Black April Memorial Events in Westminster – Tarnished By Brown Act Violations and Politics

Vietnam War Memorial - Westminster, CA

I wrote last Thursday in Political and Mob Rule Trumps Policy and Procedure in Westminster about the unusual action taken by the City Council of Westminster to revise a permit issued to a group of 38 entities to conduct a memorial ceremony in recognition of the 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. Orange County First District Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s office had requested the “Intent to Meet” permit on August 26, 2009. The permit application indicated an estimated attendance of 300 people and was subsequently granted by the city. Supervisor Nguyen’s office then went about gathering community groups to participate in the event. Ultimately, 37 other groups joined together to host a Black April Memorial Event on Friday evening April 30, 2010.

On January 27, 2010 Mr. Timothy Chi Ngo requested a permit on behalf of the Vietnamese-American Community of Southern California to hold an event to recognize Black April on Saturday May 1, 2010. The application indicated an estimated attendance of a maximum of 500 people. On February 26, 2010 Mr. Lac Tan Nguyen submitted a revised application to supersede the one submitted by Mr. Ngo changing the event date and time to directly conflict with the permit already issued to the coalition of groups lead by Supervisor Nguyen.

The applications submitted by Mr. Ngo and Mr. Nguyen stated that “on April 30th every year since 1975 the Vietnamese American in Southern California gathering together to pay tribute to the fallen people & soldiers due to the fall of the Republic of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975.” For some reason, the mainstream media picked up on this wording, contorted it a bit, and started spreading the false claim that the organization “Vietnamese-American Community of Southern California” had conducted the official community recognition of this event every year in Westminster. That is quite simply, false.

City records show that multiple organizations have produced memorial recognition events on or about April 30th over the past six years. These events have not always occurred on April 30th. In fact, most have happened on either a Saturday or Sunday to garner the greatest number of participants. The last event hosted by the Vietnamese-American Community of Southern California was two years ago on Saturday, April 26, 2008. The last time a memorial was hosted on April 30th was in 2004. That event was hosted by the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California.

Here is the list:

Past Organizers for the Black April
2009 – 2004

2009

2008

2007

  • Saturday, April 28, 2007 – The Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California 

2006

  • Saturday, April 29, 2006 – The Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California

2005

  • Saturday, April 30, 2005 – Can’t locate any organization who organized this event for 2005

2004

The bottom line here is that the organization called Vietnamese-American Community of Southern California initially picked the weekend date closest to April30th  for the event they proposed which was  Saturday, May 1st. Then upon learning that a coalition of community groups lead by Supervisor Nguyen had scheduled an event on Friday, April 30ththe group changed their plans and challenged the right of Nguyen’s coalition to hold an event. In effect, they picked a fight that they did not need to pick. The city tried to get the parties to meet and reach a compromise. Based upon the reports of staff and Mayor Rice at the April 21st meeting, the coalition led by Supervisor Nguyen had agreed to compromise after compromise, including removing herself from the lead roll in the event ceremonies other than what protocol would usually dictate for elected officials based upon their legislative rank. The ultimate sticking point came down to who would be allowed to speak first.

Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep

Now enter the majority of the Westminster City Council made up of Vietnamese members all aligned with Supervisor Nguyen’s long-time rival Assemblyman Van Tran. On or about March 29th a press statement drafted by Council member Tyler Diep, was released to the Vietnamese media on behalf of the three Vietnamese members of the City Council, Tyler Diep, Andy Quach, and Tri Ta in their official capacity as members of the City Council. The statement was published in at least two publications that I have been able to find, Nguoi Viet and Viet Herald.

In the statement (Translated) these three members of the Council clearly indicate that they have discussed the matter amongst themselves and reached several conclusions in concert. Their letter indicates a subtle bias that if you were not looking for it you might not notice it.

They state:

As you may know, this Black April Event is facing challenges due to the disagreement on the date, time and location of the event.  One side, organized by some associations, organizations; the other side by Supervisor Janet Nguyen. Both sides chose the same date and location on April 30, 2010 at the Westminster War Memorial.

It is disingenuous, in addition to demonstrating bias, to claim that the applicants opposing the application of the coalition led by Supervisor Nguyen is a group of associations and organizations, while portraying the “other side” as solely Janet Nguyen.

But the statement goes on to say:

Our point of view is that Black April is a sad event for our whole community; therefore, the commemoration must include all the voice of the Vietnamese refugees. Thus, the Black April commemoration will become the strength and the voice of the Vietnamese Overseas Community once the community can work together, unifying in harmony.

