A refreshing, new era in Garden Grove unofficially began tonight when the Orange County Registrar of Voters ended its Nov. 2014 vote counting and left young, upstart Bao Nguyen the victor over crusty, entrenched politician Bruce Broadwater in the race for mayor.
The result should mean Garden Grove–a city festering too often in grotesque backdoor dealings, questionable policy making, anti-immigrant sentiment and blatant nepotism thanks to Broadwater–is poised to enter an uplifting phase where residents don't take a back seat to national corporate interests luxuriously feeding financially off of nearby Disneyland.
While Broadwater seemingly couldn't resist any lunch or dinner with a wealthy developer or political hack, the Buddhist Nguyen–a UC Irvine graduate and son of parents who fled communist Vietnam and landed in Orange County's Little Saigon–has been known for years in Southern California's progressive communities for his mellow personality that defies an absolutely stern commitment to minorities, workers and everyday residents.
"I'm excited to begin the work of instituting common sense reforms and changing the culture at City Hall to be more transparent, efficient and inclusive," Nguyen declared in his victory statement. "I am grateful to the residents of our city for the confidence they have placed in me and I look forward to working with my new colleagues on the council to move Garden Grove forward."
Tonight, Nguyen is being gracious to the man he defeated, but we don't have to engage in such polite posturing.
Proving his out of date willingness to bark lies, Broadwater despicably tried to portray Nguyen–one of the most freedom-loving persons you'll ever meet–as a communist sympathizer in hopes of enraging Little Saigon's elderly, Vietnamese community.
The tactic obviously failed.
I've watched Nguyen with admiration since 2000, when he–then a wise-beyond-his-teenage years–bravely spoke about anti-Vietnamese rants you can see HERE.
As he was about to do TV news appearances tonight, Nguyen said he is "so grateful for the diverse support" for his campaign and is excited about the future.
"I feel good," he said.