Tan Nguyen strolled across the parking lot of the Santiago Community College District headquarters while wiping his brow. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon, and Nguyen was asking anyone entering the polling booth located inside to vote for him.
Nguyen approached everyone who passed with a smile, including a small boy. “You don't look like a voter,” Nguyen said to the boy. “Hopefully, you'll vote, too.”
“I can't vote,” the boy replied. “I'm only eight.”
To Nguyen's side was a friend from San Diego, who said he hadn't seen police raid a campaign office like they did with Nguyen “since when the blacks wanted to vote” during the 1960s.
A car suddenly zooms past Nguyen. Democratic Party of Orange County chair Frank Barbaro emerges with his executive director, Mike Levin. They storm toward Nguyen, stone-faced.
“We got a report saying you're electioneering closer than 100 feet to the voting booth,” Barbaro told Nguyen. “That's illegal.”
“I know the rules,” Nguyen shot back. “I'm trying to stay 100 feet away. If you tell me 100 feet is here [pointing at one spot], I'll stand there. If you tell me it's another [he points farther away], I'll stand there.
“I think the Registrar of Voters is supposed to determine what's 100 feet away, not the Democratic Party,” Nguyen tells an onlooker. “Barbaro just wants to be on TV.” Indeed, KABC-TV Channel 7 cameras catch the exchange.
Levin gets on the phone and makes some call. Barbaro tells me the district attorney's office and Registrar of Voters is on its way. Meanwhile, Nguyen's friend makes another observation.
“Measurements are so subjective,” he says. “You know when you talk about your thing [referring to one's penis] and you exaggerate, but when you actually measure it, it's something else. That's what's happening here. Measurements are subjective.”