City summer rec guide reveals an underlying issue - The Gilroy Dispatch: Mark Derry

City summer rec guide reveals an underlying issue

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Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:42 am | Updated: 2:45 pm, Mon Dec 10, 2012.

Beautiful cover on the city of Gilroy’s parks and recreation Summer 2012 Activity Guide shot at the Christopher High School swimming pool with three of Gilroy’s finest young lifeguards. The guide went to the printer weeks and weeks ago no doubt, and, lo and behold, there’s not a word mentioned about activities available at the South Valley Middle School swimming pool. Yep, not going to get many participants when the activity isn’t even listed in the city summer guide. The city staff, clearly, decided to close the pool long before our City Council decided to keep it open. And therein lies a systemic cultural problem that has to be dealt with and eradicated before our city moves forward. As one of our astute Community Pulse Board members commented upon answering the question about whether the city should spend the money to keep the South Valley pool open: “The culture of NO has got to GO.” Not good for a brochure …

Happy to report the “Culture of No” has quietly vanished in the Gilroy Garlic Festival Board room. A welcome about face for the the G-Fest Board in relation to the issue of selling items at the re-located visitor’s bureau – the wildly successful Gilroy Welcome Center at the outlet mall. By unanimous vote, they’ve  wisely decided to sell a few Garlic Festival trinket items – and, yes, tickets will be available June 1 – at the center.

Garlic Festival Volunteer President Hugh Davis is excited about that “Hugh”nanimous vote, and he should be given that 13,071 people visited the Welcome Center in the last five months according to Director Jane Howard. But Hugh is even more excited about the limited edition Herbie Bobblehead dressed in a San Francisco Giants uniform that will only be available at the special “First Annual Giants Garlic Fest” on Friday, June 29. Our Pyro Chefs will be there putting on a fiery pre-game afternoon show. Already half of the 3,000 available tickets have been sold. A Giant Giants Gilroy Garlic party – food, beer and baseball – does that sound like fun or what? … Ticket info on the SF Giants website. Maybe Matt Cain will be on the hill that night, too, and treat us garlic party fans to a no-hitter against the Reds.

No hitter to home run reminder: The Gilroy Garlic Festival has poured $9.3 million back into community organizations. Amazing. Great volunteers and a dedicated staff made sure a whopping 180 non-profit organizations reaped monetary benefits last year.

Melinda Soares, a Gilroyan studying at UC Santa Cruz, is a star in the physics department. First in her family to go to college, she has taken her first-hand knowledge of family dairy farming to a whole new Milky Way level. “Soares has been working with theoretical astrophysicist Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz on a study of the remnants of exploding stars. She has also done research with physicist David Williams, using data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the VERITAS telescope array to study high-energy gamma-ray emissions,” says a profile piece that goes on to say she’s won honors for research presentations at two conferences in the past year, including first-place for an oral presentation on supernova remnants at the 2012 Emerging Researchers National Conference. Ah, supernova remnants ... congrats Melinda, must have been something to do with getting up so early to tend to the cows while the morning sky glimmered above the farm.

Farmer’s Market, dateline Gilroy … still think Head Librarian Lani Yoshimura has a great idea about moving the market to the plaza outside the new library. While we’re on the subject, Grand Opening festivities for our glistening, green “Tree City USA” library facility are set for Saturday, April 28. Details in our special section which will be published inside of Tuesday’s edition.

This year’s edition of the Garlic Festival Poster brought to you from the creative mind and hands of talented local artist and actress Whitney Pintello. Love it when the poster contest winner is local, and the vibrant colors and flowing execution of the still life garlic bulb is classy and engaging. It’s a real keeper suitable for framing.

Framing the government insanity so prevalent today is this tidbit: Under Santa Clara County’s new anti-smoking ordinance, two boaters in the middle of huge Lake Anderson were warned/cited for smoking by Sheriff’s deputies because it’s a county park. Now that’s the definition of a stupid law. Meanwhile, Morgan Hill’s City Council is considering a draconian anti-smoking measure. Larry Carr voted in favor on a  2-2 vote that deadlocked the issue Wednesday night. Sure, it’s all the politically correct rage, but beware of elected leaders who unreasonably target people’s personal choices: your personal choice is next on their agenda.

On the city’s sports park agenda should be an additional bathroom facility near the south diamonds. A Red Phone caller has it right, the little kids and grandparents shouldn’t have to walk across the park to the restroom, and the porta-potty in place is a mess. The park is a great facility, the addition necessary. Bid it, fix it, it’s time.

Could be Gilroyan Chris Giminez’s time to make it in “The Show.” He’s been called up from Durham Bulls (favorite baseball movie, Bull Durham) to the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’s hitting a cool .500 in 8 plate appearances. Chris’ story is a classic: He’s a catcher who loves the game; he’s 29; he’s worked his tail off in the minors knowing the dream can come true. My daughter Shannon, who’s known him a long time, has always insisted that he would make it one day. This could be that day.


Reach Editor Mark Derry at

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  • overtaxed citizen posted at 12:56 pm on Thu, Apr 26, 2012.

    overtaxed citizen Posts: 38

    The systematic cultural problem is anti-immigrant sentiment and journalistic ignorance.

  • gilroygal posted at 4:16 pm on Sat, Apr 21, 2012.

    gilroygal Posts: 9

    I am so frustrated to hear that the district is against the South Valley pool, but we were uninformed about any meetings taken place or that the pool was even seriously on the chopping block. We would have been there to support this important part of our community here on the east side.

    The book "Contested Waters" by Jeff Wiltse explains very similar battles that low-income, African and Latino Americans have had to face regarding pools in the past. He writes, "By the 1970s and 1980s, tens of millions of mostly white middle-class Americans swam in their backyards or at suburban club pools, while mostly African and Latino Americans swam at inner-city municipal pools. America's history of socially segregated swimming pools thus became its legacy." In regards to a school that was going to be closed on the poorer side of town, he explained, "City councilwoman Darlene Rogers pointed out that closing the pool would deprive area youths of one of the few recreation spaces accessible to them. 'My concern is that it is the only pool left on the North Side. If we close the pool, there won't be any place for those kids to swim. And we don't have many other recreational activities for them.'" The city decided to keep their pool open, not only not to deprive those youths from the opportunities on the other side of town, but to have more options for youth to prevent crime.
    Clearly, times haven't changed...but, unfortunately, our outcome doesn't look as positive.

    I am shocked to hear the summer guide didn't include South Valley, and saddened that the community that this impacts was left out of the discussion. Everyone knows that times are tough and money is tight, but as many people have pointed out, we didn't seem very concerned about money when it came to the other side of town. This pool is more than the numbers it attracts in the summer, why not have it open fewer hours or less days of the week, but filling it in? That condemns the future of these youths that might not learn to swim and may not have a positive public place they can walk to in the summer. It's a forever decision, not a temporary solution in a tough time.