[Press Release] UVSA Rejects Unaccountable Financial Demands from Garden Grove City Council

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nina Tran, President | Email: nina.tran@uvsa.org
 

UVSA Rejects Unaccountable Financial Demands from Garden Grove City Council

 
Garden Grove, CA (October 24, 2013) – Over the past months, the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California (UVSA) and the Garden Grove City Council (the City) have been negotiating for a new contract to host the UVSA’s Tet Festival at Garden Grove Park. During the negotiation process, UVSA has demonstrated good faith and exhausted all efforts in trying to reach an agreement with the Mayor and City Council but was unsuccessful due to the City’s unreasonable and unaccountable demands.  As a result, UVSA has rejected the city’s final contract proposal.  We would like to share with you the details below:

 

  • UVSA has hosted the Tet Festival at Garden Grove Park for the past 11 years and has always agreed to reimburse the City for all related expenses per our contract with the City.
  • UVSA originally paid approximately $5,000 to the city for hosting the festival 11 years ago. Between 2008 and 2013, UVSA paid the city approximately $40,000 per year for hosting the event. This amount has suddenly skyrocketed to $145,000 per the city’s final proposal to UVSA and it is the minimum amount the City is accepting from UVSA to host our Tet Festival at Garden Grove Park.

 

  • During the negotiations, the City has provided a report claiming that our annual Tet Festival costs the city a total of $105,000.  Even if UVSA accepts this report as true and accurate, it still does not explain the $145,000 demanded by the City Council in order for our non-profit organization to continue hosting this important cultural event in the City of Garden Grove.  We must ask, what does the City plan to do with the additional $40,000 that it is demanding?  To this date we have yet received an answer from the City.

 

  • In the City’s initial proposal, they requested that UVSA pay $50,000 in police fees, $1 for every admission ticket with a minimum of $75,000 to go towards the City’s Vietnam War Museum of America, and an additional $10,000 to go to the City’s non-profit called the Garden Grove Community Foundation. Both Mayor Bruce Broadwater and Mayor Pro Tem Dina Nguyen are members of the Board of Directors for the Vietnam War Museum of America. In total, the City requested $135,000 from the very beginning in order for UVSA to host the Tet Festival.

 

  • Believing that the City’s demands were unjust and questionable, UVSA held a community town hall onAugust 29 to present the facts to the community and has received tremendous support from the community against such unreasonable demands.

 

  • Hoping to find a solution that benefits the greater community, our volunteer staff and members have been working diligently outside of family, school, and work to try to negotiate terms with the City. UVSA’s initial response to the City was to agree to increase our payment from $40,000 every year up to $ 70,000. Upon rejection from the City, UVSA then replied by accepting to pay up to $90,000. Finally, UVSA agreed to pay for full-cost recovery of $105,000 — the total expense paid by the City per the City’s report.  In addition, UVSA also agreed to donate a minimum of $20,000 per year to non-profit organization in Garden Grove.

 

  • From the above points, UVSA has been negotiating in good faith, even when we accepted to increase our annual payment to the city from $40,000 to $105,000. Throughout this entire process, UVSA has continued to negotiate in good faith by demonstrating our support for both the City and organizations in Garden Grove; however, the City has never once budged from their decision to demand that UVSA pay at least $135,000. UVSA asks the City then if the Tet Festival is an opportunity for students, local community, and families visiting from abroad to learn about Vietnamese culture and heritage, or is it just about the money?

UVSA consists of high school students, college students, and young professionals. They are the children of our diaspora Vietnamese refugee community. They are learning and growing up in America to love and protect the interests of just our community, but all communities. For over 30 years, UVSA has served the community by volunteering at countless community-based events and organizing events such as the Tet Festival. Our hard work has and always will be based around volunteerism and the notion that these students volunteer because they want to, not because they have to. UVSA believes that in order for our community to grow, we must develop our youth to lead as servants in our community and to love and embrace our Vietnamese culture and heritage. The City’s demands are unjust and unfair not just to UVSA, but to the whole community, especially when money is demanded by city officials without accountability for its usage.

 

In the best interests of the community, UVSA rejected the City’s unjustified and unaccountable demands in its final offer and is preparing to host the Tet Festival in a different location. UVSA will announce our new location for the 2014 Tet Festival at the earliest time possible. We sincerely thank all the individuals and organizations who have supported us throughout the years and in our latest efforts to fight for what we believe in is right and just. Celebrating Vietnamese culture and traditions are not an objects to be bought and sold with money but are part of our community’s cultural identity that will continue to be expressed regardless if the City of Garden Grove wishes to celebrate them or not.

 

UVSA will host a press conference on Saturday, October 26th, 2013 at 12 p.m. at Viet Bao Daily News (14841 Moran Street Garden Grove, CA 92683).  Media and members of the public are invited to attend.  Details of the 2014 Tet Festival, including our dedicated team of volunteers will be announced and we’ll be answering questions from media and the community.

 

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