Former councilman says leaders must approach decisions with a
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Dispatch will run profiles every day this week on each of the five candidates running for three city council seats Nov. 8. The series begins today with a profile on Peter Arellano.
Gilroy – A well connected ex-councilman has a physician’s prescription for the city’s most pressing concerns.
“As interconnected as a living human body, all of Gilroy’s sectors are vital and need to work together to function productively,” said Peter Arellano, 55, a local family physician who will seek a second term on city council Nov. 8.
Arellano, who lost a re-election bid in 2003 after serving his first and only term on council, said city leaders must approach decisions from a wider perspective that includes regional concerns, especially with respect to environmental and growth issues.
“It’s not that I’m against the development community,” Arellano said, “but I believe the minority interest must be represented more.”
Arellano points to his part in crafting the city’s agricultural mitigation policy, which requires developers to preserve an acre of farmland for every acre they develop, as one of the biggest accomplishments of his one prior term on council.
During his last term, Arellano was also an outspoken defender of plans to bring a health clinic for low-income families to Gilroy.
If re-elected, Arellano plans to focus his energy on the city’s large development projects, including the revitalization of the downtown and the Glen Loma Ranch project, which will bring 1,700 housing units to the city’s southwest quadrant over the next decade.
Arellano emphasized the importance of luring people with “disposable” income to the city’s historic core to support businesses while ensuring that those with lower incomes can access housing in the Glen Loma project. City leaders expect to sign off on both projects in coming months, likely after the council election.
Arellano’s family is intimately involved in the local political culture. The doctor’s sister, Lupe Arellano, was the last woman to serve on city council and his daughter, Bernardette, works as a field officer for U.S. Representative Mike Honda (D-San Jose). The council candidate also has close ties to local state legislators, including Assemblymen John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) and Simón Salinas (D-Salinas), both of whom endorsed Arellano for the Nov. 8 election.
“I think political connections are helpful because the money situation with Gilroy has always been exacerbated by state take-aways, and every time they raid us we end up in trouble,” Arellano said. “I think it’s important to have communication with state assemblyman and senators.
“We’re not an island,” he added. “Gilroy is connected to Monterey Bay, Hollister, San Jose, Silicon Valley, and the more people you know in those areas, the more you can influence decisions.”