To mark the 35th Black April, our community cannot go without a solemn ceremony at the Westminster War Memorial on April 30th with the participation of all members of our Community in the Little Saigon.

As Vietnamese City Council members, we do not want Westminster to be in the position to have to take sides.  Please work together so we can have a worthy Black April commemorate in a unifying spirit and to demonstrate our determination to fight against the Communist tyranny.

So here is the problem. The Brown Act states the following regarding meetings outside the view of the public.

54952.2.  (a) As used in this chapter, “meeting” means any congregation of a majority of the members of a legislative body at the same time and location, including teleconference location as permitted by Section 54953, to hear, discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

(b) (1) A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

The statement issued by the majority of the council members, a few days after the matter was presented to the council at the March 24, 2010 meeting, clearly indicates that the majority of the City Council of Westminster met at some point prior to the issuance of this statement before any hearing by the City Council and reached a series of conclusions regarding the two competing event applications, whose disagreements would come before them to decide. These three members indicate in their statement that they believe that the application presented by the Vietnamese-American Community of Southern California represents a true community coalition and that the application acquired by Supervisor Nguyen on behalf of a coalition was in fact for her benefit alone.

It can therefore be of no surprise that this same majority reached the same conclusion in revising the permit issued to the coalition led by Supervisor Nguyen to a different time, and issuing a permit for the time originally granted to Nguyen’s coalition to the Vietnamese-American Community of Southern California. The Council majority gave no reason why the permit issued to Nguyen’s coalition should be revised. That group had clearly tried to compromise, but rightly was unwilling to turn over control to the Vietnamese-American Comm=unity of Southern California. They had after all, acquired their permit five months earlier and had invited all groups in the community to participate in the memorial ceremonies they were planning. The decision to revise a permit time, and give the original time to a competing applicant violates all rule of due process and free and open access to public facilities.

This is what I meant last week when I raised the concern over a city permit process being corrupted by politics. No one group has the right to claim ownership of community recognition of the Black April memorial. It is not proper for the city council to have taken sides in a conflict that never should have occurred. The appropriate compromise would have been to issue permits to the parties on the dates and times initially applied for.

Both the Orange County Register and LA Times have the resources to do the investigation of facts that I have outlined here. What is disturbing, in addition to the unprecedented action by the city council and the violations of the Brown Act by the council majority that took the action, is the fact that the major news publications failed to mention any of this, and communicated to their readers misleading and false information regarding the matter.

  13 comments for “Black April Memorial Events in Westminster – Tarnished By Brown Act Violations and Politics

  1. jose s.
    April 26, 2010 at 7:56 am

    and the whinefest continues! prevatt please! the wicked witch of little saigon who regularly practices gutter politics tried to pull a fast one and ran into somebody with a bigger gutter. deal with it.

    • April 26, 2010 at 8:12 am

      Jose,

      I challenge you to find anything factually incorrect in my story. I won’t hold my breath, because you will not find anything.

      Supervisor Nguyen recognized, back in August, that it would be important to have a community remembrance of the Black April anniversary. She pulled a permit and went to community groups to offer the opportunity to participate.

      Elected officials do this type of thing all the time. It is what is called leadership. I am not denying that Supervisor Nguyen took an opportunity to show leadership on this event, and that doing so did provide her with some political opportunity. But the permit was pulled and granted. There was no cause to revise the permit and give the time that her coalition had been granted to another group.

      The number of participants had been revised by staff to 1,000 and the permit for sound was also granted. The application by VCOC anticipated a maximum of 500 participants. The application submitted by Nguyen was for 300 people. Not a really big difference, and one that was indeed resolved.

      • jose s.
        April 26, 2010 at 9:18 am

        “supervisor nguyen recognized back in august, that it would be important to have a community remembrance of the black april anniversary” what, it wasnt already being recognized without her “help”? “elected officials do this all the time it’s called leadership” leadership? she has no leadership when are you gonna get that? there isnt any elected viet in the viet community that has an ounce of real leadership and it’s not gonna come from her so dont you hold your breath on that one. listen prevatt, eventually she’s gonna turn on you it’s just a matter of time you can bank on that. and i like the way you call her “supervosor nguyen” pedroza did the same thing when he once worshipped at the alter of the wicked witch of little saigon too.

