Maybe it’s the April heat, but folks are fired up over salaries

How about this crazy weather going from a record 100-degree heat
one day to a 67-degree high at week’s end? It’s enough to make you
sweat …
How about this crazy weather going from a record 100-degree heat one day to a 67-degree high at week’s end? It’s enough to make you sweat …

Which is what the local “watchdog” pols who have been on the City Council for more than one term are doing as the city salary issue stays front, center and white hot … News bulletin from multiple Dispatcho reporters in the field … “Great moment in Gilroy Rotary Club history Tuesday when Sheriff Don Christopher asked MayorAl to stand. “Saw your name in The Dispatch today, you are the mayor, don’t you think you could have said “no” a few times.” Ten dollars. General applause.” A $10 fine from the Rotary sheriff hardly begins to cover it, but …

It’s going to take exactly that kind of public pressure and scrutiny – genuine and valid criticism encased in good fun – to get this feeding at the public trough situation that’s considered “routine” turned around. Cheers for Don Christopher who had the guts to acknowledge what everyone’s thinking. Perhaps Rotary should invite the labor union representatives up – Jim Buessing, for example – to speak to the salary and benefits issues and stance on negotiations for firefighters.

No negotiating room in the battle of the Boyles … Giant(s) flop Barry Zito is twittering about Susan Boyle, the matronly Englishwoman all over YouTube who stunned the crowd and judges on the British version of American Idol. But Danny Boyle, meanwhile, is feasting on Anaheim Duck as the go-to guy in the clutch for the San Jose Sharks. My vote’s for Danny B. who made it quite a happy 50th birthday for Gilroy’s Shark Man Tom Smith Tuesday night at Westside Grill … and don’t forget bartendress “T” Glover still has raffle tickets available for a signed Sharks jersey. All proceeds going to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society …

Good works abound … stopped in to get a quick and expert haircut from my friend Flicka, as in Jill Flick (who’s too young to get that demi-entendre) at the Looking Good Salon and watched Loretta Ventura gently snip off a foot of her client’s hair for a donation to Locks of Love which is “a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.” The hair has to be a certain length and you mail it in from a kit they send you. More info at www.locksoflove.org or available locally from Loretta or Jill.

Lots of love for the woman who gave you your locks, Mom, is coming up in May. The Mother’s Day Breakfast May 10 at Coe Park is a keeper. A short walk flanked by wildflowers leads you to the Ridgeview camp site where scrambled eggs, pork sausage, homemade drop biscuits, country fried potatoes, orange juice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and fresh local strawberries dusted with powdered sugar await. Plus, there’s fiddle and banjo music by Prairie Flower and Cactus Bob during the meal which is served from 8:30 to 11 a.m. It’s $5 for vehicle entry and $14 for breakfast (senior discounts available). Details: 779-2728 or www.coepark.org.

Benefiting the entire community is the good work of Gilroy Anti-Crime team graffiti investigator Officer Hugo Del Moral and the supporting cast at GPD. Eight vandals have been arrested this month already. A resident spotted two 17-year-olds with felt-tip pens and called 9-1-1. They were arrested and charged with felony vandalism. A follow-up investigation by Officer Del Moral resulted in one dummkopf being charged with an additional 120 counts of vandalism. So, call 9-1-1 – seriously, that’s what the PD says to do if you see a vandal in the act. Catch ’em and hopefully the courts will hold the parents responsible for the thousands of dollars in damage caused … and get this, one David Anthony Dimas, a 20-year-old, was arrested with a 15-year-old for spray painting the rear of the Hecker Pass Shopping Center walls – a 20-year-old? Grow up. If you have information on vandals, Officer Del Moral is at 846-0384. BTW, he’s my nominee for this month’s Chamber of Commerce’s Good Egg Award.

Police Chief Denise Turner is a good egg, too, who could earn her bacon if she would iron out the apparent wrinkles in the PD’s all-over-the-board response to proprietors who want to book live music downtown. Bob Tapella, owner of Garlic City Billiards, got the word he’d be cited for having live music, though no ordinance could be, well, cited by the PD. Let’s agree that entertainment has to be a key element in a lively downtown, as anyone who has ever been to the French Quarter of New Orleans, for example, understands. That’s not carte blanche, of course, but the rules have to be reasonable and, most importantly, consistently enforced. It should not be an officer-by-officer discretion enforcement. That lack of definition only results in problems and misunderstandings.

Definitions are importante – like the humorous one that defines insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Perfectly applicable in the case of the multitude of vacant, ugly, blight-inducing URM – that’s unreinforced masonry – buildings downtown. For decades, the threats from the city – terse letters, heavy fines and building closure – have been issued all to no avail. There needs to be a new game plan, folks, and some creative thinking. The face-to-face dialogue and survey which downtown advocates Steve Ashford and Gary Walton proposed is a good start. The URM problem simply has to be solved or downtown progress will find it very tough sledding getting to the next level.

Plenty sleddin’ and steppin’ going on at the annual Crab Cioppino Feed, the 29th such shindig, that benefits the Gilroy High Athletic Association. If you like crab, if you like garlic bread dunked in a scrumptious slow-cooked red sauce washed down with a cold beer, then go to www.gilroyhighschool.com and get your $50 tickets. The Cruzers will be the Shaboom replacement in the Christopher Ranch barn this year and gosh darn it, I just can’t miss the chance to use this word – it’s a real hootenanny. What’s a … well, it’s “a gathering at which folksingers entertain often with the audience joining in,” according to Mr. Webster. And that fits the Cioppino Feed to a T – the crowd’s always good entertainment, too. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 9. Get there early ’cause it’s all you can eat.

Good eats, too, this Sunday at the Italian Catholic Federation breakfast Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Church. the full fare starts at 7 a.m. and the proceeds fill up the ICF scholarship funds.

While we’re plugging away, there’s the First-Ever-Hopefully-to-be-Annual Visitor’s Bureau Golf Tournament which, given the organization, should have the best fruit of the vine prizes in local golf tourney history. We’re talking magnums of fun. Jane Howard, who courts visitors for Gilroy full time as the VB director, is running the show so you know it will be a smooth operation. The date to Tee Off for Tourism is Friday, June 19 at Eagle Ridge. A 1 p.m. shotgun allows plenty of time for morning work – and don’t forget the fabulous wine prizes. You can even download the sign-up sheet at the VB site: www.gilroyvisitor.org. Cool …

Birthday cool is serving up a complete game five-hitter on your big day, which is what Chico State sophomore Pete Mickartz did to earn Athlete of the Week honors. If you want to “catch” the former GHS star, he’ll be on the mound in Monterey on Friday, May 1 for a 3 p.m. start.

Mark Derry is the editor of The Gilroy Dispatch. Reach him at [email protected]

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