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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
City CouncilGet to know the candidates: Proposition 16

Get to know the candidates: Proposition 16

This is part of a series of Q&As for Mayoral and City Council candidates for the November 2020 election. Questions were submitted by Milpitas residents. 

Proposition 16 is an amendment that would repeal Proposition 209 (which passed in 1996) from the California Constitution. Proposition 209 banned the use of affirmative action practices, which involves granting preferences based on sex, race, ethnicity, and color. Do you support or oppose Proposition 16? Why or why not?


Mayoral Candidates


Voltaire Montemayor: Lifting the Ban on Affirmative Action in California after it was banned in 1996…I did my college composition at Mission College that year. I had an A grade. My answer which relates to my composition is leaning to “No”. I have a sentiment for the “Yes” at least…A long explanation…100 words at least. My favor to” No” is simply weighed on the integrity of the concern. The appointment, employment or selection is based on Civil Service Exams and requirements anyway. The subject fellow proved in aptitude tests, in interview and in writing. The on the post personnel will do it right with his or her integrity and talent.



Rich Tran: Abstain.




City Council Candidates 


Evelyn Chua: Martin Luther King dreamt of a nation where individuals would be judged not by the color of their skin but the content of their characters. This is the dream. Unfortunately, we’re far away from that dream. Proposition 16 is trying to shorten the wide gap between the dream and what is currently happening. This amendment is providing the opportunity of levelling off the playing field in education, employment, and businesses. In order to bridge the gap, I see high quality of education from K to 12 is a must. The focus of high quality education must start from Kindergarten. A solid and strong education at a lower level will help level off the playing field and give opportunity of admission to a better school. Many universities are adopting policies to increase enrollment of these students as long as it doesn’t discriminate. This is also true on policies related to employment and businesses. On the other hand, with Proposition 16 favoring certain minority groups…that in itself is a form of discrimination. Everyone must be equal in the face of the law. Therefore, I abstain.



Julian Nool Hilario Jr.: I am in support of Proposition 16. I value diversity and fairness; therefore, supporting Proposition 16 will remedy gender bias and racism. We are a diverse state and we should be able to level the playing field so that no matter what race or gender, you have the opportunity to work in government agencies or study in a state’s public universities. I believe in giving the opportunity to all so that we can thrive.



Robert Marini: I do not support proposition 16 because of the possibility of discrimination in hiring.



Demetress Morris: When I examine Proposition 16 as it relates to 209 it is irrefutable that without 209, we would not have had the John Lewis’s, Barrack Obama’s, Michelle Obama’s, Kamala Harris’s, or Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s of the world today. Upon further consideration of this proposition, it is important to acknowledge the benefits that it can bring to immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ communities. With that said I would like to see the proposition applied from a more socially economical viewpoint, which would have a far more reaching effect and sustainability on so many groups of people. Personally, to ensure a sense of objectivity, I will be exploring the data and trends over the years before arriving at any solid interpretation regarding this proposition and our community here in Milpitas.



Bob Nuñez: I am a strong supporter of Prop 16. In my role as First Vice-President of the San Jose Silicon Valley N.A.A.C.P. and Co-Chair of La Raza Roundtable, I have been in on many press conferences, presenting the platform of these social justice agencies and my own opinion in support of Prop 16. I am a supporter of equal opportunity for all, increasing access to fair wages, good jobs, and quality education for everyone. Prop 16 helps children, students, adults, and businesses.



Anthony Phan: I support Proposition 16 because I believe that the government has a fundamental role to uplift others, especially those who need it the most. Proposition 209 has perpetuated systemic racial disparities and contributed to a flawed system of meritocracy–one that is full of false promises, one that continues to benefit communities of privilege and wealth, while neglecting underserved communities and negating the many advancements in racial equality and social justice made by the civil rights movements daring to change the status quo. Proposition 16 helps level the playing field, and gives a fighting chance to communities that have historically experienced system oppression.



Suraj Viswanathan: I am opposed to Prop 16 because it violates the fundamental principle of “Equal Justice under the Law” by legalizing race and gender discrimination in college admissions and public employment. These decisions should be based on merit not skin color.



Tiffany Vuong: If Proposition 16 passes, it will allow for race to be one of the factors considered in public school admissions, public contracting, and public sector jobs. This would help make up for centuries of racism from explicitly exclusionary policies to de-facto segregation and lack of resources in low-income neighborhoods, which are disproportionately made up of Black people, Indigenous folks, and People of Color (BIPOC). While opponents of Prop 16 claim that repealing Prop 209 from the California Constitution will enable racism, the truth is racism currently exists, and we cannot solve it by ignoring color. A common argument against Prop 16 claims that it will result in unqualified people getting into schools or jobs that they will not be able to handle. On the contrary, this legislation would simply allow race to be one of the many factors that are considered when making admission or hiring decisions. This does not mean incompetent applicants will obtain public contracts and get accepted into universities; it simply means that when weighing an applicant’s strengths and qualifications against others, their disadvantaged background will be taken into account. Asian Americans are falsely being pitted against other People of Color. The percentage of Asian students at our top tier public universities has decreased since Prop 209 was repealed in 1996. Furthermore, if we disaggregate the data, it is clear that Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders face additional barriers to education and need access to more opportunities. Prop 16 will actually help the Asian Pacific Islander community. Vote yes on 16.




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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