"Saigon" name proposal may be on the November ballot
According to the San Jose Mercury News, because there is some question on the legitimacy of the vote on “Saigon Business District”, Mayor Reed and Counilwoman Nguyen are proposing that the decision be put into the hands of San Jose-ans for the November 2008 ballot.
At question is a possible violation of The Brown Act, a law stating that most decisions of public matter, including the alleged support solicited by Councilwoman Nguyen, cannot be made in secret or behind closed doors.
While it could be really easy to criticize both sides of this debate, I’m thinking that opening the decision to the voting public in San Jose will be an interesting exercise in the democratic process.
There are groups who have been polarized in support of “Little Saigon”, there are probably just as many who feel the opposite… that doesn’t include those who feel that time and money spent on the issue has been wasted.
Is it a waste of time and money? Personally, I don’t think it is… while I don’t care what the area is called, it has engaged a group of people to passionately institute change in a city where a majority are living the status quo. That’s what a democracy is about… those who ask for the Vietnamese community to simply stop or “go home” are simply un-American. Last time I looked at the Constitution – the First Amendment stated, in part, the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”. City Hall isn’t burning, neither are San Jose businesses – sounds to me like they’re abiding.
Both sides have a voice… and thank goodness for that.
Here’s the irony – most of us, particularly those of us who were born and raised in the good ol’ USA (like myself) have done nothing to make change. We simply accept what’s been given to us. In this instance, the Vietnamese community and others supporting this cause are doing exactly what the fathers of this nation wanted – to exercise their voice, question their representatives, in order to make change. It’s the System… the way it’s supposed to work.