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04 March 2009 @ 09:35 am
Hooray! We're keeping Madison!  
"San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen survives bitter recall attempt"
Article here: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11825893

Personally, I am so glad that Madison Nguyen won. She is a hard worker who has done a lot for her district since her election in 2006; at least, she was until the recall campaign took over her time and energy as she fought to keep her seat on the city council. All over semantics: "Little Saigon" vs. "Saigon Business District."

Short version: A Vietnamese group wanted to name an area of the city officially designated 'Little Saigon.' Nguyen refused to back this name, instead choosing 'Saigon Business District.' The city council initially voted to name the area 'Saigon Business District,' but after much protesting from the Vietnamese (including a hunger strike by dimwit Ly Tong) the council decided to withdraw the name and allow the Vietnamese to put up signs at their own expense calling the area whatever they wanted. This is enraged the Vietnamese that they started a campaign in April 2008 to recall Nguyen from office, which in addition to costing the city extra money for a special election also killed Nguyen's productivity for the past year.

Now, Nguyen is not my council person. (She's District 7, I'm in District 10.) But it absolutely aggravates me that so much fuss and fluster was wasted over naming an area 'Little Saigon.' San Jose does have a very large Vietnamese population, but they're still less than 9% of the city population. The area they want to designate as "Little Saigon" does have a lot of Vietnamese businesses, but I couldn't say for certain they were even a majority of the businesses in the area. (I rarely spend time in that area of San Jose.) The fact that the Vietnamese pushed and pushed this issue for the past year may have proved the effectiveness of the group in the political short term, but in the long term, on a city-wide basis, it hurt them far more. When they brought up accusations that Nguyen was actually a communist because she supported the name 'Saigon Business District' and accused her of working with the Viet Cong and Ly Tong refused to eat until the name was changed ...
I mean, c'mon. It's a short hop and a skip to Crazy Town. Now that the recall movement has failed, the Vietnamese community (young AND old) are going to have this whole debacle hanging over them for years to come in local politics. Was it worth it?
 
 
 
Danny Darkosaru_kage on March 4th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
Business District = Communism? How does that work?
jeanniejeannietran on March 4th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
Damn Vietnamese people, always complaining about something.
Paul Linh Nguyenanimekid on March 5th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
I'm sorry I'll have to put in some dissenting opinion XD
I suppose I'll have to do the obligatory disclaimer: Yes I am Vietnamese.

Despite that, I don't live in her district nor do I honestly care whether it is called Little Saigon or Saigon Business District.

I agree with you that the hunger strike was unnecessary.
I also agree, based on what I have heard, that she is a hard worker.
Indeed...it did appear to begin over the trivial naming.

What though I disliked was how she handled it.
Again I remind you that I personally could care less the whole thing.
But the -city- actually did a survey to see what the citizens in the area would like..and the survey said Little Saigon.

Brown Act Violation...though that became moot when other council members were in danger of being investigated. So the city council rescinded the vote to avoid the DA's investigation.

Other councilmembers actually came out and said they were under the notion that, because she supported the name Saigon Business District, that she was representing the majority. It doesn't look like she touched based with those she represented.

Furthermore, when the whole matter blew up...she should have approached them and try to work things out. Yes the loud people wanting Little Saigon did not appear to settle for anything else, but instead of trying to work with them. She was unapologetic and just slammed them.

Council members are supposed to work with and represent their constituents...not ridicule them.

Again it is sad and stupid that it became such a mockery that even CNN picked it up. Being the first Vietnamese to hold an elected position...it was sad. Don't get me wrong, I would wish the best for the first representative of my ethnic background. But it was poorly handled. (I suppose one can almost think Alberto R. Gonzales for example)

But yeah...
On one side...you have to give credit that the people actually rallied and even -managed- to get a recall on the ballot. Though at the same time one has to question some of the accusations. At the same time accusations flew both ways.

Sadly I also see traditional vested interest and politics in play here. Seeing so much -money- spent on billboards and paid advertisements and whatnot.

Ultimately...and objectively looking at this whole thing.
(Albeit not necessarily the ideal of situations)...it shows that a community can and do band together to voice their opinion and show their political clout (which ironically Madison, who came from grassroots, chose to ignore and ridicule).

I genuinely wonder how the healing process will go.
With both sides slinging so much mud...the stupid accusations of being a communist against Madison to Madison ridiculing the very people she helps represent. =\

So yeah...again I'm just disappointed with her handling...again I could care less on the name. After all, if they -worked- with the community better, it likely wouldn't have even came to this.

After all....mediation is key before things escalate.

EDIT:
Oh yeah...sorry wanted to add a bit more...I too don't believe it was worth it. Could care less whether she was recalled or not. Just hope this helps serves as a wake-up call...but really sad and embarrassing how it was all handled. Again as an elected official, think she could have handled it -much- better.

Edited at 2009-03-05 03:56 am (UTC)
Suzik00kaburra on March 5th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
But the -city- actually did a survey to see what the citizens in the area would like..and the survey said Little Saigon.

I seem to remember that the survey was not very well responded to. I think it only got something like 100 responses out of thousands of people (it was done through the mail) and only 37 people voted in favor of 'Little Saigon.' So it wasn't like an overwhelming majority or anything.

But thanks for sharing your opinion! It's always good to hear from the opposing view, especially when it's done in such a thoughtful and rational way. Thank you!
Paul Linh Nguyenanimekid on March 5th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
*bows* And likewise thank you for not biting my head off for having a somewhat opposing view. It was fun reading from a well laid out opinion piece with very valid arguments =)

Yeah I don't remember too much about the survey myself...and I wouldn't doubt if it ended up that way.
(Heck...I wonder why they didn't or what happened to the concept of having an election to choose the name to settle it)
Again I hardly followed the actual naming fiasco.

I only got my attention drawn into it when I kept hearing these things getting worse and worse...wondering why the elected officials weren't doing more to try work with the people (even if they may be stubborn hard heads)...in the end...they only ended up stoking the fire needlessly.

Ultimately...as you noted...hopefully everyone gets over it...or rather...quickly heal. Needless to say...it was very messy, unsightly, and embarrassing x_X