Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vietnamese American Community of Northern Cal vs. City of San Jose

The Brown Act lawsuit is grinding through the wheel of justice with the City of San Jose trying to ask for a dismissal.  Recently, the City appealed to the Court of Appeals but lost its appeal on related matter.  The date for the trial will be in early March 2010.  The community recently had a fund raising event to support the trial.  Another event will be on December 13, 2009

According the community's website:

"This lawsuit is not about the naming of an area, it’s about holding public officials accountable for violating a law that protects democracy, and to discourage them from doing it again. Our voting rights are protected in a democracy, whether we vote by ballot or by voice. For ballots there are laws and procedures to protect them from being destroyed before they’re counted.

For legitimate concerns expressed by a significant segment of the public at council meetings (where proposals not suited for citywide elections are deliberated) there are laws to protect the people’s voice from being ignored. The Ralph M. Brown Act prohibits a majority of councilmembers of a California city from secretly discussing a matter prior to a Council meeting regarding that matter -- so that political deliberation and decision-making are in the open, and so that the public’s participation at the Council meeting would be seriously taken into account.

Evidently, a majority of San Jose Councilmembers secretly discussed and decided to vote against the name “Little Saigon” prior to the Council meeting on November 20, 2007 where more than 1,000 “Little Saigon” supporters came to participate in democracy and to vote with their voices. These councilmembers totally ignored the people’s voice due to prior behind-closed-doors dealings, led by Councilmember Madison Nguyen, that are specifically prohibited by the Brown Act.

This is unacceptable in a democratic society. If you value democracy, you should support the Brown Act Lawsuit against the City of San Jose, even if “Little Saigon” is not your choice or the naming issue is not of interest to you."

The lead attorney is James Chadwick, a partner with Sheppard Mullin.  He is considered to be one of the best lawyers in the America in 2008 and 2009.  The other lawyer on the legal team is Steven Dovan and the paralegal is Trina Nguyen.  More information about the trial can be read on the community's Website and

Established in 1994, VACNORCAL is a nonprofit organization represeting Vietnamese-Americans in Northern California.  Headquartered in San Jose, its mission is to support theVietnamese-American community in the Bay Area.  VACNORCAL is the plaintiff. 

Vietnamese American Community Services (VACS) is a nonprofit foundation founded by Dr. Phu Le.   The foundation provides social assistance to San Jose Vietnamese-American residents.  Dr. Phu Le is the treasurer of the legal fund. 

Unofficial Election Results

 San Jose City Council, D7   Precincts Reporting:  100% Tam Nguyen                        31.85%       2,275  Maya Esparza             ...