Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran and Vice Mayor Karina Dominguez have been at each other’s throats for a while now, feuding on Facebook and exchanging choice words from the dais. Now, it looks like Tran so regrets appointing her as second-in-command that he wants to slash the term from two years to one.
At last week’s City Council meeting, Tran couched the idea as a way to give someone else a chance, “someone who hasn’t been vice mayor,” he explained. Since Councilwoman Carmen Montano has already served in that role, that would leave their colleagues Bob Nuñez and Anthony Phan.
Dominguez joined her fellow councilors in expressing support for the plan at the meeting, but slightly changed her tune later that evening in a Facebook post about being disappointed with Tran for not giving her a heads up.
“If you are a young woman with an opinion, you will be silenced in favor of the status quo,” she wrote. “If you stand up against power, you will be disrespected and forced into the sexist political ways of the system.”
Dominguez tells Fly that the council recently agreed at a retreat not to unload surprises—like last week’s bombshell—on each other. She notes that Tran, not incidentally, was absent from that outing even after it was rescheduled to accommodate his unpredictable work demands.
While open to relinquishing the honorific, Dominguez says she’s concerned that the mayor’s plan distracts from “pressing needs in Milpitas” and that it sends a negative message to young girls who might aspire to leadership positions. In a subsequent Facebook post, she urged her supporters to wear white in solidarity when the proposal comes up for discussion at the Dec. 3 council session.
Tran, for his part, balks at Dominguez’s claims of bias. To presume that the “decision is based on gender or race,” he says, “is not comprehensible.”