The swearing in and seating of two members highlighted Wednesday’s meeting of the Westminster City Council.
Carlos Manzo, who will serve as the councilmember representing District 2, and returning member Kimberly Ho, representing District 3, took the oath of office in a unique fashion. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremonies took place earlier, were videotaped, and played at Wednesday’s web conference meeting.
Manzo is joining the council for the first time, as outgoing Councilmember Sergio Contreras said his farewells. Ho is beginning her second term on the council.
“It went by like that,” said Contreras, referring not only to his eight years on the council but also his service on the Westminster School District Board of Trustees before that. “Nothing ever made me prouder than to serve the city,” he said.
Manzo, who had been supported by Contreras, said that he hoped the council could “come together to do something great for the community.”
The night’s only controversy came from a proposal from Mayor Tri Ta for the construction of a monument in Sid Goldstein Freedom Park commemorating a victory by South Vietnamese forces – with help from American air and sea power – over Communist troops at the Quang Tri Citadel in 1972. The project would be sponsored and paid for by a non-profit organization.
“I believe it will complement the [existing] Vietnam war memorial” in the park in the Civic Center, said Ta.
Some speakers praised the monument as a way of honoring those who fought in that battle, especially to recognize the success there of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Others argued that it would “dilute and cheapen” the existing memorial with the addition of a museum and visitors’ center.
The project was approved on a 5-0 vote.
The next meeting of the council will be held on Jan. 13.