When I joined the United States Military with the Air National Guard, I was sent to the Air Force basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, where I spent two months in intensive training completely away from society. It was the ultimate test in working with others. My flight (cohort) consisted of 50 young men from across the United States who had to eat (quickly), sleep (uncomfortably), and breathe (the summer Texas humidity) together every day under highly pressured conditions. We were training for the worst case scenarios on this planet. The challenge was to work with each other.
You can imagine that when you put 50 strangers together for a continuous period of time, there’s bound to be issues that don’t always end up well. But one of the biggest lessons I was able to learn is that drama can be avoided. No matter how bad conflicts can get, 99% of the time those conflicts will be detrimental and negative to oneself and others.
One lesson really stuck to me that another trainee taught me during the worst times in that Texas summer heat. I had met a fellow trainee named Perry. He was from South Carolina and was one of the coolest cats in boot camp. He said “Rich, if you’re ever in a bad place, do the 10 Minute Rule.” The 10 Minute Rule applies when you’re the most upset you could ever possibly be. That’s when you should walk away and cool off. If you’re still upset then you have the right to be upset, but usually human nature takes its course and one cools off and thinks straight.
It appears that the whole Community of Milpitas (and all of Santa Clara County) is aware of the negative campaign mailer (back in November) that was orchestrated by the young, rookie Councilmember Anthony Phan, which was directed at my character. The hit piece was sent to pretty much every neighborhood and mailbox in Milpitas – accusing me of being a Vietnamese Communist. I don’t need to tell the rest of the story, it’s on the internet for an eternity for all to see. When it happened, I was pissed. I did the “10 Minute Rule” and was still pissed. How could someone use such hatred that not only affected me and my family, but thousands of Vietnamese-American refugees in our community? I still don’t comprehend how someone could do this. The demonstrated hatred by Milpitas Councilmember Anthony Phan is deserving of a Recall.
Maybe I needed a “100 Day Rule.” A hundred days and counting since Election Day now and I’ve been able to think about this conflict. I’ve thought about my family, my friends, the whole Community of Milpitas, the new City Council, and City Staff. What would it mean for a Recall to take place? How would this change the course of Milpitas history? How would this change the course of our community? How would this change the course of our City? The #MilpitasFamily has worked hard and given their heart to making our City a much better place than where it was before.
I am no longer pushing for a Recall of Councilmember Anthony Phan. It’s never really been up to me, it’s always been up to the residents and voters, who truly provide the direction of our City. The residents have expressed their feelings for over 100 days and counting — it remains true to the definition of integrity. This conflict is a distraction to more important things in Milpitas. I was sent to City Hall by Milpitas Families to do one thing – to put Milpitas Families First. I don’t ever want to forget that. Not even during the worst of days.
It’s the most awesome experience to lead this City. I love public management and policy. I love working with the City Council and City Staff to solve our community’s needs. We’ve made great strides so far. Everyone is counting on me to continue the good job that 48% of the voters agree with. I want to continue being the new brand of politics that Milpitas has never seen – one that is extremely community focused. I obviously can’t do this alone. I need the City Council and I need City Staff at optimal performance. During City Council meetings, I need to ensure that the City Manager, City Attorney, Fire Chief, Police Chief, and every Department Director and staff member knows that it’s all business. Not conflict. Not drama. Not the past.
Here’s the 17th Mayor of Milpitas taking a hit to his character. Here’s the hometown Mayor taking the high road in front of all his Milpitas Family. Here’s to making a choice that the present and future are more important than the past. No more drama.
Yours in service,
Mayor Rich Tran