Sunday, February 24, 2008


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Memo from Chuck Reed and Madison Nguyen urging the council to drop a proposed citywide vote (PDF)

Reed, Nguyen drop call for vote on 'Little Saigon'

By John Woolfolk
Mercury News

Article Launched: 02/22/2008 11:15:15 AM PST

With the "Little Saigon" furor showing no sign of abating, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilwoman Madison Nguyen today abandoned their call for a citywide vote on naming a Vietnamese business district.

Reed and Nguyen instead will urge the city council on March 4 to take no action naming the Vietnamese retail area on Story Road and instead to call for developing a community-based process for building consensus around such designations.

"I think it's time to step back, allow some time for all the divisions in the community to be repaired," Reed said. "It's quite clear that there's no way to do this in the short run through consensus, compromise or anything else."

The council's 8-3 vote Nov. 20 designating the Story Road retail area "Saigon Business District" - a name Nguyen, the city's first elected Vietnamese official, proposed - infuriated Vietnamese residents who favored "Little Saigon."

The council earlier this month called for rescinding that vote amid perceptions that council members had secretly rounded up support for "Saigon Business District" before the November meeting in violation of the state open-meeting law.

Reed and Nguyen had called instead for a citywide vote on the name. But Reed said today that the costs of an election would be higher than he had anticipated, and that they feared divisive campaigning would be harmful to the city's Vietnamese community.