Milpitas Mayor ‘King Esteves’ Tabs Odd Choice for Appointment

Failed Milpitas council candidate and patent attorney Rajeev Madnawat freaked people out in October when he threatened to leave outgoing Councilman Armando Gomez “lifeless” and embarked on a social media rampage against candidate Marsha Grilli. Madnawat’s comments prompted Gomez to file a police report and, understandably, scared the crap out of Grilli, who did her best to ignore the vitriol leading up to her election. But it appears Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves is willing to look past all of that. Esteves recommended Madnawat, who’s already a member of the city’s Planning Commission, for a spot on a future ad hoc Campaign Finance Reform Committee. But in a council meeting earlier this month, the mayor’s almost-appointment of a guy who casually throws around death threats—followed by half-hearted apologies saying he didn’t really mean it—sparked some backlash. Grilli and Vice-Mayor Carmen Montano suggested he slow down the process so they can cast a wider net and elicit a more diverse set of candidates. The mayor’s critics are now calling him “King Esteves” due to his habit of rewarding friends and political allies with appointments to various city commissions, while people who disagree with him are often banished. Three years ago, 2016 council hopeful Mark Tiernan accused the mayor of staging a coup to bump him off the Planning Commission. Tiernan, a political consultant by day, still suspects it was payback for running the campaign for Esteves’ opponent, former mayor and county supervisor Pete McHugh. In 2009, Milpitas insiders suspected similar retaliation against Jennifer Lind, wife of CalPERS board member Ron Lind, when she got knocked off the Emergency Preparedness Commission. A tattler supposedly overheard her engaging in some unflattering gossip about the mayor and word got back to Esteves. Grilli says one of her priorities in her first year on the council will be to make the process of appointing people to advisory bodies more transparent and inclusive.

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8 Comments

  1. Thanking God someone out there is finally paying attention. This has gone on long enough. Since running for Mayor against Jose my wife and I are no longer invited to city functions. Talk about a poor sport.

    • It’s hard to take anything politicians do seriously when this stuff happens. Politics has no place for death threats!

  2. sjout what you said is very true, it is sad that such corruption on the local level is allowed to continue.

  3. I have also been appointed to this commission and I am very disappointed that Mr Madnawat also got voted in despite verbal “reprimands” from several council members and two no votes,he still was elected in with the three votes needed, According to last weeks Milpitas Post Article. Our mayor is calling this a “past discretion ” and “perceived threat”. Should be interesting to be on this committee and see what’s really going on!