Yesterday (Tuesday evening November 20, 2007) the City Council of San Jose, California, (the city outside of Vietnam with the largest Vietnamese population) voted 8-3 for the name Saigon Business District (SBD). This was in total disregard for the will of the people in the community who had chosen by a ratio of more than 7 to 1 in the CITY'S OWN SURVEY preferring the name Little Saigon over SBD. Although you the mayor, and council member Madison Nguyen claimed (on the record) that SBD was a "compromise" however the fact is that this was NOT a compromise. Little Saigon came in FIRST and SBD came in LAST (gathering only 5%) on the survey list of 6 choices as was clearly and correctly pointed out by council member Pete Constant at the meeting. Even the respectable San Jose Mercury News Survey with more than 4600 responses showed Little Saigon was preferred by 91% of the respondents!! I am very disappointed that you as mayor, did not and could not show the courage or fortitude of a true leader.
Apparently the survey by your own city agency and the passionate and deafening pleas of the 1000+ concerned community members who appeared at the hearing (in the council chamber and overflowed into the rotunda and halls) to support the name Little Saigon had no effect or influence on you or Ms. Nguyen or other council members who voted for SBD. The pride and ego that you and Madison Nguyen exhibited are truly incomprehensible. The other council members who voted with you and MADISON NGUYEN are Vice Mayor DAVID CORTESE, council members SAM LICCARDO, NORA CAMPOS, JUDY CHIRCO, FORREST WILLIAMS and NANCY PYLE. However, I must commend the three INDEPENDENT and OPEN MINDED council members Messrs. PIERLUIGI OLIVERIO, PETE CONSTANT, and KANSEN CHU who voted in DISSENT, and who voted AGAINST Madison Nguyen's motion. They followed their conscience, their hearts and their minds to reflect the true will of the people. The name Little Saigon embodies a strong commercial appeal, historical significance, community spirit, and cultural attractiveness. There is a fervent and overwhelming belief in the community that there were deals made behind the scene to get Ms. Nguyen's motion passed, i.e., Quid-Pro-Quo arrangements. If that was the case, then democracy has clearly been assaulted and violated. The previous night (Monday), I had interviewed you Mr. Mayor on our Vietnamese TV talk show, and I had been very neutral, cordial, and easy in my questioning of you in order to be fair to you and to afford you ample time to talk. However, Tuesday night when I attempted to speak (as a private citizen) at the council meeting, you quickly cut me off after a very short time when you realized that I was going to recommend the name Little Saigon to the council. I had no chance to express my view, and I deeply resent your unprofessional, unfair, and totally un-democratic act. I had hoped you would have had the decency and professionalism to allow me to speak for the same duration as other individual speakers at the open public forum; the ultimate place and symbol of true democracy. But that was not to be. San Jose deserves representatives with honesty and integrity, and we need and want public servants who do not exhibit such hubris and arrogance of power (remember the Hon Lien vs. Kansen Chu District 4 race ?).