Torch the tobacco proposal; a Valentine for teachers

Oh, yeah, that’s what should be on Gilroy’s priority list – a new tobacco ordinance that forbids smoking in our parks, at the designated areas at the Garlic Festival, on our golf courses and, what’s next, on our back porch? I get it – smoking is bad for you. But I believe that government believing it has an unlimited right to socially engineer everyone’s life is just as bad, and perhaps worse. Gilroy has an obesity problem, so let’s outlaw potato salad and the selling of Carl’s Jr. bacon burgers within the city limits. It’s amazing the things that make the priority list just because some advocacy organization, probably slyly funded by taxpayer dollars, received money so that bureaucrats can claim a “purposeful” livelihood. Who’s going to enforce this ordinance? The police do nothing about all the hooch smokers at Las Animas Veterans Park and Christmas Hill Park near the amphitheater now. The Council should send Breathe America and its social engineering lobbying effort packing. Enough already. Educate, but do not dictate.

Enough dictating from the college football Bowl Championship Series folks, too. The Dullsville Bowl – the Alabama-LSU National Championship Game – convinced me that the NCAA should adopt an 8-team playoff system. Anything has to be better than getting a re-match game that ends up being boring and lopsided. Even if an 8-team playoff ended up with Alabama and LSU in the title tilt, the preceding games would have been more interesting to watch. Oklahoma State or Stanford facing Alabama’s defense would really have been fun to watch.

Yeah, I picked the 49ers to beat the New Orleans Saints this Saturday. But I admit I’m not sure whether I’m choosing with my playoff-starved heart or my X’s and O’s brain. Either way, it’s TV glued and a spicy batch of chicken wings fried up outdoors for me on Saturday afternoon.

My father’s best friend, J.P. Donahue, has a great recipe for chile rellenos, a simple dish using the Ortega chiles you can get in the can at the grocery store. Leave the seeds in for hot, fill with cheese first, then batter dip and pan fry. Maybe I’ll make some of those for Super Bowl Sunday. Dad has been gone 14 years now, and I only see J.P. now and again. But there are some people in the world that you can sit down with after a long period of time and it’s just like you’ve been living across the hedge in the house next door for years. Had dinner with J.P. in Menlo Park this week, and we didn’t miss a beat. Had a ball yakking about the good old days, his beautiful daughters, the long-gone Bear Pen at Squaw Valley and the tales from Bellarmine where he and my father were classmates. J.P. and his late wife, Rose, were loyal and lifelong friends with my parents. After my mother died, way too young in 1987, J.P.’s wife, Rose, never missed sending flowers and a card to my sister, Tamra, on her birthday. In a nutshell that characterizes the types of friends they were – the very best. J.P. and my mother even shared a birthday, Jan. 9. They also shared warm hearts and many, many good times – happy birthday mom and J.P and thanks for making so many great memories.

Making our community better. That’s what the Gilroy Foundation and the Gilroy Assistance League are all about. If you need grant money, both are accepting applications now for the 2012 cycle. Applications available at and, for youth programs only, it’s the GALS process at or pick up the paperwork at Starritt Realtors, 7477 Eigleberry St. Money raised by community-based organizations eager to reward people who are running good programs.

Here’s a cool idea for a fund-raising effort: a Chocolate & Wine for Valentine event that raises money to buy classroom supplies for teachers. It’s held in Morgan Hill by the Teachers’ Aid Coalition, and I wonder whether a Gilroy winery in partnership with local educators – hello Jackie Stevens and company – would replicate the effort here. Teachers should not have to pay for school supplies out of pocket. The Morgan Hill event is on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Granary in Morgan Hill, 17500 Depot St. at E. 1st St. Premium local wines, fine chocolates, tasty finger foods, local artwork for sale and a silent auction for $25. Tickets at BookSmart, 80 E. 2nd and Jon Hatakeyama’s dentistry office, 370 W. Dunne Ave. #3. Details: 779-7391.

Wonder if the weather will be this nice on Valentine’s Day in February. It’s 68 degrees in the middle of January. Will the rainstorm shoe drop like a water bomb this winter? Break out the convertible and the flower seeds early.

Great weather always on tap for the Gilroy Garlic Festival and it’s time to put out the call for a 2012 Queen of the Braided Bulb. Sign up at, deadline for the scholarship pageant is Friday, Feb. 3. Miss Gilroy Garlic will be crowned on Saturday, March 31 at the Gavilan College Theater. Festival dates are July 27, 28 and 29. Festival president 2012 is Hugh “See” Davis. Fest Exec Director Brian Bowe has one more cancer-treatment trip to Houston later this month, then he’s done and will get the word on the effectiveness of the experimental treatments. He sounds good, optimistic as usual and ready to get to work on this year’s bash.

Always a fun bash is the “All You Can Eat Crab Cioppino and Shrimp Dinner” at the IFDES Portuguese Lodge, 250 Old Gilroy St. on Saturday night, Jan. 21. MayorAl at 842-4619 can get you a $45 ticket or call Mafalda’s Bridal at 848-1312. Great food and hometown Gilroy atmosphere, there’s a full bar and DJ dancing after. Have fun and as Father John, formerly of St. Mary’s, would say … Go Niners!

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]


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