Milpitas Mayor Defends NAACP Gala Drop-In, Declines Comment on City Manager’s Complaint

Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran—social worker, political noob and aspiring internet star—caused a minor stir, yet again, by showing up at last week’s NAACP gala. Apparently, the mayor showed up at the black-tie event in such casual attire that people thought he had crashed the party. “The worst-dressed people were wearing a dark suit,” quipped one sartorial critic. Tran settled in at a table reserved for folks from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, apparently because board director Barbara Keegan’s seat was empty; she was home recovering from a recent car collision. When servers began collecting meal tickets, however, the mayor reportedly skedaddled without a word. “He thinks he gets everything for free because he’s the mayor,” a party guest groused. Tran dismissed the remarks as ill-informed gossip. For one thing, he said, his outfit was on point: black patent leather shoes, a dress shirt, a V-neck sweater and gray slacks. “Slim fit,” he said of the pants. “Go ahead and put that in.” Far from crashing the chichi shindig, Tran said, he was dutifully making his rounds to multiple events that evening. Tran said his brief appearance was cleared ahead of time with the president of the San Jose-Silicon Valley NAACP, the Rev. Jethroe Moore. It seems the mayor’s antics—over the course of just four months in office—have put him under the microscope. At his swearing in last fall, he cribbed a President Barack Obama speech and later acknowledged the gaffe by quoting Jay Z without attribution. In January, he ran afoul of open meeting laws by violating the Brown Act. More recently, he’s drawn the ire of City Manager Tom Williams after disparaging his job performance and suggesting that he’s too old to stick around at City Hall much longer. Fly also learned that Williams lodged a formal complaint against Tran alleging age discrimination, among other things. When asked about it, Tran said: “Can’t really comment on anything about that at all.”

Send a tip to The Fly

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. Gee, Tom Williams is getting some of the medicine he doled out over the years. Surprise, surprise!! he doesn’t like it.

  2. I support the mayor we citizens voted for him time to stand with him who cares what he wears as long as he does his job at protecting our town

  3. Milpitas politicians and city officials are like a bad SNL skit!
    Hard to respect a city that was named after a infectious venereal disease.