Page 1

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce



This is why Gilroy is great

chair of the board ERIC GEBHARDT • Hilton Garden Inn

ONE OF MY ROLES in serving as Board Chair that I thoroughly enjoyed Past chair is the presentation of recognitions and ERIC HOWARD • Bruce’s Tire, Inc. awards on behalf of the Chamber. chair of the board-ElecT Gilroy is a great place to live, work, DEBBI SANCHEZ • Fortino Winery and visit, but it’s the people that make a community, and these recognitions Secretary/Treasurer underscore the generous heart of DAVID MATUSZAK, Ed.D. Gilroy. • Santa Clara County R.O.P., South This past month, I presented the Vc OPERATIONS & DEVELOPMENT Nob Hill Foods Good Egg award to JAN PEAT • McDonald’s of Gilroy the Piece by Piece Quilt Guild. These ladies have been creating quilts for Vc public affairs years for the Breast Care Cancer GREGG GIUSIANA • Retired Police Chief Center at St. Louise Regional Hospital. Vc business programs & Services At that same event, I presented DEBBI SANCHEZ • Fortino Winery certificates to graduating seniors who are receiving the Chamber’s Business Vc MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS and Education scholarships. What is LISA CASSARA • Coldwell Banker interesting is that not only were they excellent students, but they all hold BOARD OF DIRECTORS jobs at Gilroy Gardens. Since January, when my term BRIGITTE NICHOLLS started, I have had the honor • Union Bank CHAR MARRAZZO • Marrazzo Financial LLOYD LOWREY • Noland, Hamerly, Etienne & Hoss MARK TURNER • South Valley Community Church CHERYL ELLEMBERG • ABD Promotions GINA LOPEZ • State Farm Insurance

CHAMBER STAFF Susan Valenta • President/CEO Michelle Garcia • Administrative Assistant Chris Bevilacqua • Administrative Assistant Rosie Vogel • Administrative Assistant Sue Thurman • Business Relationship Manager

WELCOME CENTER STAFF Jane Howard • Executive Director

Pam Gimenez • Office Manager


Tammy Brownlow • President/CEO Candace Van Sambeek, Administrative Assistant


EDITOR • Susan Valenta, President/CEO Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

PRODUCTION & DESIGN • J. Chris Mickartz InfoPOWER Communications

PHOTOGRAPHY • Larry Mickartz InfoPOWER Communication

7471 Monterey Street • Gilroy, CA 95020 web: e-mail: phone: (408) 842-6437

of standing at the lectern and acknowledging people who have beautified their businesses to create a welcoming impression in Gilroy such as Dr. Gallagher, DDS and Al Howard of EZ Clean Car Wash and Doggy Wash. I have presented the Youth High Five awards to individuals like Christopher High School students Austin Corini and Katie Wheat in recognition for their service to others. Nob Hill Foods Good Egg awards were given to John Russell who volunteers to get people to Rally Around the Downtown, Dave Peoples, who contributes to the community many times over, Denise Brown who provides survival kits for the homeless, and Mary Cortani who trains service dogs for returning vets. At the Spice of Life dinner in February, the awards ceremony highlighted the works of Barb Granter,

Sig Sanchez, Mafalda Freitas, James Dent, the Gilroy Foundation, and Costco. As I mentioned in some of my other columns, my career has placed me in many towns across America, but Gilroy stands out in my mind as a community of people with a heart for service. As the half-way point in my term as Board Chair, I look forward to the 35th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. Every volunteer makes this event a success and is one more reason why Gilroy is so great. See you at the Festival!


2013 Chair of the Board Gilroy Chamber of Commerce


Keeping legislative action at the forefront of business IN THIS MONTH’S ISSUE of the Focus, we cover reports from our legislative advocacy actions. The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business – and we are not afraid to confront those issues that are detrimental to business. Chamber monitors Open Space Credit and county minimum wage proposal First, we are at the table with the Open Space Credit issue. The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) is asking stakeholders whether this credit should still be used to keep ag water rates low or to use the money for capital projects – the majority of which is in the north county and total over $500 million. The amount of the Open Space Credit to offset the ag water rates is a little over $6 million per year. The agricultural community is concerned – as should you – because this could be the stake in the heart for some of our south county ranchers. These ranchers are excellent stewards of their land and contend with a myriad of regulations, labor and supply costs, and competition from imported products. They also provide

Page 2

a direct benefit to the SCVWD in water management. This is an important issue and one that needs to be watched closely. As a chamber we have monitored (and opposed) increasing the minimum wage. Currently, Supervisor Dave Cortese (District 3) is proposing a minimum wage increase in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara county. When you consider that the majority of that area is in the south county, it becomes clear that our ag industry will be impacted the most. We will continue to monitor this, too, and have suggested that any proposed ordinance be limited to unincorporated pockets in San Jose. Sacramento at its worst hour So, with that, here is an example of why we encourage being informed and being involved. We all read how the State passed their budget on time – there continues to be proverbial “can-kicking down the road” with unfunded liabilities for pensions – but I digress . . . . An interesting story unfolded that within the budget passage was a rider that would have imploded the

public’s ability to track tax dollars and hold local officials accountable. Our own state representatives agreed to this rider, and pull my thumb, please -it was authored by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. As taxpayers, as a community, as voters, this was an assault to open, transparency in government. Was the City of Bell scandal and the abuses of public trust totally forgotten? Was the pension spiking, double-dipping, Shirakawa-esque behavior not made us want to be more diligent in accessing public records? From a personal experience, accessing information through the Public Records Act is no walk in the park. Had it not been for the political fire storm from the Bay Area News group to rescind the rider, Californians would have been walking through that park with a blindfold.

SUSAN VALENTA President/CEO Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

Gilroy Business Focus I July 2013

Gilroy Business Focus – July | 2013 Edition  
Gilroy Business Focus – July | 2013 Edition  

A Publication of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce