The Voice of OC published an article yesterday questioning whether 25-year old Garden Grove City Council candidate Kim Nguyen really drafted the district map that was accepted by the Garden Grove City Council. It has been suggested that Nguyen’s campaign manager, Claudio Gallegos, a legal assistant, actually developed the map in question.
Nguyen’s map was not well received by the members of the Garden Grove Neighborhood Association and other residents. They alleged that it divides a core neighborhood that has been the focal point for community organizing for more than a decade, according to the Voice of OC.
Some have also alleged that Nguyen’s map was the latest attempt by Vietnamese-American political interests to maintain their grip on the city, at the expense of other long-standing neighborhoods. In fact Nguyen’s coalition opposed a compromise map that was created to accommodate concerns from residents who felt that using Brookhurst Street as a dividing line is splitting up neighborhoods in a manner that is counterintuitive to how residents live and interact with one another, according to the Voice of OC.
Nguyen’s map divides central Garden Grove into one district north of Chapman Avenue and two districts south of the street, divided north to south by Brookhurst Street.
Nguyen previously served as an intern and volunteer for former State Sen. Lou Correa. She is also a first generation college student and has worked as a barista, tutor and resident assistant to put herself through school at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Nguyen is opposed on the November ballot by Rickk Montoya, a dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department and the man who filed a California Voting Rights Act lawsuit that forced the transition to district elections.
Montoya, a veteran of the U.S. Army, has lived in Garden Grove since he was 10, and he attended local public schools. He currently serves as a 911 Dispatcher with the Los Angeles Police Department, where he has worked for nearly thirteen years and handled thousands of emergency calls. He is also the Chair of the Garden Grove Parks, Recreation & Arts Commission.
Montoya’s platform focuses on public safety and effective government. He has been endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County.
We feel that Montoya has more experience than Nguyen and he has been an active community leader for a long time, unlike Nguyen. We also like that he has a background in public safety given that gang violence has become a greater problem in Garden Grove over the past few years. As such he has our endorsement.
Nguyen may indeed have a future in local politics but she should first craft a professional career and earn the community support that Montoya currently enjoys. Local government offices are not meant to be career options. Serving on a City Council is a part time endeavor better suited to candidates like Montoya who have proven that they can earn an income outside of politics, in our opinion.