Garden Grove and Westminster

Garden Grove and Westminster are home to some of the nation’s largest Vietnamese American communities, as well as notable Korean American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) populations.  Established after the fall of Saigon in 1975, Little Saigon has grown to encompass large portions of both cities, as well as Santa Ana west of Harbor Blvd and Fountain Valley north of the 405 Freeway.  In Garden Grove, the Vietnamese American community is primarily located west of West Street between Orangewood Ave and Garden Grove Blvd and west of Newhope Street between W Garden Grove Blvd and Westminster Blvd (see Figure E below).  Communities in these parts of Orange County are disproportionately low-income and share both common refugee experiences and the need for social services and affordable housing.

Guidance:  West Garden Grove (west of West Street between Orangewood Ave and Garden Grove Blvd and west of Newhope Street between W Garden Grove Blvd and Westminster Blvd) and Westminster should be drawn together, including west Santa Ana (west of Harbor Blvd) and north Fountain Valley (north of the 405 Freeway) if possible.

Detailed Testimony:
Figure E: Vietnamese American Population by Census Tract, Garden Grove and Westminster California.

Source: United States Census Bureau, 2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02018.

Testimony: Taavi Kaskla

I am Taavi Kaskla, a resident of Garden Grove. I am writing to you today as a lifetime resident of Orange County as well as a union representative for United Domestic Workers (UDW), the union that represents In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) providers. UDW is a member of the People’s Redistricting Alliance in order to promote a greater community voice during this redistricting process.

Describe your community by stating your shared interests and your shared characteristics. What connects your community together? This can include your community’s social and economic demographics, narratives about your community’s history and culture, or anything else.

My community is:

In-Home Supportive Service (or IHSS) providers are essential to our county because they allow people with disabilities to live in their own homes and communities with dignity. There are around 27,000 IHSS providers in Orange County. That number is only going up as our population ages and will need extra assistance and support. UDW asks that during this redistricting process we keep the large community of IHSS providers and the people who they care for in mind.

What are the streets or boundaries that mark your community’s borders? What are the significant landmarks: rivers, parks, shopping areas, historic sites, etc.? What are the gathering places and service providers: business districts, schools, community centers, religious places, and social service agencies? Do the current political district boundaries divide your community? Or do they keep your community together?

My community is located:

It is admittedly difficult to pinpoint a specific community or neighborhood where IHSS providers live because they live in all parts of the county. IHSS providers care for a wide range of people, from children with developmental complications, friends who have been disabled, to the elderly with failing health. Most IHSS providers take care of their family members and live together with them. Because there are thousands of such family homecare providers scattered across the county, it is very likely that you have one living in your neighborhood. IHSS providers who do not live with their clients commute all over the county to work.

I want to recognize and emphasize that IHSS providers can come from all ethnic backgrounds, income levels, and community groups. IHSS providers tend to be from middle and low income families, but this is not a hard-set rule. On top of that, a significant number of IHSS providers belong to the Latinx communities in Santa Ana and Anaheim, the Vietnamese communities in Garden Grove and Westminster, and Korean communities in Buena Park and Cypress. For this reason, I want you to consider the middle and low income families who live in these respective communities during redistricting.

Provide a description of how your community is similar to the communities and neighborhoods around

My community is similar to the following neighborhoods:

Provide a description of how your community is different from communities and neighborhoods around.

My community is different from the following neighborhoods:

Highlight community issues and histories (in personal stories, if possible) that help demonstrate the importance of having elected officials who understand and respond to community needs. Share stories and data about community concerns to show how you feel your voices have been heard, or haven’t been heard.

What makes my community special is:

It is imperative that new district maps reflect fair and equitable demographics. We highly encourage you to create districts that uplift these communities instead of disenfranchising them. We would like to see the Latinx communities in the cities of Santa Ana and Anaheim used to create Voting Rights Act districts as much as possible. The Vietnamese communities in Garden Grove and Westminster should be kept together in your maps. We also ask to keep the Korean community in Buena Park and Cypress together.

Respecting these Voting Rights Act requirements and communities of interest will make it more likely for elected officials to better represent our members.

Emphasize why it’s important for your community to be kept together in the new district maps.

In conclusion:

Having elected officials who listen to our IHSS community is crucial because the IHSS program is funded partly by the county and partly by the state. When elected officials do not support the IHSS system and threaten cuts to the program, IHSS providers and the loved ones they care for suffer. UDW is participating in and watching this redistricting process to make sure that new districts are in the best interest of our union members and Orange County IHSS providers.

Testimony: Charlene Kazner

ORAL TESTIMONY (OCBOS DISTRICT 1, FOUNTAIN VALLEY, AUGUST 4, 2021)

Aloha. My name is Charlene Kazner. I am a Native Hawaiian and have been a resident of West Garden Grove for 43 years. I am testifying on behalf of Pacific Islander Health Partnership (PIHP) which is based in West Garden Grove. PIHP serves the Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) in Orange County advocating for good health and well-being. As part of that work, we are involved in statewide and local redistricting as a member of the People’s Redistricting Alliance.

My community is:
My communities of interest are Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, including Chamorro, Marshallese, Native Hawaiian, Samoan and Tongan communities. There are approximately 20,000 NHPIs living in

Orange County. Approximately 1,200 NHPI’s are located throughout West Garden Grove with over one dozen NHPI churches serving our community. NHPI businesses in West Garden Grove include community-based organizations, healthcare partnerships, dance studios, youth program groups and civic clubs.

My community is located:
In West Garden Grove. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are scattered throughout West Garden Grove and other cities throughout Orange County. There are pockets of NHPIs bordering Brookhurst on the west, Chapman on the north and Trask on the south. NHPI churches and establishments are located within this area. Many NHPIs enjoy the variety of foods from different cultures and this area of West Garden Grove and surrounding cities have many to offer.

