Why should Milpitians elect you?
Timothy Alcorn: I think right now in Milpitas there’s a lot of change. There’s a new wave coming and we’re kind of in a chaotic spot. We need people who will be in Milpitas for the next 20 – 30 years in office. And I’m not saying that you know the incumbents won’t but we have a lot to lose with our future and I think it’s time for some new elected officials in there. The past administration got us to kind of a chaotic spot where there’s a lot of issues; and I think we need a new set of eyes. I don’t think they (current elected officials) see and understand all the problems that Milpitas is faced with right now, especially the main probems. It shouldn’t take 45 minutes to get across town during rush hour. We shouldn’t be smelling the landfill every time it’s a really hot day. Our high school, Milpitas High, was built for 1500 – 1800 people, and shouldn’t have 3500 people in it. So I just don’t think they see or understand the issues as clearly as a lot of Milpitians do, and frankly I believe it’s time for Milpitas to be handed back to the residents.
Garry Barbadillo: Well, initially I didn’t intend to be in office. I was an immigrant and I had my family here and my kids were growing. So like everyone else, I make sure that I take care of my family, make sure that the environment, the family is safe, and give back to the community. Then I realized in 2012…that why not spread it, why not go outside the basic form of society and duplicate what I have done with my family? And that was the start of my interest in running for public office. So, why? It’s because I want to make sure that it’s not just my family that enjoys the decisions I make, the contribution to the community that I do…and it’s just a spillover. It’s a macrofamily perspective. So meaning, what I will do for my family is the same thing I will do for my community.
Karina Dominguez: One of the reasons I’m running for office is I believe Milpitians are ready for someone who’s going to lead with passion, integrity, and is going to put the community needs before a political agenda. I strongly feel that in the past two to three years we’ve experienced a lot of what I would call turbulence in our city. I believe at the end of the day we all value the city and have a desire to do what’s best for our city. Personally that’s the way I lead. And what I’ve seen unfortunately are actions that don’t display that. It’s not putting our members, our community, first, and this has definitely brought a lot of attention to City Hall. I have heard people say things like they don’t feel like they’re being heard, or welcomed at City Hall. We’ve had things like harrassment, and some of the best employees leave because of that situation. For me, I believe that I am the candidate that has the experience to start working on day one. I’ve had the honor to work with Assemblymember Kansen Chu, and Senator Bob Wieckowski as a senior legislative aide. I’ve also had council experience at the local level in San Jose. For about seven years, I’ve dedicated myself to public service in the government space. I learned how to draft policy, how to analyze policy, but most importantly how to share and integrate that policy with what’s happening in our community; how to get feedback from the community and how to make sure we’re drafting policy that will address the needs of the community.
Marsha Grilli: Over my 24 years as serving as an elected official here in Milpitas I feel that I have built relationships and a reputation of being a collaborative worker. I take the time to listen. I take the time to look at both viewpoints and to make decisions based on facts and data and try to make a decision in the best interest of Milpitas.
Robert Marini: Ok then the answer is, this in my opinion, there is a lot of corruption going on in Milpitas. The city is overcharging for water rates to the residents. They are transferring $2.4 million of the taxpayers’ money out of the water fund to the general fund. They can’t verify the times that they put servicing the water infrastructure. The other part is the bond. A year ago they determined that they wanted to get a $25 million bond. And in the bond it’s charging the residents $1.5 million for this bond principal interest. Because it’s a 30 years bond. Ok, well, they didn’t get the bond but they are charging the residents anyway. They’re transferring money out of the water fund, which is depleting the water fund and then they are charging for the bond. And the other thing is they reduced the cost for recycled water, because the city wants to convert their potable water for irrigation with what they’re doing, to recycled water. But when you reduce the fee for recycled water for everybody, not only the city gets the advantage but also everybody else gets the advantage. So they’re losing money to the water fund. They’re depleting the money to the water fund by doing that. So that’s why I want to reduce the term limits from 12 years because then they come back; that’s what Esteves is doing right now. He wants to come back and I say no, let’s get somebody else there, get somebody else in there.
