So, the bleachers at the stadium at Gilroy High are still uninhabitable …

Mark Derry

Drives me crazy to hear something like I did this morning – that the stands for the fans are uninhabitable at Gilroy High’s Garcia-Elder Stadium – this, just before the start of football season for GHS, Christopher High and Gavilan College. This, after the school district had to move graduation ceremonies – those are in June by the way – because of these same “unsafe” bleachers. What got done in between? This is yet another example of why I strongly believe that school district’s need to hire an on-staff project management director that has a background in construction – someone who can tell b.s. from reality and can come up with solutions. The person would be independent from, but wori with the facilities manager who is in charge of maintaining and operating facilities. What school districts need to do is: 1. Form an advisory facility committee composed of members from the business and construction world; 2. Hire a staff administrative-level project construction management person to oversee all facilities projects. That person would negotiate contracts and have, as clients, the taxpayers and the school district. If districts would make those changes, a lot of money would be saved and a lot of battles avoided. And, really, when you’re talking about spending millions of dollars in bond money and getting the best bang for the buck, doesn’t it make perfect sense?
Makes perfect Gilroy sense that the Christopher family again generously came to the rescue last week when Police Chief Denise Turner had a longer list for the Exchange Club’s before-school-opens clothes shopping trip for children who really could not afford new duds before that first bell. Many times you don’t hear about what’s done behind the scenes, but this time I did and there are 65 or so additional children who will show up at school feeling a lot better about themselves because of the Gilroy Exchange Club and the generosity of Don and Karen Christopher. Wonderful.
Wonderful experience at a new area winery over the weekend. Driving around doing errands, I had a pop-up thought about the new spot our wonderful wine columnist, Bev Stenehjem, recently wrote about. So off  Miss Jenny and I went to seek and find Ross Vineyards and Winery. We twisted on Oak Glen Avenue, headed toward Calero Reservoir, climbed a hilly driveway, spotted a quaint old barn with people gathered round, parked the 1972 TR6, met the owners, Jerry and Judy Ross, and started on the tasting. Grandson Jimmy, who works the land and the tasting room, gave us a tour of the old ranch photos that ring the barn and, when I couldn’t stand it any longer, I asked, “Where are the vines?” He pointed up to the top of a steep hill and said something about what he wouldn’t give for a flat 10 acres at harvest time … We hung out next to a beautiful oak, took in the views, learned that Jerry and Judy just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and that Jerry grew up in Gilroy and lived near a young lass named Jeannie Baxter whose father Art “Coach” Baxter was initially thee coach at Gilroy High for all men’s sports. She’s Gilroy Mayor Don Gage’s bride, of course, and if that weren’t enough, Jerry informed us that he sat near former Morgan Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy at a recent wine dinner at Rosy’s at the Beach, whereas, Dennis, now on the SC Valley Water District Board, proclaimed loudly and firmly and in all ways coherent that he would fight, fight, fight against water rate increases for South County farmers because he’s a stalwart champion for the preservation of agriculture in our valley. OK, maybe I exaggerated that last little bit a tad, but I did so in a hopeful way. Too much lip service to “saving agriculture” and not enough action.
Hey, incoming Gilroy Garlic Festival Volunteer Prez Vito Mercado is going to take a road trip visit to “Homeroom” the mac-and-cheese restaurant in Oakland that serves up Gilroy Garlic Mac and Cheese and see if it makes sense to make a creamy connection with next year’s fest. Yahoo, hope so.
Yahoo, did I point out last week how much the two Gilroy fire chiefs who are suing the city for overtime back pay are making? Phillip King is being paid $180,232 annually and Edward Bozzo retired at $167,386 annually and now collects a monthly pension of $10,800 for life. Estimates are that their lawsuit is going to cost the city (that’s us, folks) $200,000 plus. Hmmmm, that’s a lot of recreation programs gone by the wayside and a lot of rec scholarships for children that could be funded. Next week, I’ll point out the median income for Gilroyans and juxtapose that with what the two are being paid. But sue away noble firefighters and sleep well.
It’s been a sleeper season for the San Francisco Giants which has led to this question from Christina in the office, who knows about my lifelong orange-and-black loyalty. She asked me what was worse about this season “the Giants being so bad or the Dodgers doing so well?” For me, it’s the Giants’ collapse. That answer will stand as long as the Dodgers aren’t World Series champs.
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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