Gilroy Chamber Business Focus July 2023

July 24, 2023

What’s Included in the 2-Year Budget

Article Written By Mayor Marie Blankley

Last month the City Council approved our financial budget for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 (July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024; and July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025). For the next two years this budget drives the City’s spending and funding allocations within the limits of our revenue sources. As your mayor and a CPA by profession, I’d like to share with you here and at the next Conversation and Coffee with the Mayor on August 12 at 9:30am, what that budget says and the insight into city spending that it provides.

City Administrator Jimmy Forbis will join me on August 12 to answer questions and/or dive deeper into specific subject matters included in the approved budget. Whether you plan to join the conversation or not, please read this Spotlight and make yourself aware of how city staff has been directed to spend our limited resources over the next two years. While some may say that accounting isn’t all that exciting, I beg to differ. Accounting reveals the true financial picture, and using that financial picture to develop a budget for spending responsibly is very exciting.

Investment in Infrastructure

  • Streets – This budget continues for another 2 years our annual investment of $3.9 million for the maintenance of our city streets. Prior to this effort initiated by the Council in the last 2-year budget cycle, the city was not funding nearly enough towards the upkeep of our city streets to prevent the continual decline in pavement conditions throughout the city. This year you can expect to see improvements to biggies such as Luchessa Ave, Leavesley Road at the Outlets to the city limit line, and the Chestnut/10th Street intersection when the commercial project on that corner is complete. To see a list of streets scheduled for improvements in the current fiscal year, see Better Roads Ahead.
  • Fire Stations – $3 million has been allocated to bring aging fire stations up to modern standards. The Chestnut and Las Animas fire stations are the most aged, and remodels and upgrades funded in this budget will cover all but seismic improvements for these stations. In addition, critical equipment upgrades/replacements have been made for all fire stations.
  • The temporary fire station in the Santa Teresa Fire District will ultimately become the City’s 4th fire station once funding for construction is triggered by the Glen Loma Development agreement. To date, this temporary station has been limited to staffing of only 12 hours per day. This budget allocates the necessary funds to create an interim station of modular buildings on city-owned property near the Christmas Hill Park Ranch site that will provide sleeping quarters, an office, a shower, and a kitchen to allow for 24-hour staffing, thereby improving emergency response times for the Santa Teresa Fire District with the same 24-hour staffing capability that exists at the Chestnut, Las Animas and Sunrise fire stations.
  • Utility (Sewer/Water) projects and programs – The City has numerous projects to complete in order to meet the requirements of the 2040 General Plan. Significant fund balances have accumulated over time instead of being spent to get projects completed because we’ve lacked the staff to do so. We’re turning that around with this budget by creating a Utilities Department that will focus on water and wastewater system improvements and maintenance as well as the business aspects of providing utility services for the community. Water and wastewater utilities have grown to an operation of over $24 million and warrant a dedicated department separate from Public Works. New staff positions include a Director of Utilities, a Utilities Business Manager, two engineers, a Management Analyst, and an Office Assistant. Existing staff in Public Works assigned to water and wastewater maintenance will transition to the newly formed Utilities Department.
  • 10th Street Bridge – As part of the approved budget, work is underway for the design and CEQA (environmental work) portion of this critical east-west traffic circulation connector over Uvas Creek. The cost to actually construct the bridge sits at $27 million, $21 million of which we sought to obtain from a federal transportation grant. Unfortunately, we were recently notified that we did not get the grant and, consequently, will re-apply in the next grant cycle. Today’s existing resources are not enough to fund the construction of this bridge without federal grant assistance.
  • 10th Street and Hwy 101 Bridge Widening – Thanks to an $8 million grant award from the Measure B Highway Program, this budget includes the widening of the existing bridge overcrossing at the Tenth Street (Automall Parkway)/US 101/SR 152 interchange to add one additional lane in each direction. The project includes widening the bridge structure, ramp work, grading, striping and signal modification improvements, and also includes widening the roadway between the intersections of Tenth Street/Automall Parkway/Chestnut Street and SR 152/Camino Arroyo.

