From pedaling to peddling

To the editor, I want to applaud Zachary Hilton’s work to make Gilroy more bicycle-friendly. Cycling has many benefits, and we need plenty of safe corridors for bike riding. But now it seems Zachary has shifted from pedaling to peddling; my only objection is to what he is peddling.

In his letter to Dispatch last week, Hilton asked about Carol Marques’ accomplishments that didn’t “benefit her.” Did he know she was assigned to focus on Las Animas Park, where she just happens to play tennis?

He accused Carol of missing “regular” meetings (only two, and those for good reason). Did he ask why she missed two meetings or discover she met with others who missed one of those meetings?

He asked, “Prove to us … why we should put you in power when we haven’t seen any things that matter to us.” But Carol spent decades helping educate Gilroy’s youth and works tirelessly on civic projects—or are those things that don’t matter? Has he witnessed her integrity, intense desire and rigorous work ethic in maintaining and improving Gilroy’s quality of life, or are those things that don’t matter?  

He accused Carol of making Great Wolf Lodge and Hecker Pass Ag-Tourism developers feel unwelcome. I found her only contact with Great Wolf was to attend their presentation, and that she never spoke to or went to meetings about Hecker Pass developers.

Zachary failed to mention meetings Dan Harney has missed. I’ve met Dan and enjoyed his company as our supervisor at a Garlic festival booth. Dan was absent for a critical council meeting I attended, though he communicated via speakerphone, when Mayor Velasco asked him a question, there was no response and when he later rejoined the conversation, he cast a vote to allow the dreadful “Ag-Tourist” project (I call it the Apartment Complex Masquerading as Agro-Tourism, or ACMAT). Later he told my friend he really couldn’t hear what was being said back at Gilroy. Why he would vote on a contentious issue if he was unable to hear the debate?

I was puzzled at that meeting by Zachary’s insistence that the “Ag-Tourist” parking lot was critical for bicyclers, but bike paths were already part of the development, so why push for a gigantic parking lot when local residents were expressing concern for their children’s safety while cycling on a very narrow street that only meets requirements for a two-lane highway?

Phill Laursen


  1. Phil. I agree the parking lot isn’t good for anyone except to prevent future neighbors complaining about visitors of the project parking in from of their home. The developer has to follow the current code standards. The parking lot is located where it is because it’s rewarding the efforts of bikers and walkers who come into the project from the bike/ped path. Most modern projects have the building up front along the street and the parking in the back. I’m against the vehicle parking standards in Gilroy. As you’ll see soon in other future development projects, I’m in favor of reducing the number of vehicle parking spots in exchange for more bicycle parking. Our Commission is looking into changing the language and practice of our current parking policy. Here’s a video of what I said about the Hecker Pass Ag Tourist project the night it was approved. Here’s my write up about it as well.

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