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March 3, 2021

Signs making a visual mess out of our town; how about a flea market?

Visual noise is everywhere in Gilroy – ubiquitous is a good word to describe it. It’s like this: throw it out there on the street and let it sit for eons. Here, there, everywhere more trash on the sidewalk. It’s garbage, really, and Mayor Don Gage is on the right track choosing to vigorously clean up “Signtown.” One step in the right direction at a time. No A-frames littering the sidewalks, no flapping distracting haphazardly placed banners, no dressed up Lady Liberty dancing on the sidewalk frantically waving a sign. Hallelujah! And while we’re at it, let’s shut down the permanent garage sale locations. That aspect is a ridiculously trashy mess. If a homeowner wants to sell junk every weekend, pack it up and take it to the flea market.
Flea market, now there’s an idea for Gilroy. Oh where, oh where could our weekly flea market go, oh where, oh where could it be?
Be cool, I thought, when I read this news release from the United States Postal Service, if only … here’s why: “The Santa Clara Postmaster and USPS officials are scheduled to be on the city council agenda to announce a final decision to sell or not sell the historic Santa Clara Post Office.” … if only they would tear down and rebuild our post office. But that’s a lost cause, I fear, given that the USPS doesn’t really seem to give a 1-cent stamp about the ease of customer access to the Gilroy post office.
In this office for 30 years – that’s what I rediscovered going through some old Dispatch newspapers. Landed in Gilroy in 1984 and for my interview then Editor Scott Livingston took me downtown to lunch at the Gilroy Bowl and chided me into ordering Japanese food. Still enjoy the tendon donburi and the tempura udon. That meal will likely be more accessible in the not-too-distant future, too. We have sold our location at 6400 Monterey St. Now that the press is gone and the newspaper is printed at a consolidated plant in San Jose, there’s no need to have such a huge building. The press will be replaced with granite, as in showroom, and we’re looking for a downtown location. The more things change, the more they stay the same …
That’s kind of true, but 30 years ago this would have never happened: “A 9-year-old boy has been told by his school to leave his “My Little Pony” backpack at home because it’s reportedly a “trigger for bullying.” According to Huffington Post, Grayson Bruce said other students picked on him and bullied him because the backpack was “girly.” His mother, Noreen Bruce, said her son was punched, pushed down and called names over the fuzzy blue pony bag with ears. Bruce said Buncombe County Schools officials told her son to leave the backpack at home to “immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom.” Once news of Grayson’s tribulations spread online, thousands signed an online petition and took to a Facebook page to demand he be allowed to carry the bag.” Doesn’t anybody have any common sense anymore?
Whoever bought the California lottery ticket worth $425.3 million which remains unclaimed after one month, likely doesn’t. Maybe it’s stuffed in a jacket pocket, or hit the municipal dump, tossed out with old receipts from a bulging wallet. Or it’s missing in the car and the owner knows they bought a ticket at the Dixon Landing Chevron in Milpitas, but has been frantically searching for the missing ticket for 30 days and 30 nights. The lottery folks should hire one of those psychics to track down the owner and the ticket. Now that would be a heckuva public relations move.
With the passing of  Peter Ciccarelli, the beloved PR man for the Garlic  Festival, Gilroy’s own will take the promotion reins. Kat Filice from Articulate Solutions and Frank Angelino, formerly of radio sales fame, will team up to help keep those crowds streaming through the gates at a 100,000-plus number for our three days at the end of July.  It’s the 36th annual coming up and it’s July 25, 26 and 27 for those who want to mark it down right now.
Mark this down as the city goes through its formal General Plan planning process: It makes far more common sense to spend time planning for future water needs than it does planning for high speed rail to reach downtown Gilroy.
Wish that Police Chief Denise Turner would make it a priority to reach into the nostrils of Gilroy’s parks at the times when miscreants invade like roaches in the night. A weekday walk with the hounds on a glorious near-spring day brought us to the picnic area and amphitheater in Christmas Hill Park in the early evening. Marijuana filled the air, one crack or meth-head drank up a beer with three gangbangers while his head bobbed uncontrollably with bugged-out eyes. Meanwhile in the amphitheater a group of six or so skinhead-types gathered, drinking and smoking and loudly using the word “nigger” in between expletives. When we know where the Gilroy vermin go on a warm sunny day, why not round them up or scatter them?
Scatter brained are the kids who ride bicycles smack through traffic while a crossing intersection is just pedal pushes away. Not sure what to do about it … maybe just a word to the wise for Gilroy drivers. Watch out – especially around the city’s core and 10th Street. 
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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