Backlash Continues Against Garden Grove Mayor Over Sister City Letter

Audience members held up South Vietnamese flags and banners, some threatening a recall, at Tuesday's city council meeting.

Thy Vo/Voice of OC

Audience members held up South Vietnamese flags and banners, some threatening a recall, at Tuesday's city council meeting.

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The backlash against Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen by some Vietnamese American residents continued at a meeting Tuesday night, where more than two dozen people returned to chastise the mayor for refusing to sign a letter urging the city of Riverside to drop its sister city relationship with Can Tho, Vietnam.

At a council meeting two weeks ago, Nguyen voted against signing the letter, saying that Garden Grove shouldn’t tell another American city how to conduct its affairs.

Councilman Steve Jones, who abstained from the vote, later added his signature to the letter that was mailed to Riverside City Council members.

This time, Vietnamese residents returned with South Vietnamese flags and small banners with statements like “Bao Nguyen Distorts The Truth” and “Dishonest Bao Nguyen Unfit To Be Our Mayor.”

Public comments on the issue lasted more than an hour.

“You have thumbed your nose at us…under the pretext of not interfering with another city’s internal affairs. We don’t know if it’s just an excuse for refusing to do your duty, in representing the voice of 70,000 [Vietnamese],” said Laura Tran.

Tran called Nguyen’s call for investigations into an employment deal for the ex-fire chief a “vengeful goal” aimed at his election opponent, Bruce Broadwater.

“We recognize the main reason is that you’re too young, too inexperienced, too arrogant, too naive,” said Tran.

Although some opponents have threatened and discussed a recall, so far nothing has materialized.

“If the people of Garden Grove ever recall you, I don’t think they’ll do it because you signed or didn’t sign the letter, they’ll do it because you’re a dishonest person. You are unfit for public service,” said Long Pham, a resident of Fountain Valley and failed candidate for the State Assembly.

Council member Phat Bui, who has organized protests against Riverside and brought the letter before the City Council, said the issue is one of human rights.

“Even with the signature of the mayor, it will not change anything — I agree,” said Bui. “We may not be able to persuade Riverside…but they are wrong and we need to express and stand with the right principle.”

Nguyen did not address speakers’ comments at the meeting.

  • Steve W.

    Bao Nguyen is right and these protesters are wrong. If Riverside wants to have a sister city relationship with a city in Vietnam, it’s none of Garden Grove’s business. Does Garden Grove want the Riverside City Council sticking its nose into how the Garden Grove City Council conducts its business?

    That’s all Bao Nguyen is saying, and he’s absolutely right. Good for him for speaking up and taking a stand.

  • Mike Burtin

    I can’t figure out if Bao is just stupid or if he has some type of mental problem. Signing a simple letter asking a city to consider the opinions of HUMANS who have been so traumatized by it’s decision is a no brainier. I simply don’t understand how someone can be so heartless. Shame on the “Bao Movement” and ANYONE who supports human rights violations. Lies about not telling another city what to do are simply that, lies. This letter is not telling a city what to do but simply asking them to consider the HUMAN ramifications. Everyone knows he is simply a puppet for the Fire Fighter Union who paid for most of his election expenses. He has time to waist city money and resources on his Barlag/Broadwater witch hunt. However, he can’t take 5 seconds to sign a letter addressing a city making an agreement with a perpetrator of human rights violations. He needs to step down and let the adults run the city.

    • Roderick Powell

      Mr. Burtin, you are the worst kind of human..a sociopathic self serving opportunist. Tell me you care one iota about anyone’s human rights. Mr. Burtin, your prejudice is glaring.

  • Greg Diamond

    Looks mostly like they’re from the older generation, perhaps upset that Bao isn’t as willing to adopt bigoted cultural practices towards LGBTs and such into law.

    Did any of these people work for Andrew Do’s campaign? Fanaticism, if it is that, can lead people to do some very wrongheaded things — like some of what Correa reported discovering in his investigation during the ballot recount.

  • Roderick Powell

    Thy, thanks for this article. The absolute fanaticism and rudeness of these speakers from last nights meeting has been illuminated. I am scared to be in the same city as these people. I can see how Phat Bui got elected. He really cowtows to these people. Let us stop trying to get along, there is no point with this kind of person. I watched the meeting last night and witnessed the personality of the speakers. When the Vietnamese vote along racial lines, do they assume that they “own” the elected candidate. Phat Bui is obviously “owned”. Laura Tran obviously feels she “owns” our Mayor. The juvenility of attacking his pursuit of resolving most of the city’s concerns about that issue, that showed where this woman and her type are really coming from. These people have ZERO concern for real issues in this city. What happened at the last 2 council meetings NEEDS TO STOP. This issue should NEVER have been brought up before the counsel. Laura Tran likes to speak for all 70,000 Vietnamese. Has she spoken with them all, I do not think so. Did anyone notice how Mayor Nguyen had to ask repeatedly for simple decorum. I guess these people believe that is not required of them.