28 Reasons to Recall Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho, and Chi Charlie Nguyen (a.k.a. the Gang of Three) from Westminster City Council
Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho, and Chi Charlie Nguyen (a.k.a. Gang of Three) operate as if they are above the law, overseeing a City Council repeatedly accused of corruption, nepotism and favoritism.
1. (DOUBLED HOMELESSNESS AND BLIGHT) Homelessness has doubled under Tri Ta and Kimberly Ho's detrimental leadership (per the City Manager's report) and so has the blight in our city. While our neighboring cities have already solidified plans to reduce homelessness and related blight from their cities, Westminster's City Council put off action for years. We are now boxed in by other cities that have plans and have taken action, while our city has nothing. The homeless from other cities are now migrating to Westminster. Look at our parks, most of which have homeless encampments with drug addicted persons.
2. (RISK OF BANKRUPTCY AND MISMANAGEMENT) Tri Ta and Kimberly Ho have put our city into risk of bankruptcy! It got so bad that they had to initiate and push for an increase to the City Sales Tax to cover the gap. The first year the tax raised $12 million. The Mayor touted the $2 million surplus, which meant he needed $10 million to close the gap. In the second year he touted a $200,000+ surplus, which meant he had to use all $12 million plus last year's $2 million surplus to close the gap. Next year it is predicted that the trend will continue and regardless of the tax our city will be in the red, deficit spending again (as before the tax increase). The tax increase has a sunset clause that ends in a few years. Instead of cutting costs and becoming self-sufficient before that time, the Gang of Three continues to overspend. When the additional tax ends in a few years, the gap will be even larger than before! They are driving our city to financial ruin.
3. (UNDISCLOSED NEPOTISM) Council members Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen have engaged in nepotism by appointing each other’s children to City commissions without disclosing this to the public or even the other City Council Members before the vote to approve. Chi Charlie Nguyen has repeatedly justified his daughter’s appointment to a Commission stating multiple times that Commissioners are just volunteers. He has been corrected many times by the city staff and others that Commissioners are paid part-time employees and receive modest benefits as well. Meanwhile, Kimberly Ho's son is only a few years out of college yet he is now leading our most important Planning Commission, making decisions to advise Council on development projects worth tens of millions of dollars in the city budget!
4. (APPROVED AN EXCLUSIVE NEGOTIATION AGREEMENT FOR THE CIVIC CENTER PROJECT WITH A FAVORED MAJOR CAMPAIGN DONOR) Having received thousands of dollars of campaign donations from a Real Estate Developer, the Gang of Three approved an exclusive negotiation agreement (ENA) with this favored campaign donor. The donations were direct campaign contributions as well as in-kind PAC contributions. The developer has submitted plans to demolish the City Hall, Community Services Center, Senior Center, Council Chambers and the award winning rose garden in favor of mixed use zoning with high density housing. According to those submitted plans, those city services and administration would be in just one building with less combined square footage then we have now. The "Civic Center" would be lost including the beautiful historic buildings... to a favored major campaign donor. This is the same donor who voted to appoint Mayor Tri Ta to the Orange County Water District Board (favors abound). The Gang of Three accepted “pay to play” contributions.
5. (OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS OF COMMUNISM) Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho, and Chi Charlie Nguyen (a.k.a. Gang of Three) passed a city resolution that anyone speaking against their unethical actions must be considered a communist.
6. (RESTRICTED DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATION) The
Gang of Three restricted democratic representation by initiating and approving a policy change that A City Council majority vote is required to add an item to the agenda, thereby restricting the other two members authority to add items without a majority vote. Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen now have complete power over what subject matter may be discussed. Furthermore, the Gang of Three gave the Mayor totalitarian power in that he is allowed to add any item to the agenda unilaterally (without the agreement of any other council members).
7. (REDUCED OUR POLICE FORCE) When Tri Ta started as Mayor our police force had over 100 sworn officers, but under his detrimental financial leadership the number has dropped to the low 80s.
