Your view: Six letters

Letters

Ghost town if ‘F’ approved: Measure F, if approved, will implement a 1/2 cent sales tax for Gilroy, making the sales tax 9.25 percent for 15 years. The highest sales tax in Santa Clara Valley.
Measure States: “City of Gilroy Safety and Quality of Life Measure. To improve local quality of life and maintain essential City services, including police/fire protection; gang suppression/
prevention; 9-1-1 emergency response; street/pothole/sidewalk repairs; earthquake safety; at-risk youth programs; park repairs; and other general services; shall the City of Gilroy enact a half cent sales tax for 15 years with authority to incur debt to accelerate infrastructure projects, requiring independent audits, public review and no money for Sacramento.”
What the Measure does not state is: This $7,000,000 annual revenue will go into the “General Fund.” General Fund means it can be used for anything the City Council and Mayor decide. Over the course of the 15 years, there will be many different City Council members and one or two new mayors who may decide to spend the money differently than the current council is stating.
Below are some of the comments/statements I would like to share with readers that might prove beneficial in making their decision with regards to Measure F:
1. Approximately 70-80 percent of revenue generated in Gilroy is from non-Gilroy residents shopping at the Gilroy outlets. The sales tax increase will affect this percentage greatly. Shoppers who travel to the outlets do so to save money. Increased taxes will force the shoppers to take alternative avenues to meet their shopping needs (Great Mall, etc.) without having to pay extra for sales tax, moving the revenue out of our City and into another.
2. The diminishing number of shoppers at the outlets will also have a domino impact throughout other businesses in Gilroy. Many of the shoppers opt to make a day out of it by dining at different restaurants, visiting coffee shops and ice cream stores, etc. Once their footprint is decreased so will the revenue in those businesses! Again, driving the much needed revenue out of our City and into others.
3. The measure will also damage the already ailing car dealerships in Gilroy. Paying an increased tax of 1/2 percent on a vehicle that averages anywhere from 20-40K is a huge factor in pushing potential customers to travel to neighboring towns (Salinas, Morgan Hill, San Jose) to make their purchases. Again, lost revenue for Gilroy.
Ultimately by raising 1/2 percent sales tax, in Gilroy, will be more damaging to the City’s revenue (and reserve funds) than beneficial. This uneducated measure could potentially result in turning our booming town into a ghost city!
Jack Johnson, Gilroy
Make the case for Measure F
About the letter from Diane Thompson concerning Measure F (Gilroy Dispatch, Oct. 10, 2014), it seems that Ms. Thompson is not aware of the extent of the housing development that is planned for the area beyond the intersection of Luchessa and Thomas roads, or the fact that studies of traffic circles throughout this country and others document that traffic circles are the safest, among the least expensive, and most efficient way to get traffic through intersections like this one. Her concern about Measure F, though, is one that I share. Before voting day, I would like to read a clear, concise exposition of why Gilroy needs higher sales tax to provide basic services like passable roads, safe sidewalks, and responsive fire and police protection.
My impression from living in Gilroy for more than 30 years is that it has been a well managed city, perhaps above average in that respect. It also has a thriving outlet mall, generating revenue that few other cities have. Given a history of decent city management, and a successful outlet mall, why do we need additional taxes to provide basic services?
Is it because of people like me, who have lived in the same house for 30 years and, because of Proposition 13, pay much lower taxes than new neighbors who live in nearly identical houses? If that is the explanation, why is that a bigger problem in Gilroy than in nearby cities that are not asking for higher sales taxes? Do we need higher sales taxes because new housing development creates additional demand for public services that is not covered by building fees? If so, why can’t that shortfall be addressed directly rather than saddling current residents with higher taxes to subsidize that development?
Do we need higher sales taxes here because Gilroy citizens chose not to participate in Redevelopment Agencies, and therefore missed out on that “beggar thy neighbor” gravy train to cover costs that we must now address? How would that possible explanation square with my understanding that redevelopment funds may have been used to good effect in some communities and “pissed away” in others, but in either case they were not used to pay for the basic community services that Measure F is being promoted to provide.
