An unidentified group of young men were seen last Saturday, February 8, putting up fraudulent signs at the corner of Jacklin and Hillview.
The signs bore the words Yes Hotel, and have Vietnamese writing on them, as well, which translates to (according to Google Translate): The Best Choice for Milpitas
At the very bottom of the sign, in small letters, were the words: Paid for by the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce and Milpitas Citizens for La Quinta.
The only problem is, the group Milpitas Citizens for La Quinta doesn’t seem to actually exist. And the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce says that they never paid for any signs.
“The Chamber did not take a position on the hotel at all and we didn’t pay for any signs,” said Milpitas Chamber of Commerce Board President Tina Broyles. “We’re in touch with our attorney and we’re not happy with this. We didn’t have anything to do with it.”
The “Yes Hotel” signs are a shot against the “No Hotel” signs that some residents throughout Milpitas have put up in their front yards as a way of showing their objection to a proposal to build a 5-story La Quinta Hotel in the vacant building, once a Fitness Center, on the corner of Jacklin and Hillview.
This past January 15, the Milpitas Planning Commission voted 4-2 against the La Quinta Hotel proposal, after hours of deliberation and public comment on the issue.
With the proposal rejected, the Hotel team went to the City to file an appeal. Now, those associated with the La Quinta project will have a chance to make a fresh presentation at the March 17 Milpitas City Council meeting.
It was around 11:35am on Saturday, February 8, when a resident from the group Voice of Milpitas, which formed to oppose the hotel, was on her way to a meeting and noticed a few young men putting up the suspicious sign.
“I read the ‘Yes Hotel,’ and thought: Interesting,” said the resident, who prefers to remain anonymous. “I asked them if they had permission to put the sign there. Because I know that corner is city property, not private property. The guy said, ‘Oh yeah, we got permission.’”
The resident then asked the young man, “I’m guessing you’re not a resident of Milpitas?”
He responded with some words about having been a resident for 15 years, then hopped into a car with the other two guys and drove off.
Upon seeing they were leaving, the resident pulled her car into nearby De Anza Court and parked. She then hopped out and approached the sign to take photos of it.
Meanwhile, apparently the guys in the car weren’t done yet. They had re-emerged at the corner across from where they’d placed the initial sign.
“He [the young man who spoke earlier] saw me taking the picture, so he pulls over and he gets out. And he has a bullhorn. And he turns the thing on and says, ‘Vote for the Hotel, and even if you don’t, we’re going to build it anyway,’” said the resident.
The men ended up putting up two signs in total, before taking off again.
“We can’t find out who put the signs up, because no one knows who those guys are,” said Milpitas Chamber of Commerce Office Manager CJ Ericson.
As word of the phony signs spread through the community, Mark Tiernan, a Milpitas resident and a consultant with the La Quinta Hotel project, reached out to the Chamber of Commerce to let them know that his team was not involved.
“The Milpitas Hotel Project team had absolutely nothing to do with this,” said Tiernan to The Beat. “This was something we would never do. It is illegal to fraudulently use the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce’s name as an implied endorser. The sign itself is ridiculous.”
He also went on to say: “The men in the picture have no relation or no connection to anybody on the project team.”
Yollie Garcia, who is part of the Voice of Milpitas group, has been meeting every week with other residents, preparing for the March Council meeting. “I sent a complaint to the Mayor and City Attorney, asking what the consequences are here,” said Garcia. “If anybody from the hotel management had anything to do this, this should affect their appeal.”
The anonymous resident who initially saw the young men putting the signs up went back a few days later for a closer look. She was surprised to find that the whole image was actually a giant sticker, which itself had been taped onto the front part of a white sign.
“It’s a big sticker, and I could pull the whole thing off,” said the resident.
Photos of the young men with the sign have been circulating on Facebook and Next Door.
By Tuesday night, the signs had been removed. The Beat has spoken to a few individuals at the Milpitas Police Department, along with the Public Works Department, but it’s unclear who removed them.