My community is similar to the following neighborhoods:
West Garden Grove is similar to the cities of Westminster and Fountain Valley. Our cultures and socio- economics are similar. We share immigration issues and language barriers. More than 60% of households speak a language other than English. Many live in multi-generational households, 2, 3 or more generations per household. Many earn minimum wage and hold two or more jobs to make ends meet. Because of family demands many are forced to work right out of high school instead of going to college.

My community is different from the following neighborhoods:
The cities of Orange and Newport Beach differ from West Garden Grove. English is spoken in the majority of households and the median household income and high school attainment are higher, and foreign born is lower.

What makes my community special is:
We are a unique people from the different islands of the Pacific. We are often overlooked because our population is small. Our needs are masked when combined with the larger Asian American population, therefore, data disaggregation must be a priority to identify our specific needs so we can champion for meaningful and accurate data. NHPI’s experienced some of the highest COVID-19 cases and death rates of all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. so we advocate for programs that fund our community to combat the pandemic.

In conclusion:
Our community shops in West Garden Grove and the surrounding areas. We have built a strong partnership with Asian Americans and other communities in West Garden Grove, Westminster and Fountain Valley. We continue to work with them on many projects working in solidarity for the benefit of all. NHPIs are often overlooked because our population is small so it is important to keep us together so we have a strong, unified voice.

Mahalo nui loa, Thank you. Charlene Kazner

Pacific Islander Health Partnership

Testimony: Caroline Nguyen

Good afternoon, my name is Caroline Nguyen. I’m a Garden Grove resident and I’m here on behalf of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. Our organization works to improve the health, safety, and rights of the nail and beauty care workforce to achieve a more sustainable and just industry. We’re also a member of the People’s Redistricting Alliance, which is a coalition of 15 community-based organizations established to promote a greater community voice in statewide and local redistricting processes in Orange County.

Our community of interest is nail salon workers, who have a deep historical connection and origin in Southern California. In the 1970’s, a group of 20 Vietnamese women were trained on how to do manicures at a refugee camp. Afterwards, they became licensed and found jobs at salons across Southern California. As war continued to drive an influx of Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees into the United States, many sought financial security by taking on low-wage jobs, such as those in nail salons.

Today, a little under 70% of nail technicians in California are Vietnamese. As many of us know, Little Saigon in Orange County is home to the largest Vietnamese population in the U.S. This means that while nail salons themselves may be geographically dispersed across Orange County, a significant proportion of its workforce live in the cities that make up Little Saigon, most notably Westminster and West Garden Grove.

Nail salon workers experience chronic exposure to a host of chemicals and toxins that are known to be cancer-causing agents. For 6 days a week, 10 hours a day, they handle glues, polishes, acetone, and other products that cause symptoms like skin rashes and asthma, as well as more long-term health complications like miscarriages and infertility.

Beyond the environmental impacts, manicurists also experience wage theft and labor violations. Nail salon workers earn an average of 25k a year. They have often been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees and are therefore denied critical protections such as sick time, workers’ comp, and breaks. A recent example of how this can be a barrier is during California’s first lockdown in March 2020, manicurists who were misclassified as 1099 workers instead of W2 employees were not eligible for unemployment insurance. It wasn’t until a second relief package was introduced a few months later that they gained access to these benefits.

Because of these shared challenges, Westminster and the regions in Garden Grove in which many Vietnamese nail salon workers live should be kept together. We also support a federal Voting Rights Act district that keeps Santa Ana whole due to shared racial demographics, socioeconomic conditions, and environmental strugles such as pollution and soil lead levels.

The nail salon industry has tripled over the last 2 decades and now generates over 7 billion dollars in revenue annually. As the demand for nail services continues to rise, it is vital that we sustain the political presence and cohesion of a workforce that has been facing a long-overlooked epidemic of health, socioeconomic, and labor concerns.

Testimony: Vincent Tran

ORAL TESTIMONY (AUGUST 4 OCBOS COI PUBLIC INPUT HEARING) WRITTEN TESTIMONY

Dear members of the Board and redistricting staff,

My name is Vincent Tran. I am the Community Engagement Coordinator for VietRISE, a non-profit organization based in Garden Grove, advancing social justice and building power for working class Vietnamese and immigrant communities. We build leadership and create systemic change through organizing, narrative change, cultural empowerment, and civic engagement. As part of the People’s Redistricting Alliance, VietRISE continues to actively mobilize and organize our Vietnamese community members to participate in statewide and local redistricting efforts.

Our communities of interest include the Vietnamese and broader Southeast Asian communities. Orange County is home to the largest Vietnamese population in the world outside of Viet Nam. Our communities have shared experiences associated with being both low-income and immigrants and refugees and face related challenges like access to affordable housing, with many living in non-traditional housing and mobile homes. According to the US Census, over 60% of the Vietnamese community countywide and over 70% of the Vietnamese in the city of Westminster are foreign born; thus, they face many challenges including language accessibility, access to mental health care, and immigration services.

Our communities of interest are primarily located in the cities of Garden Grove, Westminster, and Fountain Valley. They are similar to both the Korean community in West Garden Grove.

In conclusion, our community of interest is the Vietnamese community, whose boundaries cross city lines, especially between the cities of Garden Grove, Westminster, and Fountain Valley. It is aligned with other low-income, immigrant, and refugee communities, as well as those who face challenges associated with access to affordable housing. We ask that you keep these areas together as you draw new supervisor supervisorial districts in Orange County. We also believe a federal Voting Rights Act district centered in Santa Ana will be required for the Latinx community and that creating that district might require separating Santa Ana from Westminster and splitting Garden Grove. Doing so will create opportunities for both communities to have a greater voice in county government. Thank you.

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