It’s a rare honor and privilege to have met a highly admirable and hardworking Filipino American leader in California, the amiable Vice Mayor Evelyn Q. Chua of the City of Milpitas in Santa Clara County.
Despite short notice, Vice Mayor Chua showed up last Friday past 5 p.m. at the City Hall to meet Philippine News Today editor in Chief Alfred G. Gabot, its Health & Wealth columnist and book author Art G. Madlaing and his wife Virginia Jimenez Madlaing and me (Claire Morales True, managing editor, Philippine News Today).
The weather was good, but not as cool as in San Francisco where we motored from, when we arrived at City Hall after visits in Santa Clara and San Jose. Except for a handful of guards and employees, the Milpitas City Hall was all quiet when we got in while waiting for the Vice Mayor.
We thought that Vice Mayor Evelyn was already at her office when we got in so we climbed the stairs to second floor right away. After few minutes, my cellphone rang and she was calling. “Ohhh go down, I’ll meet you infront of City Hall and I’ll give a tour,” she tells me, and so we proceeded to the entrance of City Hall. There a very simple and lovely lady was standing and with a big smile extended her hand as each one of us introduced ourselves to this very accommodating Lady Vice Mayor.
After some photos infront of the glass and steel City Hall, we officially went inside, using her security card key, cautioning us that since office work is over, one cannot just get in. We told her that we came from the parking entrance door which luckily was open when we got there.
From the entrance, VM Evelyn led us to the back which she said is a favorite spot for meeting guests and holding functions and parties due to the nice background.
VM Evelyn then led us to the second and third floors of City Hall through the elevator. There she showed off the offices of some departments and Council Members, that of the Vice Mayor and Mayor and the theater-like Council meeting room where concerned citizens and guests can watch their City Officials deliberate and debate on plans, programs, services and proposals affecting them and the city, in the comfort of corporate boardroom- like atmosphere.
Of course, VM Evelyn was proud to show off the official photos of City officials led by Mayor Carmen Montano, the first Latin-American city mayor, and her, the first Filipino American lady Vice Mayor and lady City Council Member.
While reciting more facts about the successes and achievements of Milpitas, VM Evelyn showed the Philippine News Today team her office. She even allowed our editor in chief to sit on her table and then she posed with the team infront of her table.
Her office is small, she confides, because her job as City Councilmember is part-time as the city, like other US cities, has a full-time City Manager and Deputy City Manager to take care of the day-to-day operations of the city government.
While the office is small, it comes with a noble mission to serve the city and its people, she stresses.
We presented copies of two of the latest issues of Philippine News Today to the vice mayor which she appreciated, saying the newspaper has a strong presence in Milpitas. In turn, VM Evelyn handed to each of us a pin of the city and some souvenir items as she expresses her wish that the team visit the very progressive city more often.
She then led us to the ground floor as she had to catch up another appointment.
The meeting with Vice Mayor Evelyn Chua was short but warm and meaningful as we learned more about the City of Milpitas and its highly dependable, reliable, hardworking and approachable number two city official.
More on Milpitas Vice Mayor Evelyn Q. Chua in the next issue.
(Editor’s Note: Claire Morales True is the roving managing editor of Philippine News Today working on her reports in the United States and the Philippines. She was formerly Public Relations Officer of then Pampanga Vice Governor Juan Miguel Mikey Macapagal Arroyo and assistant managing director of Health Frontiers which served multinational companies in the pharmaceutical and health sectors. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)