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Milpitas
Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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ElectionsEvelyn Chua is running for re-election to the Milpitas City Council

Evelyn Chua is running for re-election to the Milpitas City Council

Evelyn Chua’s first term as a Milpitas City Councilmember is nearing its end – and now she is looking to the future. 

“There’s still so much more to do,” said Chua in an interview with The Beat. 

Chua, who is currently serving as Vice Mayor, is running for re-election in November. She hopes to continue the work she started when she became part of the Council nearly four years ago. 

When Chua started her first term back at the end of 2020, she hit the ground running. With the world still in the throes of the pandemic, Chua knew she had to meet the moment. 

Off the bat, Chua had many ideas. She asked Council if a portion of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding could be put toward offering small business grants to help local owners who were struggling. $1.5 million was allocated toward this initiative, and eligible business owners received $5k each.

When severe, stormy weather brought an abundance of rain to Milpitas and other parts of the region in 2021, Chua had the idea of giving hotel vouchers to unhoused individuals in the community. Chua brought it in front of the City Council, but her request was denied. 

“I felt bad for the homeless because they didn’t have a place to go,” said Vice Mayor Chua.  

Still driven to help, Chua went out to the community and raised $14.5k on her own. The City was able to use the money she had raised for a voucher program, supporting the unhoused in getting access to temporary shelter at a local hotel. 

Inspired by the groundwork that Chua had laid, Milpitas City Staff started an ongoing Emergency Motel Stay Program, providing unhoused individuals with short-term motel stays from 1-3 nights.  

Vice Mayor Evelyn Chua at Milpitas Fire Department training.

Vice Mayor Chua has also worked to find ways to address the issue of affordable housing in the region. She designed an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) initiative to support residents by providing go-to resources. As a result, the City of Milpitas offers ADU Mondays, where residents can get a 30-minute appointment to talk to staff and ask questions. An ADU Corner was also implemented on the City website. And Chua also asked that close to $1 million be allocated from ARPA funding to go toward ADU fees for residents. 

“Those fees are for things like application fees, inspections fees…it can all add up to $8k. And with this initiative, residents don’t have to worry about paying that,” said Vice Mayor Chua. “When we first implemented this program, we had 76 applications for ADUs – the highest we’ve had in a year.” 

In 2022, a Catalytic Converter Program was implemented, also based on Chua’s idea. Through the program, residents get $400 to put toward replacing a stolen catalytic converter, or to install bars around a converter as a prevention measure.    

Soon after its implementation, Chua was nominated to the role of Vice Mayor, a position she has held for the past year and a half. 

Vice Mayor Chua also pushed to have the Senior Center open on Saturdays, feeling that it was important for the senior community to have it as an option on the weekends. And after discovering that seniors must pay $1 to use the gym at the center, Chua asked the staff if those fees could be waived. 

“I saw that nobody was really using the gym, and I asked the staff why,” said Chua. “They told me about the fee. And I asked them to waive it. They waived it last year, and more people use it now.” 

Vice Mayor Evelyn Chua at this year’s Black April: Remembering the Fall of Vietnam event.

Among other projects Chua is proud of having initiated is the Incentive Corner and the strengthening of the Lobbyist Ordinance. She’s also thrilled to have been a part of naming Delano Manong Park, which she did in collaboration with Mayor Carmen Montano and the Naming Subcommittee.

“With all of my initiatives…I couldn’t have done any of them without approval and support from this Council and the previous one I sat on. So thank you to both Councils. And thank you to Staff for all their hard work,” said Chua. 

As a member of the Council, Chua’s biggest priorities include public safety, affordable housing, and the attraction and retention of businesses. She also wants to ensure that Milpitas is fiscally conservative when it comes to revenue generation and cost control. 

“We have to control our costs and add more revenue,” Vice Mayor Chua told The Beat. 

Vice Mayor Evelyn Chua at the grand opening of Om Shanti Meditation Center.

Chua is particularly concerned that a recent 10-Year Budget Forecast by Milpitas City Staff showed that the city will be at a deficit of $4.1 million by Fiscal Year 2027-28. By Fiscal Year 2033-34, the forecast shows Milpitas in the hole with a deficit of $22.6 million. The proposed operating budget includes the new agreements made with the Milpitas Technical Professional Group (ProTech), Milpitas Employees Association (MEA), and the Milpitas Police Officers Association (POA). Milpitas Firefighters Local 1699 is not included in the forecast, as the City has not yet negotiated with them.  

On top of that, Measure F, the sales tax measure that 60% of Milpitas voters approved of in 2020, will be expiring in March 2029. The measure established a ¼ cent sales tax, which will generate an extra $6.5 million over eight years. 

“These years ahead won’t be smooth,” said Vice Mayor Chua. “We need to do something now to prepare for this deficit. I want to be here to help guide the City.” 

She then added: 

“I’m proud of what I’ve done in the last four years and in the trust the residents have given me. It’s a lifetime of good experience; even though the work is hard, I welcome it. I’m just happy. I want to thank the community for giving me the opportunity to serve.”  

Chua will be facing off against former Milpitas Planning Commissioner Bill Chuan and Milpitas Unified School District Board Trustee Anu Nakka, with announcements from other potential candidates coming very soon. There are two seats up for grabs on the Milpitas City Council in November’s election.  

Go to Chua’s campaign website to learn more about her. 

 



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Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.

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