Letter: response to statement regarding Sunnyhills Neighborhood Assoc. at the Mayoral Candidates Forum

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Milpitas Beat and the SJCC Milpitas Extension for co-hosting the Mayoral Candidates Forum with us on Saturday October 1st. With all the mayoral candidates and approximately 60 people in attendance, it was a great event and an opportunity for residents to learn more about the candidates.

However, we would like to respond to a question posed by a participant to the applicants regarding the lack of development and attention from the Town of Milpitas to the area around Dixon Road in the Sunnyhills neighborhood. One candidate erroneously stated that the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association is a new organization that is not focused on beautification because “they don’t even live in Sunnyhills.”

The Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association (SNA) has been around since 1998 and is not new. The purpose of the SNA, as stated in the statutes, is “to educate the public in the skills of public life and community development as well as in the teaching of arts, music and science”. The development and beautification of neighborhoods is the responsibility of the City and landowners.

The Sunnyhills neighborhood area, as defined by the Association, extends from the Fremont border in the north, to Jacklin Road in the south and North Milpitas Blvd. west to 680 east. Membership, according to the bylaws, is open to any Milpitas resident, and the majority of our board members live within the Sunnyhills neighborhood boundaries and many have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Council members are not required to live in the area, which is why Carmen Montano (who lives in the pines) was able to be elected to our council in 2017.

Although neighborhood beautification is not the primary focus of our small but mighty group, we have partnered with the City to perform cleanups of parks and streams in our area. Additionally, a member of the SNA Board of Directors who was on the General Plan Advisory Committee identified the need for redevelopment along Dixon Road. Several members of our board recently participated in the housing component update process and provided feedback on the Sunnyhills area. Some of us also participated in the Trail, Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan workshops, where we highlighted the need for improved trails and bike paths in the neighborhood.

In addition to these activities, we have instituted an annual scholarship of $1,000 for Milpitas High School. We host a free Halloween party for neighborhood families each year with live music, crafts, snacks, and other activities — with help from the city and county. Each month we host a presentation and discussion on issues important to our neighborhood, city and region (including this Candidates Forum). We look forward to co-sponsoring an exciting event this spring (more details to follow). Recently, we secured a $15,000 county grant to support community development and integration with Sunnyhills Apartments Tenants – a group we helped found to preserve affordable housing.

With more active members, we could do even more! We welcome and encourage anyone interested in improving the Sunnyhills neighborhood to join our associationand even better, to stand for election to our board of directors at our annual meeting on November 5th. SNA will continue to work as a team to prepare our neighborhood for the future while staying true to our history as an inclusive and diverse neighborhood.

On behalf of the Sunnyhills Neighborhood Association,

Allysson McDonald, Chair of the Board

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