Public Safety Staffing

This budget adds two additional police officers to our law enforcement team to enhance service delivery and the ability to effectively respond to emergencies, crime and community concerns. Also added are two public safety communicators, positions critical to emergency call management, incident mitigation, and the effective management of resources during critical incidents. In the second year of this two-year budget, we added two additional firefighters that will allow the Santa Teresa Response district (the designated location of the City’s 4th fire station) to be staffed with a three-person engine 24/7, bringing service levels at that station to that of the other 3 fire stations in the City and continuing our effort to get closer to our adopted Standard of Coverage citywide, a goal only possible with the addition of the 4th fire station.

Long-term Master Planning

The Civic Center Campus comprises the 3 blocks between Church Street and Dowdy Streets from east to west, and between 6th Street and 7th Street from north to south. With the exception of the library and the police station, this campus is underutilized with buildings in various degrees of deterioration. This budget allocates $700,000 to commence the evaluation process of adding a Gilroy Community Center along with the potential redesign of other aged assets (e.g., Wheeler auditorium, the former police station, the Senior Center, and City Hall) and including the city-owned Center for the Arts on Monterey and 7th Street. This effort to add a Community Center and re-evaluate underutilized and/or deteriorated space will hopefully spur the addition of recreation programs for all ages, multi-purpose space for gatherings, events, and the arts, and provide an inviting City Hall that welcomes and serves our community.

Housing and Community Services

This budget creates a focused division within the Community Development Department called Housing and Community Services. This specifically-focused division will be run by a Housing and Community Services manager and will enable the City to make more concentrated efforts on affordable housing production, preservation, and protection for our residents. The position of manager does not necessitate additional staff because it will instead re-purpose an existing position created during the COVID-19 pandemic for program administration/coordination.

Economic Development

This budget continues to support the Council’s direction of making Gilroy a “Recreation Destination” and three primary economic development projects:

  • The Sports Park – Expanding the Sports Park to include two NHL-size hockey rinks for programs and events operated by the San Jose Sharks organization is under way. The City is responsible to bring necessary utilities to the site, the costs for which are allocated in this budget. Expected work includes design, environmental work, construction for site grading, installation of site stormwater collection system and stormwater treatment facilities, sewer collection, water service distribution, and joint trench. Also included is the design and construction of traffic signal improvements at the entrance to the Sports Park at the Monterey Road/Monterey Frontage Road intersection. Evidence of this exciting new addition should be visible shortly to anyone visiting the Sports Park. Construction of the actual ice facility will be financed through a revenue bond paid for by the Sharks. Construction timeframe for the facility itself is 18-24 months.
  • Downtown alleys – Adding lighting and landscaping, decorative paving, common trash enclosures and other amenities are all part of the improvements to occur on Gourmet Alley from 4th to 7th Street, and on Railroad Alley from Lewis to 7th Street. Design is complete and construction should begin this Fall. The goal is to convert these alleys into inviting pedestrian pathways for strolling, shopping, dining and seating. Together with the multi-purpose parking lot already completed at 7th and Eigleberry and a parking management plan that has already been initiated, we are well on our way to significant improvements downtown, amounting to over $6.5 million since the end of the pandemic lockdown, not to mention private investments and new businesses.
  • Gilroy Gardens and surrounding City-owned land — We have recently concluded the process of official publication required by Senate Bill 330 (effective 1/1/20) and known as the Surplus Lands Act for the entire 536 acres owned by the City in the vicinity of and including Gilroy Gardens. The conclusion of this process means that we are now in a position to receive formal proposals and explore all possible uses for this entire area.

This budget also includes the funding for a position of Economic Development Manager.

