mtg. minutes 8/23/08 and 6/7/08

Meeting minutes for the 6/7/2008 meeting is at end of mail.

Meeting minutes for meeting on August 23, 2008 at Quincy City Hall
is as follows:

Committee members: John Downey, Cathy Ko-Downey, Kevin To and Betty Yau

Community members: Wan Wu, Peter Pan, Eileen Pan, Ankur Tandon, Chris Harrington, Kai Lau and Michael Fang

Co-chairman John Downey called the meeting to order at 10:20am.

The meeting was started with a presentation of the C-Mart Supermarket proposal at 14 Hayward St. in N. Quincy. Attorney Chris Harrington representing the Supermarket showed the blue prints of the proposed floor plan and presented to the group a general plan. Attorney Harrington informed the group that Mayor Koch, Chief of Staff Jim Fatseas and Ward 6 Councilor Brian McNamee were contacted of the plan. A public hearing was set to take place on Sept 11 at the N. Quincy High Auditorium. Date/time/place of the meeting has not been absolutely confirmed yet. A notice will be sent out to the neighbors soon. After hearing the presentation, we had a little discussion about traffic & parking issues, job creation, project time line, tenant occupancy and tax revenues to the City … etc. We thanked the owner Mr. Michael Fang for h is presence at the meeting and the presentation to keep us informed.

Mr. Kai Lau then gave the group an update of the relocation of the Pacific Food Court. Mr. Lau said that within the next 4 to 6 months, the businesses at the Pacific Food Court will need to be re-located since the building where the busi nesses are located was sold and the Concourse Project in Quincy Center will begin soon. Mr. Lau also shared his knowledge and experience with the "eminent domain" and "impact zone". He would like to suggest that notification of Eminent Domain and the identification of Impact Zone will be made more clear in the future. The group thanked Mr. Lau of the information and hope to be able to assist in providing information to businesses in Quincy.

In the proposed agenda:

* Quincy August Moon Festival - Planning and schedules were reviewed. We were ready for the event.

* Directory development: A 4-page Chinese-English Bilingual Service Han dbook of the City of Quincy was ready. We expect to expand this first version soon and will incorporate all information onto the Web Site eventually. Files of the current Service Handbook will be posted at To request copies of the Handbook, please contact Betty Yau at 617-376-1298.

* Bilingual capacity building - a proposal t o start an interpreter’s training is being discussed. The goal is to reach out to skillful bilingual community members. Once an infrastructure of an on-call system will be in place, we will have a list of potential candidates for employment.

* Web site update and email mailing list database:

Ankur Tandon is working on an overhaul of the existing web site. The new design will be more attractive and interactive and will include many more functions. The number of email addresses in the mailing database has exceeded 100 already.

* "Suggestion Box" - The idea to create suggestion boxes to evaluate and to improve quality of services is well received. Betty Yau will relate the message to corresponding personnel in City Hall and will report progress in next meeting.

* In order to help increase work-force diversity, Human Resources Director of the City of Quincy, Mr. Steve McGrath will send us job openings to be posted on our web site.

* Mandarin classes - The purpose of the classes is NOT to offer fluent language training. A curriculum will include basic Mandarin and some practical activities to allow students to experience challenges/ difficulties facing individuals who have to use 2nd language for daily living situations. Planning of the classes is underway with Quincy College.

Meeting adjourned at 12:10pm.

Next meeting: Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008 at 10am.
(meeting place:
N. Quincy Community Center at 381 Hancock St.,
next to the N. Quincy Thomas Crane Public Library.)

Betty Yau
on behalf
John Downey, Jimmy Wong, Co-chairs, Quincy Asian-American Advisory Committee and
Tom Fabrizio, Director, Constituent Services of the Mayor's Office
617-376-1298 or

First Community Meeting (June 7, 2008 at 10am at Quincy City Hall)           - Notes written on 6/16/08


Committee members: John Downey, Jimmy Wong, Cathy Ko, Kevin To, May Chan and Betty Yau

Community members: Wendy Chan, Frank Chan, James Luo, Gene Lee, Kai Lau, Eileen Pan and Peter Pan (Only ten invitations were sent out. Seven replied; six showed up.)

Dear all:

The Quincy Asian-American Advisory Committee and the Constituent Services of the Mayor’s Office would like to express our sincere thanks for your taking time off from your busy schedule to attend a community meeting last Saturday, June 7, 2008. We hope the key issues we had deliberated will be indeed focused and productive. Although in the past, it has been demonstrated difficulties to reach an accomplishment to our pleasing, we are glad we have this opportunity to once again review and attentively analyze together the issues facing our community as well as to find practical solutions within our limited resource.

