Finally, a Filipino presence in the California Assembly


SAN FRANCISCO — Vice-Mayor Rob Bonta of the city of Alameda in the East Bay made history when he became the first Filipino-American elected to the California State Assembly in the just concluded general elections.

In one of the closest polls Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the Golden State, Bonta garnered 50,028 or 50.8 percent of the votes, compared to his District 18 (San Leandro, Alameda and part of Oakland) opponent and fellow Democrat Abel Guillen’s 48,470 or 49.2 percent.

Sweet victory

It was a sweet, hard-won victory for Bonta, who won on a four-pronged platform of (1) Improving Public Education in California; (2) Preserving Public Safety; (3) Job Creation, Economic Revitalization, and the Budget; and (4) Ensuring A Strong Social Service Safety Net.

The second child of Filipino labor organizers-parents told supporters he is delighted to be able to finally shatter the “glass ceiling” that for decades has prevented ethnic Filipinos from winning a seat in state’s bicameral legislature — the State Assembly and the Senate.

Another FilAm, first-time candidate Jennifer Ong, narrowly lost to veteran politician Bill Quirk by just 298 votes in District 20 in another toss-up battle. The Pinay optometrist, who ran a surprisingly effective low-cost grassroots campaign, garnered 44,016 votes to Quirk’s 46,294, a margin of just 1.3 percent, according to semi officials returns gathered from State Secretary Laura Bowen’s website as of Wednesday.

A third Pinoy California Assembly bet, Lathrop Mayor Chris Mateo, a Democrat, lost to Republican opponent Kristin Olsen 42,034 votes (38.6 percent) to 66,978 votes (61.4 percent).

2 Filipino mayors

Other FilAm winners in the Bay Area were former three city mayors, including West Sacramento incumbent Mayor Christopher Cabaldon ran unopposed, and the mayors of Milpitas and Union City.

Milpitas Mayor Jose “Joe” Esteves got a fresh mandate, winning by a landslide for yet another term over environmental advocate Rob Means. The 66-year-old Esteves, who first became mayor in 2002, got 8,952 votes or 72 percent against Means’ 3,477.

Union City Councilmember Jim Navarro was reelected Mayor to a third term with 8,558 votes (66.8 percent), more than double his opponent, Jose Estrella’s 4,125 votes.

Other winners


FilAm Tony Daysog, 44, won a seat in the Alameda City Council, earning 6,200 votes behind front-runner Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, who got 8,642, in a field of seven candidates. Another Pinoy, Stewart Chen, failed to make the cut after placing third with a vote total of 5,855.

Rudy Nasol, a retired college administrator, won the lone seat as trustee for San Jose’s Evergreen Community College District Area 1.  Nasol got 11,353 votes or 62.74 percent compared to his opponent Jeremy Sumabon’s 6,742 votes.

Also making it to the Evergreen School District Board was another Filipino, Vince Songcayawon, after he received 8,443 votes. Wendy Ho, who ran unopposed for Area 5, was automatically taken off the ballot and became a trustee for San Jose Evergreen Community College District.

Garry Barbadillo failed to make it to the Milpitas City Council board with 3,545 votes to finish third in a field of seven. The top two vote-getters, incumbent Debbie Giordano (4,207) and Carmen Montano (4,077) earned their seats in the city council.

Others who failed to make it include San Leandro’s Hermy Almonte, who lost in his first crack at for a seat in the City Council District, as did Rebecca de la Cruz Ayson for Daly City Clerk and Thelma Boac for Board Member of the East Side Union High School District.

Dream come true

For Rob Bonta, who was born in Quezon City in 1971, his latest political victory is something he wants to offer to his fellow Filipinos, who strongly supported his candidacy.

Bonta said he grew up in a household that “practiced and honored Filipino culture and traditions and that taught me the value of serving and empowering the Filipino community.”

Even as a child, Bonta had strong connections with unionists because his parents were organizers with the United Farm Workers who worked directly with UFW co-founders and legendary leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and Filipino UFW leaders Philip Vera Cruz and Pete Velasco in La Paz, in California’s Central Valley.

“I spent my early childhood there, and I am proud that my family was part of one of the greatest social justice movements in the history of this country and California,” Bonta said in an earlier interview with FilAm Star.

From his parents and from those great labor leaders, Bonta said he learned that “service to others makes a good life,” a life-changing lesson that had a profound influence on his life and career.

“My father was part of the Civil Rights Movement and marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in the Deep South. My mother has been a long-time leader in the Filipino social justice movement,” he said with unabashed pride.

“Both of my parents worked for over 50 years combined as state employees serving the people of California … and I am running for state assembly to continue the commitment to public service and the struggle for social justice and progress that my parents were a part of and that I have pursued in my professional career.”

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  • Carl2012

    Now, this is a Filipino we can truly be proud of.

    Unlike Mr. NoyNoy “Hocus Pcos” Aquino.

    • generalproblem

      hehehe  your a blind man

      • mucho_cheapo

        Perhaps he’s a paid blogger by TYANAK.

      • generalproblem

        probably. mga lider ng ibang bansa nagpuntahan sa pinas for trade. 6.1% gdp one of the best in asia. mukhang di nya feel di kaya si tiglao ito

  • Ted Duallo

    he’s a democrat he sucks!

    • mucho_cheapo

      His family are Union Supporters and we all know Unions work directly for the Democrats.

