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California Briefing / San Jose

Councilwoman survives recall

March 05, 2009|My-Thuan Tran

San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen has survived an attempt to remove her from office. Nguyen, who faced a fierce recall campaign, won 55% of the vote with all precincts reporting.

Nguyen, the city's first Vietnamese American councilwoman, found herself in a fight for her political career when she refused to name the city's first Vietnamese shopping district Little Saigon, the name adopted by Vietnamese communities nationwide as a symbol of anti-Communism.

Her choice, Saigon Business District, outraged many Vietnamese Americans who felt she had betrayed them. Her decision incited thousands to protest in front of City Hall and a 29-day hunger strike by one activist. Eventually, the City Council decided to let residents choose the name.

Nguyen had hoped to move on, but instead, her opponents launched a recall campaign. Recall backers believed that the majority of the city's Vietnamese Americans were against Nguyen. Nguyen, however, said she still held her community's support and hoped to prove it on election day. Vietnamese Americans make up about 30% of Nguyen's district.

-- My-Thuan Tran

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