Monday, February 25, 2008

Hunger Striker: Ly Tong's Letter in English to City Council of San Jose and the Media

DATE: February 24, 20008
From: Ly Tong, Hunger Striker-Freedom Fighter

This is an Open Letter to Mayor Chuck Reed, Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, and the entire San Jose City Council.
cc: American and Vietnamese Media


I. The First Act of Trickery and Deception:

In their memo dated February 11, 2008, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilwoman Madison Nguyen proposed rescinding Resolution 74127 and all other actions taken by the Council on November 20, 2007 under agenda item 9.1. They now propose that at the upcoming March 4, 2008 city council meeting the issue of naming of the retail area on Story Road be placed on the November 2008 general election ballot. This is really nothing short of trickery and deception.

1. Brown Act Violation: The proposal to rescind the "Saigon Business District" vote which is scheduled for the March 4, 2008 city council meeting came after revelation on a TV interview with Councilman Forrest Williams. Mr. William's statements on that program clearly indicated that a violation of the state's open meeting law had occurred when he admitted that he and Madison Nguyen had discussed the issue and he had already committed his support for Nguyen prior to the Council' November 20, 2007 meeting. Chuck Reed's and Madison Nguyen's proposal of February 11, 2008 therefore was an attempt to save Madison Nguyen from being charged for her Brown-Act violation.

2. Divide-and-Conquer Tactics: The call for a city wide vote to name a Vietnamese business district in the upcoming November 2008 general election is a divide-and-conquer tactic. Chuck and Madison intended to use 90% of the non-Vietnamese residents of San Jose who do not care or understand the issues surrounding the name Little Saigon to defeat the Vietnamese-American community who only comprise 10% of the city's residents. Reed and Nguyen intended to use the costs and the waste of $2.7 Million Dollars in tax payers' money for the Citywide ballot, and to use the Tuesday weekly protests of Little Saigon supporters at City Hall to fuel the people's anger and resentment against the Vietnamese community and to get rid of the name Little Saigon.

II. The Second Act of Trickery and Deception:

Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilwoman Madison Nguyen on February 22, 2008 suddenly abandoned their call for a citywide vote and to "take no further action on naming the area until such time as the community has joined together and reached consensus on a name that has the support of a majority of the businesses and property owners in the area, and then completes the process developed under the direction outlined in Item 3." (Direct staff to draft a Council policy that outlines a process to officially name areas/districts of the city).

1. Backlash on their Trickery and Deception: The large banners and signs placed daily at the hunger strike location in front of City Hall is meant to expose Reed's and Nguyen's trickery and deception and revealed the financial costs and burdens that would accompany their outlandish proposal to put the issue on the Citywide election. Their proposal resulted in a huge backlash and forced them to abandon their diabolical trickery and deception. Their trickery was clearly not a gesture or a step at compromise or reconciliation.

2. Delay Tactics: Instead of admitting their mistakes and correcting their errors, they resorted to the proverbial "delay tactic" which is also practiced by Communist Vietnam. According to an ancient proverb: "Buffalo excrement kept for a long time will eventually become mud!" They should simply make their decision that would be in line with the preference of the majority in the community (choose Little Saigon) which Vice Mayor Dave Cortese had already suggested (and they should also apologize to the community for their insulting and disrespectful conduct). Instead what they propose now is that they "will take no further action on naming the area." As a result, after one or two years, the issue of Little Saigon will automatically disappear into oblivion and the area will have no name at all because there will never be a consensus reached between the 350 pro-communist activists (who hated the anti-communist name of Little Saigon as indicated by Madison Nguyen to the SJMN) and the remaining 100,000 Vietnamese residents in San Jose who are anti-communists. Because the pro-communist group has to steadfastly hold on to its position under the direction of the evil forces behind it, and the anti-communist community cannot change its mind because its conviction is right. In the end Reed and Nguyen also proposed that "the staff will draft a Council policy that outlines a process to officially name areas/districts of the city" as was outlined in Item 3?!

