By Jim Tortolano
It was a rough night for Bao Nguyen. The Garden Grove mayor found his stands on two issues rejected by the rest of the City Council at its meeting Tuesday evening.
Nguyen, who will be concluding his tenure as the city’s top elected official after the Nov. 8 election, was snubbed by his colleagues on a proposed resolution to condemn anti-Muslim bias, and also on his stand in favor of allowing PowerPoint and other electronic means by members of the public during the oral communications segment of the meetings.
Nguyen’s two-year term is almost up, and he is running for the 46th Congressional District seat against fellow Democrat Lou Correa, who is considered the favorite in that race.
The proposed resolution against “Islamophobia” received no second from the rest of the council after the mayor made a motion to approve it. He waited a long moment waiting to get some support, and finally Councilman Phat Bui broke the silence.
One part of the resolution read: “Whereas, we are saddened and outraged at the recent escalation of hateful rhetoric against Muslims, those perceived to be Muslims, immigrants, and all people of color, and we are particularly concerned to see political figures and elected government officials leading this escalation and using it in order to gain power,” to which Bui commented, “maybe true, maybe not.”
He went on to say that he would rather support a resolution with a more positive tone that emphasized the good relations between Muslims and others in Garden Grove.
“We are a city of compassion,” agreed Nguyen, but suggested that voices outside of Garden Grove were creating a hostile environment for Islamic people. He told the story of a local student who said he was bullied for his faith and asked Nguyen “have you ever been bullied?”
Another agenda item on the issue of allowing PowerPoint displays during oral communications found the council opposed to Nguyen’s stand. The matter began at the Oct. 11 meeting when write-in mayoral candidate Tony Flores was not allowed to use that program to illustrate his presentation about crime issues in Garden Grove.
Nguyen supported Flores at that time, but was voted down 4-1. City staff told the council that most other nearby cities did not have a policy on the matter, although Anaheim had one specifically prohibiting it.
Councilmen Bui and Kris Beard were outspoken in favor of maintaining “oral communications” as that, allowing only spoken comments. Bui said he felt “uneasy” about the possible abuse of electronic and video presentations and Beard said “we should continue with what we’ve been doing.”
Nguyen commented that although the council tradition on oral communications dated back 60 years or so, “Garden Grove has changed. We should be more flexible and more accommodating.”
The council voted to limit oral communications to the spoken word, with four members in favor and Nguyen abstaining.
Categories: Garden Grove