8. (FAVORING A SEX OFFENDER TO PUNISH POLITICAL ENEMIES) To punish the organizer who successfully led the Tet Parade for the last seven years, due to his political criticism of the Gang of Three, they voted to deny his permit. Instead, they approved an application from a new organization with no major event management experience. A co-organizer of the new group is a registered sex offender listed in Megan's Law database, convicted of possessing or controlling obscene matter depicting minor(s) in sexual conduct (a.k.a. child sex porn). The Gang of Three were made aware of this, yet they still voted to give the permit to the new organization. Our school district children participate in that Tet Parade.
9. (MISLEADING OUR FIRE AUTHORITY) Tri Ta falsely informed the OC Fire Authority that the Recall Proponents are "tax loving liberal Democrats" and used it in a robocall. FACT: only 1/3 of the Recall Proponents are Democrats. The first draft of the recall petition was started by a group of Republicans.
10. (RETALIATION LITIGATION) Mismanagement by Tri Ta and Kimberly Ho has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in discrimination, retaliation and other lawsuit claim settlements and litigation expenses.
11. (REFUSED CODE OF CONDUCT) Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen have refused to adopt a comprehensive Code of Conduct for City Officials that would denounce ethical violations such as nepotism and abuse of public resources.
12. (MISMANAGEMENT) Instead of spending city funds to fight homelessness, make housing more affordable or increase public safety, Tri Ta and Kimberly Ho voted to spend over half a million dollars over the next three years on pay raises for his upper management employees, increasing one employee’s compensation to $304,015 a year in salary plus benefits.
13. (AGE DISCRIMINATION) Chi Charlie Nguyen put the City at risk for an Age Discrimination lawsuit due to his failure to contact qualified applicants for the Planning Commissioner who indicated they were retired or semi-retired. Chi Charlie Nguyen stated on video that he wanted someone “young and energetic” for that appointment.
14. (FAVORITISM) Tri Ta and Kimberly Ho railroaded the approval for a Westminster Welcoming Center to one organization without offering the opportunity for additional bidders. This was done in only one meeting and without proper planning documentation. They approved to lease city land to them for only $1 per year for a minimum of ten years.
15. (SELFISH AMBITION) Tri Ta willfully abused the power of Mayor for personal gain by presenting a City Resolution of Commendation to a Vietnamese actress for a movie made in communist Vietnam to support his personal endeavor as a self-proclaimed screenwriter and producer of Vietnamese movies without notifying other City Council Members while using their names. He did they utilizing the city's Mayoral office (a.k.a. city resources) and for personal gain and tried to hide it without notification to other City Council Members named on the certificate.
16. (COVER UP?) Tri Ta’s incompetence has wasted taxpayer money on litigation and complaint, and caused a loss of public confidence due to a series of accusations against the city and/or city council that have gone uncorrected. He approved hiding behind non-disclosure agreements that encourage copy-cat lawsuits.
17. (FALSE RESIDENCY) While maintaining a large home in Yorba Linda, Kimberly Ho listed her home address as a UPS P.O. Box in Westminster when she completed her application for Westminster’s Planning Commission. To this date, Kimberly and multiple immediate family members have cars registered to the same Yorba Linda address, which is also listed as her residence in various legal filings as well, yet she still claims that she lives in a small Westminster residence. When the Notice of Intent to recall was sent to her Yorba Linda home, her husband received and signed for it.
18. (HYPOCRISY) Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho, and Chi Charlie Nguyen refused to implement a 12-page Code of Ethics and Conduct once they realized that they had already violated several clauses in that document, instead only voting to approve a watered-down 1-page Code of Ethics, which virtually omitted any Code of Conduct.
19. (WASTED TAX-PAYER MONEY) Mayor Tri Ta and Kimberly Ho proposed and voted to waste over $68,000 of tax-payer money to promote a four-year term for Mayor on a special election when had they waited a few more months for the general election the cost would have been less than $10,000. They continue unethical actions and voting for selfish ambition rather than the best interest of the city.
