Combing through the Council candidates

As I thought about the upcoming Council race, I first tried to
rank what I felt were the most important issues for Gilroy, and
then looked at how the candidates felt about those issues.
As I thought about the upcoming Council race, I first tried to rank what I felt were the most important issues for Gilroy, and then looked at how the candidates felt about those issues. Clearly, downtown revitalization and reducing violence are high on my list, as is the high speed rail problem.

But the Medileaf lawsuit? Not so much. It’s a non-issue as far as I’m concerned. The business, regardless of its wares, opened without a license. If we had a city attorney, we wouldn’t worry about fighting frivolous lawsuits like this one. For the cost of legal fees for a single, large-scale case, we could have someone available all year.

A city attorney could also make sure our best interests are served with the implementation of high speed rail. This is an important infrastructure change, so long as Gilroy doesn’t get stuck with absurd costs and responsibilities. Whizzing at high speeds between San Francisco and Los Angeles: it shoulda happened decades ago. France has its TGV, Japan’s got its microsecond-timed trains … compared to them, American train travel is like we’re hitching a horse to the car and telling it to take its time.

A stop here in Gilroy? Great idea. But only if we can make something of downtown before that stop happens. Otherwise, the ghost town of our downtown will make people shudder and hold on until the next station. Perhaps we can project a hologram of a happy downtown to fool them just enough to disembark.

I’m a big proponent of downtown but in a your-mom-thinks-you’re-beautiful kind of way. Like, “Aw, we’re doing great! Keep it up!” I see incredible promise in Gilroy’s downtown, and it’s already markedly improved since my family moved here in 2007, when our first drive down Monterey yielded pained grimaces from us. Today I can walk it with a relatively composed face.

But seriously, if we ‘re expecting to make money off these purported train riders, we need to step up our game. Maybe we can move all the successful businesses to the same few blocks, and make sure that’s where the train stops. We’ll put up a huge street-sized mirror, making it look like there’s twice as much, and hiding the abandoned storefronts.

Piped-in music would be key. Maybe we can find out who did the “My god, this is magical and stirring at the same time” soundtrack for Gilroy Gardens, and hire them to create a Gilroy Downtown Theme Song.

At this point, after hearing all these great ideas, I’m sure you now consider me a write-in candidate, but you’ll have to settle for three of the seven official candidates.

My top choice is Leroe-Munoz. I occasionally wonder if people are drawn to politics because they are self-aggrandizing, seeking a publicly-recognized seat of power. But Leroe-Munoz’s pledge that he would, if elected, not accept a salary carries a lot of weight with me. It means he’s seeking public office for the OTHER reason – that he’s genuinely concerned about his city and wants to humbly serve it. He’s also on my page about a city attorney, and has put his money where his mouth is, by already serving with PAL – the Police Activities League that is meant to be the gang deterrent for youths.

Fueled by the Dispatch’s candidate Q&A, as well as a separate Q&A on the nonpartisan smartvoter.org website, here’s some off the cuff thoughts on the other candidates:

Valiquette: As someone who notices typesetting nuances, I thought something looked funny about Valiquette’s campaign signs around town. I went right up to one, and sure enough: the prefix “Re-” is painted over, so instead of saying “Re-Elect” it simply says “Elect.” Hm. As a former councilman, he’s earned the right to his “re-“… or does he not want to remind us of 2007’s defeat?

Bracco: A direct pipeline to God? Uh oh. Wars have been started over that kind of thing.

Barron: Seems tentative. In his responses to the Dispatch’s Q&A, he often replied, “I don’t know enough about that.” If you’re applying for the job, do the research. On the other hand, his enthusiasm for Gilroy seems genuine. And it’s refreshing to have someone admit they don’t know something rather than giving us Bushian Bluster.

Kloecker: He seems good. Impressive background, and the stated desire to be part of a cohesive team.

Greco: Would do away with Gilroy Gardens if need be. Horrified gasp! No vote for you.

Arellano: Didn’t bother to respond to the Dispatch’s Q&A, so what kind of respect for his constituency does that convey?

By the way, only Greco, Valiquette and Kloecker responded to the smartvoter questions. This site, put up by the League of Women Voters, is something I use election after election, to learn more about candidates and propositions. And no, it is not a feminist site: no endorsements are ever made. It is simply about providing solid information in one reliable place. Which is what women are all about anyway! Happy voting.

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