Letters: Unintended consequences of Gilroy’s ‘shovel-ready’ project policy

Sometimes even the best intentions have unintended consequences.
The proposed

Shovel Ready project on Wildflower Court at Mesa Road is a prime
Dear Editor,

Sometimes even the best intentions have unintended consequences.

The proposed “Shovel Ready project on Wildflower Court at Mesa Road is a prime example. The normal Residential Development Ordinance process requires developers to compete for building allotments based on a point system that adds or subtracts points for things such as location, traffic impact, and amenities.

This process results in only the best projects receiving approval. The property on Wildflower Court has been entered in this competition at least four times. Once as a 62-unit project, twice as a 32-unit project and once as a 12-unit project. Using the competitive process this property has never earned any building allotments. The current 12-unit approval was attained by the developer using an exception to the process for in-fill subdivisions of 12 units or less.

The new “Shovel Ready” exemption would allow this project to increase density fourfold with no consideration for its value to the community. The five simple requirements of this exemption are based solely on the speed by which a project can be built. The developer has provided a hastily designed project with the sole intent of taking advantage of this exemption to circumvent the competitive process.

A development of this type has been proven on four separate occasions to be inappropriate on this property. At the City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 1 we will be asking the mayor and City Council to deny this request and maintain the current status of this property. Please join us in asking city officials require the developer to earn the right to increase density on this property through the RDO competition and not through the back door.

Thomas and Becky Fischer, Gilroy

Worry about the city budget, stay out of Mi Pueblo’s color scheme

Dear Editor,

I find the brouhaha regarding the colors of Mi Pueblo quite offensive. Government control of private matters need to be severely limited. Governments big and small have way to much power over our liberties.

It always starts with innocuous common sense controls and before you know it, the government is telling us what kind of bag we get our groceries in, what type of food we can eat, etc. It is a slippery slope. Even if I hated the colors, which I don’t, I would tell the government to butt out. We don’t need governments, lawyers, politicians or even our neighbors telling us what color our property should be painted or what kind of plants we can plant. There are always undesirable unintended consequences to government rules and regulations and, frankly, I’m fed up with it.

Mayor Al Pinheiro and council, please stay out of the business of the private sector. We have a hard enough time making our businesses profitable. I would rather see you balancing your budget before you direct me on color palettes.

Mark A. Zappa, Gilroy

Spend more, tax more … if that’s what you want, vote for a Democrat

Dear Editor,

We Californians remember removing former Gov. Gray Davis from office, replacing him with Arnold Schwarzenegger, because Davis signed legislation allowing unchecked spending which created a state deficit of more than $20 billion.

Newly elected governor Schwarzenegger, then, thinking he had a mandate, went before the legislature with his mandate declaring that the new rules would be: fiscal responsibility, no more spending bills without the necessary revenueand no tax increases. The liberal, Democrat-controlled state legislature folded their arms contemptuously and ignored him.

Schwarzenegger, subsequently, took his mandate directly to voters with four initiatives to corral uncontrolled spending, but to many people’s surprise, the big money spent by liberal Democrats opposing the initiatives fooled the voting public. Schwarzenegger’s initiatives lost by a narrow margin.

The arrogant California legislators were as smug as ever. They had made their point … they reigned, not the governor and not the people. They deferred California’s $20 billion debt via bonds (spelled taxes). During Schwarzenegger’s second term the liberal Democrats, along with most all levels of other governments, continued their unchecked spending spree without regard for fiscal responsibility like there was no tomorrow.

California is now over $40 billion in debt; cities and counties are swamped by huge deficits but unlike the federal government, they cannot print money! The money for new roads and maintenance, schools, replacement of sewer systems, building sufficient water storage, etc. has been squandered on countless social programs, lavish salaries, excessive pensions for safety, law enforcement and security personnel along with more of same for the legislators and countless administrative employees.

Governments are now proposing more bonding to defer debt; continue to propose many new taxes and have refused to get serious about further cutting social programs and lavish salary and pensions. Two things can be done when voting Nov. 2:


– 2. Please realize it is the liberal Democratic-controlled legislature who have bankrupted California. The root fiscal problems and power currently rests with them. If you do nothing else for yourself and your children’s future this year, do not put those fiscally irresponsible spenders back in office. Consequently, the key words when marking your next ballot are: “CONSERVATIVE, FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE CANDIDATES ONLY.”

Make a change, you still have a choice in rectifying California’s financial debacle.

Jim Langdon, Gilroy

High-speed rail reality becomes clear after a visit to China

Dear Editor,

My wife and I recently spent a month in China. We were fortunate enough to travel by high speed rail from Shanghai to Nanjing.

As we stayed at a hotel next to the railroad station in Shanghai, we were able to observe the ability of a city of over 22 million people to travel by rail in and out of the city. The station was very congested and badly needs a design reworked to allow people to acquire tickets physically.

They needed people movers to allow a smooth flow of people from curbside to the trains. No provisions were given to handicapped and it was a struggle for me to haul my luggage from curbside to and from the train. Trains are priced according to class, the first class offering almost exclusive use of the car. Climate control was inefficient or absent.

Travel was exceptionally quiet and smooth. The railbeds were so well engineered that it makes a Caltrain ride seem like the old stagecoach of the Wild West. Arrivals and departures were punctual and there were many stewardesses – at least one in each car to manage the travelers. The cars were exceptionally clean.

We traveled at an average speed of 145 mph and hardly noticed the velocity. There were no special barriers visible to pedestrians in the countryside or in the urban corridor but few if any traffic crossings (most roads were situated below or above the rail right-of-way). If there is so much controversy over the initiation of our first high speed railroad in California, learn by the examples in other developing countries.

Dana Louie, Gilroy

Cherry Orchard development really all about greed, not good planning

Dear Editor,

We are no longer in an era in which we can develop land just because a few individuals will benefit financially. We must think about feeding our population. A population that needs and wants stores stocked with locally grown, farm fresh produce.

Food is a much greater need than a two-car garage, landscaped yard, senior housing development located on a curvy road a significant distance from services.

The school district has land on Wren that they need to sell. There is also land north of that site that would be more appropriate for senior housing (if we truly need senior housing). Both locations are close to services with Las Animas Veterans Park offering plenty of walking trails and tennis courts. Even downtown or next to the movie theatre are locations with potential for true senior housing.

The bigger picture is that this development requires an amendment to Gilroy’s General Plan to allow housing east of U.S. 101. The land east of 101 is rich, fertile soil which provides people with locally grown produce such as garlic, corn, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, and cherries to name a few.

If we allow this fertile soil to be paved over we can never get it back again. For the people who only care about money, this development will require a lot of money from the city to pay for services and infrastructure.

I hope that the Planning Commission and the City Council stand strong to protect our fertile soil from which we all benefit.

Dana Wolfe, Gilroy

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