Political and Mob Rule Trumps Policy and Procedure in Westminster

Vietnam War Memorial - Westminster, CA

Last night, the Westminster City Council held a special meeting to resolve the conflict over the desire of multiple groups to host commemorative ceremonies marking the fall of Saigon 35 years ago in 1975. A group of 38 organizations, led by First District Supervisor Janet Nguyen was the first to pull a permit application to use Sid Goldstein Freedom Park on April 30 for their ceremony. Freedom Park is the location of the Vietnam War Memorial statue in Westminster. That permit application was approved by the Westminster police department, and a permit was issued. That permit was modified by the police department on April 19th to expand the estimated number of attendees, and permit the use of amplified sound.

In the letter to Supervisor Nguyen’s office, Mitchell Walker Chief of Police/Acting City Manager informed Nguyen’s office of the approval of the permit modifications.

Cities are supposed to issue permits without regard to the political affiliations of individuals and community groups who apply for permits in the city. This is a core principle that derives its existence from our First Amendment rights in the US Constitution. The City granted the permit to a coalition of community groups that had gathered under the leadership of Supervisor Nguyen’s office to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. They were granted the use of the park for the time period of 5 to 9 pm on April 30, 2010.

There was no cause for the city to further modify the permit time for the approved permit to a different time than what was requested. The simple, and quite blatant, reason for the change was political. The City Council, on a 3 to 1 vote took a permit granted for a 5 pm – 9 pm event and moved it to 9 am – 4 pm. The city then granted the more desirable time of 5 pm to 9 pm to a single group. The vote was along the political lines of defined by the political rivalry of Assemblyman Van Tran and Supervisor Janet Nguyen. The three allies of Assemblyman Tran on the council, members Diep, Quach, and Ta, scored a political victory for their Commander in Chief Van Tran. The losers are the people of Westminster, who know will know that there are two separate permit processes in the city. First, an applicant must achieve approval of Van Tran, or his agents on the council for their application. Then the applicant may apply to the city for a permit without fear that the City Council will overturn the permit. All we need now is a little money changing hands to smooth the process along, and Tran and his buddies will have a real racket going.

This conflict was not resolved in favor of the existing procedure or city policy. It was resolved by political power. Mayor Margie Rice said it best as Deepa Bharath quoted in her storyin the OCRegister today:

“Janet should have got the time she requested in her application. This is simply not right.”

Rice was visibly enraged at the pressure from the mob.

“I will not be controlled by a group of people who think they run this city,” she said. “I will not bend under pressure. This is America, not Vietnam.”

It is already widely rumored that in order to get a conditional use permit in Westminster that an applicant must first get the approval of Van Tran or his allies Councilmember’s Andy Quach or Tyler Diep. The reality of their influence was demonstrated last year with Tyler Diep’s unplugged moment with the Westminster Police department over the violations by Cytrist restaurant of their conditional use permit and the attempted intervention by Councilman Diep to intimidate enforcement of regulations.

The action of the City Council sends that message loud and clear, the corruption of government administration that was so prevalent in Vietnam in the 60′s and 70′s is now alive and well in the Republic of Little Saigon, er Westminster.

The following is the list of all Political Parties, Religious, Military, Youth and Friendly  Organizations, Associations and Societies in Orange County to participate in commemorating the Mourning Day 30/4 in 35th year of the Fall of Saigon  at Vietnam War Memorial on April 30th, 2010:

