Recall effort against Nguyen certified

October 10, 2008 9:24:12 PM PDT
A San Jose City Councilwoman who has been target for recall after a battle over the naming of a Vietnamese business district in downtown said today that she is "very disappointed" by the recall efforts.

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters certified Thursday a petition opponents of Madison Nguyen submitted in August. At least 4,775 of the 5,180 signatures submitted were valid, and recall proponents only needed to submit 3,162 valid signatures in support of the recall.

The recall is being largely supported by residents who disagreed with Nguyen's decision to name the business district the "Saigon Business District" instead of "Little Saigon," according to a pro-recall Web site.

The City Council is scheduled to certify the petition on Oct. 21 and then take a formal vote Nov. 4 to place the recall on the ballot in March, according to the city clerk's office.

"I am prepared for a recall election, but I'm still a little shocked that a difference of opinion over the name of a business district has escalated to this point," Nguyen said.

The "Little Saigon" controversy began last fall when the City Council approved a measure from Nguyen that designated the area a mile-long stretch of Story Road as the "Saigon Business District" in recognition of the large number of Vietnamese businesses and residents in the area.

Protests erupted almost immediately from a large segment of the city's Vietnamese community who wanted the area to be named "Little Saigon."

That was the most popular choice in a survey done by the city's redevelopment agency and has strong cultural significance in the Vietnamese community because Saigon was the name for the capital of South Vietnam before the country was conquered by communist North Vietnam in 1975.

"I believe that decision I made was correct," Nguyen said of her decision to name the district.

The City Council ultimately decided in March to allow supporters of the "Little Saigon" name to erect a privately funded sign over the district.


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