Dillon Q&A with the Dispatch

Name: Robert T. Dillon

Age: 58

Family members: Live with Phyllis Armenta, a Library commissioner and Private Investigator. The brains of the outfit.

Years in Gilroy: 20

Occupation/employer name/years worked: Registered Process Server, County of Santa Clara. 20 years.

Past council/commission experience and term dates: Library commissioner (and also chairman) 1997-2001. Incumbent councilmember.

Campaign director/coordinator: Me

Campaign headquarters: 295 Victoria Drive, Gilroy, CA, 95020

Campaign Website: None. E-mail me at [email protected]

List of endorsements: County Supervisor Don Gage, Mayor Emeritus Mike Gilroy

Why are you running for city council?

I think I’ve been effective in the last four years, and feel I have more ideas to offer to continue the progress of the last four years.

What qualifies you to represent the citizens of Gilroy and why are you the best candidate?

Attention to detail, a willingness to listen, and enough intelligence to consider all viewpoints. I’m also collegial with my fellow councilmembers and have bipartisan support because I’m reasonable and approachable.

What are the three biggest challenges facing Gilroy and how would you address them?

1. Now that the downtown is cooking, sidewalks. We bond them out and fix them. Details, such as trees, etc., subject to discussion with colleagues.

2. Bring higher-paying jobs to the county’s poorest city. Financial incentives worked for retail, and should for jobs, as well, keeping in mind that jobs incentives are riskier.

3. Ensure that the new streetscape project is scheduled correctly and kept on time.

If elected, would you vote in favor of ending binding arbitration or subjecting arbitrator decisions to voter approval?

I’d vote to send binding arbitration to the ballot as long as all interested parties understand it will probably lose. It’s probably a waste of city money to send it to the ballot in view of current state law, specifically Code of Civil Procedure 1299.

As to submitting it to the people, no. That’s why I draw a paycheck – to make tough decisions.

Do you have a financial rescue plan in the event the fire union wins most or all of its demands in the current arbitration process? How serious is this issue?

A win is contemplated in the current city budget. It means service cuts that may approach brutal.

Should the city consider switching to contracting for county fire service? Why or why not?

We have twice and there’s not much difference. I should also note that county firefighters have “3 at 50.” I like local control of police and fire. I’m just proud enough of my city that I like seeing ‘GILROY” on the emergency vehicles.

Does the city’s residential development ordinance need to be updated to better meet growth needs? If so, how specifically?


Should the downtown area be exempted from the RDO in order to preserve redevelopment momentum?

A bit. Keep in mind that buildout will occur fairly fast. It’s not the Outlets with tons of land.

Should the city set spending limits for local elections?

No objection.

The affordable housing index has been set at 15% for new housing projects? Is that the right percentage, why or why not?

Yes, it is. “Affordable” housing is really “subsidized”housing. Builders are entitled to a fair profit the same as anyone else.

What are the five most pressing capital improvements in the city of Gilroy? How would you prioritize them?

1. sidewalks

2. sidewalks

3. sidewalks

4. sidewalks

5. sidewalks.

Nobody walks on the storm drains.

Do you think the city should ask residents to pay for capital projects, such as storm drains and or sidewalk repair?

Sidewalks, no. Council broke them, Council gets to fix them. Pottery Barn rules.

Storm drains, sure. They’re infrastructure, and old.

Given the wide latitude the Supreme Court has given local governments regarding eminent domain, what is your position on its use? Please elaborate with examples.

Kelo v. New Haven is an abomination. Eminent domain should be used rarely and in extremely difficult situations. .

Do you believe LAFCO policies on annexation of farmland on the city’s edge is too restrictive, not restrictive enough, or about right?

They’re terrible. Why can’t 23 acres by the Sports Park come in to avoid an “Island,” and yet the city of San Jose can build a city of 60K in the middle to nowhere?

We need to think about litigation the next time we get a bad decision.

Would you support having a High Speed Rail Authority stop in or near Gilroy?

No, I wouldn’t. It’s a bigger boondoggle than BART to San Jose, which will bankrupt VTA if it happens.

Also, there’s all ready one 35,000 feet above us. It’s called “Southwest Airlines,” and seems to run fine without a nearly bankrupt state selling bonds to fund it.

What are the two biggest economic challenges facing Gilroy? How would you Handle them?

1. Better jobs. We need to raise wages by attracting new industries. Council is discussing an economic incentive plan for such businesses that would be analgous to the ones we used to start the retail tax base explosion. Finding the money to bond out sidewalk repair without our citizens paying.

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