- Forces of Civillians & Militaries of RVN
- Vietnamese Nationalist Party
- Great Viet/Vietnamese Nationalist Party
- Vietnamese Community in Southern California
- Former Vietnamese Political Prisoners Assn in Southern California.
- Former Vietnamese Political Prisoners Assn in Los Angeles.
- Central Hoa Hao Buddhist Congregation
- Alliance for Democracy in Vietnam
- Airborne 81 Special Forces Assn.
- Friendly Assn of RVN Special Forces.
- Solidarity Assembly of the Nationalist Vietnamese Assn.
- Friendly Assn of  RVNAF Ordinance
- Group of Thanh Nien Co Vang
- Group of Pho Duc Chinh Youths
- Group of Hung Viet Youths
- Group of Melinh Women
- Friendly Assn of Long Xuyen – An Giang.
- Struggle Front for Religious Freedom & Human Rights in Vietnam.
- Asian-American Senior Citizen Association. 
- Elderly People Assn in O.C. Diocese.
- Friendly Assn of Lawyers in S. C.
- Friendly Assn of Refugee Students in 1954.
- Friendly Assn of Teachers in South West of the U.S.A.
- Friendly Assn of Officials in the Department Open Arms of RVN.
- Friendly Assn of Hai Duong province.
- Bach Dang Giang Radio Program.
- Vietnam Forum
- Female Ritual Group of Vietnamese Community in Southern California. 
- Bloc of Vietnamese People in the common standpoints.
- Thanks America Assn.  
- Forces of Vietnamese People overseas.
- Assn of Former Students of National Administration Institute  
- Tay Son Binh Đinh Assn
- Lai Giang Family Assn
- Bloc of 8406 in Southern California
- Unified Committee to Oppose Communism in California 

Total: 38 members 

  39 comments for “Political and Mob Rule Trumps Policy and Procedure in Westminster

  1. April 22, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Shilling for Janet again. Why I am not surprised?

    • April 22, 2010 at 10:32 am

      whatever you say “Zorro” — like you expect anyone to think that isn’t you.

      glad to see you’re shilling for Van Tran

      • Advantage Title Flunky
        April 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

        Don’t you mean “Zero”

        • Dan Chmielewski
          April 22, 2010 at 7:01 pm

          he sure isn’t my “hero Zero.” So can we say “Zorro promoted gay porn and sex between men and young boys on web sites he used to own” or will someone come after us for defaming a fictional character?

  2. jose s.
    April 22, 2010 at 9:38 am

    hey prevatt is this the “whining for janet” hour? you’re just now figuring out that mob rules in the viet community? well it seems she has been truly bitch slapped doesnt it. i agree she did get the permit first but keep in mind it was pretty ambitious of her to try to take this event over for her own personal gain.and personal gain is what janet nguyen is all about. you havent figured that out yet? i’m gonna try to help you out here bro, go to our friend the bolsavik’s site and type in roast pig. look at those pics and tell me what you see. you see janet posing with the very communists who are in favor of shutting down newspapers in america. she’a a fraud and the sooner you realize that the better but i have a feeling you will eventually come around just like pedroza did. quit shilling for her man.

    • April 22, 2010 at 10:50 am

      This isn’t a pro-Janet piece as much as it is an anti-Van Tran piece. Now is the time for Phu Nguyen to step up to the plate and show some leadership here. But this isn’t about Janet or Van Tran, it’s about how the rules were not followed.

  3. April 22, 2010 at 10:52 am

    for our friend Sean Mill, why to shill for the Trannies in Little Saigon. In Vern’s post, he reports using a Trannie for translation. Nice touch…

    • April 22, 2010 at 11:22 am

      Dan,

      I know you read our blog religously so I know you are aware of the fact that I have been kicking Van Tran’s ass for days now. How can you equate that with shilling for them?

      Trung Ta is a Trannie? I don’t know him myself, but I doubt Vern hangs with Trannies or they with him.

      • April 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm

        Sean,

        I just pulled your comment from our spam folder, where it was appropriately placed. Anyway, Not exactly sure who Trung Ta is, but the Ta we mentioned in this post is Councilman Tri Ta, and he is a “trannie.”

        • April 24, 2010 at 12:23 am

          Ah! The old confuse Tri Ta with Trung Ta thing. Yeah, they all sound alike, and look alike too, if you don’t hang out with them.

          Surprised you don’t know Trung Ta, you guys. He’s been a Democratic delegate from the 67th AD for several years and is very active in the Party. Strange. Thought you-all were Orange County Democrats.

          • April 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

            Vern,

            Please explain where I or Dan mixed up Trung Ta with Tri Ta. I can’t find where that happened.

            And yes I do know who Trung Ta is. I just couldn’t figure out at the time who Sean was talking about.

