Garden Grove

Rival Tet parade, festival may be proposed

TRADITIONAL Vietnamese dress has been part of Tet Festival celebrations in recent years. (File photo).

By Jim Tortolano

The political storm that’s engulfed the Westminster City Council is now creating some waves at the Garden Grove City Council.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the council meeting opened with signs and speeches denouncing Councilman Phat Bui and closed with a discussion of a proposal by Bui to stage a Tet festival and a Tet parade to rival one already planned for Westminster.

All five members of the Westminster council are the targets of recall efforts. The council majority of Mayor Tri Ta and council members Chi Charlie Nguyen and Kimberly Ho were the first targets of recall, and their supporters responded by seeking to recall opposing council members Tai Do and Sergio Contreras.

Bui was next, because he supported the Westminster council minority.

On Tuesday, a speaker criticized Bui and issued various accusations against him, while several people held banners attacking opponents of the Westminster city council minority.

During the “items from city council members” segment late in the meeting Bui spoke of his proposal for a Tet parade and Tet festival in Garden Grove. Tet is the lunar new year celebrated in many Asian cultures, and which will fall on Jan. 25, 2020.

Bui’s group – the Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California – has led organization of the parade on Bolsa Avenue in Westminster in recent years, but the council majority in that city awarded the permit to a rival faction.

The proposal for a parade in Garden Grove would involve closing Westminster Avenue (called Boulevard in Westminster) between Brookhurst Street and Bushard Street, and possibly extending all the way to Magnolia Street.  It’s also possible that the final official application would include a festival in Garden Grove Park, which has been the location for the event in some recent years.

Acknowledging the possibility of a political dimension to the rival parade or festival – which might be held on the same day as the one planned for Westminster – Bui said the issue “should be decided on the merits to the citizens of Garden Grove, not on the politics of a nearby city.”

But other council members expressed skepticism. Councilmember George Brietigam (District 1) said “this gives me heartburn on so many levels” and stated that it appeared to be “poking a finger at Westminster.”

Mayor Steve Jones called the proposal “awkward, divisive and political.”

Bui said that a final proposal would be submitted to the city “this week or next.”

Short-term rentals protested

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, a half-dozen residents addressed complaints to the council about short-term rentals, also known as “air bnb’s.” In residential areas, rentals of less than 30 days are illegal in Garden Grove, but the practice appears to be flourishing.

During a break in the meeting, Jones and Councilmember Stephanie Klopfenstein (District 5) huddled with those speakers about ways the city might step up its enforcement of the ban on the illegal “hotels.” Much of the problem is concentrated in the northeast section of the city near Anaheim, where Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center attract tourists.

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