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. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Should San Jose Chief Rob Davis Resign?

A coalition of Latino, Asian-American and African-American recently had publicly asked SJ Chief Police Rob Davis to resign.  Their request is published in the Mercury News

The funny thing is due to the disagreement between the two leading organizations of the Vietnamese-American community in San Jose, Viet-AmericanVoters of Northern California and Vietnamese-American Community of Northern California, the colation decided not to include them in the group.   The coalition includes NAACP, Asian Law Alliance, La Raza Lawyers; African-American Community Services Agency; Silicon Valley De-Bug; Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network; San Jose Peace and Justice Center; National Lawyers Guild; Asian-American Center of Santa Clara County and Coalition for Justice and Accountability are united in their call for the police chief to step down.

The coalition will have a press conference in front of the city hall at noon on Tuesday November 24 to update their progress including their succesful effort to have the release of the Daniel Pham's 911 tape.   From the latest rumors, attending the press conference will be members of the Viet-American Voters of Northern Cal. but not the members of VACNORCAL.

VACNORCAL sees this as an issue of not a community being mistreated by those in power but an issue of communist vs. anti-communist.  The logic is simple to VACNORCAL.  Since the exchange student Ho Phuong comes from Vietnam, he is a communist and VACNORCAL cannot be seen as supporting a communist.  Hence, VACNORCAL decided not to join the coalition against their effort of pushing for changes as well as asking for the resign of SJPD Chief Davis

The Viet-America Voters of Norther Cal is made up of mostly younger activists and they only see this is a community issue as a whole.  In order to better the community, there has to be drastic changes.  And Phuong Ho was a victim of an abusive system that needs to be changed.