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Saturday, May 18, 2024
Letters to the EditorLetter: Gratitude for Milpitas City Manager Steven McHarris

Letter: Gratitude for Milpitas City Manager Steven McHarris

My neighbors next door have four very tall palm trees at the entrance of their house. Due to the lack of maintenance and pruning, the trunks have severely leaned over time, swaying and creaking especially during windy weather, which is quite frightening. Our neighborhood is a circular shape, so many of the neighbors have reached out to the
landlord multiple times to ask for the trees to be trimmed or removed. Unfortunately, the landlord has not been able to provide a solution due to financial constraints, leaving the situation unresolved for over three years.

As the trunks continue to lean and large leaves fall onto our cars, our five-year-old child is afraid to play in the front yard and the elderly in our household avoid walking near the trees. On windy and rainy nights, the trees shake and it feels like they could topple onto
our house at any moment. I have nightmares of the trees falling and destroying our home. In desperation, I reached out to the city to see if there was anything that could be done to help our situation.


A photo of the trees, before they came down.

I was lucky enough to get in touch with Milpitas City Manager Steven McHarris, who quickly responded to my request. After evaluating our situation and the health of the trees, he put the tree removal enforcement on the agenda. The process was a very long and costly one, but through it all, Steven was always available to provide updates and keep us informed of the progress and time schedule. His communication and support gave my family a glimmer of hope and a sense of warmth in an otherwise difficult situation.

Finally, on February 6th, the trees came down. The construction crew arrived in the afternoon and the entire neighborhood was excited. We all cooperated to move our cars, provide water for the crew, and help with the cleanup process. After the trees were removed, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and the weight of the situation was lifted
from our hearts. The community came together in a way that was truly touching and demonstrated the power of working towards a common goal. The removal of these trees brought our neighborhood closer and created a safer, happier living environment for everyone.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Steven for his dedication and hard work in helping us resolve this difficult situation. His prompt response to our request and constant communication throughout the process showed his genuine care for our safety and well-being. Steven truly went above and beyond to ensure that the tree removal process was smooth and successful.

His unwavering support and encouragement gave us the strength to persevere and see this situation through to its end. The end result is a safer, more beautiful neighborhood for all of us to enjoy. Steven’s actions have made a significant impact on our lives and our community, and for that, we are eternally grateful.

We will always remember Steven as the hero who helped us navigate a difficult and stressful situation and brought our community closer together. His kindness and compassion will never be forgotten, and we hope that his efforts will inspire others to help their neighbors in need. Thank you, Steven, from the bottom of our hearts!


Cathy Wang

Milpitas Resident



  1. Yes, we have heard so many stories about hoe City Staff stepped up these past few years. So our Mayor, Carmen , our Vice-Mayor Evelyn, and Councilperson Gary, need to explain to us why they chose to get rid of Steve, the City Manager. Where is the transparency that Carmen promised us in her Mayor’s speech. Are they hiding something?

  2. I had been hoping, that with several Milpitians voicing their support for Steve McHarris and surprise that the mayor, vice-mayor and a newly elected councilman, voted not to renew the City Manager, Steve’s contract, there might be a change of minds. Instead of getting an explanation or some kind of reason why we are letting a great person go, we are met with silence.
    Yes Joseph, I continue to wonder where is the transparency we were promised pre-election?

  3. During her Dec. 20, 2022 swearing-in ceremony speech, newly elected Mayor Montano said: “We want to move the city forward with a new leadership style that is collaborative and, in its core values, is all about integrity, transparency, selflessness, and pride in Milpitas.” I’m confused. How is a 3-2 vote to fire the most collaborative City Manager we’ve had in years be “all about integrity”? What integrity? And how does that increase pride in Milpitas?
    And where is the transparency in a meeting that lasts over 2.5 hours but the Minutes provide no hint as to why the decision was made? This “new leadership style” looks like the former (Tran) leadership style. So, what’s new about it? Just changing the gender of the Mayor is not enough.
    Also in the Mayor’s 12/20/2022 speech was this: “As a newly elected Mayor, I will bring community pride, vision, and most importantly, results. I will address the issues that are important to you in the next years, and concentrate on the core services during these tough economic times.” I am not feeling the pride nor seeing the vision of how this decision does any good for the core services so highly praised in the letter above.

  4. Seems to be some lobbying efforts for mcharris to keep his job. I’m hearing the same names trumpet this movement. It’s been decided by our publicly elected officials. Even if the decision wqs somehow reversed and Steve got to keep his job….Why on earth would he stay and not look elsewhere for work? Think about it guys.

    Focus on getting the best person for the job. If mcharris was doing a good enough job, he wouldn’t have been in this situation to begin with. Get someone new, who’s qualified and wants to be in that position for the long haul so we don’t have to keep switching city managers to get every other year.

    In other words, Steve McHarris is done in June… Get over it

    • Mr./Ms. Kwan, I’m sure you know there is no lobbying here. All are shared from the bullet-proof personal experiences. It’s very clear, and with evidences. Don’t you see the photos, the meeting records and etc.? Of course, the most important is the state probe on Carmen Montano!


      There is always a BETTER ONE out there. However, a right way to find the BEST city manager for Milpitas is definitely not like what Carmen Montano, Evelyn Chua and Garry Barbadillo have done for it. They’re just trying to screw up our community, indeed!!

      This incident is a lesson for all the voters to realize if their votes go to wrong candidates, how bad the consequences can come back to themselves!!!

      Conclusively, a good city mayor and good councilmembers will never bring such a turmoil into the community as recently happened in Milpitas.

        • Dat P, are you jealous of the compensation plan for the City Manager? Or are you upset that the City pays so much for their employees? Or are you deliberately ignoring the fact that 19 City employees are paid over $400K in 2021 because you want to single out McHarris? If so, why? I would like some transparency from you.
          According to the article you posted, “The Santa Clara City Council voted 4-1 to hire Jovan D. Grogan at an annual salary of $405,506.” Also according to the salaries list you cited, the base salary for our City Manager is $334,369, so how do you figure McHarris is overpaid compared to Grogan?
          It is hard to understand your posting in light of the facts you brought to the discussion. Perhaps you can clarify for us why you think McHarris is overpaid and should go.

          • McHarris is already gone. I’m not arguing with you over spilled milk. No jealousy here, although I will point out that you seem to have trouble accepting facts. Let me reiterate it for you: His contract is not extended past June. New city manager incoming.


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