Our weekly missive covers the galloping ‘Stangs, the next ‘Big
Secret’ at City Hall, a brave police officer and more
CHEERS for the Gilroy High School football team. The wide-open style and confidence that the Mustangs play with is really a whole lot of fun to watch. Naw, it’s better than that. When the game against Valley Christian tightened up to a 10-point margin last week, what did the Mustangs do? Well, they opened things up with a lateral-and-bomb pass play to score a devastating TD. The Mustangs just attack and attack and attack until the opponent is just out of gas. Meanwhile, opposing defensive coordinators are having conniptions. It’s a guaranteed great time to watch Gilroy play. Saturday’s game against Los Gatos is at 7 p.m. at San Jose City College. If Gilroy can beat the ‘Cats it’s on to the CCS finals. Yeah, baby, go Gilroy!

CHEERS for Tom and Joanie Lewis, who have been given a second chance to enjoy life with each other and their family after a number of difficult years. Tom’s new kidney has made all the difference. If you’re on the fence about being an organ donor, read Sara Suddes’ story in Wednesday’s Dispatch and think over what an incredible gift a new organ can be. For the Lewis family, which has endured years of medial difficulty, this Thanksgiving will be filled with deep joy, and new blessings.

JEERS for the ongoing secrecy oozing from Gilroy City Hall. The latest big secret is the hiring of a new police chief for our city. Well, perhaps it’s fitting since the old police chief retired in secret that the new one be hired in secret. What’s amazing is that Mayor Al Pinheiro and the rest of the city council put up with this charade. How absurd is it? City Administrator Jay Baksa refused to reveal which Gilroyans were on the interview committee for fear they would “out” the final four candidates. Want more? Try this on for paranoid logic – the final candidates can’t be revealed because there might be implications for their present jobs, but never mind that we’re going to their communities to ask questions about them to get a sense of character and job performance. And now, from Gilroy, another episode of “Secret Circus.” Too bad.

CHEERS for Gilroy Police Officer John Ballard who faced the ultimate threat – a loaded weapon pointed at his head from point blank range – after rightly pursuing suspect Pete Valdez who was riding a bicycle at 3 a.m. on the wrong side of the road without a headlight. Officer Ballard did exactly what he should have and attempted to stop Valdez who fled, then pulled a gun after Ballard chased him down. It’s an officer’s worst nightmare and reminds us all of the inherent danger in the job and the respect with which we should treat our officers.

JEERS for the high gas prices which have taken a big bite out of the Gilroy Unified School District’s plan to save money in the bus transportation arena and a chunk out of everyone’s wallets. We need a national commitment to alternative energy especially related to fuel for automobiles so that our country can extricate itself from the volatility of the crude oil market.

CHEERS for the friction that has broken out over a consultant’s report on the Gilroy Police Department. The report is starting an overdue conversation about police department staffing and efficiency. It should not be wholly dismissed out of hand as Councilman Dion Bracco seems eager to do. It should be looked at for what it is, scrutinized, thought about and used as a springboard for dialogue. That will, of course, be a great deal of work. But the time is very right to have this discussion with a new police chief about to be hired. The city council, the Police Officer’s Association and the city administration should keep an open mind.

CHEERS for the huge highway improvement project now on the table for Caltrans which would transform a number of routes in our area. U.S. 101 south of Gilroy all the way to Highway 129 would be widened to six lanes, the Highway 25/U.S. 101 interchange would be completely revamped, Santa Teresa would flow into U.S. 101 and the nasty railroad crossing just in front of the turn into Christopher Ranch on Highway 25 would be grade separated – cars would go over the trains. Though money is always an issue, this is “on the board.” Now, we’ll have to keep pressure on our local and state legislators to keep this prize project in focus.

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