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June 19, 2021

Q & A with mayoral candidate Dion Bracco

Q: Why are you running?

A: The mayor sets the agenda and can really define the debate. I think it’s time we have a mayor, along with a Council, that is assertive and proactive and sends the message that we are in charge and our staff is accountable to and answers to us. I also believe I represent the only proven fiscally conservative choice for Gilroy voters.

Q: What are your three priorities?

A: To make our city government work for its residents.

To keep expenditures in line with our revenue. We must live within our means.

To ensure our police have the resources needed to continue  fighting crime with more operations like the ones we saw earlier in the year called “Garlic Press.”

Q: What makes you a better choice than the other candidates?

A: I really believe the tax issue will be first and foremost this coming November. There will be two major local tax increases on the ballot, in addition to the tax increases proposed by the governor. I am adamantly against all of these tax hikes. Peter and Don have both recently come out in support of higher taxes. Peter supports a city sales tax increase and Don supports a whopping $548 million dollar parcel tax. Tax increases in this economy will only chase jobs and businesses out of Gilroy and damage our Outlet retailers and car dealers. Government must be made to live within its means and I think I am the only candidate in the race who will really go to the mat to fight against higher taxes.

Q: Do you have any specific plans to support and strengthen downtown?

A: I think it’s time to take a different approach when it comes to downtown. We need to try new ideas and if they don’t work, try something else. One idea I have is to take sections of downtown (like half of a block) and concentrate all our efforts on that section and if that is too much, try two or three buildings until we achieve success and then move on to the next section. We also need to revisit the Downtown Specific Plan for a possible update to better address issues we face in today’s environment. We should also look at the impact fees we charge for downtown development. Developing in downtown is different than developing raw land and should be assessed accordingly.   

Q: Are you happy with the current dynamic of City Council?

A: Yes I am, this Council has accomplished much: a new library that most said could not be done, a new youth center at San Ysidro Park, the Camino Arroyo bridge, the purchase of the 536 acre Gilroy Gardens family theme park, negotiated concessions from our public employee unions and the list goes on and on.

Q: What skills do you possess that would be important in making you an effective mayor?

A: I am an effective leader, I work well with others, I have served as chair person on most of the boards and commissions I sit on bringing others together to work towards a common goal. I am very involved in our community, and I bring a common-sense, fiscally responsible business approach to solving problems.

Q: How would you be accessible to Gilroy’s residents?

A: I receive calls all the time and people come to my office. Owning a local business, people know where to find me and I enjoy helping others. I believe that when a resident or employee calls they deserve an answer, and if they need help it is our job to help them.  

Q: Give a few examples of what you think are effective crime fighting strategies?

A: We have come a long way from the historic high crime rates of the 1980s and 1990s. Today, we have historically low crime rates, thanks to our police department and the dedication of our officers. The anti-crime team never gives up, always thinking of ways to deter crime in our city. We have to understand what they are up against because of the state and county releasing criminals back into our community so that they can save money at our expense. I have been very involved with efforts to curb gang violence, working with the chief of police to create the South County Youth Task Force to work with others regionally to address gang issues.     

Q: From whom do you seek advice on difficult issues?

A: Depends on the issue, sometimes my family, other leaders that I trust and respect, community members, and I always seek wisdom and guidance from my God.

Q: What current well-known political figure do you most admire and why?

A: I would have to say Ron Paul, He doesn’t accept the notion that government can’t be changed.

Q: Do any of the current residential development ordinances need to be changed?

A: We will be updating the Residential Development Ordinance and I think we need to really take a good hard look at it. I think it may be time to ask ourselves how much more do we want to grow? And, we need to look at our own process: we have all these RDO’s out there, but they are not being built. At the same time, good infill projects are stalled because there are no RDO’s available. 

Q: Is there really anything a mayor can do about creating jobs in Gilroy? If so, please be specific?

A: Yes, we must change City Hall. We need to streamline the process and help applicants. I receive calls that describe City Hall with words like adversarial, hostile, defend, delay, obstruct and deny. The Mayor has an office at City Hall and needs to be at the table when needed to put an end to this. I have noticed when someone goes to the Mayor or Council first, things seem to go more smoothly. I believe that when staff knows we are watching they do things differently.        

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