Gilroy City Council race: Meet the Candidates

Peter Arellano

The seven hopefuls vying for the three open seats for the Gilroy
City Council recently attended Leadership Gilroy’s candidates forum
at Lizarran Tapas Restaurant. Their responses to key issues for the
upcoming November election were taken from the forum and
conducted by the Gilroy Dispatch Editorial Board.
The seven hopefuls vying for the three open seats for the Gilroy City Council recently attended Leadership Gilroy’s candidates forum at Lizarran Tapas Restaurant. Their responses to key issues for the upcoming November election were taken from the forum and interviews

conducted by the Gilroy Dispatch Editorial Board.

Peter Arellano

Age: 60

Family: Married with two daughters

Employment: Physician and city


Background: Has served on City Council from 1999 to 2003 and from 2005 to present; attended UC Riverside, UCLA School of Public Health and Stanford Medical School

Where he stands

MediLeaf: He supported the failed ordinance that would have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Gilroy and has opposed the city’s suit to close it down.

Gangs: Would vote for more funding in parks and recreation projects to prevent a growth in gang membership. This would keep at-risk youth busy and out of trouble.

Parking: Would propose building downtown parking lots behind blocks to deal with parking problem. Stressed the urgency of dealing with parking before downtown Gilroy starts growing.

Art Barron

Age: 47

Family: Married with four children

Employment: Program director for the Mexican American Community Services Agency

Background: Served on Gilroy Planning Commission from 2005 to 2009

Where he stands

Police and firefighter salaries: Believes public safety is a priority for residents and agrees with the current 72 percent allocation of the general fund toward police and fire departments.

MediLeaf: The city made the right decision when deciding to sue MediLeaf. Marijuana dispensaries are not properly regulated and not enough restrictions have been placed on marijuana buyers. Any dispensary needs to be properly zoned so it’s not next to schools or other places where children frequent.

Attracting business to Gilroy: The city is too dependent on retail and would like to see hi-tech businesses relocate here. By streamlining the permit process, they’d be more likely to do so.

Dion Bracco

Age: 52

Family: Married with six children

Employment: Mayor Pro Tempore, owner of Bracco’s Towing & Transport, Inc.

Background: Served on City Council from 2006 to 2010; served on Gilroy Planning Commission from 2003 to 2005

Where he stands

Council experience: Acknowledged the City Council has had a lot of distractions because the city manager isn’t being held accountable for the actions of his staff. Believes city staff favored east Gilroy alignment for the high-speed rail, and didn’t follow the council’s instructions. “When we hired our city administrator, I really thought things were going to change and that hasn’t happened.”

Gangs: Proposes a program such as the Police Activities League along with pinpointing the top 10 at-risk youth and those already in gangs.

Downtown association: A strong downtown association and shop owners who are willing to keep uniform and longer hours of service will lead to a bustling downtown and change the perception of downtown being dangerous.

Pasquale Greco

Age: 72

Family: Single with three daughters

Employment: Retired

Background: Electrical department worker for the City of Santa Clara

Where he stands

PG&E: Gilroy should provide its own electricity. The city can rent the PG&E system and operate it on its own. This will greatly reduce electricity fees for homeowners and entice businesses to come to Gilroy. Lower electrical bills will also stimulate individual spending.

Police and firefighter salaries: Opposed to cutting the salaries of police officers and firefighters and would rather reach into the city’s reserves, if necessary. If budget cuts are needed, Gilroy Gardens should be sold.

City planning: City should get rid of residential growth control, to stimulate more development in Gilroy. “If the developers want to build, let them build. We need jobs.”

Paul Kloecker

Age: 75

Family: Married

Employment: Engineer manager

Background: Served on the City Council from 1983 to 1995; Officer, U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps for 22 years; Vietnam veteran receiving the Bronze Star award

Where he stands

Council politics: Not satisfied with the rifts in City Council. Highlighted the cohesion in the council he served on 15 years ago. Would be a uniting force, not only because he has experience with council diplomacy, but also because he is liked by “damn near everybody.”

High-speed rail: He has some reservations about it going downtown, but he would like to see an alignment with Highway 101.

Binding arbitration: Does not favor it. He believes councilmembers and unions should discuss issues without an outside arbiter.

Peter Leroe-Muñoz

Age: 30

Family: Single

Employment: San Benito County deputy district attorney

Background: University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School; San Benito County Latino Legal Professional and Attorney’s Association; Police Activities League in San Benito County

Where he stands

City attorney: Would be in favor of an in-house attorney rather than contracting the services of Berliner Cohen. Alternately, he would contract a less-expensive local legal service.

City Council salaries: Councilmembers should not be paid. He will not accept a salary, if elected.

High-speed rail: When asked whether he supports the high speed rail if it were elevated rather than trenched, he said its economic benefits would trump any aesthetic concerns. He would prefer the rail come through downtown Gilroy, rather than taking the east Gilroy alignment, as it would stimulate businesses.

Russ Valiquette

Age: 50

Family: Single with three sons

Employment: Park operations manager at Gilroy Gardens

Background: Served on City Council from 2003 to 2007

Where he stands

City funding for Downtown Association: Businesses don’t want the government getting involved and would rather see the association find funds elsewhere.

Attracting business to Gilroy: Is looking for the appropriate business model to bring the corporate offices of big businesses to Gilroy. The city has not sufficiently enticed big businesses and would like to re-evaluate the fees associated with setting up a business.

Fiscal responsibility: Said he has become more fiscally conservative since the end of his term as city councilman in 2007. The city should be run like a household, distinguishing between what the city needs and what the city wants.

Plenty of candidates want a seat

Candidates Q&A

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