San Jose council again shoots down 'Little Saigon' name

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Little Saigon loses again.
After a six-and-a-half hour meeting, the San Jose City Council early this morning rescinded its controversial decision to call a Vietnamese retail area "Saigon Business District." But council members stopped short of renaming it "Little Saigon," as hundreds of speakers had implored.

The vote, which came at 1:30 a.m., was 7-4 to set up a process for naming business districts in the future and give business owners and other stakeholders the right to ultimately determine the name of this district. Councilmen Dave Cortese, Pete Constant, Kansen Chu and Pierluigi Oliverio opposed the motion, instead favoring to call the one-mile strip along Story Road "Little Saigon."

Thousands among San Jose's large Vietnamese-American population have clamored for that name because it conjures memories of their homeland before the 1975 communist takeover. Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, the only Vietnamese member of the council, is at the center of the firestorm and was blasted by many who claimed her lack of support for Little Saigon made her a communist sympathizer. "The past seven months have been trying, divisive for myself, my family and the community," said Nguyen, who urged her critics to begin the healing. "I regret that what was meant to be an economic development project has turned into a stream of political upheaval."

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