Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Madison Nguyen & Controversies

Thứ Ba, ngày 15 tháng 01 năm 2008
Madison Nguyen & Controversies


2005: Madison made 2 promises during her campaign to replace Gregory after his resignation over corruption charges (1) creation of the Vietnamese American Community Center (VACC); (b) to complete the work that the community has put in toward the designation of a business area similar to Little Saigon districts in other cities Given that these promises were made as part of her campaign, Madison does understand the significance of the matter.

Madison made these promises after it was discovered that she attempted to delay the vote of an important issue for the Vietnamese community.

2006: The City Council approved $2.8M for VACC. Quietly, Councilmember Nguyen quietly handed the project to Dr. Ngai Nguyen and a long list of developers and realtors who had financed her campaign.These appointments were surprised upon the community.. Who is Councilmember Nguyen serving? The residents of District 7 or ONLY special interest groups? According to Madison, the board members promised to pay to sit on the board. (See video.)

March 2007: Madison arranged for a meeting between Pat Dando, Paul Krutko, Sonny Nguyen (her campaign treasurer), Jim Nguyen to promote the 1-mile strip on Story Road as “Vietnam Town Business District”. Councilmember Nguyen brought together these high power meetings to promote the name “Vietnam Town Business District”.

Mr. Lap Tang and his associates were the only group that Councilmember Nguyen requested any meeting with the RDA regarding this project.

All these meetings were done in closed doors.

April 2007 Madison requested Deputy City Manger Ed Shikada and the Redevelopment Agency Agency (Richard Keit, Bill Ekern and others), to meet with Mr. Lap Tang and his group, the developer of VietnamTown Mall, to discuss the naming of this 1-mile strip on Story Road. Tang Lap requested that the name be Vietnam Town Business District.

June 5, 2007 SJ City Council approved the name Vietnamese Business District (VBD) for the project. Besides the developer of Vietnam Town mall, there were only a handful of people at the city council meeting. When asked shortly after the meeting by many supporters, including the president of Vietnamese American Community of Northern California, she stated that the name was “final”. Since the community didn’t spoke up earlier, and there was NOTHING they would be able to do about it now.This was Councilmember Nguyen’s first attempt to impose a name for this District upon the community and her constituents. Under scrutiny for her close relationship with the developer of Vietnam Town and her the apparent questionable motive for naming an entire business district to benefit a few developers, Madison changed the proposed name to Vietnamese Business District.

Councilmember Nguyen spoke of this project as an important milestone for the Vietnamese Community, “a time to celebrate”; but kept the meeting relatively quiet. Only a handsful showed up at her request, but more than a 1000 showed up in November to support “Little Saigon”.

August 15, 2007: San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA) organized the legislatively-mandated community meeting at the Tully Library community room. More than 100 Vietnamese-Americans showed up, the vast majority wanting the area to be named Little Saigon and not the name Madison had imposed upon the community, Madison condescendingy informed the community, “Now, even if all of you, let’s say a hundred percent of you including myself, like the name Little Saigon. Right? But since we don’t live there, we live about three or four miles down, our input is not going to make that much of a difference”, and then insisted upon a survey of the merchants and residents within a 1000-ft radius, the survey about which she said, “those people are going to give us the name. Whoever guy come up with the most votes, that’s what the city council is going to take into consideration. It’s the most fairest way on how we’re going to achieve this resolution.” This meeting was billed as “for banner and gateway design”, with no mention of the naming issue (see flyer.) This further confirmed that VBD was the final chosen name if the community had not taken up the issue.

This survey as insisted by Madison was the first one done in the history of San Jose. It was not mandated by the City’s procedures or regulations. Councilmember Nguyen was trying to hide behind this survey – with four variations of names containing “Saigon”, it was clearly intended to confuse the stakeholders and split the vote. Councilmember Nguyen lectured the community at this meeting on the “freedom of speech” and “fairness”, and yet when the survey didn’t her give the result she wanted, she simply dismissed it..

Shouldn’t elected officials be held responsible for their promises?

October 10, 2007: the RDA organized a second community meeting, and revealed RDA’s survey result: Little Saigon (37.6%), New Saigon Business District (6.8%), Saigon Business District (SBD) (5.1%.) Little Saigon supporters filled the meeting room. The name “Little Saigon” is always the #1 choice in all the surveys and polls.
Madison’s choice for “Saigon Business District” was brought up and soundly rejected by the people; how can she refer to it as a “new naming option”?

Nov. 15, 2007: Flanked by Mayor Reed, Vice Mayor Cortese, and Councilmembers Liccardo, Chirco, Councilmember Nguyen announced her “new” choice: Saigon Business District. Even those this name came in last, Madison claimed this is a compromise. Genuine compromise begins with a DIALOGUE. For months, the Committee for Little Saigon tried in vain to make an appointment to speak with Councilmember Nguyen about this issue, only to be rebuffed each and every time.

Nov. 20, 2007: More than 1,000 Little Saigon supporters showed up at the City Hall with 200+ people speaking in support of the name Little Saigon. Councilmember Nguyen’s imposed name (SBD) was passed on an 8-3 vote. Three councilmembers opposed her motion: Councilmembers Constant, Chu, and Oliverio clearly pointed out the illegitimacy of her proposal with supporting data. Other councilmembers who supported her justified that she is “Your Elected Official,” so they sided with her because they thought she would know what’s best. A City Council meeting is only a place where the “mini-mayor” system can play out, a place to legitimize the wrong-doing of a Councilmember.


Nov. 21, 2007: Councilmember Nguyen went on Vietnamese television and insinuated the Nov 20th meetings attendees as jobless individuals who had some free time to spend.

WHY DOES SHE FEEL A NEED TO HUMILIATE HER CONSTITUENTS? Is this what “encouraging citizens' participation in government issues” means? As long as we still live in a democratic society, governed by the people, should concerned citizens, showing up at City Council meetings, be summarily dismissed as jobless people?