            • April 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm

              This is getting tedious, and I won’t pursue this any further, but Dan said above “In Vern’s post, he reports using a Trannie for translation. Nice touch…” And then YOU said, evidently by way of explanation, “Not exactly sure who Trung Ta is, but the Ta we mentioned in this post is Councilman Tri Ta, and he is a “trannie.”” So it’s kind of confusing tracking down whether you know who Trung is or not. Maybe you forgot him and then you remembered. These conversations get to be like chasing dust bunnies.

              Back to the main point here, which I think I distilled in this paragraph:

              “Sometimes politicians will be real sneaky and do things on the sly and it takes the public a while to catch on. We just saw this with the Fairgrounds sale, and now with Janet’s Black April attempt. Then you weigh things – you can either be glad that the snookered public rose up and got justice, or you can officiously bitch that the processes should have been followed in the proper protocol.” And I neglected to continue my snarky alliteration with the word “policies.”

              Cheers.

      • Dan Chmielewski
        April 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        Sean — you aligned yourself with those members of the Westminster council who are clearly Trannies. We’re not on Janet’s side here but she did follow the process. And it’s the process I care about because at some point, some group is going to follow the rules and the Trannies are going to say NO and make up some reason.

        I frankly don’t believe there’s any strong Democratic Party/Viet leadership in Little Saigon now. I’d love to be proven wrong.

    • April 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Wait wait wait… you guys are calling DCCC member Trung Ta a Trannie? you’re all crazy… Why did I come here…

      I’m looking into that list of 38 organizations. The first question that comes to mind is where were they last night? Even the Register reported only about 30 Janet supporters inside the building (and I could find only ONE outside.)

      Interesting to find out how many of these are real organizations, with more than one or two people. And how many were made to think there was no alternative to Janet’s Black April event, and now have turned against it?

      By the way, the popular, traditional coalition has SIXTY organizations sponsoring.

      Sometimes politicians will be real sneaky and do things on the sly and it takes the public a while to catch on. We just saw this with the Fairgrounds sale, and now with Janet’s Black April attempt. Then you weigh things – you can either be glad that the snookered public rose up and got justice, or you can officiously bitch that the processes should have been followed in the proper protocol.

      Oh. Where I come from, you can be against Janet AND against Van Tran. And look at yourself in the mirror, and sleep soundly.

      • April 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm

        Vern — that’s it; we are against both of them. But she did foillow the rule here. If a LGBT organization did the same thing and got the required permits and the Trannie cabal had it quashed, you’d call them on it. I don’t care for Janet and long for a strong Democrat to challenge her, but she followed the process and it’s the process that needs to be respected.

        • jose s.
          April 23, 2010 at 9:05 am

          cheminowski, you say you dont support either one but i never see anything written about her on this blog. well, anything that paints her in a bad light. so prevatt, what do you think about that photo op janet did with the communists on moran street with the roast pig? i like the pic where she’s holding the incense and bowing with all the communists behind her.

          • April 23, 2010 at 10:23 am

            I don’t write anything about her. Period.

      • April 24, 2010 at 6:37 pm

        So Vern, would you care to list those 60 organizations you are refering to? The fact of the matter is that no organization in the community of Little Saigon has the right, or ability, to claim to represent the entire community. Multiple groups every year have held Black April events. These events have happened on various days. Supervisor Nguyen’s office requested a permit, like many other organizations do. That permit was granted. There are plenty of other days and times available on a calendar.

        My concern is that the city revoked a permit that had been already issued and then gave that time and date to another group. That is not a fair and equitable process. It is arbitrary and politically motivated.

        • April 26, 2010 at 1:16 pm

          I’m sorry, I screwed up saying 60 organizations. Directly after I posted that comment, it turned out there were 72. There are probably more now. I bet there’s an overlap between Janet’s co-signers and these. Especially now. But maybe even before. If I could bring myself to care a little more about this right now, I’d look. If you want to see the list of 72 as of last week, you can go to the comment section of my “Janet Has Really Stepped in It” story, but Dan C hates it when I post a link to my stuff here.

          What Janet did was sneaky and selfish and shameless, and I think the way it was resolved – while possibly upsetting to someone who lives in a world of paperwork and protocols – WAS fair and equitable, given the importance of the date to the community at large.

