By Nicole Shine/Garden Grove Journal
The Garden Grove City Council agreed Tuesday to bill Hanoi for official visits to the city and spend $2.25 million on a proposed hotel development on Harbor Boulevard.
Council members voted unanimously to thwart visits by officials from Vietnam’s Communist government by demanding a two-week prior notice. Officials who fail to comply would be billed for any security costs associated with the visit.
In a chamber crowded with residents waving South Vietnamese and U.S. flags in support of the resolution, Mayor Pro Tem Dina Nguyen called Vietnam’s Communist leaders despicable.
“This is a government that promotes the selling of women and children, that takes property without just compensation, that promotes genocide and keeps its people uneducated and impoverished,” Nguyen said, wearing a scarf with the red and yellow colors of South Vietnam.
“Garden Grove does not tolerate Communism,” she said.
A similar resolution was passed in 1994 but expired a few years ago. The new resolution will lapse only when “the U.S. State Department officially declares that Vietnam is a free and democratic nation,” the resolution reads.
A handful of residents, several in military garb, spoke in favor of the resolution, while others chanted “Freedom for Vietnam.” Supporters gave the council scarves of red and yellow, South Vietnam’s colors.
“The war may have ended in 1975, but our fight continues until people in Vietnam enjoy freedom, human rights and democracy,” said one supporter.
Separately, council members voted 5-0 to spend $2.25 million on three properties on Harbor Boulevard and at Twintree Street, paving the way for a proposed development that includes three hotels.
The purchase, which is expected to close by year-end, will be paid by the city’s real property fund, City Manager Matt Fertal said.
If the California Department of Finance approves the project, the city will be reimbursed with redevelopment funds.
The state has rejected the project, a move the city is appealing.