Where there’s Gilroy smoke, there’s garlic and fire

Union for the firefighters and the police officers took it on the chin in San Jose and San Diego Tuesday. Voters in both major urban centers, tired of lavish pensions enjoyed at the expense of taxpayers and other city services, voted overwhelmingly to enact significant pension reforms. Despite San Jose clearly being a Democratic stronghold, more than 70 percent of voters approved Measure B which requires employees to pay more into the current retirement plan or change to a more reasonable plan. It also limits benefits for new hires. At last a breath of common sense. The looming unfunded liabilities will eventually catch up to all California cities and, as more cash is needed to fund those luxurious pensions, the less money will be available for cities to provide services.  Meanwhile, back in the real world, a city summer recreation Little Skill Builders soccer “camp” offering that runs for five days from 9:30 to 11 a.m. for 4 to 6 year olds will cost you a whopping $90. Not surprisingly, only hours after the crushing defeat in San Jose, the “new elite” – the public safety union employees – filed lawsuits to stop the reforms.
Dad’s gift next Sunday doesn’t have to cost as much as a Gilroy soccer rec class. Ironically perhaps, given the above, a retired Monterey County Deputy Sheriff, Craig Pakish, makes a beautiful whiskey in his Fog’s End distillery called Monterey Rye  that you can get at the Star Market in Salinas. Some BevMo’s have carried the copper pot stilled brew, too, but the Star Market or Rocca’s in San Martin are great places to pick up a steak for Dad to go along with the rye. If that’s a little strong for father, pack a picnic and head for one of our picturesque wineries. Martin Ranch on Redwood Retreat Road is picnic perfect and the view from the deck at Solis is serene … or “Pick and Picnic” with the kids right here at the Lazy K Ranch (3465 Susie Lane, east on Highway 152, past Sonic Burger) which features 1,000 cherry trees including Bings, Brooks, and Vans. Kathy Kraintz, co-owner with her husband Jeff, says the cherries are all pesticide free and that plenty are within easy reach for children. There’s a huge lawn and farm animals – horses, dog, chickens, goat, cats – for the kids to see, too.
Speaking of animals, if you’re thinking of a living present for Dad, here’s Zeke who’s hunting around for a new home. He’s a 5-year-old neutered Plott Coon Hound who is a loyal house dog. Loves people, backpacking, camping, and hiking. Owner Vince, unfortunately, needs to find him a good new home by the end of June: 510-421-0157. Vince says he’s a good hound that needs a decent-sized yard and an owner who will exercise him.
The garlic hounds will be out on Friday, June 29 at AT&T Park for the first annual Giants Garlic Festival bash. Can’t believe I get to indulge in Gourmet Alley calamari twice in one year. The pre-Giants vs. Reds game garlic party will be held in Seals Plaza. Buzz up the Giants office at 415-972-2298 to get tickets to the event and the game. A limited edition Herbie Bobblehead in a Giants uniform will be yours, too. The impressive lineup card for the Pyro Chefs reads … at first base is Jon Vickroy, at third base Steve Janisch, Bobby Filice in left field (way out in left field), Rich Janisch in center, Kevin O’Keffe behind the dish and Austin Regan on the hill. Great Gilroy show for the fans, an unbeatable combo plate of calamari, garlic bread and fries for $10, Garlic Queen Julia Brewka, Mr. Garlic Gerry Foisy dancing with Lou Seal – should be a blast … maybe I can even land an extra Herbie to superglue on the top of Dodger fan and de facto Gilroy mayor Richie Perez’s car.
Cars on Santa Teresa might not be tripping the stoplight and unnecessarily halting all traffic when making a right hand turn coming out of Eagle Ridge at Ballybunion Drive for much longer. Our fair city’s transportation engineer, Don Dey, has graciously passed on the “request to assess” to Santa Clara County Traffic Engineer Masoud Akbarzadeh. The county is in charge of Santa Teresa stoplights. No doubt Supervisor Mike Wasserman will shepherd this inquiry and all will be righted in the traffic world in short order.
Wouldn’t be surprised to read that the band Traffic is coming to town to play at  the 9Lives Club, 7430 Monterey St. Owners Jorge and Joyce Briones are really booking some fun – tonight it’s a vaunted tribute band, Led Zepagain, Saturday marks the first Rock ’n’ Wine Series night featuring the Hollister band Big Wood and three local wineries – Solis, Sarah’s and Fortino’s – pouring. Later this month, it’s Petty Theft, the “ultimate tribute” band to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Ticket prices won’t break your heart and it’s a short walk from dinner at the Milias Restaurant to 9Lives.
You could have a smoke on that walk, if you so desired. Only Councilman Dion Bracco appears to understand that should be OK in America. The Council voted 4-1 this week to pass yet another “Nanny” anti-tobacco ordinance with Bracco dissenting. “This is just making rules for the sake of making rules,” he said.  “It’s not like we’re going to pay more people to patrol around looking for smokers. If you make a rule that nobody is going to enforce, then what is the point?” Amen. It’s brilliant, ain’t it, when we have druggies regularly smoking weed at Christmas Hill Park by the amphitheater and we pass an anti-smoking ordinance that will never be enforced.
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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