NaFFAA Congratulates Lorna Schofield on her Confirmation as a Federal District Judge

CONGRATULATIONS! For the record: The shortened URL of this press release is (lornaschofieldnaffaa)

TO SEE AND HEAR LORNA SCHOFIELD, we found a youtube video (that is not embeddable). Go to to watch the video.

Lorna Schofield

Lorna Schofield

NaFFAA Congratulates Lorna Schofield on Her Confirmation as a Federal District Judge – Dec. 13, 2012, by Jo…

For Immediate Release

Dec. 13, 2012

Contact: Bing Branigin, 202-361-1024
Jon Melegrito, 202-361-0296

NaFFAA Congratulates Lorna Schofield on her Confirmation as a Federal District Judge

Washington, D.C. – The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is celebrating the confirmation of Lorna Schofield as a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York. By a 91-0 vote today, the United States Senate confirmed Schofield, the first person of Filipino descent to serve in this critical court.
“Ms. Schofield’s confirmation by the Senate is a historic moment not only for our community but for the entire nation,” says NaFFAA National Chairman Ed Navarra. “Given that Asian Americans are significantly underrepresented in the federal judiciary, Ms. Shofield’s addition will greatly enhance the judiciary’s diversity.”
President Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York nominated Judge Schofield in April this year. “Their laudable action is a demonstration of their continued commitment to nominate well-qualified and diverse candidates to the federal bench,” adds Rozita Lee, former NaFFAA national vice chair and a member of the White House Commission on Asian Pacific American Islanders. “We are elated with her confirmation and our community is very proud to see a Filipino American achieve this honor and distinction.”
Adds Gloria T. Caoile, a former White House commissioner: “We need more role models like JudgeSchofield to inspire our young people to aspire for public service.”
Ms. Shofield is the only child of a Filipina mother who came to the United States during the post-World War II reconstruction of the Philippines. Mother and daughter remained in the Midwest after Ms. Shofield’s father left the family when she was only three years old. She grew up in a blue collar community and received a full tuition scholarship to attend Indiana University. She earned her law degree from the New York University Law School and in 2008 was named one of the nation’s 50 most influential minority lawyers by the National Law Journal. She served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for four years before joining the firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP where she is currently serving as Of Counsel.


Myrna Lardizabal de Vera: There’s a new mayor in Hercules, California

Myrna Lardizabal de Vera

Myrna Lardizabal de Vera

Myrna Lardizabal de Vera’s remarks on Mayorship are found here at the Hercules Patch.

Excerpts of Myrna Lardizabal de Vera’s acceptance speech (when she was sworn in as Councilmember) last December 14, 2010 can be found at the Hercules Patch.

Lorna Dietz’s Notes: Myrna de Vera also created her own website (with a lot of help from Google and initial guidance from her new media publisher-sister, Noemi Lardizabal Dado). She personally maintains her website’s content. Mayor Myrna is an aspiring novelist.



Press Contact:

Lorna L. Dietz
Vice-Chair, NaFFAA Region 8, Northern CA Media Group
[email protected]

Myrna Lardizabal de Vera: There’s a new mayor in Hercules, California

July 5, 2011, Hercules, CA — Myrna Lardizabal de Vera was appointed as the new mayor of Hercules, California at 7:17pm on June 21, 2011 during a special Council meeting at the City of Hercules’s Council Chambers. The 20-year resident of Hercules, California, according to a political observer, was accelerated into office as a result of many factors that stimulated a “fast track” within the city government. After serving in the Planning Commission for five years, De Vera had run for a seat in the city council during the November 2, 2010 elections, pledging “The Right Change, based on Competence, Commitment, and Character.”

Myrna de Vera and John Delgado were elected as Council members and assumed office in December 2010. After Mayor Ed Balico resigned in January 2011 and Vice-Mayor Joanne Ward took over the vacant position, de Vera was appointed as the city’s new vice-mayor. The June 7, 2011 Special Elections resulted in a successful recall of Mayor Ward and Council member Donald Kuehne. Three members of the grassroots recall movement were sworn into office as the newest council members on June 21: Dan Romero, William Wilkins, and Gerard Boulanger. After the ceremony, Myrna de Vera was appointed as Mayor and John Delgado as Vice-Mayor.

It has been less than a month since a new council has been in place, all freshmen council members, with Mayor Myrna de Vera as the oldest “rookie.” De Vera seems to take everything in stride. According to Mayor Myrna, good governance practices are critical to the city’s success in its financial recovery.

Tom Lochner of Contra Costa Times best explained in his article, “Hercules Councilman-Elect, despite resume padding, plans to accept seat,” dated June 11, 2011, how the recall drive started.