I sympathize with the challenges of trying to provide services to a demanding public that does not want to pay for them. Nonetheless, I would like our elected city officials and other supporters of Measure F to provide a clear bullet-point list of facts and explanation of why our current tax revenues fall short of what is needed to provide the basic services expected of all cities, and a similar list for why a sales tax is the best solution to cover that shortfall. Please show me the numbers and make the case for Measure F. I’m on the fence.
George Fohner, Gilroy
Outraged by Measure F
As a former city parks and recreation commissioner I have seen the benefits of local tax dollars spent to improve the life of those of us in Gilroy. Over the years I voted yes to several special assessments to among other things build a new library and to improve school facilities.
With that said, I find Measure F an outrage. Gilroy has one of the lowest income levels in Santa Clara County, yet this measure will give us the highest tax rate. Real estate values are going up which means property taxes and rents will increase as landlords need to pass the increase on to tenants. Wages have been stagnant for quite some time.
We can’t afford this. I often make major purchases in Gilroy because there are some great retailers, but I may go elsewhere.
I understand that property taxes go to the county and the state and are then redistributed to cities. I understand there is a critical need for some of the items measure F will fund. A sales tax rate of more than 9 percent is too high. I am very disappointed that all of the council candidates, several of which I respect and support have come out in favor or this measure. Maybe what we need are new elected officials with some savvy and creativity to secure more of our property tax dollars to stay locally.
Vote no on this outrage called Measure F.
Curt Goris, Gilroy
Vote for Velasco
I’m writing to urge Gilroy voters to consider Roland Velasco for City Council. I have known him for more than three decades and have worked with him on nonprofit committees, including the Gang Task Force and Rebekah Children’s Services in Gilroy. I can speak from personal experience that Roland will be a fair and independent voice of reason on the council. He doesn’t have a personal agenda other than to do what is in the best interest of the citizens of Gilroy. His priorities include ensuring the safety of families and neighborhoods by providing public safety services for today’s population while placing an emphasis on prevention and anti-gang programs. Roland will advocate for smart economic development policies that will attract new jobs and create an environment for local companies to expand. In addition, Roland believes City Hall should improve communication with the school district so they have a better idea of new housing locations and how to plan for any potential impacts to our neighborhood schools.
Please join the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, the Gilroy Police Officers Association and a growing list of civic leaders, including Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, District Attorney Jeff Rosen, Sheriff Laurie Smith, former Mayor Al Pinheiro, Don Christopher and many more, in their support of Roland.
To learn more about Roland, please visit rolandvelasco.com
Eleanor Villarreal, Gilroy
Another war looming
Here we are at the start of yet another Iraq war, which will include Syria and Congress, who is supposed to authorize wars, isn’t even going to vote on it. So we are going to just blindly blunder into yet another war. However the Republican House is already planning yet another vote to shut down the government. So we do have time and money for political stunts. Really?
I suppose it’s our fault. After all, we are the ones who elected them. And isn’t that just a little bit pathetic?
Marc Perkel, Gilroy
Success for FFA students
As the Santa Clara County Fair approached, the dedicated students of Gilroy FFA prepared to show their animals. The hardworking students worked with their animals from late March to late July. The students went to practices throughout summer to submerge themselves in the experience of raising an animal by learning about the responsibility and how to successfully show their animal at the fair.
This year the Gilroy FFA had 17 different exhibitors. The exhibitors with pigs were Ashley Bonesio, Ben McKenzie, Ryan Jaszewski, Nick Triolo and Mario Soria. The exhibitors with goats were Adrianna Figone, Adrianna Ojeda, Kim Potman, Mya Esquival, Joseph LaRocque and Yvanna Marin. The exhibitors for sheep were Steven Herrera, Jessica Martin, Raquel Quinonez, Juli Figone, Raymond Chavez and Stevie Britton. Adrianna Ojeda qualified for Round Robin, which is a competition for the best of the best animals.
Gilroy FFA is incredibly proud to have all 17 exhibitors in our chapter. The 2014 year was a success and we cannot wait for next year.
Mary McClelland, Gilroy

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