Tuesday, March 4, 2008

SJMN's Editorial: End the dispute and give city nod to 'Little Saigon' 03-04-08

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From: luong-phan@sbcglobal.net
Date: Mar 4, 2008 8:27 AM
Subject: Editorial: End the dispute and give city nod to 'Little Saigon' 03-04-08

SJMN 03-04-08
Editorial: End the dispute and give city nod to 'Little Saigon'
Mercury News Editorial
Article Launched: 03/04/2008 01:33:25 AM PST

Enough. Just call it "Little Saigon."

The monthslong conflict over the Story Road business district name is consuming San Jose at the expense of serious challenges, including a wrenching budget deficit. It's damaging not just the city's image but also that of its Vietnamese-American community, whose most extreme tactics - the hunger strike, the bizarre allegations of communist influence - are what people will remember.

Because of those tactics, and because support for the name "Little Saigon" is less than universal among Vietnamese-Americans, the council majority has resisted caving to pressure. But there is strong and deep support for "Little Saigon." It's time to ask a fundamental question: Will adopting the name cause more harm than allowing this ridiculous conflict to continue? It will not.

Tonight the council will, at a minimum, rescind an earlier vote for the name Saigon Business District. That's essential because of a television interview with Councilman Forrest Williams last month that made it appear the vote was pre-arranged.

Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilwoman Madison Nguyen propose that the city now step back and lay out a clear procedure for naming business districts, including this one. The lack of clarity last year contributed to this disaster, with "Little Saigon" advocates now claiming they were denied "democracy."

The rules are needed. And the idea of a cooling-off period is sensible - or would be, if common sense applied
to this controversy. But we're not sure it does. Nguyen and Reed have previously proposed compromises they thought would placate activists, and they were wrong.

Some battles are well worth fighting on principle, regardless of the cost. The name of a one-mile stretch of shopping centers? Not so much. The mayor and council need to put this controversy behind them so the city can move on. The surest way to do that tonight is to approve Little Saigon.