“The recall occurred at a time of public anger over the city’s financial crisis and over its business relationship with a company that Nelson Oliva founded and that he said he transferred to two daughters shortly before he became city manager in April 2007; that company, NEO Consulting Inc./Affordable Housing Solutions Group, had $3 million in city contracts over a three-year period, approved by the City Council. But the pivotal event that triggered the recall drive was the council’s firing in December of interim City Manager Charlie Long, who had publicly disclosed the gravity of the financial crisis, and its reinstatement of Oliva from medical leave, if only temporarily. Oliva resigned in January under an agreement that gave him a year’s salary and benefits.”

Mayor Myrna de Vera, during her first address at the City Council meeting, immediately assessed the developments of the first half of 2011 and articulated the direction of her administration for the remainder of the calendar year.

“The past six months have been filled with tough decisions and painful cuts. Projects shelved, contracts cancelled, and the most sobering of all, the laying off of 40 percent of our city staff. City morale is at its all time low.

But many recent changes have been positive. We started engaging the community through citizen ad hoc committees, achieved transparency through a more open city hall culture. We also laid the groundwork for the next stages of change.

We have a long way to go. The council’s priorities are to restore the people’s trust in our city government, build strong city leadership, put our finances in order, and develop new sources of revenue.”

After de Vera stated the kind of workload that was expected of the city council and staff, she added:

“During my oath-taking speech last December, I talked about the journey we are embarking along a steep and rough terrain. Today, we are continuing on this road to recovery, driving our car balanced with the four wheels of community, family, finances, and faith.

What is our destination? We are driving toward achieving our vision of the City of Hercules, free of corruption and fiscally-sound, a city with a transparent council, responsive to the will of the people. Together, we are heading to our vision of a Hercules that — once again — shines, a city we can be once again proud of.”

Myrna de Vera is originally from Cebu City, Philippines. She was selected as “Woman of the Year” by the Hercules City Council, and given a Special Recognition Award by the Hercules Chamber of Commerce in 2010. Myrna de Vera was awarded as one of 2009’s 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S. under the “Policymakers and Visionaries” category by the Filipina Women’s Network.

De Vera owns and manages an insurance agency in San Francisco. Her husband, Manuel, and she have been residing in Hercules with their three sons, Mark, Christian, and Emmanuel since 1991.

For the Asian American community in Hercules, Mayor Myrna de Vera symbolizes the relevance of diversity, reflecting the city’s population, in political empowerment. She is the sixth American of Filipino ancestry to sit in office. Vice-Mayor John Delgado is also one-quarter Filipino. The former Filipino American mayors were Goni Solidum, Andy Paras, Ed Manuel, Frank Batara, and Ed Balico. Myrna de Vera is also the first Filipina woman mayor of Hercules, California. For more information about the City of Hercules, go to You can reach Mayor de Vera by email at [email protected].

# # #


Myrna de Vera and her siblings visited Seafood City in Concord, California. Adin Martin Villanueva, who takes care of Seafood City’s Northern California Events, asked Myrna to speak to shoppers. You can also catch a glimpse of Rudy Fernandez (formerly of the Antioch City Council) who is a community developer at Seafood City, Concord, CA.

Up Close and Personal: Rozita Lee of Las Vegas, Nevada

If you like what you see, go ahead and TWEET, FACEBOOK, or EMBED the story below.

Rodel Rodis Feted At Green Room Testimonial

Posted on 9th February 2009 by lorna in In The News,People On The Move

Lorna Dietz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Two former San Francisco mayors, along with more than a dozen current and former Trustees and the current and former Chancellors of the San Francisco Community College, joined more than 400 guests to honor former City College Trustee Rodel Rodis for his 18 years of service to City College of San Francisco in a testimonial dinner held at the Green Room of the Veterans War Memorial Building on January 27.

Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos spoke about his desire to empower the Filipino community when he appointed Rodis to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in 1987, making Rodis the first Filipino American to be appointed to a major commission in San Francisco. After a year on the commission, his fellow commissioners elected Rodis president of the commission in 1988 and re-elected him again in 1989.

While president of the SFPUC in 1989, Rodis sponsored a resolution transferring 15 acres of SFPUC land (the South Balboa Reservoir), right across the main campus of the City College of San Francisco, the most congested campus in California, over to City College. While in the process of transferring the land to City College, a vacancy occurred on the College Board in January of 1991 and Mayor Agnos appointed Rodis to the vacant post.


