By Nicole Shine/Garden Grove Journal
The Garden Grove City Council slotted a familiar face into its vacant council seat Tuesday, picking Kris Beard ahead of the man who bested him by 1,100 votes in November.
Beard, originally appointed to the council in 2011 to replace Andrew Do, this time was tapped to fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Bruce Broadwater from city council to mayor.
In a 4-0 vote, the council passed over Phat Bui and seven other applicants, despite calls from some residents to “respect our vote.”
Although newly elected Councilman Chris Phan nominated Bui, the nomination died without support.
“The voters spoke,” Phan said of his motion. “I do want to make sure we follow the wishes of the voters.”
Minutes later, council member Dina Nguyen’s motion to appoint Beard passed unanimously.
Explaining her choice, Nguyen cited her opposition to casinos and communism.
“The person we pick should not have visits from Communist Vietnam,” Nguyen said.
While she didn’t name names, Bui popped out of his seat, asked to rebut her comments and was refused.
In the packed chamber, many clapped when speakers called on the council to follow Measure B, an advisory measure that would have the council choose the next highest vote-getter for vacant seats.
“For those of us who come from a suppressed government like me, we have a special respect for democracy,” one Bui supporter said. “Now I ask the council to respect our vote.”
Another, lawyer Neil Nguyen, also urged council members to follow Measure B.
“Our great constitution starts with three special words: ‘We the people,’” Nguyen said. “We ask the city to respect and listen to the vote of the people.”
“I’ve heard a lot of talk tonight about Measure B, Measure B,” Mayor Bruce Broadwater said, noting the comments and clapping.
“In the Soviet Union, when Stalin stood up, they’d start clapping. Let’s hold the clapping and get through this, because one way or another it’s going to happen.”
The discussion and debate about filling the city council vacancy followed a “farewell” statement by outgoing Mayor Bill Dalton, as well as swearing-in ceremonies for Broadwater, Steve Jones and Phan.