This article is part of a series on figures who have declared their intentions to run for Milpitas City Council or Mayor of Milpitas for the November general election. The filing period for candidacy opened on July 13 and will close on August 7. Two City Council seats and the Mayor’s seat are up for grabs this November. The entire series can be found here.
A mayoral endorsement is a highly-coveted asset for any City Council candidate. Whereas Council hopeful Evelyn Chua has indeed received that very asset in this year’s race, she’s not only counting on endorsements, but on her record on housing, public safety, and community involvement, along with her public service to Milpitas residents.
“I stand [behind] what I’ve done, and I stand [behind] what I believe I have done,” Chua said. “I’m hoping the residents of Milpitas will see that too.”
Chua, a 32-year Milpitas resident, is a staple at many community events, so much so that she’s received numerous awards for her community involvement, including a Milpitas Citizen of the Year Award.
Chua last ran for city council in 2016, coming in third place to now-councilmembers Bob Nuñez and Anthony Phan. But she was then appointed to a seat on the Milpitas Planning Commission in December, 2016. Previously, Chua served on the Community Advisory Commission and the Emergency Preparedness Commission. She has also headed a program at Milpitas High School on increasing engagement with Filipino-American families, students, and high school staff.
As Planning Commissioner, she was one of the pivotal votes that struck down a proposed La Quinta hotel on Jacklin Road, citing traffic concerns. Chua and her planning commission colleagues have approved a host of other projects, such as the Legoland Discovery Center at the Great Mall and a plan for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) development on North Park Victoria Drive.
Chua believes her work on a handful of the city’s commissions and committees has given her the requisite knowledge to help tackle the city’s housing access and affordability problems, including an emphasis on ADUs and more affordable senior housing.
“ADUs are the least expensive, fastest, and easiest way to have more housing in the city,” said Chua. “We’d like to see more ADUs developed in the community.”
In addition, Chua supports an amendment to the city’s affordable housing ordinance to ensure developers propose projects with at least 15 percent affordable housing. Currently, developers are allowed to pay fees to the city’s affordable housing fund in lieu of providing affordable housing itself.
The in-lieu exception has been a point of contention in the past among city officials. Those supporting the in-lieu exception say the policy helps develop a good working partnership between developers and the city’s affordable housing administrators. Opponents claim the in-lieu fees will not always translate to affordable housing in the future.
“Building a relationship with developers shouldn’t mean giving up housing,” said Chua. “If we give that option [of paying in-lieu fees] to developers, then we’re giving up the number of houses that the ordinance wanted to achieve in the first place.”
Chua also prioritizes public safety, as well as improvements to infrastructure and public works.
As of press time, Chia will be facing off against former fellow planning commissioner Demetress Morris, incumbent councilmembers Nuñez and Phan, business executive Suraj Viswanathan, and community organizer Tiffany Vuong.
“I care about our city and I want to keep it safe,” Chua said. “I care about the people who make it beautiful. Most importantly, I care about preserving, improving, and protecting our quality of life.”
Current position: Commissioner, Milpitas Planning Commission
Running for: City Council
Declared candidacy: February 21, 2020