Below is a summary of our discussions:
James Luo talked about the massage/Asian bodywork ordinance. He had tried to bring up attention of the City Hall staff on Asian needs particularly regarding Asian bodywork licensure matters. From his experience, we learned how important it is for us to initiate effort to bring up the Asian perspectives. The matter may not be that the City Hall does not care about certain things. It may simply be because the leadership may not have the knowledge and expertise to foresee a possible problem or challenge.

(We will follow up with the Health Commissioner for the ordinance review date for Asian bobywork licensure matters. Note added on 7/3/08)

Wendy Chan
asked about information for lawn services for individuals or families that might have linguistic or cultural barriers. We discovered that the issues of information accessibility and services availability are not limited to low income and/or newly arrivals. There is a significant number of Asians that is in “middle income class” in the City. The income level may bar many of us from information and services regardless of linguistic and cultural barriers.

Gene Lee mentioned the importance of Asian involvement in activities in the at-large community. He urges us to be more participative in activities such as the Cleaner, Greener Quincy, the Flag Day parade, the Christmas parade and in voting and elections … etc. It is equally important to be more sensitive to citywide issues and to Asian issues. The goal is to build mutual respect.

Frank Chan agreed that services to middle income class should be looked over again. The need for effective communication is essential. In addition to providing information, we need to create or identify better communication platform for dialogues to happen in the community.

Eileen Pan talked about her experience in the collector’s office at City Hall. She witnessed the difficulties and struggles a not-so-fluent English constituent has to go through just to pay her bills. She although is a fluent English speaker also experienced some animosity from City Hall staff. It was suggested that what Eileen mentioned is perhaps a universal problem in all service sectors. But it is not surprising that individual who is non-English, not so fluent in English or English speaking with an accent or with a “minority racial” face experiences more hard times when receiving services.

(We will share this message with the Human Resource Dept. and the Collector’s Office. Note added on 7/3/08)

Kai Lau expressed his earnest efforts in helping the City of Quincy to become more linguistically and culturally sensitive and competent. (He stressed that it is important for the City to respond faster and better to the needs of its Asian residents. Changes made on 7/3/08) But looking back, we do see improvements in many areas although more improvements and quicker response is expected.

The Committee had a debriefing of the meeting. Knowing the limitation of the Committee’s role and the tight City Hall budget, we identified some projects that would hopefully address the issues discussed:

1. Upgrading our web site: to create an “effective” communication platform:

We will work with Ankur Tandon, a software engineer and a web developer referred to us by Attorney John Downey who will volunteer to reconstruct our current web site to add:

   an on-line service directory (Services listed should be targeted for low-income, newer arrivals as well as for middle income and non-fluent English speakers … etc.) Betty Yau had complied several Asian Services Directories for Quincy City before, so this project is highly accomplishable.

-   a blog section and a dialogue form so that all users will be able to communicate on-line interactively.

The web site will begin with English and some Chinese. Other languages will be added if resource is appropriated. The web site will be linked to the City Hall web site. There might be overlap information of the two web sites, but ours is supposedly designed for easier navigation for Asian users. (We will send our web site to IT at the City Hall for review and reference. Note added on 7/3/08)

2. To address the information accessibility issue, we will build a subscription email database and send out community announcement/ message with time sensitivity and relevancy to Asian residents.

We have started sending out community activity announcements to several media contacts and approximately 100 resident email contacts. We will add a subscription key on the web site to build a better database and to send out information of relevant announcements/ messages in a more frequent and efficient schedule.

This project will be highly effective assuming the Internet is the most affordable medium to reach out to the Asian community. The size of the entire city population is about 91,000. Asian in estimation is about 20%. That is the most 20,000 in equivalence. If an average household has 3 to 4 members, we would need to reach out to only 5,000 to 6,000 families for the entire Asian population. We believe a half of these households have at least one member that would use the Internet and is very fluent in English.

We hope that after Asian residents are better informed of news/events/activities, Asians will become more responsive and participative members.

3. Future meetings/ next steps:

We will begin the above two projects in the coming months. The Committee will meet in next month on July 19 to review progress. We plan to invite all attendees in the community meeting to come back for another meeting to monitor and evaluate this important work for the City Administration and our Asian community. The discussion about ways to improve City Hall services to constituents is open and on-going. In addition to English session that was held last Saturday, planning for similar Cantonese and/or Mandarin community meetings is underway. 
(This concludes our meeting. Should anything be missed or changed, please advise.)


Betty Yau on behalf of

John Downey, Jimmy Wong, Cathy Ko, Kevin To and May Chan of the Quincy Asian-American Advisory Committee and

Tom Fabrizio, Director, Constituent Services of the Mayor’s Office