Letters: Councilman Gartman merely trying to get some movement at City Hall

Dear Editor,
Councilman Craig Gartman merely suggested the Council look at
the idea of privatizing city services: he did not make a motion for
a specific action to be taken.
And the Council has tried for some time to get some action from
the city manager and or city staff for cost/information/etc. about
the possibility of the city utilizing Santa Clara County Fire
instead of having the local fire union doing it.
Councilman Gartman merely trying to get some movement at City Hall

Dear Editor,

Councilman Craig Gartman merely suggested the Council look at the idea of privatizing city services: he did not make a motion for a specific action to be taken.

And the Council has tried for some time to get some action from the city manager and or city staff for cost/information/etc. about the possibility of the city utilizing Santa Clara County Fire instead of having the local fire union doing it.

The city manager and staff have been “too busy” to provide the Council with any info.

Betty Brescoll, Gilroy

Don’t blame 4-on-a-fire-engine expensive staffing on firefighters

Dear Editor,

The Editorial Board needs to get its information straight before it makes statements that are false. The firefighters never got four-person staffing in binding arbitration. It was approved by the City Council during contract negotiations.

The fire union negotiated the number of personnel on all equipment and the City Council approved these numbers when they approved the contract. The results of the binding arbitration hearings are public record and perhaps you should review them before making any further comments.

All the decision stated was that there should be a staffing of eight personnel for safety reasons. The decision never mandated how these personnel were to be deployed. The City Council decides the level of service it provides its citizens, not the firefighters. They should have the “balls” to state this and quit using the firefighters as an excuse.

Moe McHenry, Gilroy

Editor’s note: Quoting from the letter: “All the decision stated was that there should be a staffing of eight personnel for safety reasons.” At the time, there were two stations in Gilroy. Thus, four staffing came out of a minimum manning provision. The result – 2 stations, 8 staff equal 4 on an engine. For the union it set precedent, so when the third station was proposed the position was four on an engine. A change in the minimum manning provision can still be negotiated by the city, however, it is subject to binding arbitration if the firefighters union does not agree. If it weren’t an issue, the city would simply reduce staffing at all the stations rather than opting to close a station. Finally, if the firefighters union is willing to drop the minimum manning provision immediately and permanently, all three stations (Sunrise included) could be re-opened staffed with three to an engine.

Grocery Outlet owners bid a fond farewell to the loyal customers

Dear Editor,

It was a sad moment for all of us to see the closing of the Gilroy store. It happened at a time when the Store had rediscovered its potential.

The once proud store that stood tall in the midst of the promising future has started to fade. Raised the signs of “Closing Out Sale”… not of defeat, but of challenge – a humiliating event, but also a humbling experience.

For the last 18 months, every morning before I open the store, I stand in front of it, utter a prayer, and look at its face for the day’s challenges.

The morning of March 22, 2010, I stood once more and looked again.

No longer visible signs of the future, but signs of yesterday. It is over. “Close Out” all over its face. I see sadness in the faces of loyal employees and customers and hear the heavy tone in their voices. There is pain, fear and sorrow.

I closed my eyes and tried to look beyond the simple storefront. What I found was unflinching faith.

We are proud of what we have accomplished to this store and for our neighborhood. We will stand and look again at its face to see new greater heights. Thank you so much! The Grocery Outlets last day of business will be Sunday, April 11. Thank you to all of our loyal customers and our hard working employees.

Gilbert and Janice Angkiangco, Gilroy

Let the right wingers and the rogue states leave the republic

Dear Editor,

Right wing Republicans and Tea Party extremists are talking about seceding from the United States. I say go for it. Governors like Rick Perry of Texas and Bob McDonald of Virginia want to inflame the hatred of America then they should leave and form their own country.

The southern Republican leaning states are the high welfare states and the progressive north is stuck supporting them. I would love to see them pay their own way and they can take the Bush debt with them. They can deregulate everything and pay for their own bailouts.

I am tired of putting up with the bad judgment of the politicians they elect. Maybe if they had to take care of themselves they they would understand that taking responsibility and fixing problems is more work that anger, apathy, and ignorance. But here in “Real America” we had an election. We won, you lost. Get used to it.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy

Why not give Gilroy residents a full discount all the time at Gardens?

Dear Editor,

Why not give Gilroy residents a discount all the time? All they’d have to ask for is a driver’s license or some other proof of residence.

Karen Chavez, Gilroy

Assembly candidate opposes funding for high speed rail project for budget reasons

Dear Editor,

I oppose state funding for the California High Speed Rail System. That’s why I am supporting AB 2121, introduced by California Assemblywoman Diane Harkey. This legislation would “reduce the amount of general obligation debt authorized pursuant to the ‘Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century’ to the amount contracted as of Jan. 1, 2011.”

In November 2008, voters approved by 52.7 percent a state debt of $10 billion for the construction of a high speed rail project. However, the total cost of the project, according to state estimates, is expected to reach between $40-$60 billion. A Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association study says the rail system will cost state taxpayers between $60-80 billion over time. While recent federal funding of $2.5 billion was awarded, further federal funding is not assured. Moreover, any federal funds must be matched with state bonds, meaning taxpayer money.

Typically, mass transit entities receive less than 10 percent of their revenue for operation from rider fares, the balance from taxpayers. AMTRAK is still subsidized after 20 years and billions spent. Take a look at any public transit bus or light train and check out the empty seats. Transit stations are few and far between. Creating the transit stations and connecting systems necessary to make the system usable will be left to county and local municipal budgets. We are better served by using any transportation funds available for the $100 billion backlog for maintenance and repair of our existing transport infrastructure.

Union members are being misled about new employment opportunities supposedly resulting from the High Speed Rail boondoggle. We have been told there will be X -jobs per $ million of expenditures. But the bulk of funds is being spent on rolling stock and real estate. Our public employee union members should support AB2121. Members of the state Transportation Committee are aware of the billion dollar-unfunded retirement liability for state employees, yet they are willing to risk that. If any union leader is still behind high speed rail project, membership should be questioning their claims to be looking out for their members.

Finally, the bond issues for the High Speed Rail System will compete with other state needs like senior care, education, public safety, and prisons. And folks, the bad news is that all of those programs are already facing cuts. State sales tax revenues are down 40 percent. Most construction unions’ hours-worked are down at least 40 percent. The state has already made some cuts but we are on course to run another $20 billion deficit this year. WE DON’T HAVE THE MONEY. We can’t print it, and we are likely not going to be able to borrow it much longer. Our state bond rating is in the tank, and, borrowing rates are expected to increase substantially. Tough decisions are going to have to be made. That’s why I support AB 2121. Let’s stop High Speed Rail until we can afford it.

Allen Barker, conservative GOP candidate 28th District, California state assembly

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