          • Dan Chmielewski
            April 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm

            I also hate it when you misquote me, as you’ve done from your coverage of the NUFF forum. I also hate it when you accuse anonymous posted on Total Buzz of being me when I didn’t. Other than that, knock yourself out Vern.

            • April 26, 2010 at 11:56 pm

              Hey, that reminds me Dan – I beat you guys to this story, didn’t I? It helped that I actually went there and talked to people. but… knock yourselves out broadcasting the Janet/Berardino version guys.

              Hey, how long are we supposed to keep these taunts up? When do we move on? What is the proper procedure, the process, the protocol? Please advise. I don’t want to blast a hole in the ether as the Westminster Council did.

            • April 27, 2010 at 1:02 am

              Vern,

              Like with any story, there are two sides. I happen to have what is the unfortunate opportunity to be the one having to share it.

              It is hardly sneeky to pull a permit 8 months out from an event, and then invite others in the community to participate. That said, the sad part here is that rather than work together, people chose to dig in their heals.

              There have been competing recognitions of Black April, I have trouble understanding how, if indeed there were no “legitimite” groups working with Supervisor Nguyen, that her hosting a recognition ceremony would threaten the participation at other ceremonies.

              I wish that the leaders of the more than 100 (based on the counts of the opposing groups) Vietnamese community groups could have found a way to work together instead of tarnishing what should have been a respectful memorial with politics.

              I have been told two things over the past several days that disturb me. The first is that if one of the groups that Janet Nguyen was working with had pulled the permit rather than her, there would have been no conflict.

              That statement says a lot about what happened. It demonstrates that this entire situation was a simply a matter of denying a permit to one group because another group did not care for who would be organizing and speaking at the event.

              Since the city council could not overtly deny the permit outright, the majority simply changed the permit time to a less desirable time, and delivered the more desiralble time to the opposing group whose speakers, or organizers, they approved of.

              Works out fine for those who got their way. But if the tables get turned on them in the future I doubt they will be as pleased.

    • Trung Ta
      April 24, 2010 at 1:55 am

      Dan,

      For your info, I am the President of Vietnamese American Democratic Club. I was Vietnamese National Co-Chair for Hillary Clinton for President and AAPI Southern Cal Co-Chair for Hillary. Hope you know who I am and not insult me by calling me as Trannies. Ask Van Tran and his people they hate me because I am not affraid to challenge these guys. I had debated with Lan Nguyen and Trung Nguyen before on Lan’s TV show about Health Care Reform. One againsted two and I believe that I held my ground very well. By the way, I am an Engineer so I used facts and logical arguments to debate, not bogus arguments as Trannies.
      Trung Ta

      • Dan Chmielewski
        April 26, 2010 at 5:42 pm

        Trung —
        Apologies; I read Vern’s post quickly and mistook you for Tri Ta. I apologize for offending you.

        • April 26, 2010 at 11:59 pm

          Musta been VERY quickly. How could I have shown up to the Westminster City Council WITH a Councilman, and us both been unable to get in? My writing must be SAVORED like FINE WINE, Mr. Chmielewski. Fie.

          • April 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

            Midnight. Just turned 50. Too old for this.

            • April 27, 2010 at 12:28 am

              Happy Birthday Vern. Looks like you’ll always be about a year ahead of me on the timeline. Hope your day is great.

  4. April 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Quite frankly, I really do not care who the first applicant for a permit is. Once their permit is approved, it should not be revoked for political reasons. Supervisor Nguyen just happened to be the first to apply, and received the permit. She pulled together a coalition of community groups to work together with her on the commemoration event. This is not a matter of shilling on my part. I would hold the same perspective if it were Van Tran who had pulled the permit.

    The decision of the Tran controlled majority on the Council puts a chilling effect on the freedom of public assembly and access to publicly granted permits.

    If the process of approval is subject to the political whims of a majority, or pressure from well organized groups then access can be effectively denied to those who do not have political favor.

    Take for example, the Tet Parade. Had Andy Quach and the Westminster City Council been able to approve or deny permits for specific participants in this year’s parade, then the LGBT Vietnamese group who he opposed would have faced the probability that they would not have been allowed to participate.

