It Takes Money to Put on the Garlic Festival

Where’s all the moolah?

I’m calling because I read the article about the Garlic Festival
and that they donated $300,000 to local charities. This is a big
deal that Gilroy does, but … it seems odd to me that with all
your numbers that 129,000 plus people and they only donated
$300,000.
Where’s all the moolah?

“I’m calling because I read the article about the Garlic Festival and that they donated $300,000 to local charities. This is a big deal that Gilroy does, but … it seems odd to me that with all your numbers that 129,000 plus people and they only donated $300,000. That’s a little over $2 a person and I think they’re charging $10 to get in then they’re making all this money on food. It would be interesting if the Dispatch exposed that a little more, not only what the ratios are, but how is it the Garlic Festival Association, that’s supposed to be a big charitable, is able to buy business property downtown with today’s prices. That seems a little odd for a charitable organization. Thank you.”

Red Phone:

“I don’t think that people realize the expense of running this event,” said Joann Kessler, assistant executive director of the Garlic Festival Association. She said the event costs more than $1 million to run each year. In addition to its $300,000 in donations to local charities, the group has pledged $250,000 to the future arts center. In the last 27 years, the Garlic Festival Association has given out more than $7.25 million.

Kessler said the festival association keeps $1.5 million in reserve for financial emergencies, but said only a fraction of that money will go toward a new office it plans to build at Lewis and Monterey streets. The bulk of financing for the project will come from the sale of its current office space.

Kessler said the group issues an annual report in January detailing its expenditures. In the meantime, she said the “Garlic Festival Association’s door is always open for anyone with questions or comments about our charitable efforts.”

Signs, signs everywhere

“I have a question. As I have been driving through town, I’ve noticed the holiday boutique, from the Nov. 12 an 13 for Fortino Winery, fluorescent signs. I’ve seen them on at least five or six different corners. I’ve seen them plastered downtown. I want to know if they had permission to put these signs up and why are they left up past the event times? Does anyone enforce the policy of taking down signs? Just wondering. Thank you.”

Red Phone:

Code Enforcement Officer Scott Barron said that “if it’s something stapled to a telephone pole, they’re not legal at all. Period. But we’re not generally pro-active in going after that type of stuff unless directed by council. It is difficult because it would take a full-time person to manage the signs in the city.”

Earlier in the year, Barron said he cracked down on the use of A-board signs at the request of City Council, which had received a number of complaints. So if you really want action, call a local councilman. 

You can also reach Barron at 846-0440.

Inconvenient voting

“Hello Red Phone, I was hoping you could use your unlimited resources to find out who designates the polling places. Who’s bright idea was it to send people who live on Hecker Pass on a 22 mile round-trip drive to vote on Croy Road in Morgan Hill? We’re a little surprised by this and curious who would suggest this place for us. If you could find out, that would be great. Thank you.”

Red Phone:

Sorry for the delay in answering your question, caller, but even with its resources, Red Phone has been unable to make contact with anyone about it. After numerous attempts and messages left, not a single call has been returned.

It assumes that because it was a special election, voting locations were clumped together – creating a drive for some.

But, if you consider what people in Iraq have to go through in their attempt to cast a vote, the Red Phone thinks maybe none of us should complain too loudly.

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