20. (BURIED COUNCIL DISCUSSION) When Council Member Tai Do requested a discussion for Term Limits, Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen spoke against Term Limits. To bury the discussion, Kimberly Ho made a substitute motion that a two-person committee be formed to discuss the issue without the Tai Do but including her. She kept is buried for approximately half a year until the minority of council members insisted that it be considered. Sergio Contreras and Tai Do voted for a lifetime limit of two four-year terms, but the Gang of Three insisted on a lifetime of three four-year terms. Their majority decision will go before the voters in November 2020.
21. (MORE BURIED COUNCIL DISCUSSION) When Council Member Tai Do requested a discussion to develop a strong Code of Ethics and Conduct for the City Council, once again Kimberly Ho made a substitute motion to deny his participation by forming a committee without him to develop the draft code document. Ultimately, the comprehensive draft created by the committee was rejected by Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen.
22. (THREATS) Kimberly Ho threatened to bring a defamation lawsuit against Council Member Tai Do. She began crying on the dais when he questioned some of the actins taken by council members in the past. She then went on to say that he was new to the council and that he should maintain the “status quo”.
23. (UNETHICAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST) Tri Ta appointed a local journalist to a commission, even though he knew it was a conflict of interest. A national association of journalists’ code of ethics policy states that journalists shall not be appointed to government positions. The California Superintendent of Education disqualified the same individual from a commission for this very reason. Even then, the Mayor refused to correct the issue.
24. (UNETHICAL CONDUCT) When Council Member Tai Do asked the city to follow policy and procedure, Kimberly Ho criticized him for not having a law degree (although he is a police officer) insinuating that he should not request proper protocol.
25. (COLLUSION?) In the press Kimberly Ho insinuated that she, Mayor Tri Ta and Council Member Charlie Nguyen always vote as a block. To date she is correct. They never vote differently from each other and have created a 3-2 majority vote (at a minimum) on all items they either oppose or support.
26. (INTIMIDATION) Tri Ta blatantly tries to intimidate critics, especially those who cannot speak English well. For example, during a council meeting he intimidated Vietnamese speaking residents by asking them to state their full address when speaking at the podium during oral comments. This is not a legal requirement and would risk others knowing where they live and that they are not at home since the meetings are streamed live.
27. (SELFISH CONTROL) For personal reasons unrelated to city business, Tri Ta moved a regular council meeting to start at 5 pm instead of the regular 7 pm and limited oral communications to just two minutes instead of the regular five minutes. He did this to accommodate his own personal life schedule that day. This was a meeting when he expected a lot of public disagreement and comments about one of his agenda items. He limited participation due to so many not being able to attend a meeting that so early in the day and by cutting their speaking time. In other words, “Silence the Opposition”.
28. (VIOLATION OF BROWN ACT) A picture dated June 4, 2019 from a news article shows Mayor Tri Ta, Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen meeting together to discuss city business which is a direct violation of the Brown Act (illegal). Social appearances by a council majority together are ok but discussing city business is not. Members of the public and media were also present. This particular event took place at Kimberly Ho’s place of business with her skin care products prominently on display.
CONCLUSION: As a result of their unethical actions, corruption, nepotism, favoritism, lack of critical thinking, and incompetence, the city’s troubles have grown in visual blight, vacant businesses, reduced police force, multiple employee and police lawsuits, vagrant encampments in our parks, and a very significant financial situation. This Gang of Three have acted as tyrants with selfish ambition, critically damaging our city. The non-partisan diverse residents of Westminster have united to heal our city and seek to offer the city a remedy through the election process.
NOTE: All but three (#9, #25 and #28) of the reasons listed above can be verified simply by reviewing the minutes and videos of past city council meetings, which can be found at the city website www.westminster-ca.gov or obtained from the City Clerk via public records request. Reasons #9, #25 and #28 were obtained from various news media sources.