SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — As COVID-19 continues to severely impact East San Jose, a San Jose official announced Tuesday a five-point economic plan aimed to help boost the local economy. 

San Jose Planning Commission Vice-Chair Rolando Bonilla outlined five immediate steps that the Mayor and City Council can take during the current budget process.

“I am here today because I am urging the city of San Jose to make East San Jose a priority and make a $6.5 million investment, essentially a Marshall plan for East San Jose, said Bonilla. 

“For too many generations East San Jose has been financially neglected, look around you, these stores were closed before COVID and if you keep going around that’s the norm unfortunately.”

Amid the pandemic, Bonilla says the generations of financial neglect have finally been exposed to the broader world. 

Over the last year, East San Jose residents and businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic at a much higher rate than other parts of the city. 

“So what I am asking the city to do is quite simple, what I am asking them to do is to demonstrate leadership, to right the wrongs of the past and actually make East San Jose a place where they’re going to invest dollars to ensure that our community is at the forefront.”

“And that equally our community is finally given the space to generate that much more opportunity not only for local families but for the city as whole.”

Bonilla serves as the Vice-Chair of the Planning Commission representing San Jose City Council District 5. 

At Tuesday’s press conference, through funds raised from the East San Jose COVID Relief Fund, Bonilla and Business Circle LatinX presented a grant to the owner of Zuñigas Restaurant and Cakery. 

Felipa Zuñiga tells KRON4 News she applied for state and federal financial assistance but it  still was not sufficient enough to keep her business running. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, Zuñiga says she was forced to close for a few months and had to let go of most of her employees to cut down on expenses. 

Translation: Spanish to English

“Yes, they have helped me a little but the truth is not enough,” said Zuñiga.

“We need more help not to let our businesses fall, like me there are many people who are in the same situation, wanting to save our business because our life is here, all our money is invested here.”

Breakdown of East San Jose Five-Point Economic Plan

• East San Jose Small Business Grant Program — $2 million

• East San Jose Non-Profit Grant Program — $2 million

• Small Business Technical Assistance — $1 million

• Pilot Universal Basic Income Program — $500,000

• Job Training and Employment Resources- — $1 million