Four City Council members have saved the swimming recreation day for hundreds of children and families on the east side by voting to repair the South Valley Middle School swimming pool and keep recreation opportunities afloat. Community advocate Shawn Weymouth also floated a fabulous idea: name the pool after the late longtime city recreation department employee, coach and Gilroy community volunteer, John Garcia. Just thinking about the idea makes me smile, as I’m sure it does John. His family would be duly honored. Love the idea.
Love the huge freshly painted white numbers on the blue doors at Gilroy High School, too, but the new muddy-river color of the buildings and the roofs is a yuck, yuck, yucky choice. Some have characterized the color in worse terms, I don’t think it’s horrible, but it sure leaves a lot to be desired.
Gilroy Unified School District desires more operating funds, but the prospects are bleak. If the governor’s tax increase proposals don’t pass – and there’s a good chance that they won’t given the stuttering economic “recovery” – GUSD faces an $8 million budget wound. Trustees, after having a possible sales tax proposal squashed by the City Council, are considering a parcel tax. But there is little time and a huge perception problem. The perception problem is Christopher High School. It’s an unbelievably beautiful facility with an equally unbelievable price tag at $140 million or so and the community has a hard time understanding that the bond money spent on building CHS has no connection with the money GUSD needs to operate. That’s just reality.
It is a real coup for Jason-Stephens Winery this month, too. The beautiful vineyard in west Gilroy where Day Road intersects Watsonville Road is where winemaker Jason Goelz crafted his 2010 Estate Select Chardonnay which ended up in the shipments for the Sunset Magazine Wine Club members this month. Writes Sara Schneider, Sunset wine editor, “the Jason-Stephens Chard leans toward the richer end of the spectrum, which makes it delicious with scallops doused with butter.” The Friday night fun at the winery is delicious, too. Always a good band and catered food options. This week it’s music by “Vital Signs” and food by Louisiana Territory, Garlic Festival week it’s “10 til 2” music and food from Odeum Restaurant in Morgan Hill.
Ate at, at long last, Sicilia in Bocca on Main in Morgan Tuesday for an anniversary dinner on the deck. Fantastico! It’s such an unpretentious and delicioso experience – like eating in an Italian friend’s home. Chef/owner Ferrante Salvatore crafted a sumptuous lightly battered beautiful sea bass, and the lamb chops dipped in a simple oil, lemon, garlic sauce were bone-gnawing good. Sicilian salad with fresh orange slices and anchovies started us off and a homemade tiramisu – often a very dicey choice for dessert – topped the charts. Our sharp and fun-filled waitress knew everything on the menu and made recommendations that were right on target. It’s a wonder, and shame on me, for not dining there sooner.
Sooner or later, the numbers are going to cripple our state’s economy. We’ll go over the facts once again. The city of Gilroy’s unfunded pension liability is, according to California Public Employee Retirement System annual audit, $36 million. Despite some concessions from public safety unions in Gilroy, the city’s liability is INCREASING. Furthermore, the CalPERS report referenced above uses a return on funds invested of 7.45 percent to reach its conclusions. CalPERS reported in a story carried in Tuesday’s paper that its return for the fiscal year ending June 30 was 1 percent. Any local politician who does not acknowledge this as a huge and imminent problem, is either half-witted, naive, both, or simply wants to pass on the problem and the burden to the next generation. After all, reality is such a problem for our poor elected officials. The solution is to put an immediate end to all defined benefit public pensions and institute 401(k) retirement plans that the city or other public entity contribute to along with the employee. Taxpayers should not be burdened with the financial risk of lavishly supporting public employees for the rest of their early-retirement lives.
They may not be changing lives – yet, but the two charming young ladies I encountered at the Eagle Ridge Golf Course the other day are helping to clean the environment, contributing to the economy and making many a duffer smile. Here they are, selling the wayward spirals back into the game:
Back to the game, the baseball game that is … it’s funny how some things don’t change. Every day I check on, watch or listen to find out what the San Francisco Giants did that summer-seasoned day, just like I did when I was a young whippersnapper. Lately, it’s been good. See you at the G-fest, and don’t forget to stop by the Gilroy Foundation’s wine cooler booth for thirst-quenching goodness for a good cause.
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]