Carmen Montano: I’m asking for their vote because I have the experience and I’ve also been elected to the school board. I served for eight years, that’s 2000– 2008. Before that I was a planning commissioner so I know about land use, ordinances and the jargon that goes with planning. And that’s essential when deciding policy on land use. Also, I’ve been here in Milpitas since 1964, so I know my community. I went to all the schools here — grammar school, middle school and high school. Matter of fact I went to Samuel Ayer my freshmen year and then I went to Milpitas High School and graduated from there. So I’ve seen this town grow, turn from a semi-agricultural; it was industrial with the Ford Motor Company that had deep roots here and then when the Japanese took over the automobile industry, I also witnessed General Motors and Ford close down; and how it impacted Milpitas because a lot of the people that worked in Milpitas were working at Ford and General Motors. So I’d like the people to see my experience and also the things that I had done when I was on the city council. I’ve done a lot of great things; for example, the SunnyHills neighborhood had not had their streets paved in over 30 years, and I was able to get the help of my other colleagues, and get the streets paved. The food pantry, our city was charging them I think almost $1800/mo and I challenged that; I said why are we charging them when they serve the most vulnerable in our community — the seniors, the vets, the homeless, the poor. Now they just pay $1/mo because they’re a non-profit and they serve the most vulnerable in our society and our community. I was also able to implement an ordinance for any new development that goes on in our city; a developer has to put in an art piece because that’s important in a society to have that balance. Those are some of the things that I’ve been able to do to support my city.
Van Lan Truong: I think I’m running with a strong record. I have a lot of experience in working for community and also city government. I have been working for the past 40 years in community services. I worked for the City of Boston for almost 7 years. The foundation of my community services started with my first liaison job with the Mayor of Boston in Neighborhood Services. I learned how to organize the community better, and how to work with residents on issues that affect their everyday lives. I learned about politics, and the value of working with community- based organizations, civic groups, and labor unions. I worked inside city government and have experience on how to advocate from the inside. In my role as a liaison, I could bring the community policies or issues that the City wanted for getting services to the community. This is something I love, and want to do. This is just the extra step, extra commitment that I’d move forward with in the city I live now. I moved here from Boston, Massachusetts, and have lived here for 8 years with my current husband. I have been a member of the Community Advisory Commision for the past 5 or 6 years. While I served on the Commission, I’ve volunteered on many sub-committees to work on neighborhood clean-up; we work on public safety issues; we work to promote economic development for our town…I also used to work for Supervisor Cindy Chavez from 2013 – 2016. I used to be one of her policy aides. So I did a lot of constituent services. And I’ve learned so much…I also worked at Behavioral Health Services for Santa Clara County. It’s about getting services to people, like the seniors, the children, the disabled, young people. Young people are our leaders for tomorrow. So how do we assist them in ways to grow to be amazing citizens in society in the future? Whatever we see today may not be tomorrow; maybe ten times better.
Suraj “Sun” Viswanathan: I’ll throw that question back and say, why am I running for office? What makes it different? I came here with a $100 bill in 2004. As a green card holder, as an immigrant moving from India. And I stayed with my friends in Milpitas and Dempsey, near Dempsey Road, on the other side. My life started there. From that time I never looked back, and in about 3-4 years I was able to establish my own company. It was a moving company. It gave me my life as a first-time entrepreneur and since then I never looked back. In business things go up and down but then I moved on to another industry, and so forth. But during all those times I never got the happiness that I wanted to feel. Even after all those successes. But in 2008 or 2009, I decided to give back to the community. At that time I was about 25 years old. At that time I started working with Parents helping Parents – an association which is located in San Jose for autistic kids. I was very proud to be part of it and then that gave me more happiness than anything else. And then I went out and joined Bay Area Cricket Alliance on the administrative side. And then seeing people playing cricket and having fun actually made me more happy. So giving back to the community is what makes me more happy; and that’s what I want to do and that’s why I am running for Milpitas.