Reid Lerner said he believes Gilroy’s best days are ahead. But to get there, it needs to boost its local economy, and it can start by revitalizing downtown.
Lerner, who owns an architectural business in downtown Gilroy, is running for the city’s mayoral seat in November.
“Working together we can create a safe, beautiful and sustainable community,” he said. “I got into this race because our downtown is struggling and Gilroyans deserve a strong, healthy and prosperous central core. The City of Gilroy needs independent leadership focused on the future of our downtown and our local economy.”
Lerner received an architectural degree from UC Berkeley. He is currently a member of the Gilroy Planning Commission, and previously served as chair of the Gilroy Housing Advisory Committee and chair of the Housing & Neighborhood Revitalization Committee, as well as past president of the Gilroy Downtown Business Association.
He is also a founding board member of both the Gilroy Arts Alliance and Gilroy Compassion Center.
Lerner said his company, Reid Lerner Architects, has received many professional and civic awards for historic preservation, energy conservation and design excellence. Its projects include The Mall in Downtown Gilroy, the 7680 Monterey St. building, and many others throughout Gilroy and beyond.
“I am an experienced and successful leader of community organizations and municipal committees,” he said. “My professional experience and skills as an engineer and planner along with my history of civic involvement make me ready to step into this leadership position for the City of Gilroy. I know how roads and infrastructure get built and maintained. I have significant experience as a project manager meeting schedules and budgets.”
Lerner said, if elected as mayor, he will continue to work in reinvesting in older neighborhoods. The city also needs to take advantage of “opportunity zones,” which were created when Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. The act allows the governors of each state to designate 25 percent of low-income census tracts as such a zone in which tax breaks could be available for business development.
Gilroy received two possible zones, which center on downtown and surrounding areas.
Those who invest capital into these properties in these zones are eligible to receive federal tax benefits. The longer the investor holds on to the investment, the greater the reduction in capital gains taxes.
The opportunity zone designations last through 2026.
Recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn is another top issue Lerner said is among his priorities. Revitalizing downtown, which would create jobs, can help toward that goal.
“Gilroy is a significant part of Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley,” he said. “It is the center for agricultural and related technology. I will work with county and state governmental agencies as they provide many of the services and facilities that Gilroy citizens rely on, such as water and health care.”
The city also should reinvest in its infrastructure, Lerner said, adding that portions of Gilroy need upgrades for its roads, parks and other infrastructure.
“I look forward to working with the city council, city staff and the community to improve our quality of life,” he said. “I know better city policies and opportunities can boost people’s lives. Together we can make Gilroy the city where people are inspired to live and work.”