In 2005, Madison Nguyen made history by becoming the first Vietnamese American to be elected to San Jose’s City Council, but there has been a lot of controversy over naming a section of San Jose “Little Saigon” versus names such as Saigon Business District, to the outrage of the San Jose Vietnamese American community. The naming decision was eventually overturned and allowed to be renamed “Little Saigon,” yet many in the Vietnamese Americans community felt so betrayed by Nguyen; so much so they have organized a recall election of Nguyen, which has come to fruition this March as reported in the Mercury News:
“On March 3, a saga that sprang from a name and a cherished symbol — “Little Saigon” — and that quickly ballooned into a battle for the soul of San Jose’s Vietnamese community, will come to a head. And thousands of residents throughout District 7— nearly three-quarters of whom are not Vietnamese — will decide whether Nguyen should stay or go, just the third time in the city’s history that voters will consider such a question… [The recall backers] also dispute the notion, stressed by Nguyen’s supporters, that this fight is all about a name and a waste of city money … they argue that crime and gang violence have risen under her watch, that she has been a poor steward of the city’s money amid a burgeoning budget deficit, that she has been too cozy with developers and deal makers — and that she has stopped listening to the community. Nguyen, however, says she is more than happy to make the race about her record: new neighborhood parks and a Vietnamese community center, 1,000 jobs at a shopping center at Monterey Highway and Curtner Avenue, and 700 new units of affordable housing.”
I’ve seen Madison a few times at a few Democratic or Asian American political get-togethers, but really don’t know how she has led or governed on the city council for her constituents in San Jose. That said, I am against recall elections; if people are really unhappy with her, I would tell Nguyen’s detractors to run against her when her term is up.