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Signs OKd for Little Saigon

Santa Ana City Council votes 5-2 to mark the Vietnamese business district at its west end.

June 18, 2003|Jennifer Mena | Times Staff Writer

Santa Ana soon will begin welcoming visitors to its piece of Little Saigon, near 1st Street and Harbor Boulevard.

The City Council voted 5-2 late Monday to create the designation for the heavily Vietnamese business district at the city's west end. Signs would be similar to those approved in nearby Garden Grove and Westminster.

Before approving the signs, council members asked that the South Vietnamese flag not be included. The exact design has yet to be determined.

The proposal has generated controversy in Santa Ana, where some residents opposed highlighting an ethnic shopping area. While typical council meetings attract fewer than a dozen speakers, Monday's drew 41 speakers and more than 150 other people. Many of them were Vietnamese who spoke in favor of the plan.

Little Saigon developed in the 1970s as Vietnamese immigrants moved to central Orange County. What started with a few mom-and-pop businesses in Westminster has become a major shopping destination with hundreds of stores and restaurants spilling into neighboring Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Fountain Valley.

Councilwomen Lisa Bist and Alberta Christy voted against the plan, expressing concerns about inconsistencies in signage throughout the city.

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