Facilities for the people and plain-language regs

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Excited for Saturday as the public gets to stream into our new library at 350 West Sixth Street. It’s a beauty, inside and out, and yes the price tag is a beaut, too. But the $34 million building should last for 100 years and it’s an asset the entire community can utilize for basically their entire lives. The voting public that responded to our news poll overwhelming chose the library – 54% – as the city’s most significant new facility. The sports park finished second, the police station third and the Sunrise Fire Station last. The City Council should take note …
Note to self: Our wildly popular Best of Gilroy brought more than 1,000 ballots into the offices here. Competition is fierce, and ballot counting has commenced. Not sure about the winners, but my votes would go to: Adam and Ann’s consistently good Milias Restaurant; Konni and Kassi’s well-run and friendly First Street Coffee; Super Taqueria for the fast, delicious burritos, etc. all managed by the very capable Jesus; and the deli inside Nob Hill for the best sandwich in town.
In town this November, we’ll have an election for mayor and council. As it shapes up, Councilman Dion Bracco is steadfastly fending off background requests to graciously bow out, Councilman Peter Arellano is in despite his early statements to the contrary, Councilman Perry Woodward has opted to run for council, not mayor now that a heavyweight politico has entered the arena – that being former mayor and Santa Clara County supervisor Don Gage who has decided to rise again from the depths of  his seat as a water district director and reach for the mayoral chair. Fascinating garlic town political shuffle … this should be a runaway for Gage, but there’s a wild card in the mix.
The wild card is the worst political decision I’ve witnessed in my 25 years as editor. I’ve told Mayor Al Pinheiro this directly. Aligning Gilroy local elections for mayor and Council with the general elections stole the spotlight from what’s really important – our local races – which have a direct impact on the quality of our lives in Gilroy. Sure, it saved a few drop-in-the-bucket bucks and granted an extra year to some who are in office, but long-term it tossed Gilroy’s small potatoes into a huge vat of election stew. In that stew, who’s running for mayor or council or a  local ballot initiative will get lost for many voters drawn to the ballot box by zillion-dollar funded state propositions and partisan state candidates. It’s a short-sighted shame, and the ramifications will, unfortunately, last a long time.  
Read on and in a very short time you’ll know what’s wrong with government in our city. Here’s a short sample from the multi-page ordinance governing signs in Gilroy …
f) Each business, in any commercial or industrial zoning district other than the PO Professional Office District, regardless of building frontage, shall be allowed a minimum of twenty (20) square feet of total sign area. To allow for such sign area for a new business on a parcel containing a pre-existing business, the maximum total sign area may exceed the maximum limit in column 2, subsection ( b), but shall not exceed the maximum limit in column 1, subsection ( b). And, of course, there’s an accompanying study included in the Council packet which shows (surprise, gasp!)  that Gilroy is “below average” when it comes to the number of code enforcement officers and points out that, of course, clerical personnel are needed to support the work of those code enforcement officers … so more regulations beget more officers beget more violations beget … and the vicious circle of complexity that leads to more bureaucracy and more regulation feeds itself insatiably.
If you have an insatiable appetite for BBQ,  head up Monterey Street to Morgan Hill on Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12 for the No Bull BBQ Cook Off. It’s cool. Beer, BBQ and country music. The local-made-the-big-time rockin’ Shane Dwight Band kicks off the festivities Friday night and the Numero Uno BBQ team (competitions are all the rage now) in the USofA, Slap Yo Daddy BBQ, will be competing against the 45-team field which includes the Butcher’s Daughter BBQ team and the Rolling Bones Travelling BBQ Circus. It’s at the Youth Sports Center on Condit Road, exit  Dunne Avenue from U.S. 101 and the next step is to have a free shuttle to downtown to and from the event.
In any event, if you are visiting Saint Louise Regional Hospital you’ll likely run into the ever-smiling Ruby Hart at the front desk. She’s perfect for the volunteer job and a chat with her the other day reminded me of my grandmother “Garm” who volunteered at Stanford Hospital for 30-plus years as a “Pink Lady.” Ruby, who has 27 years as a volunteer with the hospital, has the same warmth and “heart” that Garm did and it comes across right away. That’s a real treasure at the front reception desk in a hospital, and thanks to Ruby for the gentle reminder of my grandmother.
Garm and her husband were fantastic cooks. To this day, my last meal request would be their Spaghetti Bolognese which came from Nonni and Nonno, my great grandparents … which reminds me, May 1 is the deadline to enter the 34th Great Garlic Cook-Off. Recipe has to use 6 cloves of fresh garlic or 3 teaspoons of minced or chopped. Enter by email – including a picture of the finished dish – to [email protected] We love it when a local makes the top 8 from the piles and piles of submitted recipes. Last year’s winning title is quite a mouthful: “Stacked Steak Napoleon on Garlic Paper with Asparagus, Radicchio, Shiitakes and Stilton” by Ms. Jamie Brown Miller from Napa. Won’t be seeing that served up in Gourmet Alley anytime soon, but maybe they’ll have a pre-G-fest garlic special menu week at the Milias in July …

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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