We Will Miss ‘T.J.’; Grading the Council Candidates

I was deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Gilroy
Unified School Board President T. J. Owens.
I was deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Gilroy Unified School Board President T. J. Owens. Over the years, I have seen T.J. at numerous Board meetings and out in the community. Just last week, I ran into T.J. while he was walking near my neighborhood. I have had many opportunities to speak with him on various school campuses; I would say that he seemed most in his element at the Back-to-School nights and other school events which he would attend.

I always got the feeling that his attendance at these events was not due to the fact that this was just part of the job; he genuinely enjoyed being with the students and their families. His devotion and pride in his family was apparent the moment you struck up a conversation with him, as was his commitment to the promise of education. His death is a great loss to our community.

n n n

I recently attended the first City Council candidate forum. It turned out to be a fine night for all the contenders. Here is how I graded the candidates:

Peter Arellano: Arellano is not a natural public speaker. He is much more effective in a personal dialogue or in a conversational setting; thus his strengths do not shine in a panel setting. While his answers delivered his message, he needs to work on refining his answers so that he doesn’t go over the time limit. He only fumbled a bit at the end, when he needed to read his campaign message, which he should have down cold by now. Overall, I would give Arellano a “B”.

Dion Bracco: Like Arellano, Dion is also not a natural public speaker. His answers were less polished than the sitting council members, but he did a good job answering questions from the perspective of a business owner. Dion would do well to practice his pitch so that his views don’t appear to be just “agreeing with the guy next to me.” I would give Dion a grade of “B”.

Bob Dillon: Dillon answered the questions brought before him clearly and articulately. He didn’t mince words, and didn’t feel the need to stretch out his answers just to fill the allotted space of time. He comes across as the most intelligent of the candidates. I would give Dillon a grade of “A”.

Craig Gartman: Gartman was the most well-prepared of the candidates. His timing was perfect, and he delivered his answers with a poise that showed that he truly believes the words he is choosing. Gartman appeared professional and confident, and for that he deserves a grade of “A”.

Charlie Morales: Morales appeared to be the least polished of the incumbents, but every answer he gave was straight talk. He didn’t fumble or mince words, and he used the kind of understated tones that people find appealing; not unlike the tone of a priest or minister. Morales natural easy demeanor and his clear grasp of the issues earned him an “A”.

All in all, this was a very good showing by all of our candidates. I especially appreciate the outstanding job done by Susan Murphy Patereau. Her poise as the moderator of the event leaves me disappointed that she wasn’t sitting among the candidates. Again, I am dismayed that not one of the many amazingly qualified women in Gilroy is seeking public office. The men who sit or seek to sit on City Council all seem like they would be easy to work beside.

A very small audience was present to listen to the candidates. Tonight, there will be another wonderful opportunity for residents to come out and hear the candidates and ask questions of them. The United Neighborhood Association is sponsoring one of the final forums tonight at the Gilroy High School Theater from 7 to 9pm. I urge every citizen who cares about the future of our town to come out and decide who they feel will best represent them.

Leave your comments