SAN FRANCISCO – Five neighboring California City Council Members – two currently voted as Mayor and three as Vice Mayor last year by their fellow Council members – are running for re-election in Daly City, Colma and South Francisco, the three northernmost cities in San Mateo County at the foot of the City and County of San Francisco. How they fare on Nov. 8 will affirm the electability of FilAm candidates and the power of the FilAm vote where Filipinos outnumber said cities’ populations of color.
Mayor Rod Daus-Magbual
Before venturing into politics, Daly City Mayor Rod Daus-Magbual, EdD, was an adjunct professor. Since his victorious first bid in 2018 to be the fourth FilAm on the 5-person City Council, he has become a fulltime tenured track Ethnic Studies Professor at Skyline College.
As mayor he proposed a business vacancy tax on empty storefronts that refuse to activate or rent out to potential businesses. The move would “provide revenue streams for our city,” he told Inquirer.net.
He wants his town, the most populous town in San Mateo County, to shift to a “greener economy and infrastructure.” To start, he urges low-income communities to avail themselves of rebates for e-bikes and electric car programs.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where his parents immigrated from the Philippines for his mother’s nursing job and where his father worked in the labor sector, Daus-Magbual witnessed the struggle of immigrants as he lives the aspiration of venerated community activists he introduces to his students. He serves through education on and off the San Bruno campus as executive director of Pin@y Educational Partnerships, a nonprofit program in tandem with universities to train prospective educators of every level for decolonizing curriculum development, lesson planning and teaching.
“My jobs intersect because it’s grounded in the historical responsibility to serve my communities and planting the seeds for future generations to become leaders,” said the father of two, whose ultimate goal is to continue toppling barriers for his children’s generation and onward “will carry on the historical responsibility to transform our world toward peace, love, and freedom.” His wife Dr. Arlene Daus-Magbual is his collaborator in their quest to foster cultural heritage pride in FilAm youth.
He is wont to quote pioneer FilAm activists like farm worker organizer Philip Vera Cruz and historian Dr. Dawn Mabalon in discussing his views, deliberate in alluding to their example and sacrifice in his own life path.
“I grew up watching FilAm celebrities who denied their cultural identity because of pressures of assimilation or the public perception that being Filipino was not popular. Being a Filipino American Mayor is a historical responsibility that I take pride in,” he explains his mission, conscious of his part in the continuum of self-discovery through the watershed moments in FilAm history.
“Being elected is a seat at the table,” he spells the role and privilege to make a difference in the lives of some 108,000 of whom 40 percent identify as Filipino.
Vice Mayor RAY BUENAVENTURA
If a Filipino American finally is honored in perpetuity as the late leader Alice Bulos whose name proclaimed on a highway marker, Ray Buenaventura thought of it. If 4 FilAms out of 5 comprise the City Council of Daly City, Buenaventura had poured his support for his three colleagues of Filipino descent with his endorsement and physical presence at their campaign sorties.
Buenaventura takes pride in his record of public safety, supporting increased funding for police and firefighters.
First elected in 2011, the Philippine-born lawyer may not be proficient in Tagalog but is quick to respectfully greet elders putting his forehead on the back of their hand in the customary “mano po.” His quarter-century law practice focuses on indigent criminal defense.
In 2014 Buenaventura lost the race for San Mateo County Superior Court. He has become the elder statesman among his fellow Council Members, the voice of wisdom and experience.