By Jim Tortolano
Councilwoman Margie Rice’s proposal to create a “Walk of Fame” in the Little Saigon area is off and running, but she won’t be jogging along side. The Westminster City Council voted 4-1 to create a committee to organize the project, but left Rice out of the group, to her considerable anger.
“I think you’re wrong,” she said. “This was my idea and I should be on the committee.” Instead, the council voted to appoint Mayor Tri Ta and Councilwoman Kimberly Ho to the ad hoc group.
As originally proposed by Rice, the project would be along Bolsa Avenue in front of the Asian Garden Mall, and would consist of “plaques/emblems dedicated to individuals influential in the development and history of the area.”
Cost of the devices would range from $6000 to $10,000 per installation, with the costs borne by the nominees or their sponsors, according to a staff report.
Rice replied that she expected that wouldn’t be a problem, and possible honorees could include the city’s first Vietnamese-American council member, Tony Lam, and the city’s first Vietnamese-American mayor, Ta, and even State Sen. Janet Nguyen.
Councilman Sergio Contreras asked who would decide those whose names belonged on the walk. That would be the committee, which would recommend to the whole council for the final decision, he was told.
Councilman Tyler Diep then nominated Ta and Ho for the committee. “The Vietnamese community … is a complicated community, to put it bluntly,” he said, citing rivalries, factions and political divisions. “I think Mayor Ta and Councilwoman Ho are very much in touch with the Vietnamese community, more so even than myself or others.
“I don’t want the council to be put in a situation where we have to vote on an individual where while he or she may have a role in the historical development of the area, he or she may not be liked by the overwhelming majority of the community,” he said.
Also Wednesday night, the council approved the city’s federal legislative priorities. Westminster is seeking funds for additional flood control facilities, the hiring of two more police officers and the purchase of the now-abandoned U.S. Navy railroad spur line for use as a linear park and bike path.
The next meeting of the council will be on March 8.