Q&A with Gilroy City Council candidate Peter Leroe-Muoz

Leroe-Muñoz

Before interviewing the candidates, the Editorial Board of the
Dispatch asked each to respond to a dozen written questions. The
Editorial Board stipulated that the responses to each question be
limited to 400 words and let the candidates know that the answers
would be published at www.gilroydispatch.com and sent out to
subscribers to the Dispatch mobile application.
Here are the answers. The responses have not been edited for
grammar or clarity.
Councilman and candidate Peter Arellano was the only person in
the race who did not respond to the request.
Before interviewing the candidates, the Editorial Board of the Dispatch asked each to respond to a dozen written questions. The Editorial Board stipulated that the responses to each question be limited to 400 words and let the candidates know that the answers would be published at www.gilroydispatch.com and sent out to subscribers to the Dispatch mobile application.

Here are the answers. The responses have not been edited for grammar or clarity.

Councilman and candidate Peter Arellano was the only person in the race who did not respond to the request.

1. What are the best characteristics of Gilroy?

One of Gilroy’s best characteristics is its location. Silicon Valley attracts many high-tech residents, and our agricultural lands provide the finest produce. Gilroy’s location along major highways is also important for local industry.

2. What does Gilroy need to improve on most?

We need to revitalize our downtown. Gilroy also needs to proactively address gang activity, and ensure that city money is spent wisely and responsibly.

3. Do you believe that the public employee benefit system, including retirement, needs reform? If so, be specific on what you would advocate.

Employers and employees share the responsibility of making contributions to benefits. To avoid an unaffordable benefit system, employers and employees must collaborate to re-evaluate the current levels of contributions and retirement ages.

4. Did the City Council pursue the right course of action to shut down MediLeaf, the medical marijuana dispensary in Gilroy? Explain your position. Also, will you vote for or against state Proposition 19?

Yes, because it was not in compliance with city zoning ordinances. I will vote against Proposition 19, because medical marijuana needs rigorous testing to determine the risks and benefits.

5. What is your perception of the current Gilroy City Council?

The council is sometimes unnecessarily divided and contentious. Decisions should never be personal. Disagreement is a natural part of democracy, and should be addressed with civility.

6. Would you seriously consider contracting out for city public safety services? Why or why not?

Only if necessary to prevent a loss of personnel or services. Contracting out risks the quality of services, because outside workers are not familiar with Gilroy, or have a relationship of trust with residents.

7. What is downtown’s role in the community? Is it important? If so, what would you do to revitalize the area?

It provides economic activity and a cultural identity. The city needs to be more proactive in working with businesses to fix unreinforced masonry buildings. We also need to maintain CalTrain and VTA service, and create a weekly farmers market.

8. What ideas do you have for economic development and job creation? Please be specific.

Creating a municipal power authority would allow the city to provide energy at cheaper rates, encouraging business growth. Additionally, the city should ensure impact fees are proportional to the value of business property.

9. Tell us something about you personally that wouldn’t show up on your resume, but that would help make you an effective Council member?

I believe that leadership begins with personal responsibility and leading by example. Therefore, I will decline any salary or benefits if elected.

10. Are city expenditures properly balanced between public safety and other city services such as parks and recreation? If not, what change would you advocate?

Safety services are an important expenditure, but there are also other important areas for spending. We must maintain open dialogue to work in good faith with employees to reduce unnecessary expenses.

11. In calendar year 2009, 30 city employees made more than $20,000 in overtime pay led by Fire Captains Ed Bozzo ($54,368 in OT pay), Paul Butler ($41,267 in OT pay) and Chris Weber ($36,554 in OT pay). Is this a city management issue? If so, what changes would you advocate?

Gilroy needs to balance adequate safety nets with responsible spending. Excessive overtime costs are simply not sustainable. I advocate that the city and its employees establish a fixed rate of overtime income that may be earned for each position.

12. What is your vision for Gilroy and what would you do specifically to advance that vision?

I want a thriving and prosperous downtown center, and I want our residents and children to be safe and comfortable in their community. I will work with business and community leaders to revitalize downtown, and partner with law enforcement, schools, and parents to reduce gang activity.

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