Mayor’s health unclear

Mayor Al Pinheiro, rushed to the hospital Friday after
complaining of severe back pains and chills, attended a funeral
service for a local leader Monday and planned to sit in tonight on
a much-anticipated meeting to approve the Hecker Pass Specific
Plan.
Gilroy – Mayor Al Pinheiro, rushed to the hospital Friday after complaining of severe back pains and chills, attended a funeral service for a local leader Monday and planned to sit in tonight on a much-anticipated meeting to approve the Hecker Pass Specific Plan.

Doctors have yet to make a final determination on Pinheiro’s health, who was sent back to the hospital for additional tests Monday evening after visiting a personal physician.

“I’m fine,” Pinheiro said, admitting he does feel “a little tired.”

Pinheiro left the house Monday morning to attend services for Bill Lindsteadt, the city’s economic development director who died last week after spending a month in the hospital with kidney problems and related conditions.

The mayor said he and the straight-talking Lindsteadt had grown close over the years, even if they clashed at times over policy. Pinheiro, Lindsteadt, and their spouses had planned to spend a week in June at the mayor’s vacation home in Portugal, his country of birth.

Pinheiro’s medical emergency was the second scare in a single week, which also saw Planning Commission Chair Dion Bracco hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. Bracco is at home recovering from heart surgery.

The mayor was rushed to Saint Louise Regional Hospital shortly before 2pm Friday, the first day of the council’s annual retreat. He had been complaining of back pains, chills, and had gone into cold sweats that morning, according to fellow council members and staff.

Pinheiro showed clear signs of discomfort all morning but insisted he could go on, according to Councilman Bob Dillon.

Shortly after sharing a lasagna lunch with councilmen, Pinheiro stood up and went outside as leaders continued discussing the city’s plan to rescue the library construction project.

A few moments later, Interim Fire Chief Hugh Holden checked on Pinheiro and immediately called 911.

An initial call for CALSTAR was canceled and Pinheiro was taken by ambulance to Saint Louise. Initial speculation that Pinheiro had suffered a heart attack gave away to doctor’s suspicions of a kidney-related ailment – potentially kidney stones.

Emergency-room doctors did not make a final determination, according to Pinheiro, who said he “was released with some concerns” Friday night and told to see his regular physician. He planned to return to Saint Louise for another round of tests Monday evening.

Pinheiro spent the weekend resting at home and reviewing documents in preparation for tonight’s City Council meeting.

The mayor has had a strong hand in shaping the Hecker Pass Specific Plan, stressing the importance of preserving farmland and guaranteeing a diverse housing mix. The plan, now five years in the making, will guide all future development along the scenic approach to Gilroy from the Santa Cruz ridgeline.

“I’ll be there [tonight] unless my doctor tells me not to go,” Pinheiro said. “If something major happens that would impair me from doing my job, I would certainly come out and let my colleagues and the city know. I don’t believe that it’s any such thing.”

Leave your comments