President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

Posted on 21st January 2009 by lorna in In The News,People On The Move

Thank you to Chicago Tribune for providing the full text of President Obama’s inaugural speech. We are chronicling the complete text in our website as a reminder for our NaFFAA members that whether we agree to agree or agree to disagree, without a doubt, President Obama’s presidency is a huge and significant milestone in our quest for “The Impossible Dream” — our political empowerment in the US.

First of all, here are the 44 Presidents of the United States of America.

From Click here for the videos of the swearing-in ceremony and the videos of his inaugural speech (in three sections).

President Obama’s Inaugural Address

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.


Celebrating Rodel Rodis’ 18 years of service as City College of San Francisco Trustee

Congratulations to Rodel Rodis, Esq., one of the co-founders of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and the founder of the Global Filipino Networking Convention (, for his 18 years of service as a City College Trustee of the City College of San Francisco.

Download your invitation here:

Board President Lawrence Wong & Board Vice-President Dr. Natalie Berg cordially invite you to join the City College community in celebrating three-term Board President Rodel Rodis’ 18 years of service as a City College Trustee.

When: Tuesday, January 27, 2009
What Time? 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: The Green Room. Veterans War Memorial Bldg.
401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
featuring buffet Asian cuisine, music by the Standard Time Band
and special guest, Classical Guitarist Michael Dadap

Tribute to Rodel Rodis 27 January 2009 at the Green Room San Francisco – Checks Payable to West Bay Pilipin…


Obituary: Benedicto G. Menor, The Oldest Filipino American Voter For Obama

Benedicto G. Menor may have passed away early this week yet his legacy lives on. He was the oldest NaFFAA member (in absentia) in the Northern California region. Although the last NaFFAA R8 Summit he attended was in 2003 at the Northside Community Center in San Jose, CA, he stayed in touch with our members. Some of us were there during his 100th Birthday Celebration in 2007, travelling from all over the US — and beyond. We also have our own stories about Benedicto G. Menor’s acts of kindness and generosity. We will miss him!

The Memorial and Funeral Services schedule is at the bottom of this entry.

Joanie Cordova said: “Benedicto Menor Sr voted for Barack Obama … before he died 28 October 2008. His life inspires many of us.”

Thank you to Emil Siapno for putting this video on

TFI’s Balitang America reporter, Henni Espinosa, wrote this video story about Benedicto G. Menor.

Oldest Obama Voter from Emil Siapno on Vimeo.

March 15, 1907 – October 28, 2008

Benedicto Galindo Menor was born on March 15, 1907 in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, He was one of the 100,000 sakadas and manongs (early 1906-1933 overseas Filipino workers) who arrived in the United States to work in the fields of Hawaii and California, armed with an optimistic mindset in fulfilling his American Dream.
During World War II, Benedicto proudly served as a member of the Leyte Landing’s Filipino First and Second Regiments of the US Army that arrived with General Douglas MacArthur. During the “mop-up operation,” Benedicto was introduced to his future wife in Villaba, Leyte, a strikingly beautiful Visayan named Espectacion Menor (no relation), who was 20 years his junior.
After Benedicto became a citizen of the United States in 1946, he went back to the Philippines and brought his family to Santa Clara Valley in California. The three oldest children who had been born in the Philippines were Rose Mary, Betty, and Benny Benedicto (a.k.a. Ben Menor). Benedicto and Espec were blessed with six children: five girls and one boy. Like most fathers, he wanted another boy after Ben was born. The couple tried three more times — and three more daughters arrived: Rita (deceased), Anna, and Darlene. He was 52 years old when Darlene was born.
A family friend recently wrote, “Mr. Benedicto Menor was an exemplary centenarian who left a rich legacy for his family.”
Rose Mary Miguel, the oldest sibling, acknowledged that their father had indeed raised his family to honor inclusivity in their social, political, cultural, and spiritual values and principles.


Election Watch: Filipino Americans Running For Public Office in Northern CA

This list is by no means complete. We are featuring three NaFFAA members from Region 8 who are running for political office. Since NaFFAA, as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, cannot endorse any political candidate, this entry is considered informational We support the political empowerment activities of our members, affiliates, and supporters. We hope that more and more Filipino Americans will step up to the plate and volunteer for public service and community service, thus going step by step in their learning curve toward political empowerment. The earlier we start, the earlier we get to be on that table!

Rock the vote! Get out and vote!!!

