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Loan for Tet Parade Ignites Council Debate

A divided City Council has approved a form of loan, worth up to $10,000, to organizers of today’s Tet Parade, sparking a debate over use of public funds.

Under the agreement, the city will provide the staff time, police, public works, emergency and other services for the nine-hour parade. The Little Saigon Cultural Arts Assn. will repay the costs, expected to be about $10,000, within six months.

The agreement was approved this week by a 2-1-1 vote, despite the protests of Councilwoman Margaret Shillington, who voted against it, and Councilman Tony Lam, who abstained. Council members Joy L. Neugebauer and Margie L. Rice supported the loan, and Mayor Frank G. Fry was absent.

“We cannot be giving public funds to a nonprofit because it sets a dangerous precedent,” Shillington said. “It’s not our responsibility. If we do it for one group, we will have to start doing it for everyone else.”

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The Tet Parade is scheduled to begin today at 10 a.m., at Bolsa Avenue between Magnolia and Bushard streets in Westminster.


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