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Fil-Am Esteves runs for 6th mayoral term in Milpitas, California

• Has support from other pols, business groups in San Francisco Bay Area

• Was repeatedly named by his city Best Elected Official

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• Up for reelection Nov. 4

Mayor Jose Esteves with wife, Susan, and daughter, Irene. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MILPITAS, California – Popular Filipino-American mayor Jose “Joe” Esteves kicked off his campaign for a sixth term, supported by candidates Berryessa Council member Kansen Chu (running for District 25 State Assembly), contender for the 17th Congressional District Ro Khanna and others.

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Esteves was voted by this city as its Best Elected Official from 2003 to 2008 and then from 2011 to 2013. His landslide victories over more experienced contenders despite having only a fully volunteer staff, no special interest group endorsement, and the least campaign spending have stunned pundits.

He is up for re-election on November 4. This year, Esteves said, “There’s no Filipino contender that I know of. Potential candidates are Council members Debbie Gordiano and Armando Gomez and former Mayor Robert Livengood.”

Esteves said he never underestimates his opponents. But “right now, I just want to be mayor. I plan one step at a time.” He also said, “It’s too early (to set his sights) for county supervisor and I must first win my sixth term as mayor.”

Others who lent their support to Esteves are running for office themselves. Gary Barbadillo, who runs his own law office practicing bankruptcy law, family law, immigration and personal injury, announced his bid for Milpitas City Council. Berryessa School Board Trustee Thelma Boac put in her bid for District 4 School Board. So did Deputy DA Matthew Harris for Santa Clara County Supervisor Court Judge.

Chu, Khanna and Harris go up for votes in the primaries on June 3. Barbadillo and Boac have their turn in the midterms on November 4.

Khanna hailed Esteves, as “one of the true models of our young people.” He also fueled the campaign fire asking, “How is it that (Esteves) gets 60 to 70 percent votes – he knows the people in Milpitas.”

North American Punjabi Association executive director and Punjab Outlook chief editor Satnam Chabal echoed Khanna, “(Esteves) is always there. He is the mayor that can understand the problems of the city.”

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Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Carlos Figueroa said, “(Esteves) took us to China, India, looking for markets for our small businesses. He helped us promote and enter the global market.”

Intellectual Property lawyer Rajeev Mandawat said, “Only 35 percent vote. Look at the name you put on your ballot. Be sure it is Kansen Chu, Rho Khanna and Jose Esteves.”

Esteves’ personal friends also gave testimonies. Jimmy Odena said, “If you want to know the character of a person, give him power.” Philip Sarmiento said, “(Esteves) brings more jobs than residents in Milpitas.”

Esteves said that “Milpitas is A++ in financial rating to date.” Even though the Redevelopment Agency funds were cut for building projects, Esteves said, “many businesses are coming to Milpitas,”

He is part of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority – BART Working Committee with Supervisors Ken Yeager and Cindy Chavez. The project will allow a 16-mile extension with a BART station at the Berryessa-Milpitas area to ease traffic congestion.

The project also took advantage of the new 49ers stadium opening in August in nearby Santa Clara City. Esteves said, “So Milpitas becomes a transit city, a pathway. That’s a potential market.” He also said, “we have like 3,000 homes being built around (the BART station) so we have a community to support BART.”

Redevelopment Agency funds or none, Esteves also touted plans for the Asian version of the Great Mall, the Pacific Mall.

“Milpitas is becoming very Asian, so we’re continuing work on Pacific Mall near Walmart at Route 237 on Interstate 880.”

The same developers from Toronto, Canada, will put up about 400 mostly Asian stores and a five-star hotel at the said location. Esteves said he’s enticing the fans coming to the 49ers stadium to stay a while and shop at Milpitas.

Esteves said, “(There are) 13 percent Filipinos now in Milpitas.” The one thing he tells people is that the website California City News rated Milpitas as 6th among the Happiest Cities in California, beating Sunnyvale (7th), Redwood City 8th), Lake Forrest (9th) and San Mateo (10th).

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TAGS: BART, local US politics, Mayor Jose Esteves, mayoral bet, Milpitas California, Pacific Mall
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