First District Supervisor Janet Nguyen was issued a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday afternoon by a former opponent for the 34th district State Senate seat.
Long Pham, a Republican who garnered 14.7 percent of total votes in the June primary, submitted 30 of 20 required signatures to the county Registrar of Voters late Tuesday. Pending the petition’s approval, Pham could have up to six months to gather the necessary signatures, according to Registrar Neal Kelley.
The petition, backed by a group called the Vietnamese American Voters Coalition, calls for Nguyen’s recall on the grounds that she has betrayed the public trust.
Nguyen did not respond to a request for comment.
Pham, who now lives part-time in Washington, D.C., says that he flew back to Orange County to start the petition after viewing a widely-circulated video of a confrontation between the supervisor's Chief of Staff Andrew Do and a man, Lac Nguyen, during a press conference at Viet Bao Daily News earlier this month.
During the press conference, rather than asking a question, Nguyen began to speak at length about a 2010 conflict between a community group and the supervisor’s office over the use of a Westminster park for a commemoration of the Fall of Saigon.
Do interrupted him, saying, "this is our event” and “if you have more to say, do it outside.” When Nguyen began to speak more loudly, Do said that Nguyen’s actions were brazen and rude, telling him to shut his mouth and leave the room. Staff escorted Nguyen out of the conference room.
Those words were perceived as harsh and “profane,” according to Pham.
With the November election just weeks away, if Nguyen wins a seat in higher office and vacates her supervisor position, the petition would be nulled.
Although it is unclear how many signatures he would ultimately need to get Nguyen’s recall on an election ballot, Pham says he expects they will need around 25,000 signatures.
“She is younger than my children, so I didn’t feel right to do that to her. But since what she and Andrew did to the community -- I said this is more than enough.” Pham said. "The whole community is really irritated and upset with Janet. I don’t think [collecting signatures] will be a problem.”
Among Pham's other allegations:
- Nguyen created "an atmosphere of corruption and pay to play scenarios wherein donors and financial contributors are appointed by her to county boards and commissions with the requirement that they assist her in political fund raising.”
- Nguyen prevented the displaying of the South Vietnamese flag at a reception for US Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear in June 2013
- Nguyen and her staff "physically prevented" Pham and his wife from attending a press conference regarding HR 4254, a bill sponsored by Rep. Ed Royce, on April 12
- Nguyen’s tenure on the board of CalOptima “created a hostile working environment with staff that has interrupted medical services to the poor and elderly, many of whom were Vietnamese patients.”
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