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Letters to the Editor

Essence of Controversy

In all its previous coverage about the "Little Saigon" controversy, Metro seemed to delight in the folly of the staid city council and the hysterics of the angry Vietnamese community. Although I love Metro's irreverent style, I felt that it failed from a journalistic standpoint because I didn't get from any the articles Metro had published a clear picture of why the Vietnamese community felt so strongly about the name "Little Saigon" and why Ms. Nguyen didn't want to take such an easy opportunity to please her constituents.

Erin Sherbert's wonderful article, "Madison Nguyen's Last Stand" (MetroNews, Dec. 3) in the Dec. 3 Metro changed all that. In one simple declarative sentence, Sherbert captured for me the essence of the controversy in a way that none of Metro's previous coverage did: "For many Vietnamese-Americans, Little Saigon is a symbolic denunciation of the Communist government that they fled after the fall of Saigon in 1975." This is journalism at its finest: clear, simple and direct.

I still don't understand why Nguyen pushed so hard for "Vietnam Town" when so many from her base of support wanted "Little Saigon." Reading Sherbert's article, it seems that Nguyen simply miscalculated, and by the time the controversy spiraled out of control, she couldn't back down without looking like a fool. Very sad. Ms. Nguyen seems to have quite a talent for governance but not so much for public relations. In this day and age, a successful politician needs both.

My hope is that Ms. Nguyen triumphs in the recall election yet eventually reconciles with the Vietnamese community, learns an important lesson about staying tuned to her constituency's collective voice and then goes on to have a successful political career.

Michael Skarpelos

San Jose

No End to Hubris

Re "Madison Nguyen's Last Stand": Apparently Ms. Nguyen's hubris knows no bounds.

First she made the political mistake of a neophyte by failing to adequately gauge the breadth and depth of the Little Saigon movement. I guess that could happen to anyone. But she compounds her ignorance when she says "I never thought it would get this far," when speaking of the recall on the ballot.

 And check out the body language in the picture you ran with the story. Her facial expression is the picture of smug defiance. And the folded arms evidence a closed, defensive position. Her body language and facial expression just scream "Up yours!"

JohnMichael O'Connor

Willow Glen

Turkish All Over

Thanks again to Stett Holbrook for persistently diligent, perceptive articles on valley restaurants. I often refer people to them.

Turkish cooking ("Talking Turkey," MetroMenu, Nov. 26) actually is far more common in Silicon Valley restaurants than you might think. Theirs being a lesser-known "cuisine" to the Bay Area public, enterprising Turkish-born cooks and restaurateurs routinely dub their places "Mediterranean" or "Italian" or something else more familiar (like "Gyros"), and include Turkish specialties. I know at least five examples a short walk from Bodrum Café.

Max Hauser

Mountain View

Prop. 8: Fight to The Bitter End

Re "Outlawed Love" (MetroNews, Nov. 19): There are many in the community of faith who do support marriage equality and allowing our LGBT sisters and brothers the right to the pursuit of happiness that all heterosexual couples enjoy. There are those who stand with the community in this civil rights struggle and will fight on their behalf until the bitter end. It is time that their voices are heard as loudly as those in the faith community who oppose gay marriage.

While I do support gay marriage, I also support the right of the communities of faith to choose whether to perform gay marriages, even though that is not ideal. The Yes on 8 people raised a valid concern which should be addressed, mainly that they feared that the state would force congregations around the state to perform gay marriages. Perhaps they fear that this is a slippery slope toward government coercion of religion. This is not the case, and in the California State Supreme Court ruling on May 15, 2008, the justices made it clear that no community of faith would be coerced into changing their beliefs to match the law.

Dan Oh

Santa Clara

Lit Insight

Re "Young Stalin" review (Books, Jan. 9): I just wanted to take the time to thank you for writing a down-to-earth review about my cousin Simon Sebag-Montefiroe's book Young Stalin. You give an excellent synopsis which gives the reader of the article motivation to go and purchase the book.

Keep up your excellent book reviews as they give insight to the new books hitting the shelves.

Daniel Onn