III. The basis for the struggle for the name Little Saigon.

1. Intimidation and other Undemocratic Practice? There is no difference between the rallies and the hunger strike we're engaging in at the present time, compared to those of Gandhi and Martin Luther King in the past, except that we are more non-violent and more peaceful. Therefore our opponents cannot call our actions "intimidation and an undemocratic practice"

2. Compromise: "Compromise is one of the basic tenets in a democracy." Let's see what Madison Nguyen referred to as her compromise. At first she named the area "Vietnam Town" which was supported by communist Vietnam without soliciting any input or opinion from our community. Whenever Vietnam is mentioned after 1975, people equate that with communist Vietnam, instead of the Republic of Vietnam. So the name Vietnam Town has a pro-communist connotation. But Little Saigon, on the other hand, as Madison has stated to San Jose Mercury News, has an anti-communist connotation, and she claimed that a silent majority does not like such connotation! Therefore in order to compromise between the anti-communist and the pro communist names, she decided to choose "Saigon Business District" which had garnered only 4% of the vote in the Redevelopment Agency's survey, while she rejected "Little Saigon" which received the majority of the vote in the same city survey. Furthermore, there were at least 6 other surveys, including two conducted by the San Jose Mercury News which also showed that 90% of the voters favored "Little Saigon." Madison Nguyen misled the 7 other Council members with disinformation in order to win their support for the name "Saigon Business District." The naming of this retail area should be similar to our right to naming our own child. Furthermore, Item 2 also indicated that the city should "Adopt a resolution recognizing the Story Road retail area� as a Vietnamese retail destination area." Therefore the Council simply cannot impose or force a community name on a community. The council's action on November 20, 2007 is evidence of a betrayal of the basic democratic principles.

3. Money and Family Relations:

a. Just who is Madison Nguyen's husband and what is the background of his family?

b. Who will invest the millions of dollars to support the financially troubled development known as Vietnam Town on Story Road? and what kind of relationship exists between the owner of that property and Communist Vietnam? The answers to these questions could unmask the evil forces and special interests behind Madison Nguyen's decision for the naming of this area, which was originally intended by Madison Nguyen and special interest groups to be Vietnam Town, and now is known as Saigon Business District.

4. Little Saigon: Why do communist Vietnam as well as Madison Nguyen and her 350 supporters hate Little Saigon? In Orange County and the City of Westminster, places that have designated names of Little Saigon, there are in existence Resolutions which have two conditions that can cause much problems and inconvenience to the Vietnamese Communist officials:

a. They (the Vietnamese communists) are required to notify the city one or two weeks before their visits to Little Saigon.

b. They (the Vietnamese communists) have to pay for their own police service to protect them from possible demonstrators.

If this area on Story Road, San Jose, California is to be named "Little Saigon", Communist officials fear that they will not be able to come here freely to direct and control the businesses they have invested with their laundered money!

5. The Real Purpose of the Hunger Strike:

"A hunger strike can be an honorable protest when it addresses matters of life and death or fundamental human rights." Little Saigon is not only a name, it is our identity. The Little Saigon moniker symbolizes a new found freedom, and represents the unity of political refugees in exile. This name also pays homage to our homeland before the communist takeover. Ly Tong's hunger strike is not just a struggle for a name along a cluster of shopping centers and businesses, but more importantly it is a fight for True Democracy and against Sham Democracy. It is the fight between anti-communist and pro-communist forces in order to stop the long invasive hand of Communist Vietnam's Resolution #36 which is intended to control and dominate Vietnamese expatriate enclaves not only in San Jose, but all over the world,. This fight is also not only for the Vietnamese Community but for all other communities. This fight is exemplified by Ly Tong's daring mission to drop leaflets over Cuba on January 1, 2000 calling for democracy. If these petty communist tyrants can trample and crush the will of the majority of the Vietnamese Community, they will not hesitate to do it to other communities as well if they are not stopped now.

6. Hunger Strike's Principles. Hunger Strike has three principles:

1. To stay steadfastly and subsist only on pure water.

2. The opponents only pay serious attention to the issues when the hunger striker is likely to die.

3. The opponents will weigh their self-interests against the Death of the hunger striker. If their self-interests weigh heavier, they would ignore the problem. However, if the hunger striker's death is more consequential, they will give in to what is just and right and submit to the will of the majority. So in this case, who should be ashamed? Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, or Ly Tong and his supporters?

IV Solution.

After rescinding all the wrong decisions they have made on this issue, Chuck Reed and Madison Nguyen should follow the proposals of Vice-Mayor Dave Cortese and Councilmen Kansen Chu and Pete Constant and respect and adopt the city survey done by its own Redevelopment Agency in which Little Saigon got the majority of the votes. Only with that result, will true democracy be restored and will the voters begin to trust their representatives again. Only the minds of those who had made the mistakes need to be changed, not the minds of those who had previously made the right decision. Those representatives who won their elections by pandering to get the swing vote of the community cannot now say "those people will be happy when I give them what they want..." because who in this world other than Chuck Reed would want to see his supporters sad, angry or even 6 dead?!? Perhaps it is the immature, incompetent young woman who had come from a lowly background, but who now is sadly drunk with power and arrogance, and who dared to try to slap her own community in the face?

LY TONG, Feb 24, 2008
Hunger Striker-Freedom Fighter