Monday, July 23, 2007

Should the Board of Supes Approve a Field Office for Little Saigon?

(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

Peggy Lowe has a good story in today's Register on Janet Nguyen's request for a county service office in Westminster, right in the heart of Little Saigon. Now Janet is claiming that the county needs it in order to better serve the needs of the community in Westminster. She says this new office is there just for good old-fashioned community service.

"The needs have always been there but we haven't always been able to meet those needs and concerns, whether it's the Vietnamese population or the Latino community," she said.

But not everyone thinks this office is REALLY serving the community...

Nguyen is proposing a one-year pilot program that will place county staffers in an office in Westminster on a part-time basis at a cost of about $100,000. But when her request came up last week at the board's meeting, it met with resistance from at least two board members who say they don't quite understand just what Nguyen is trying to do and what it means for overall county policy. [...]

What some politicos are wondering privately is if Nguyen wants the office to reach out to a new political powerbase, the Vietnamese community, which became the deciding votes in the taut First District race Nguyen ultimately won by just three votes. Already, Nguyen's Little Saigon rival, Trung Nguyen (no relation), has announced he will challenge her again when she's up for re-election next year.

Chris Norby did raise a valid point that his constituents often must travel farther distances from places like Fullerton and La Habra to get to Santa Ana for county services, and that many of Pat Bates' constituents must travel EVEN FARTHER from Dana Point or San Clemente to reach Santa Ana for county services. If distance is such a problem from Westminster, why shouldn't the county also have service offices in Fullerton or Dana Point? Don't North County and South County also deserve to have their needs met? Or is it just that Chris Norby and Pat Bates don't have to worry about a tough reelection fight next year while Janet Nguyen looks anxiously at all the budding challengers seeking to take her on?

So is Janet really asking for this office in Little Saigon for the good of residents in West County? Is Janet really asking for this office in order to make her reelection just a little easier next year? What do YOU think about Janet Nguyen's request for a county service office in Westminster? And do you think the other Supervisors should approve Janet's request for the new Westminster service office? Is this a good way to help people in need, or is this just a political ploy to fend off possible challengers?

Go ahead. Make my day. Fire away! ;-)

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