By Jim Tortolano
The rainbow flag of “Gay Pride” won’t be flying over Garden Grove’s city hall, at least not soon. A deadlocked city council on Tuesday night couldn’t take action on Councilmember Kim Nguyen proposal to put a decision on flying the flag – or, more accurately, a placing it in the lobby along with other flags – on the May 28 agenda through June, which is Gay Pride month.
Those in support of displaying the banner on behalf for the LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered – community were Mayor Steve Jones, Nguyen and Thu-Ha Nguyen. But three others wanted a policy on the display of flags before voting on the proposal. They were Councilmembers Phat Bui, John O’Neill and George Brietigam.
Before the council took up discussion of the flag proposal, 10 speakers addressed the council, nine of them in favor of the rainbow flag. Charles Jones said that such a display would be a message to LGBT people from Garden Grove that “We see you. We welcome you. You are a valuable part of the community.”
But as the council members began to talk about the issue, it became clear that agreement would be difficult. Councilwoman Stephanie Klopfenstein – who Kim Nguyen said supported the proposal – was absent due to illness.
Brietigam said he was “torn” and that although he supported LGBT people he was concerned about flying non-governmental flags in or around city hall. O’Neill said that the flag plan was “divisive” and Bui argued that by displaying the symbol of one group, it opened up the possibility of having to accept flags from a wide variety of others, setting a “bad precedent.”
Kim Nguyen kept trying to put together a majority and offered an amendment to put together a flag policy and vote on showing the flag at the May 22 meeting. That failed on a 3-3 vote, as did an alternate motion to create the policy without voting on the flag.
When the council concluded that no decision would be made, a woman in the audience shouted “You failed us. Garden Grove failed us.”
Categories: Garden Grove