Neil Kitchens, a Republican candidate who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 30th District State Assembly seat in 2018, has been charged...
Four City Council positions are up for election in November, and all four incumbents are seeking re-election and face challengers.The last day...
If you have ever considered running for local office in Santa Clara County, now is your chance. Monday kicked off the nomination period for the...
Democratic Congressman Jimmy Panetta has moved forward on two initiatives to support the nation's agricultural industry. Panetta, who represents the 20th congressional district, which includes major growing regions in the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys and parts of Santa Clara Valley, has joined forces with Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois to establish the bipartisan Congressional Agriculture Research Caucus. The Caucus will focus on agriculture research, innovation, and mechanization efforts as Congress prepares for the 2018 Farm Bill.
Gilroy City Councilman and Democrat, Peter Leroe-Muñoz has launched a campaign for State Assembly District 30. Rep. Anna Caballero, who currently holds the seat, cannot run next year due to term limits.
Like raising kids or providing universal health care, it takes a lot of community involvement to keep downtown Gilroy looking so pretty. The 50 hanging baskets filled with red geraniums and purple and white pansies, and 20 flower barrels that adorn Monterey Street this winter are part of an ongoing initiative by volunteers, city hall and local sponsors to beautify the blossoming downtown district.
More than 50 students, parents and members of the community marched nearly two miles through Gilroy to City Hall Thursday at noon to celebrate unity and diversity, things they said were absent in the campaign rhetoric of President-elect Donald J. Trump.The march, organized by the Student Democratic Club at Gavilan College and including local middle and high school students, started at the old CVS store on First Street and continued along Hanna to City Hall, where the peaceful gathering concluded with speakers and a sharing circle on the complex lawn. As they marched they chanted “Unity through diversity,” “The people united will never be divided” “Hey Ho Racism has got to go.” Noshava Afzao, a Gilroy educational consultant who trains teachers, and wore a hijab said she was there with a flag to accent that liberty and justice “was for everyone.” She worried about how the election would affect that. “There’s a lot of disappointment,” she said. “The election is a wake up call. I thought we lived in a country that had made progress and this just shows how much progress we need to make.”As word spread that students at Gavilan College were planning a citywide walkout, school administrators scrambled to inform high school parents.“Gilroy is a lovely little bubble of people who are not always proactive. We want to acknowledge voices and create a coalition,” said Sarah Najar, Vice President of the Gavilan Democratic Club.An email to Christopher High School parents from Principal Paul Winslow said: “FYI High School Parents: Someone is encouraging students to cut school” and “while we definitely support free speech, the right to assemble peacefully, and the right to express opinion” students who missed school to participate would be penalized and not be able to make up work.Lisa Ruiz, a parent of Gilroy students with special needs, said she received a call from the GUSD the night before alerting her that any absence would be considered unexcused, but felt she needed to come anyways.“I got to be here in solidarity with the minorities in the community and to see what we can do to help to unify everyone not be divided and hopefully we can get together in love.”As people gathered in the parking lot, members of the Gilroy Police Department kept an eye on proceedings. Sgt. Wes Stanford had a team of motorcycle officers charged with making sure the demonstrators were safe walking the mile and a half between First Street and City Hall. The department was notified of the march, but organizers didn’t know they would need a permit. “We want to make sure that it’s peaceful, that they are allowed to voice their opinion and whatever views they have and they get to City Hall in a safe fashion.” Stanford said the city has had sporadic marches over the years with the last one he remembers an Occupy Gilroy march of eight people.The well-behaved crowd began their march up First Street - along the sidewalks and stopping at all intersections, using the crosswalks - the sound of honking cars mingling with chants calling for unity.Iris Cueto, 23, a Gavilan biology major, said “The election is making me feel sad, but it’s also making me feel happy to have youth standing up for their rights. It’s nice to see them out here protesting in a peaceful way.” Holding up a coat hanger poster that read, “Never Again,” Summer Diaz, 18, said: “I believe everyone should have their rights. I believe that women should make their own choice and politicians should stay out of women’s rights. “ When the marchers got to City Hall they were offered bottled water by the student organizers who then thanked the crowd for obeying all the traffic laws and the police for “keeping us safe.” Addressing the group, Dr. Enrique Luna, who teaches history at Gavilan, said “we don’t want to be here, but there is a need.” Thanking the march organizers for putting on the event, he said at times he was both laughing and shedding a few tears during the march to city hall. It’s hard to build a community, it’s easy to destroy a community. And we are here to do the hard work.”
It’s hard not to think that Gilroy and the state of California are in a different country than the one that swept in a strong Republican, anti-government agenda.Gilroyans took a hard liberal bent and chose to cut sprawling growth out of the city limits and focus on downtown development. It elected a slate of slow-growthers and tossed out those who tried to sneak by a 4,000-house project that would have increased traffic, raised public service expenses and made its developers $3 billion.County voters favored Hillary Clinton by 73 percent. They beat back the “no tax” trend by increasing fees on cigarettes to fund health programs and increased sales tax to improve transportation. They raised money for the homeless. They funded schools. They pushed back on the exorbitant prices charged by drug companies.Those are huge positives in a national election that seemed to rip the fiber of the country apart.California’s voting trend this time around suggests that if you want to return to a time when America was great, you can look to the 1950s to the 1970s, when people were proud to pay taxes to improve their country. Tax rates on the rich were as high as 90 percent. The rich were still incredibly rich, but they were willing to do their share. Then came the trickle-down theory, which never quite trickled down. This week local voters took bold steps back to the days when people were far more willing to take responsibility for their circumstances and were willing to pay to make thecounty and state great again.Americans may never again experience a campaign season like the one that ended Tuesday—or might they all be like this from now on?The historic nature of the election, the first one where Americans got to vote for a woman as the presidential nominee of a major party, was almost lost during 16 months of daily scandal and insults.News outlets on both ends of the political spectrum, from Fox to MSNBC and innumerable blogs in between, kept Americans hooked, transforming those who were never politically expressive into keyboard pundits, posting their thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.While Barack Obama’s presidential runs in 2008 and 2012 were touted for their use of data and technology, social media came into its own during election 2016, invigorating the electorate like never before.Sure, some Facebook friends were lost in the shuffle, but now as the dust settles, Americans should look to harness some of that energy and enthusiasm and continue to find ways to participate and engage with our nation’s brazen and brow-beaten democracy.Here’s one suggestion: start attending your local City Council and municipal commission meetings. Make it a habit. Usually, the only time people go is when they have a problem, a mission, or are on the agenda. A crowded council chambers says something to elected officials: We are here, we are watching, we care.Better yet, take some time and join local commissions. Become the solution. Get involved. Take control of your government.Both Trump and, during the primaries especially, Bernie Sanders decried our nation’s “rigged” system, basically saying that ordinary citizens have no hope whatsoever of changing the course of their own lives let alone the country’s.Don’t get fooled, get involved.
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