Rodel Rodis, in his re-election bid for Board of Trustees of City College of San Francisco, is largely instrumental in proving that Filipino Americans have made a mark in the development and expansion of one of the top 10 educational institutions in the US. There’s an interesting column that he wrote here: (check out his blog at

Myrna Lim is running for Board of Supervisors, District 11, in San Francisco (see

Hermy B. Almonte, who is currently serving as Consumer Affairs Commissioner at Alameda County, CA, is running for a San Leandro School Board position. (see

Tracking Filipina American Judges

Posted on 28th August 2007 by lorna in Op-Ed,People On The Move

Charito Benipayo, David Rodriguez, and Marily Mondejar responded to the e-mail about Efren Iglesia’s appointment from the San Francisco Bay Area-based Philippine American Press Club, USA yahoo group. They reminded us about the Filipina women judges in the United States.

Please click on the COMMENTS section of this posting if you want to add to this list that we are collecting in the Filipino American community: Filipino and Filipina “electeds and appointeds.”

The Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) tracks the Filipina American women who are trailblazing their way to the top of their professions. We are enclosing an e-mail from Marily Mondejar, the president of this organization, about FWN’s listing of Filipina American judges.

From: Marily Mondejar <[email protected]>
Date: Aug 28, 2007 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: [PAPC-SF] Small correction for: MEDIA ADVISORY: Fil-Am Efren N. Iglesia to be sworn in as Judge in Monterey County Superior Court, California
To: [email protected]

There are several women judges who are “firsts” in their own counties. Many of them are attending the Filipina Summit in Washington DC (Oct 25-27).

(1) Judge Cheryl Moss – Family Court, Nevada;   (2) Judge Pat Medina Talbert – Superior Court, New Jersey;   (3) Judge Nina F. Elgo – Superior Court, Connecticut; (4) Judge Lillian Lim – Superior Court, San Diego;   (5) Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye – Madam Justice, California 3rd District Court of Appeal (first woman of Asian descent in the Federal Court of Appeals; I understand she is the highest ranking Filipino in the justice system);  (6) Judge Eleanor Nisperos – Administrative Law Judge (workers comp). She is now retired. First Filipina admitted to the California Bar (1971). First Filipina Deputy Attorney General in California.

Efren N. Iglesia to be sworn in as Judge in Monterey County Superior Court, CA

Posted on 27th August 2007 by lorna in People On The Move

Honorable Efren N. Iglesias, photo taken by Ben Menor (April 2007) We have a new judge!

Enclosed are a couple of newspaper articles for you to check out. Let’s congratulate soon-to-be Judge Efren on his new appointment!

According to Mr. Iglesia, his informal swearing-in will take place on August 29 while the formal investiture will be held on September 21. He’ll be sending us more information later, including photos. We found a recent photo in our NaFFAA Region 8 files.

FYI: We also have the Honorable Ronald “Ron” Evans Quidachay of the San Francisco Superior Court, State of California who was appointed to the bench in California in 1983. Fondly nicknamed “Judge Q,” Judge Quidachay is the first judge of Filipino descent in Northern California and the second in California. The Honorable Mel Recana of the Los Angeles Superior Court was and remains the first judge of Filipino descent in California.


Governor Appoints 2 Judges
Both appointees have 24 years in local courtrooms
The Salinas Californian

As first reported Monday morning on, the office of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that Robert Burlison and Efren Iglesia will serve as the county’s newest judges.

They each have 24 years experience in Monterey County courtrooms.

Burlison, 51, of Salinas, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michael Fields in March. Iglesia, 57, of Salinas, fills a new position created by Senate Bill 56, which added 50 new superior court judgeships statewide last year.

Both men will begin their appointments in criminal court, where the county has the greatest need for more judges, said Adrienne Grover, the superior court’s assistant presiding judge.

Iglesia has worked for the Monterey County Counsel’s Office since 1983 and is now senior deputy county counsel.

“It’s a great honor and a privilege to serve this county,” said Iglesia, who emigrated from his native Philippines in 1971. “This is my way to give back to my adopted country.”

Continue reading the complete news story at The Californian.


Burlison, Iglesia Named Judges
Monterey County: Governor appoints prosecutor, deputy county counsel
Herald Salinas Bureau
Article Last Updated: 08/21/2007 01:29:37 AM PDT

Iglesia, 57, was a college student in his native Philippines in 1971 when “people in the know” advised him that the political situation was deteriorating and he should leave, he said.

With the help of an exchange student he’d met from San Joaquin County, he immigrated to the United States and finished his schooling, earning his law degree from the San Joaquin College of Law. Martial law was declared in the Philippines the year after he left.

“When I came to this country, I never dreamed I would be a judge,” he said Monday. “I feel very honored and privileged to be a member of the bench here.”

Iglesia lives in Salinas. He and his wife have three children.

Continue reading the complete news story at the Monterey County Herald.