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Chron overview of District F

Moving on from District B, here’s the Chron’s overview of District F. It’s really more of an overview of the incumbent Council Member Al Hoang, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s different from the rest of these stories.

Councilman Al Hoang pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in donations meant for the local Vietnamese community organization he headed prior to his election as District F councilman, a lawsuit by a group of Vietnamese civic activists claims.

Hoang denies the charges and has countersued the plaintiffs for what he considers libel.

The lawsuit is another step in what Hoang sees as a persistent campaign of harassment against him. Detractors have been so aggressive, he said, they once mailed him a photograph of themselves urinating on the graves of his parents.

He is a target not for any legal improprieties, he said, but for his maturing attitude toward Vietnam, one that has evolved from focusing on the regime’s violent overthrow to one of promoting change from within the country through trade and dialogue.

“They want me to use this seat as a base to overthrow the Communist government” of Vietnam, Hoang said.

Outside of court, Hoang is being challenged for re-election by Hoc Thai Nguyen, a businessman who claims Hoang’s sister-in-law threatened to poison his children, calls Hoang “the Gadhafi of Houston,” and says he fears for his life because he believes Hoang is capable of killing him. Nguyen is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

Peter René, an information technology manager with no involvement in the internecine Vietnamese conflict, also is challenging Hoang.

I don’t even know what to say about any of that. Nguyen was a deadline day filer and I did not have the chance to interview him, but I did do interview with CM Hoang and with Peter René, who recently received the Chron’s endorsement in the race. I don’t know how much that or the controversies around CM Hoang will affect his re-election chances. Both of his opponents filed late, so neither is likely to be particularly well known, but on the other hand Hoang doesn’t have that much cash on hand, so perhaps they can catch up a bit. This is one to watch. What do you think?

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