Garden Grove Council Removes Planning Commissioner After Residency Questions

The Garden Grove City Council Tuesday evening voted 4-0, with councilman Phat Bui absent, to remove Planning Commissioner Vu Mai from his seat after questions were raised about whether Mai met residency requirements to serve on the commission.

Voice of OC reported in January that Mai appears to be a resident in San Clemente, where he is registered to vote and owns a home where his wife and children live. Shortly after the story was published, he registered to vote in Garden Grove.

Mai says he used to live in San Clemente full-time, but travels often because he is a U.S. Army reserve officer. He said he stays at the condominium with his aunt and uncle. He also owns another Garden Grove home, which he uses for rental income.

In addition to living in Garden Grove, Planning Commissioners must also be registered to vote in the city.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, council members emphasized that their decision was not a judgment on Mai’s character.

“We’re not questioning the person’s credibly or competence or integrity, we’re just questioning his residency,” said Councilman Kris Beard.

Councilman Steve Jones added commissioners should be strongly committed to the city and live there full-time.

“I do like the thought of sending a strong message that our commissioners shouldn’t be kinda-sorta living in the city, but one hundred percent engaged in the city,” said Jones. “If you’re going to step up for an appointed position you should really, really live here.”

Council members also voted 4-0 to require that all commissioners be registered voters

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • LFOldTimer

    Poor guy. Had he been an OC GOP State Senator or one of the local GOP long-ball hitters he would have gotten a pass. Just not enough horsepower to catch the blind eye. Politics is a lonely place to be when you’re one of the little fish in the big pond. Only the little fish get eaten.

  • Dailysportseditor

    Thanks to Voice of OC and Thy Vo for covering this issue. While the requirement of Garden Grove residency for Commissioner eligibility may seem technical, it serves a valuable public purpose. Officials are likely to be more accessible and accountable to their constituents when they are residents. Resident officials are also more likely to be aware of local issues than non-residents.