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Editorial: Was Mansoor's resolution sincere?

August 21, 2010

On Tuesday, Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor had us reliving that scene of rooftop pandemonium at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon back on April 30, 1975. On that dark day, the last of the American choppers ferried evacuees away to the safety of ships standing by in the South China Sea, as the victorious communist forces rolled into South Vietnam's capital. The Fall of Saigon marked the final blow in America's role in the Vietnam War.

Mansoor, a state Assembly candidate, was 10 years old when Saigon fell; but more than 35 years later, he felt compelled to introduce a city resolution to honor South Vietnamese veterans who fought for the U.S.-backed Republic of Vietnam.

The laurel is worthy and deserved, even three and a half decades hence, but we can't let this one go by without questioning the resolution's election-year timing.

The mayor had received a request from one of those vets, Nguyen Phuong Hung, to call for a city resolution officially proclaiming June 19 as the Overseas Vietnamese Veterans of the Republic of South Vietnam Day of Remembrance. We question Mansoor's motive in going through with this — he is running for office in a district that includes parts of Orange County's Little Saigon — and persuading the City Council to vote for the resolution unanimously.

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In fairness, the mayor has said he was busy in June and did not schedule the item. No matter. We would have preferred that he waited until after the November election, well in advance of the next day of remembrance, so as to avoid the appearance that he is putting the election ahead of city governance.

Instead, because of the timing, and no matter the intentions, this appears to be a clear-cut case of political pandering to the all-important Vietnamese American voters in the 68th Assembly District. Such politicking has no place at a City Council meeting. And, on the Assembly campaign trail, Mansoor has already used the council to fan anti-illegal immigration sentiment through his recent "Rule of Law" initiative.

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