  • joboni96

    mabuhay kayo

    panahon naman ng mga pilipino-americans

    • ddano

       Kung maalis ang Utak Talangka nating mga Pinoy. Sa dami dami ng mga Pinoy sa California dapat matagal ng  may representanta sila sa state assembly , pero dahil sa inggitan at ayaw masasapawan ng kapwa Pinoy pareparehong nagsa-suffer sila sa larangan ng pulitika sa America.

      • joboni96

        maybe you can start
        by providing solutions

        instead of cursing
        what we already know

        start with common interests
        you can agree on

        be inclusive
        kailangang may papel
        bawat isa
        based on ego needs

        no overstaying officers

        good luck

  • Albin

    FilAms can never get top government posts as long as they divided during elections. There are more of Chinese/ Japanese/ Indian origin in California.

  • delpillar

    if more and more immigrants controlling California’s top post, even NY Florida etc, and the economy keep on diving and nose-diving,…..and the debt of California and other states grows higher…. then the scenarios in the TV Series “JERICHO” (a few years back), will likely to happen. Many STATES MAY SECEDE from the UNION,from the U.S.A.

    • delpillar

      There it is (accroding to YAHOO and other newssites), actually it is true…… TEXAS GOVERNOR made several comments in the past and recently that TEXAS is now considering breaking up to the UNION… seceding from the United States. Texas was a republic in 1845 and according to the law signed between the USA and Republic of Texas, Texas can leave the Union anytime. According to the law, 25,000 signatures are needed in order for the White House (USA) will consider the secession.

      Because of this development, 11 more states commented that they will also consider seceeding from the Union.

      CALIFORNIA is inlcuded to those states with petitioners who want to secede from the UNION.

      Here are the lists:
      States where residents have filed secession petitions include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

      • George

        htis knuckle head h is a typical moronic pinoy. dude, keep on cleaning somebody’s toilet and if you ahve the chance READ. you are a certified idiot, you’ll learn that secession members will fit in a kia sorento and if ever you gain traction with that car, you’ll note that no gas is available to run that car. got, it moron?

      • delpillar

        I know that secession will not succeed. Even though socially, economically and militarily they can, the Imperialist attitude of the Union will not definitely allow it. California’s economy if it is a country is the 5th or 8th largest in the whole world.Texas, if it is a country, is the 15th largest economy in the world. Nobody even the GOP leaders themselves think that this will succeed. But the psychological impact is huge.

        Four years after Barack Obama was elected on a platform of “change you can believe in,” he’s now promising America that the “best is yet to come.” However, on almost every front — fiscally, militarily, politically, socially — the country is in a state of disarray.

        Most troubling, however, is the state of our freedoms. Indeed, during Obama’s first term, our civil liberties were utterly and completely disemboweled. The great irony, of course, is that this happened with a self-proclaimed constitutional law professor at the helm — a
        man who was supposed to understand and respect the rule of law as laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

        Not only did Obama continue many of the most outrageous abuses of the George W. Bush administration (which were bad enough), including indefinite detention and warrantless surveillance of American citizens, but he also succeeded in expanding the power of the “imperial president,” including the ability to assassinate American citizens abroad and unilaterally authorize drone strikes resulting in the deaths of countless innocent civilians, including women and

    • Karabukov

      These sore losers are going nowhere, delpillar, though good riddance if they succeed. Too bad Romney will not even join them. These crybabies are merely banding together for emotional support after losing to Obama.

      • delpillar

         we lose in the election but don’t forget that we were almost 59 million who chose the GOP.. Obama won by about 4 million. Most of those 4 million are Filipino-Americans, Black Americans and Muslim/Arab Americans. (many are under food stamps). Most of us, at least in the town were I live, we don’t wait for food stamps. We get our 50-caliber hunting rifle or the cross-bow and hunt in the forests to get food to eat. That is what the real American founders did centuries ago.

      • Karabukov

        “Obama won by about 4 million. Most of those 4 million are Filipino-Americans, Black Americans and Muslim/Arab Americans. (many are under food stamps).”

        Oh, ho, now you are now condemning most immigrants for your Romney’s loss, including your fellow Fil-Ams, even though that’s not even correct. Obama won because enough white Americans voted for him too, else he would have lost. Just because you don’t receive food stamps is no reason to condemn those who do. I don’t receive food stamps either but don’t flat out condemn those who do. Assistance from government for those who are hard up, such as unemployment assistance and food stamps kicked in automatically from the time the recession started under Republican president Bush so don’t blame Obama for it. He is as much concerned with getting Americans OFF food stamps as any president would be but Republican obstructionist would not even look at his jobs bill designed to give employment for Americans to repair America’s aging infrastructures such as bridges and roads. That’s because anything that will make Obama look good would be rejected by the Repubs even if it’s good for the people. The fiscal cliff is coming up. They have another chance to look bad again, until they get tired of losing elections.

        I won’t blame them then. Secession may be their best bet and you guys can go hunting anytime and NRA will be happy to oblige everyone.

  • charlie_oscar

    Finally an American is elected to the Philippines Congress!  Opps, that is not allowed by law!   Today, a Kano was elected as barangay captain in Tagaytay…Oops!  Prohibido!  Today, an Australian has been designated as tannod…..uo oh!  no no senor!   Against the law in Pilipines! Today, a kano purchased a small plot of land in Los Banos….nonnono! Dat is against the law dito!

  • Edgardo Mendoza


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