Nguyen is the first Vietnamese American to serve on the city council in San Jose, which has a large Vietnamese population. It's a huge deal to be the "first" and it opens the doors to political power, which is generally a good thing if you're trying to increase representation of Asian Americans.
What's interesting is that it's Vietnamese Americans who started the Nguyen recall effort, potentially setting back the gains made with her election. On the other hand, this whole ordeal could be a sign that Vietnamese American political power in San Jose is strong. The council did change its vote and a grassroots effort showed it could have an influence. It's also likely that Nguyen would run again if recalled and have a good shot at being re-elected.
Ethnic divisions, hardball politics, the legacy of the Vietnam War: this story has it all. It's no wonder the arguments are heated on both sides.