The controversial subject of establishing a monument commemorating a battle in the Vietnam War ignited a chaotic scene featuring angry argument and exchange of insults during a Westminster City Council meeting that started Wednesday night and dragged into Thursday morning.
At 1 a.m., the council voted to “receive and file” a report on the project, which has been paused since June. Voting in the majority were Councilmembers Kimberly Ho, Tai Do and Carlos Manzo, with Mayor Tri Ta and Vice Mayor Chi Charlie Nguyen opposed.
At our deadline, the council was in recess and had not yet taken up a related matter: a proposal for the creation of a committee to oversee the possible placement of monuments in Sid Goldstein Freedom Park in the Civic Center.
After over two hours of public comment devoted almost entirely to the topic, the council eventually took up the issue of the proposal to establish the project commemorating the 1972 Second Battle of Quang Tri in South Vietnam, a victory by forces of the Republic of Vietnam and its allies over units of the North Vietnamese Army.
The project was originally approved by the council on Dec. 9, 2020, but opposition arose from people who expressed concern that such a monument would take away from the role of the existing Vietnam War Memorial. The council reversed itself on June 25 and placed the project on hold on a 3-2 vote.
On Wednesday night, Ho and Nguyen got into a shouting match as the session descended into insults. Nguyen taunted Ho about her “crying” and she called him a “bully.” Members of the council accused each other of “lies” and “slander” and Mayor Ta repeatedly had to call for order as members talked over each other and interrupted each other’s comments.
Earlier in the meeting, the council voted 3-1 (with Manzo voting no and Nguyen recusing himself) to approve a reduction by nearly half of the park fees charged in the construction of accessory dwelling units.