I don't follow Little Saigon politics as much as I used to or I should, but I knew something smelled worse than boiled headcheese on a bánh mì when word emerged Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen awarded $350,000 this week to a Vietnamese cultural group so they can erect some type of historical monument in Midway City. I know enough about Vietnamese culture in Orange County to know that the winning group, Vietnamese Community Culture and Performance Arts Society (or, in Vietnamese, Câu Lạc Bộ Hùng Sử Việt) isn't particularly influential in Little Saigon–they're no VAALA, for sure.
Then Hao-Nhien Vu, editor of Nguoi Viet and writing in English as the Bolsavik, wrote a killer post that confirmed my suspicions. Hùng Sử Việt is best known for writing and performing songs about Vietnamese history, and is based out of an Irvine house. He also called into question the reasoning behind Nguyen throwing public funds at the group, and incredibly discovered that Hùng Sử Việt head Song Thuan “had no idea the proposal had been accepted. He wasn't quite sure what's in the proposal, and politely declined to comment until he's researched it further.”
“It also has zero experience handling money in this amount,” Bolsavik/Vu continued. “CLB Hùng Sử
Việt's fundraisers consist of selling music books and music CD's. There
is no indication the group has ever broken six figures in anything.”
Records obtained by the Weekly show that, in the period from 2004 through 2008 (records were unavailable for 2009), Hùng Sử Việt raised a total of $44,278–only 13 percent of the proposed $350,000 Nguyen wants to give them. Never in that time did the group top $11,000 for one year.
The proposal claims the exhibit will reflect the diversity of the First District. Does that include the shady deals that predominate Little Saigon and SanTana politics? 'Cause that's what this deal seems to honor. Bloggers: keep digging!