Plenty to wrestle with even though the nest isn’t full

Up at 4:30 a.m. Cold outside, 28 degrees, ice on the
windshields, frost on the breath.
Up at 4:30 a.m. Cold outside, 28 degrees, ice on the windshields, frost on the breath. Take two big black suitcases to the car. Adorable daughter Cayla hops down the stairs, backpack and a carry-on in tow. She’s off to the great state of Tennessee to get a nursing degree and, officially, though only temporarily, Jenny and I are “empty nesters.” But Grandson Jackson is spending the night Friday, so I’m not exactly sure when “empty” officially applies – not sure it ever will.

Forever I meant to deliver a “good book” list before Christmas, but just didn’t get it done. So, I’ll just trim the list to one novel called “Unbroken” which centers around Louie Zamperini. It’s a perfect novel for Gilroyans like high school history teacher Jim Hemeon (reminder delivered, James). It combines unfathomable real-life WWII drama with world history and mixes in a relevant and tantalizing athletic subplot. Zamperini, who is still alive, competed in track at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin during Adolph Hitler’s rule. Author Laura Hillenbrand, who also penned “Seabiscuit,” spent seven years researching and writing the novel.

A novel – and so refreshing – idea would be for the City Council to actually establish priorities for at least the next two years at the retreat scheduled for the end of the month. And since I’m in dreamland, what if they shared those priorities publicly and clearly, posting them, for example, on the opening page of the city’s website? And, dreaming on, what if the Council’s agenda actually matched the established priorities? What if Gilroy’s elected leaders took a bold step and renamed the entire event calling it something like “Planning for Progress?” Gilroy doesn’t need to retreat, we need to advance.

Talk about a high-speed advance. Three weeks after the CAHS Rail Head Honcho Roelof van Ark shows up for a meeting in Gilroy (soon to be home of the world’s largest parking garage) conceptual drawings for a downtown train station and a rural east Gilroy train station are delivered to the city. Options for the downtown stop include a menu choice of ground level, underground or aerial station. Furthermore, the proposal is to build bridges over existing street crossings downtown. Van Ark just upped the ante. There’s nothing like a design to jumpstart a building conversation. And, please, don’t tell me MayorAl that the City Council’s no-confidence vote in the HSRA didn’t have anything to do with what’s happened since.

Since we’re on the parking subject, maybe HSRA could build the 6,000 parking spaces before the train even starts running, then we’d have the looming Garlic Festival parking problem solved not to mention plenty of overflow for the revitalized downtown.

A revitalized cannon shot of common sense into the city planning department is sorely needed. Take parking lot planning. Simple question – should the city include a good measure (say 30%) of spaces reserved for compact cars? Of course. Gas is headed skyward and many already drive smaller cars. Should the city have white and powerful lights (as opposed to dingy yellow and weak) in the streetlights downtown? Yep, no brainer. Basic 1A common sense, makes people feel safer, deters criminal activity, welcomes visitors, but no …

Visitors to the Gilroy High spotlight on the wrestling mat would feel a lot more welcome if they weren’t plopped onto a wrestling mat that wore out in about, well, 1980. The perennially championship Mustang wrestling team deserves better. Principal Marco Sanchez, a former Olympic wrestler, and Athletic Director Jack Daley should be able to come up with a few ideas to raise the $30,000 it would take for a new mat. Maybe GUSD would come up with a ‘Money Match for the Mat’ if the team raised half. Or maybe Troy Garcia at the Gilroy Golf Course Grill would help run a fundraising golf tournament. Raffle off a few dozen tamales made by Troy’s mom Gloria and I’m in.

In SuperTaq for a quick lunch bite Thursday and there’s Bobby Garcia with a SF 49ers jacket on. “ESPN is reporting, the 49ers have made a surprise coaching move hiring former Gavilan College coach …” Naw, but Bobby always had the fire like Jim Harbaugh. As I write, Harbaugh rumors are rampant with Miami apparently prepared to roll out $8 million a year. That’s a lot of tuna. Call me crazy, but were I in the shoes of 49er’s co-owner/captain Jed York, I’d match it. Super Bowl ring: Priceless.

Priceless? Well, Dave Bozzo’s cioppino might not be that valuable, but for a fair fee ($30 same as last year) you can land a great cioppino feast at the Elks Lodge next Friday, Jan. 14. As a bonus, Frank Angelino might be behind the no-host bar. Ring up the Elks at 842-9397 – reservations necessary because all that tasty fish isn’t cheap – and tell them you know the Exalted Ruler Phil Quast. Everyone knows Phil and those who don’t surely want to.

Want to do something Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud of? Sign up on Martin’s b-day holiday to help out at the Gilroy Demonstration Garden. It’s time for spring cleaning – weeding and compost making included. Don your garden gloves and show up on Eigleberry Street, between 6th and 7th, on Monday, Jan. 17. Check in starts at 9:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided. Now that’s a nice touch.

Don, as in Gage, needs to don his boxing gloves as the newest member of the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board. When I read the Settlement Agreement with Olin Corp., the proud corporate polluters of South County’s water supply, I froze in amazement. Verbatim: “As consideration for this Agreement, within 30 days of the execution of this Agreement, the District, through its insurance carriers, must pay to Olin the sum of two million five-hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000).” Mind all of you San Martin and Morgan Hill residents who are continuing to pay a hefty surcharge for cleaning up Olin’s perchlorate contamination, “the District” means you. It’s just not right.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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