14. REQUEST TO INSTALL A MEMORIAL FOR WORLD WAR II SEX SLAVES
The following individuals spoke in support of a memorial recognizing comfort women who served as sex slaves for the Japanese army during World War II:
• Joe Pak, Field Representative for Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva
• David Han, representing ICANN and Young Leaders of Orange County (YLOC)
• Charles Kim
• Young Kim, Field Representative for Congressman Ed Royce
• Joachim S. Youn
• Andrew Kim, representing the Korean American Community Foundation
Ken Anderson spoke in support of a monument or museum that includes all who suffered and gave their lives during World War II.
Tom Sumori spoke in opposition to a memorial.
City Clerk Tilton commented that 35 letters and emails were received in opposition to the WWI comfort women monument.
Mayor Pro Tem Oh commented that he received several copies of the same version of e-mail from Japan in opposition to the memorial. He commented that he is an American with Korean heritage, and the U.S. Congress knows what happened and should not be disrespected. He commented that it takes courage to apologize.
Council Member Smith commented that a proclamation may be more appropriate than a monument. He also commented that he would support a museum that addresses all heritage.
Council Member Brown commented that most of the information on the issue was just received by him today, and he would like additional time to research the information.
Council Member Berry commented that he supports honoring and memorializing Buena Park individuals who have overcome adversity and faced unique circumstances as opposed to a memorial for a cause. He stated that public memorials and public artwork should be noncontroversial, as controversial structures are targets for vandalism and increased maintenance.
He commented that supporters of a comfort woman monument have the right to place a memorial on private property, but dedicating public property does not best serve all Buena Park residents.
Mayor Swift acknowledged that sex slavery and human trafficking is a historical tragedy and it continues to be a contemporary problem. She commented that proponents of the monument cite its purpose as educational; however, she believes there are better opportunities to educate the public such as through prepared lesson plans for teachers to use in the classroom. She commented that she did not desire to move forward with the proposal.
Following discussion, the majority of the City Council expressed support for further education on the issue of World War II Comfort Women, but did not support further discussion on dedicating public property for a memorial. Mayor Pro Tem Oh favored further discussion on the issue.
Council Member Brown commented that he would be conducting further research to determine
if it would be appropriate to request additional discussion after September.