    If the rules for granting a permit are met, then the rights of free speech and association dictate that the permit should be granted and not revoked because any group opposes the recipoent of the permit.

    This means that the process of granting building permits, conditional use permits, in addition to public assembly permits, can now be subjected to corruption of due process because an applicant now must also gain approval of a majority of the council directly.

  5. Slatemag
    April 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Chris
    First you lied, you smeared Assembly Van Tran.
    You didn’t inform your reader that “Queen” Janet asked for a small gathering meeting permit. With “38 groups” as she claimed the permit of 300 people max will be violated few
    times over.
    A local council can do anything if it deems appropriate. In this case, a Solomon rule is a wise decision by this council. Jannies will have from 9am to 4pm to deal with her subservients. The 5pm to 9pm for
    the common people in Little Saigon has a decent memorial event.
    Again, you don’t need to tell the whole world that you receive special pass from the 5th floor. It’s your acts that
    speak loulder

  6. April 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Dan,

    Are you insane? We don’t shill for Van Tran. He just attacked our blog in a press release he sent to the Viet newspapers.

    We go after Tran AND Janet because they both suck equally!

    And now our new editor, Vern, is doing a great job reporting on what Janet is up to, while you guys keep shilling for her.

    • April 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      and you keep blogging for OJ in spite of your “retirement” Zorro; I’ll call you “hypocrite” instead since you made such a big deal of Matt Cunningham using “Jubal” so what’s your excuse? Did Camille finally find out about the lawsuit and tell you to stop? You must think your readers are as dumb as doorknobs not to know your writing style Art.

      And I’ll type this slowly since you don’t read very fast or very well. We are not shilling for Janet. We are questioning why the process that was established wasn’t followed.

  7. April 23, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Dan,

    Simple. Janet gamed the process. Now she looks like a fool and folks are talking about a recall. Well done Janet!

    And I didn’t retire – I simply stepped aside and let Vern take the helm. Our numbers have since exploded, so it sure looks like the right move.

    • April 23, 2010 at 10:24 am

      a recall on what grounds Art?

      Thanks for admitting you’re Zorro BTW.

  8. Trung Ta
    April 24, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Chris,
    You must forget me. I was the one who stood up in front of DPOC to defend Hoa Tran when you and your friends at DPOC tried to destroy him. I was not interested to go to DPOC anymore after that. Also, I was the one who asked you why you wanted to destroy Hoa and if you were Trannies. Hope you remember me now. By the way, I am the President of Vietnamese American Democratic Club and was a Vietnamese National Co-Chair for Hillary Clinton for President. Next week, I will be in Washington,DC to attend AAPI Leaders conference at DNC Headquater. I am invited by DNC Chairman Governor Tim Kaine and DNC Vice-Chair Rep. Mike Honda. I have some good connections in DC and hope can help my community better this way.
    Hope with this info you know me better and don’t insult me by calling me as trannie. Trung Ta

    • April 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      Trung,

      I am sorry that the comments on this blog have lead you to believe that I was naming you as a “trannie.” That is not the case. I was refering to Councilmember Tri Ta, not you. My comment that I was unsure who the Trung Ta that Mr. Mill was refering to was due to the fact that I never mentioned you.

      Sorry for the confusion. I do not believe that you are affiliated with Van Tran.

      • April 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm

        And then DAN C got the two names mixed up (7th comment above). This sort of thing happens when we throw around silly labels so easily.

        Thanks for the ride and the translating and explaining, Trung.

  9. Advantage Title Flunky
    April 24, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Maybe if I spent more time working and less time stealing from my employer by blogging and misusing company resources the economy might get better.

  10. Joe Dovinh
    April 25, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Hello Mr. Trung Ta:

    Have a good trip in DC, hope you accomplish many good things for our communities.

    Best Regards,
    Joe Dovinh.

  11. Tim
    May 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    After reading this article I now have a better understanding of why the government of South Vietnam failed.

    You can take the corrupted out of their land but you can take corruption out of their psyche.

    I always have said the Vietnamese are not enlightened enough to comprehend democratic principles and are better off with communism.

    You all in Westminster have just proved my point.

Comments are closed.