        • April 26, 2010 at 9:48 am

          The answer to your first question is that there was no “community” recognition in 2009.I am not suggesting that Supervisor Nguyen did not see a political opportunity in taking a lead in organizing a Black April regognition. I am pretty sure it played a role in the decision to pull a permit.

          I do not worship at the alter of Janet Nguyen. I have presented the inconvenient facts that some people would rather not be brought to light.

          This entire affiar is a result of political motivations of people who are in office, have run for elected office, or are running for elected office.

          My main concern is not who should lead a memorial recognition of Black April. My concern is that elected officials violated the law and the public permit process to carry out a political agenda.

  2. jose s.
    April 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    of course it’s all political that goes without saying. but who the hell asked her to step into this event? nobody. she’s a controlling opportunist who just figured she was a little too big for her britches and overstepped her authority on this one and was soundly beaten down. if you care so much about the laws prevatt what do you think about those pictures of her in front of our friend the bolsaviks workplace? those communists were trying to shut a newspaper down in america and she was right there with them. if anything please try to explain that to me. was she showing good leadership then???

  3. Jeff
    April 26, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Chris,
    how can you pas this off as anything other than an apologist screed on behalf of janet nguyen.

  4. Slatemag
    April 27, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Chris
    Your piece is your opinion. Please do not ask your readers to prove you are factually wrong. That is actually disingenuous from your part. If you are a hired gun for the Queen Jannie then you should put out a disclaimer. Otherwise, readers will be completely taken that you are for a better cause.
    Overall, this article keeps drumming for a lost cause. And the voters will see thru your “naked” Queen.

  5. April 27, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Slatemag… How is this opinion when the facts are right there???? Just a bunch of trannies trying to put spin on for their boys. If you talk to the City Manager and Police Chief you will get the correct answers

  6. Jim Benson
    April 27, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Point of Clarification

    The Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California, was in both 2008 and 2009 the leading organization in the renamed coalition of groups that put on the event. This is according to information that is available from the links provided in the post above.

    I remember about several years ago a group of labor activists and community organizations numbering at least 300 went to the City council in Anaheim to sucessfully convince the city not to sell the city owned electric company to Enron. It was supposted to be a done deal.

    Sometimes it becomes a needed action for a large group to go to a elected body and try to make thier point. We can debate who was right, but the right to do so is laid out by our 1st amendment.

    Other groups decended from time to time on the council for various issues also sometimes the council went along sometimes not. All felt that someone or some group had unfairly tried to get the vote or game the system by carefully twisting the rules to thier advantage.

  7. April 27, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Jim Benson,

    Exactly, and this right was unlawfully taken away by the trannies

    Sincerely,

    Concerned citizen agaisnt brown act violations

  8. JANET LIE
    May 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Get our Freedom Park back to our Vietnamese Community

    The VN WAR Memorial Park near City of Westminster is not the regular public site that anyone can use for they own personal political gain. More than ten year ago, We attended the public concert to raise money to build this park, the event took whole day on the vacant lot in the place of our Freedom park now resides. Thousand of Vietnamese from every where in the country emptied their pocket money to raise few hundred thousand dollars (final cost is $1.2 Million) to build the park and hoping some day we can visit the park on Black April to remember our suffering, sorrow, and thank you to America saving our lives. So, this PARK IS NOW PARTIALLY BELONG TO OUR VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY to use on the most important day of this park.

    Janet, how much money did you contribute to build the park?
    Have you ever lived in City of Westminster?
    And now you want to take advantage of the LOOP HOLE in City of Westminster that allowing anyone to reserve and use the park in any day of the year especially our sacred April 30 – the Lost of Saigon day.
    Janet, get lost, let our Community Leader handle the ceremony and you will be invite as the guest speaker of OC Supervisor as you’re usually done so in the past of many years.

    Janet, she LIED to City of Westminster on her permit application indicated an estimated attendance of 300 people or less (every year the attendant were more than a thousand), she is a bad O.C. Supervisor, We all want to IMPEACH JANET NOW.

  9. jose s.
    May 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    janet lie, that park belongs to all of us so settle down! so, since i am part owner of this park i would like to make a motion that we tear it down until viet elected officials in the community behave like human beings and americans and until that happens i say we make that park a dog park complete with those little plastic bag dispensors so people can pick up the poop. plop*

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    May 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Impeachment is not an option; a recall is and it’s an expensive proposition. Better to elect a good Democrat next time around

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