Dear Mayor and City Council Members:
We wish to thank you for the efforts you put forth for all of us here in Gilroy. Rarely do you receive sufficient thanks for your efforts.
This letter comes to you from those who work at or own the businesses and property on Monterey Street that are considered, and are in fact, “auto-related.” So allow us to recount a bit of Gilroy’s history.
During the early part of the 1900s, various auto dealers were scattered along and near Monterey Street. Broderson Buick was on the corner of Monterey and 6th Street and Jack Ronald Studebaker was a half a block west on 6th Street.
Between 2nd and 3rd streets were Byers Ford on the west and the Plymouth, Dodge, Desoto dealership on the east. Culwell Chevrolet was located on the outskirts of town to the north where the 1955 Classic Chevrolets and earlier models were sold. Gilroy was a small town back then and anything but elitist. In fact, during the later part of the 1900s the new car dealers association termed us “the friendly little town of Gilroy.”
As years went by, the freeway came and Monterey Street (and other streets of older Gilroy) were disadvantaged in favor of the big money and corporate stores. Gilroy became a shopping mecca and retail sales throughout the older-traditional part of Gilroy died. Efforts have been made to revitalize the downtown with the most money and effort, seemingly, spent between 3rd and 8th streets. First Street and Gilroy outskirts (recently dubbed “Gateway”) have received little or no help. The auto-related businesses provide their own parking and have virtually stayed fully occupied and in demand. As in the early days of Gilroy, auto-related businesses are mostly run by owner-occupants providing needed jobs that support families.
Now a point of personal privilege! Honorable Mayor and members of the City Council, based on certain comments at the August 3, 2015 council meeting and as reported in the Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1N5QZj3) some of your number are ashamed of us and want us relegated to the back of the bus. We hope you don’t mean that! We are not Wall Street and we cherish our location-location-location. We survive in spite of the noise and problems of the adjacent railroad and the big corporate challenges, few businesses could. Businesses serving the automobile have been on Monterey Street since horse and buggies and model T’s have run side by side on its then-dirt roads.
Yes, we are concerned about our business lives. We ask you not to succumb to the siren song of conditional use permits and zoning changes so that we can be business euthanized; evidence “Historic” downtown Gilroy.
Finally, thank you Councilman Dion Bracco who understands our concerns and to Councilman Perry Woodward who asked penetrating questions. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.
Your “auto-related” constituents
(Signed by 79 “auto-related” employees and business and property owners)