on May 4 but won’t apply to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their spouses. Meanwhile foreign aid is flowing into India from places like Israel, America, and Germany.

Sikh’s in Indianapolis held a memorial service to remember the victims of the Fed Ex facility shooting last month. Four of the people who died were from the Sikh community.  Police have not identified a motive for the shooting, yet. It’s unclear if the shooter, a former employee at the facility, was targeting Sikhs. There are a high number of Sikhs, immigrants and refugees who work in the facility.

And mega stars from the Indian diaspora raised more than 3 million dollars for Covid-19 relief in India.  Jay Shetty, Lilly Singh, Deepak Chopra, and Jay Sean. The virtual event was called help India Breathe and aired on Diya TV. The funds are going to three major areas of relief on the ground including food, direct cash transfers to families, and makeshift hospitals.

You can watch the fundraiser and still continue to donate:

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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American Coronavirus aid arrives in India

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American Covid-19 aid arrives in India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — American aid is finally starting to arrive in Covid-19 battered India as vaccination sites run out of shots and thousands of people gasp for air. A U.S. military transport plane delivered more than 400 oxygen cylinders, nearly one million rapid coronavirus test kits, and other supplies. The country has been reporting an average of more than 350,000 new cases of Covid infections every day for the past week.

After seven hours of public comment and testimony from hundreds of people on whether caste should be added to the county’s non-discrimination policy, the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission deferred their vote pending futher testimony and likely another public hearing. Equality Labs and the Hindu American Foundation each made presentations for and against this potential new category at the hearing, that was broadcast exclusively on Diya TV.
Watch the full event here:

Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made history during President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress just by taking their seats — marking the first time two women would be sitting behind the President.  Biden’s Indian American chief speech writer Vinay Reddy wrote the president’s address, adding to the historic evening.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India

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Death toll rises as Covid supplies head to India | Diya TV News

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — No end in sight to India’s deepening Covid-19 crisis as the number of new virus cases in the country shatter records. India added nearly 400 thousand new cases on Thursday, breaking the record set a day earlier, boosting the country’s death toll to more than 200 thousand. US officials have urged Americans to leave the country because of the deteriorating conditions.

Several members of the Dalit community and their supporters are addressing the Santa Clara Human Rights Commission to discuss their experiences with caste discrimination. They want the commission to recommend that the Board of Supervisors make caste a legally protected category against discrimination like race, age, gender and sexual orientation. Equality Labs is pushing this agenda but critics say it is anti-Indian and anti-Hindu.

And the Senate overwhelmingly passed an Asian Hate crimes bill and created a new position at the Justice Department to fast track reviews of potential Covid-19 related hate crimes. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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