Source: As written by Lorna Dietz, published in the Manila Bulletin USA issue â€“ June 18, 2003
As one drives along the Calaveras Boulevard corridor in Milpitas, California, a sparkling, brand-new, architectural jewel looms into view — a 57,000 square-foot building that the cityâ€™s political decision makers call â€œhomeâ€ and the residents proudly display as the hub of a communityâ€™s social, cultural, and economic power base. This is the Milpitas City Hall, redefined.
Since the new City Hall is nestled in the heart of the Milpitas Civic Center, a public plaza, a restored statue of â€œThe Flute Player,â€ a library, a community center, and a fountain that doubles as a gravitational rendezvous point feel like jubilant gestures of celebration for a city that has experienced a frenetic pace of economic empowerment during the past decade. The political leadershipâ€™s commitment to service also packaged an expected bonus: an improved quality of life for Milpitasâ€™ highly-skilled and culturally-diverse communities.
â€œWe did this!â€ Henry Manayan, the cityâ€™s former mayor whose leadership had spearheaded the $36 million capital improvement project showcasing Milpitasâ€™ economic strength in Silicon Valley, beamed with pride as he graciously spent a few minutes chatting about the needs of Californians in the 21st century.
Henryâ€™s days as a private citizen, many of his political supporters predict, are numbered. Serving as the mayor of Milpitas from 1996 to 2002, Henry Manayan effectively bundled his expertise in venture capital and commercial real estate with his academic achievements and practices in political science, speech communications, law, business, and executive training in state and local government. Henryâ€™s comfort zone in international trade and multi-cultural affairs made it possible for him to bring in resources to support Milpitasâ€™ aspiration to become Silicon Valleyâ€™s â€œdiamond in high technology.â€
One of Henryâ€™s friends observed, â€œHenryâ€™s accessibility to his constituents 24/7, whether they are housewives, students, religious groups, community base organizations, business owners, and senior citizens, demonstrates his work ethics. The other quality Henry shows is his ability to work as a team player and bridge builder with international groups and government entities as well as local and national public legislators.â€
Henry Manayan acknowledges that the natural progression of his career path is to repeat the proven success formula that his leadership and management skills have done for a city that boasts of having a high technology base of 350 companies with annual sales revenues of over $69 billion and a support structure of 1,200 hi-tech corporations. An ambitious commercial real estate development program spawned the birth of the Great Mall of the Bay Area, a proverbial â€œphoenix risingâ€ from the abandoned premises of a Ford automobile manufacturing plant. Milpitas Square, a large strip mall that caters to the South Bayâ€™s huge Asian population, is another example.
â€œI would like to be known as the champion of economic development,â€ Henry Manayan says. â€œCalifornia attracts many of the best and the brightest people from all over the world. Milpitas is a real role model of empowerment that can be duplicated throughout the state. We have the ability to create synergy for economics.â€
Henryâ€™s agenda includes clear-cut solutions for easing the congestion in the streets and highways of the Bay Area. He thoughtfully pursues his advocacy for environmental protection in an urban setting. â€œCaltrain and Bart are very important. I look forward to the time that Bart will have a station in Milpitas. Transportation is very vital in efficiently moving goods and services between Silicon Valley and the Bay Area,â€ he states.
â€œAnother important element in creating more dynamic communities is having more affordable housing. Critical support services such as people in public safety, the teaching profession, and our assembly line operators are essential to the foundation of our neighborhoods,â€ Henry adds.
He articulates his sentiments about the current stateâ€™s leadership in Sacramento. â€œLetâ€™s look at our state budget as a pie. Leaders try to decide who gets the larger or smaller portions of this ever-shrinking pie. Instead of doing that, why donâ€™t we enlarge the pie? We need more economic cooperation. For instance, we can develop more economic incentives for countries like India, China, the Philippines, or Mexico to do business with us.â€
In the latter part of 2004, the 20th Assembly District will need a â€œconsensus candidateâ€ like Henry Manayan to represent them: a political leader who knows how to work with different constituencies and speak in a language these groups can appreciate. Henry is determined to focus on Californiaâ€™s economic and business leadership in the cities of Fremont, Newark, Milpitas, Union City, and parts of San Jose, Pleasanton, Castro Valley, and Hayward.
Leadership thatâ€™s viable, credible, and reliable. Henry Manayan for State Assembly.
About the writer: Lorna Dietz is the Executive Secretary of the San Francisco-based Philippine American Press Club, USA. The tagline, â€œan influencer of ideas and change,â€ sets the tone for her marketing communications and public relations business, Radiant View Communications. She can be reached at [email protected].