Five interested in council seats opening in Nov.

Ron Kirkish

It may only be March, but at least two Gilroy residents have set
their sights on open City Council seats in November.
It may only be March, but at least two Gilroy residents have set their sights on open City Council seats in November.

Incumbent Councilman Dion Bracco and former Councilman Russ Valiquette both have announced intentions to run for a council seat this year. Meanwhile, former planning commissioner Art Barron, Gilroy Unified School District trustee Denise Apuzzo and community activist Ron Kirkish also all said they have considered making a council run, as they have all been approached community members who said they should run. However, none of those three have committed to doing so yet.

Bracco, owner of Bracco’s Towing & Transport, announced last week that he had made the decision to run after consulting with his wife. He has served on the council since 2005.

City finances will continue to be one of the top issues facing the council, Bracco said.

“There are a lot of big things we’re talking about, but the most important thing is our budget,” he said.

The terms for Bracco and council members Craig Gartman and Peter Arellano all expire this year. Arellano already has announced he is seeking a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Arellano said he is focusing his time and energy on the supervisorial race and has not begun to think about what may happen if he is not elected to that position.

“I’m not even thinking of the council,” he said.

Gartman also said it was too early to decide whether he will run for his seat once again.

“There’s so much work to be done,” he said. “It’s not something I’ve entertained yet.”

Valiquette, who sat on the council from 2003 to 2007, said several people have approached him about running for council once again. Valiquette, who works as park operations manager for Gilroy Gardens, believes public safety and sewer and water services should be top priorities for the city.

He also said he hopes to bring civility to negotiations between the city and between public safety unions and to work toward improving relations among council members in general.

“Honestly, I can say I’ve never seen a council that has a harder time of working out problems,” Valiquette said.

Also in the undecided camp is Apuzzo, who said she has not decided yet whether she will run for school board again.

“Obviously, the school board is where my interest lies,” Apuzzo said. “But I also live in the city, and I don’t agree with everything that’s going on.”

City Clerk Shawna Freels said a few people have inquired about running for council, but said no one can begin to pull out papers for the position until July.

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