SJ City Council meeting gets heated over naming of business district
SAN JOSE, Calif. Nov. 21, 2007 (KGO) (KGO) -- San Jose's City Council meeting last night nearly turned into a riot when council members voted on a new name for a business district along Story road. Nearly 800 people showed up -- most demanding it be called "Little Saigon."
It was one of the largest crowds to ever gather at San Jose City Hall creating a firestorm of opinion over the name to be selected for the city's Vietnamese business district. Council members probably didn't expect such a boisterous crowd during last night's meeting. But for many, it's about more than just a name.
An estimated 800 people turned out packing city hall both inside and out. They carried signs, banners. Some chanted, others booed -- all expressing their opinion of what name council should choose to call a one-mile stretch of San Jose businesses on Story Road, between Senter and 101.
In an 8-to-3 vote, council decided on "Saigon Business District" over "Little Saigon". Community members preferring the "Little Saigon" name were enraged - saying it's an homage to their homeland before the communist government's takeover in 1975.
Councilmember Madison Nguyen -- the first Vietnamese woman elected to office in California-- instead proposed the selected name "Saigon Business District." Some of the angry opposition called her "un-democratic" and suggested a recall.
"I'm saddened by the fact, that people come out with so much emotions, and I can understand, but at the end of the day, I have to ask myself the very question of why I ran for office and that is to be able to bring representation for 96,000 people that are living in District 7," said Madison Nguyen, San Jose City Council.
Nguyen explained that the name "Saigon Business District" represents all San Jose's Vietnamese-Americans and their hard work. Supportive council members also agreed it was a compromise between opposing community groups who were calling for either "New Saigon" or "Little Saigon".
Another reason it seems so many wanted the "Little Saigon" name is because it also commonly identifies Vietnamese-owned enclaves around the country, from Orange County to Houston, but San Jose will now have its own identity.
- Police ID Boulevard Burger armed robbery suspect
- Colma BART station reopened after fatality
- 7 construction workers, firefighter hurt in SF General fire
- Motorcyclist hospitalized after SF Hwy 101 crash
- Authorities: Unattended campfire caused Calif. fire
- Intel chief: NSA foiled dozens of terrorist plots
- Chrysler agrees to recall of Jeeps at risk of fire
- abcnews: $73,000 'Most Spectacular' dog vacation
- roundup: SF hospital fire; SF Giants unveil cafe
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Tuesday