By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
Little Saigon is flexing its cultural and democratic muscles this week.
With the Lunar New Year approaching and the annual Tet Parade set for Saturday, the Westminster City Council passed a resolution designating Moran Street, north of Bolsa Avenue as a “media village” Wednesday night.
According to the staff report prepared by City Manager Donald Lamm, “Moran Street has a high concentration of newspaper publishers and radio and television broadcast stations serving the worldwide Vietnamese community.”
“Giving the area a name is a way to acknowledge the Vietnamese-language media and all of its contributions,” Westminster Police Chief Mitch Waller said.
The Tet Parade, celebrating the year of the Tiger, is Saturday at 9 a.m.. The parade falls on the very last day of the Lunar New Year.
According to council member Andy Quach, Bolsa Avenue will close to traffic at 6 am and access to the street should be restored by 11:30 am.
“So far over 1400 participants have registered for the parade,” Quach said. “It will be short but very eventful.”
In other business, the Council voted to consider either eliminating or reducing the city’s $30 residential alarm permit fee. The fee is charged to owners of residential properties who want to set up alarm systems on their properties and must be paid annually. According to staff reports the fee was established in October 2009.
The council will actually vote on changing the fee at its next meeting. Keeping the $30 fee but extending the renewal period to every three years is the leading proposal. Garden Grove currently charges $30 for a three-year permit.
Mayor Margie Rice said she has received several complaints from Westminster residents who consider the fee an unfair tax.
“I represent the people and if they feel that strongly about it we should reconsider it,” Rice said.
Westminster resident Lee Leiberg said that many residents felt that the fee was an unfair way of increasing city revenue and making up for false alarms.
“Why is there no differentiation between residents and businesses?” Leiberg asked. “Businesses are more likely to have false alarms.”
Lieberg said that residents should either be exempt or pay just a one-time fee and that a fine system should be in place for false alarms.
“We need more detailed information on the source and frequency of false alarms,” he added.
According to Waller, the major purpose of the fee is so that the police know who has alarm systems in their home
During the meeting the council also approved Circo USA’s special event permit application for a circus beginning April 1 through April 5. According to staff reports, the circus will take place at the Westminster Mall parking lot between Macy’s and JC Penney’s. The estimated attendance is 1,800 people per day.
Circus features will include exotic and non-exotic animal circus acts inside a big top tent with pony rides outside the tent.
The council denied a request from the Stanton Raiders, a local Pop Warner football team to hold a carnival fundraiser from March 18 through March 21 at Sigler Park. Carnival set up would begin on March 15 with final clean up ending on March 23.
“It’s too many days to tie up one of our parks,” Rice said.
According to staff reports, the Stanton Raiders had only seven players from Westminster out of 144 total players. This falls well short of the city’s requirement that youth sports teams have 51-percent Westminster residency to use Westminster fields.
Greg Johnson, Westminster’s community services director wrote that the city “would be setting a difficult precedent by allowing a group from outside our city to have a major fundraising event at a city park for free.”
The next Westminster council meeting is Feb. 24 at 7 pm.