Champs in wrestling and life; still lingering questions

Let’s start with a couple of Super Positives … First, the Gilroy High wrestling machine. We ought to have a Decade of Dominance banner downtown noting the 10 straight Central Coast Section Division team championships – and get the team a spot on a flatbed for the upcoming Memorial Day Parade. Think about what an absolutely awesome accomplishment that is. Imagine 10 football or 10 basketball or 10 CCS soccer or field hockey titles in a row. Even though the competition has become fiercer, Gilroy High has remained steadfast at the top, this despite every team gunning to take them down (pun intended). Loved reading Sports Editor Josh Weaver’s stories about the state championships online over the weekend as the drama unfolded in Bakersfield. Two GHS state champions emerged, Willie Fox and Nikko Villareal. Both are great stories – Nikko in his last-chance match beating a “shoe-in” favorite, three-time state champion Alex Cisneros from Selma, in the waning seconds of the final period and Willie, frustrated for two years at the CCS and state levels, erasing both demons  and dashing off with the state title in dominating fashion. More important than the winning is the spirit Coach Greg Varela and the supporters of GHS wrestling have developed in the young men. They displayed that collective graciousness and class at a recent school board meeting when they showed up to rally around the cause of creating a respectable wrestling practice facility at GHS. They were focused, yet humble and so appreciative. They deservedly won the hearts and minds of the trustees, performing in life as they do on the mat. At the state meet, GHS Principal Marco Sanchez, a former Olympic wrestler, was overcome with emotion. He knows what it takes – the practice time, the pain, the mental toughness to be one-on-one under the spotlight, the discipline to get it done. From the Gilroy Hawks to the state title, it just continues to be a story of triumph about a program that is the stuff of legends. Now there’s a screenplay idea …

Touched base to ask Brian Bowe, our Gilroy Garlic Festival Director, about his recent bout against carcinoid cancer. Honestly, I could hear the “spring in his voice” right away. His final trip to Houston for specialized cancer treatments behind him, he said the news is very, very good. The tumors on his liver and elsewhere have subsided – the best news he could have received – and he’s feeling more like his “old self” daily as the effects of the cancer treatments recede. Brian made sure to thank everyone in the community who helped pay for the experimental treatments – by direct donation and participation in the “One for Brian” golf tournament. Insurance would not cover it. He noted that because of Dispatch reporter Blair Tellers’ story about his journey, a number of people also diagnosed with the disease have contacted him regarding the treatments. Brian is more than happy to help, and Gilroy is more than happy that he’s feeling well and ready to tackle putting on the Garlic Ritz, July 27-29 this year.


Recently read through an interesting epilogue by novelist John Irving after finishing his book “Last Night in Twisted River,” a fascinating novel, but one that didn’t engross me like either of his previous works, “A Prayer for Owen Meany” and “The World According to Garp.” Irving revealed that he writes the end of his novels first. So much for that line from the famous song in the “Sound of Music” … “Let’s Start at the Very Beginning.” Anyway, I thought, after reading Scott Herhold’s elegantly written column in the San Jose Mercury News about the Dion Bracco situation, that perhaps Herhold crafted the ending first. Here it is: “It’s not the conviction that’s the big problem: It’s his silence.

As it is, he’s lost credibility with the revelation. Bracco shouldn’t be mayor. As much as I hate to say it, he shouldn’t even be a councilman.”

Bracco’s brazen silence continues. In the last few weeks, we’ve asked him to respond to these questions:

• 1. At our Editorial Board meeting a question came up about a particular statement in the newsletter you sent out. You stated at the outset, “They include assailing my religious faith …” Could you clarify that please? What does the statement pertain to that was in the paper? No response.

• 2. What about this claim? “It’s my understanding that Mr. Bracco informed the City Clerk of this issue (his felony drug convictions) when he first ran for office and the Clerk contacted the City Attorney and was told there was no problem. So, he did disclose it.”

Is this the truth? Did you inform former City Clerk Rhonda Pellin about your felony convictions and did she contact the city attorney who said you were eligible to run? No response.

• 3. Could you please answer whether or not you have owned since your felony convictions or do now own any firearms and whether those are registered? No response.

If Bracco has owned firearms since the conviction he has committed another felony. Well Dion, how about some straight talk and direct answers or are you going to continue to let some little puffy-chested PR monster cough out ugly innuendos and spin phrases while you hide in the shadows? What are you intending to do in the coming candidate forums, have someone in the audience hold up cue cards or text you answers?

Review the tape and adjust the rate … Dale Thielges in a letter to the editor today says, … “Our city attorney was falling asleep during this first half of comments.” Though I disagree with Dale’s take on the latest over-the-top tobacco police proposal, the city attorney should be wide eyed and bushy tailed. But, hey, what do you want for $200-plus an hour? And Dale, if all you see around Gilroy are “car lots, liquor stores, and tobacco retail,” please take a walk in Christmas Hill Park or visit the Gilroy Center for the Arts or watch the kids playing ball at the Gilroy Sports Park. We have our scars and sore spots, but Gilroy is Great, and truly we are fortunate to be surrounded by beauty.


Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]