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As one editorial board member commented on Councilman Craig
Gartman’s plan to fix Gilroy’s sidewalks, this is a

no-brainer.

1. It would cost $408,000 annually to pay back the internal loan

As one editorial board member commented on Councilman Craig Gartman’s plan to fix Gilroy’s sidewalks, this is a “no-brainer.”

Whether it’s borrowing money from depreciation funds, delaying capital expenditures or putting off Master Plan updates, the point is there is money. On Gartman’s list, there’s a possible $14.5 million for 2008-’09 to fix the perennial problem that the city caused by planting liquidambar trees with shallow, invasive root systems alongside streets, makes incontrovertible sense.

2. Come good economic times or bad, sidewalks get the shaft

The plan would cost the city 5 percent per year in interest and would mean that about $408,000 annually could not be spent for capital purchase items. So a percentage of purchases – i.e., new computers, new cars, printers, etc. – would have to be delayed in order to “pay the nut.”

It’s about time.

What a caller to the Red Phone said four years ago, in 2004, pretty much sums it up: “I’m in an electric wheelchair and I go down the street and the sidewalks are all torn up. They’re in terrible shape and I have to ride in the street. Three times in the last month I’ve almost been hit by a car because I have to ride in the street. I think this is terrible for Gilroy. They spend $27 million on a new police station and they don’t fix the sidewalks.”

Amen. The sidewalk issue has been going on for two decades and, in good economic times or in bad, it’s always been relegated to the back burner. Former mayor Mike Gilroy battled and battled but couldn’t solve the issue.

3. At last, it appears that four Council members will have the backbone

That’s because it takes four Council members with backbone, who will exhibit the strength of character to accept responsibility for the problem the city created and who have the will to fix the problem. Hopefully, Gilroyans have elected them this past November.

Council members Gartman, Perry Woodward, Cat Tucker and Bob Dillon deserve sincere cheers for pushing this onto the table despite Mayor Al Pinheiro’s unconscionable resistance.

Newly elected Council members are rightfully frustrated that the sidewalks – a cornerstone campaign issue and a thorn in the side for many Gilroyans – had not made it to the agenda.

They’ve rightfully mounted a challenge to what Woodward has termed the “Mayor-may-I” control of the agenda. Let’s remember that ALL council members are elected by the people. The agenda belongs to the people of Gilroy – and they want their sidewalks fixed.

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