Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:53 AM
PLEDGE TO MILPITAS VOTERS
PLEDGE TO MILPITAS VOTERS
Let’s keep campaigns focused on issues, not personal attacks
Criticism of individual Council members or candidates based on their Council votes or professional conduct and actions as elected or appointed officeholders is completely legitimate and expected in a political campaign. Voters have a right to know, and an obligation to understand, how the votes and decisions of their elected officials may or may not impact their lives.
However, the line has to be drawn on “below the belt” personal attacks which flourish almost without check today due to the influence of social media. These type of attacks are reflected in online trolling, fake Facebook profiles and posts, rumor-mongering, and trying to dredge up dirt through Internet “intelligence” and Google searches which may be of dubious accuracy or otherwise offered to the public without context or explanation.
I pledge as a candidate for Milpitas City Council to focus only on the professional actions, conduct, and votes of our elected officeholders as they pertain to the issues I am emphasizing in my campaign. I will not join in on the ugly underworld of anonymous attacks and postings on Facebook and social media which serve to discredit our electoral process and insult the intelligence and values of Milpitas voters. I ask other candidates to sign this pledge today.
Thursday, September 17, 2020 8:53 AM
SURAJ CALLS FOR BETTER PANDEMIC PREPARATION
September 17, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Suraj Viswanathan
SURAJ CALLS FOR BETTER PANDEMIC PREPARATION
Calls for City Task Force composed of health care providers
Milpitas—City Council candidate Suraj Viswanathan is calling for creation of a citywide “pandemic task force” composed of health care providers, including physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators to develop plans for improving preparation for any future medical pandemic.
“As a society, we were caught unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic. As a city, we should begin implementing strategies to address future crises. It is not smart policy to be dependent solely on the federal and state governments if we get hit again. We need to be prepared locally as well.”
Suraj said the focus of the task force would be to ensure that Milpitas has “sufficient ICU beds, ventilators, masks, and other personal protective equipment as well as rapid testing.”
“We have outstanding medical facilities and medical providers in Milpitas. We should be pulling them together to help us create a framework for addressing future health catastrophes to protect our population and limit the long-term impact on our residents, businesses, and schools.”
Tuesday, September 8, 2020 6:40 PM
SURAJ PLEDGES 100% SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC SAFETY
Milpitas – City Council candidate Suraj Viswanathan is asserting his “100% support” for local public safety agencies in “these times of pandemic and civil unrest.”
Suraj pointed out that FBI statistics show that Milpitas has a crime rate that is 68% higher than other California cities and towns. “This is unacceptable and validates why we need to be supporting law enforcement, not undermining its ability to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
At the same time, he encouraged “greater efforts to build better relationships and bonds between communities of color and the police,” through improving the recruitment and assignments of minority officers, strengthening multilingual skills and cultural sensitivities. He stated that the residents of Milpitas “know that strong and well-funded public safety agencies, whether they be police, fire or EMT, are essential to a smoothly-functioning city.”
Suraj said he would work with Milpitas police to give them greater flexibility to adjust the focus of patrols and surveillance to potential “hot spots” of crime or suspected crime venues, including neighborhoods with gang activity, the new BART Station, and shopping areas like the Great Mall.
He also called for new efforts to expand volunteer civilian reserves to bolster the Milpitas Fire Department in the ongoing battle against local wildfires.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 8:52 AM
SURAJ TACKLES AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS IN COUNCIL CAMPAIGN
Milpitas – “Affordable housing is like the weather. Everyone talks about it, but nobody does anything about it, including the current Milpitas City Council,” said City Council candidate Suraj Viswanathan today as he unveiled his own plans to address the crisis.
Suraj said it’s time for a “top-down” re-examination of all existing tax, fee, zoning, and permitting structures in the city in order to lower the cost of building new apartments and homes, including smaller, starter homes for young people just out of college or entering the work force. “California is one of the most expensive places in the world to build a house. That’s because as much as one-fifth of the cost can be in developer fees. Developers then recoup their investment by building unaffordable, million-dollar mega-mansions.” He said cities have become “too reliant” on residential impact fees to fund infrastructure required by new development. “We need to find some alternatives to that funding source, such as municipal bonds.”
The Milpitas business executive also floated the idea of using bonds to fund lower-income housing itself. “This was done in Portland, Oregon in 2018 when voters passed a $652 million bond for housing. We ought to give voters here the same chance to vote on such a proposal.”
He said that “unless the talk stops and action is taken,” housing costs will continue to spiral out-of-control, “locking out a generation of our residents from being able to realize the American Dream of home ownership.”
Friday, August 14, 2020 12:24 PM
Milpitas – “Raising the sales tax on the struggling working people and businesses of Milpitas trying to recover from the lockdowns is the last thing we should be doing in the middle of the pandemic,” declared Milpitas City Council candidate Suraj Viswanathan today.
The Milpitas business executive and entrepreneur said the Council’s decision to place a tax increase on the November ballot should be revised to avoid penalizing Milpitas residents. “Just as we tax tourists through the hotel tax, we should develop a way to apply any sales tax to out-of-area shoppers to the Great Mall, not to our own people who are having a hard time just feeding their families and keeping a roof over their heads.” He said he was confident that it would be technologically feasible to develop a tracking system for sales to out-of-area consumers.
Milpitas’ sales tax is currently 9% and would rise to 9.25% if the ballot measure is approved by voters in November.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020 5:10 PM
Milpitas business leader announces candidacy for Council
Offering a bold, new vision for the City of Milpitas, long-time resident and business leader Suraj Viswanathan has announced his candidacy for City Council in the November 3 election.
A proud immigrant from India, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of several local start-ups and Chairman of the Bay Area Cricket Alliance ( BACA ), Suraj has been an active community volunteer involved with school athletics and programs focused on children and adults with special needs. He has also served on the committee that sponsored the largest school bond in California history.
Suraj has identified five major issues for his platform for the 2020 campaign:
- COVID-19. He calls for developing a citywide “rapid-response” team to address future health care crises
- ECONOMIC RECOVERY. He calls for creating an “Economic Recovery Fund” to be used to provide emergency short-term loans to local businesses in the event of another pandemic or natural disaster.
- PUBLIC SAFETY. He calls for focusing law enforcement assets on “hot spots” and increasing patrols in neighborhoods impacted by gang violence. He also calls for developing a system to monitor and deter criminal activity associated with BART.
- AFFORDABLE HOUSING. He calls for a complete review of existing city tax, fee, zoning, and regulatory structures to make it easier and less expensive for developers to build affordable housing and “starter” homes for young people.
- INFRASTRUCTURE. He calls for a greater emphasis on long-term planning and investment for maintenance and upkeep of roads, streets, parks, and sewers and harnessing modern technologies to relieve traffic congestion at peak times.
A graduate of Anna University in Chennai, India, Suraj is married with two children.