California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)

This is a sore subject for me because it’s killing us financially with no solution in sight. The CalPERS system promises retirement packages to public employees at a fixed dollar amount regardless of how investments are actually performing. As a consequence, when the investment market loses money or doesn’t meet the necessary earnings mark, retirement benefit obligations can’t be met in full. Note also that incoming CalPERS contributions from employees are a mere fraction of the outgoing benefits paid to retirees. The city pays the minimum required annual payment on our retirement obligations and accrues a growing “unfunded liability” that gets larger and larger (and accrues interest!) depending upon the magnitude of the shortfall of the investment market performance from the interest rate assumed by CalPERS. Gilroy’s unfunded CalPERS liability is over $100 million, the amount required to meet our current and future pension obligations as they exist today. We have additional unfunded liabilities of nearly $20 million for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB). OPEB refers to retirement benefits other than pensions that public employees receive, such as medical, dental, vision or life insurance.

In 2019, the then City Council voted to establish and fund a Section 115 Trust, a mechanism for setting aside and investing current funds to offset future pension liability payments. At that time, when I too was on the Council, we voted to amend the Fiscal Year 2020 budget by $2 million to fund the trust. In 2022, we formally adopted a pension funding policy which requires annual contributions to the Section 115 Trust so that money would be available to help offset rising pension costs during more difficult budgetary or economic times. To date, $3.0 million has been contributed to the Section 115 Trust and this budget allocates an additional $750,000 to be contributed. This budget also includes funding for the required CalPERS annual minimum payments of $13.6 million for fiscal year 2024 and $14.7 million for fiscal year 2025.

Citywide Park Improvements

This budget allocates $1 million from the General Fund for improvements to parks citywide, including park restroom rehabilitation (replacing approximately 32 park restrooms throughout the city with fire retardant roofs and durable, fire-resistant building materials). It has become increasingly challenging to maintain public restrooms due to growing incidents of vandalism, but this rehabilitation effort is a matter of public safety and ultimately reduces maintenance costs. Additionally, this budget provides for annual funding of $100,000 for general citywide park needs, a portion of which may be used to improve dog parks, for example.

Water/Wastewater Rate Adjustments

As a full-service City, Gilroy owns and operates its own water and wastewater utilities, providing services to over 15,000 customers and growing. To ensure both utilities collect revenue sufficient to meet the growing demand, keep pace with the rising operational costs – including groundwater extraction charges assessed by Valley Water, and fund the multi-year capital improvement plans, the City has conducted a utilities’ rate study. The last utilities’ rate study was completed in 2015, and the City has not increased its water or wastewater rates since January 2019. In April 2023, the City approved the updated Water and Wastewater Master Plans, which collectively identified over $50.3 million in new improvements, of which $21.7 million is for existing users (ratepayers) and $28.6 million for future developments. For the City to continue investing in critical utilities’ infrastructure and keep pace with rising operational costs, the City needs to establish multi-year rate adjustments. The study will be presented at the August 21st Council meeting, followed by a community meeting in September. The rate adjustments are scheduled to be adopted at a Public Hearing on October 16th after completing the required forty-five days’ notice. The first rate adjustment will be recommended effective January 1, 2024. Additional information will be included with the upcoming monthly utility bill statements and shared via the City’s communication channels.

What's New with Business?

South Valley Symphony (SVS)

South Valley Symphony invites fellow Gilroy Chamber members to join us at our opening 50th concert season on October 8, 2023. Sponsorship opportunities are also available, and contributions will help support live musical performances by local musicians and help us reach our goal to positively impact our diverse community.

Beginning with only six musicians in 1973, the symphony has grown to more than 60, talented musicians, playing classical works under the baton of Maestro Anthony Quartuccio.

For more information go to: www.southvalleysymphony.org. We are a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3).

Questions? Please contact Mary Anne Groen, maryanne.groen@gmail.com, or Kristin Carlson, kristincarlson@verizon.net

Gilroy Vets Hall

Official Unveiling – Please join us in thanking all those involved in honoring “Gilroy’s Home of the Brave” patriotic mural.
Thursday, July 27, 2023
11am
Gilroy Vets Hall
74 W 6th Street
Gilroy, CA 95020
More Information

Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center

Blood Drive- Friday, July 28, 2023 marks the fourth-year remembrance of the Gilroy Garlic Festival (GGF) shooting. This year, the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center will continue to promote #kindnessisstrong by hosting a blood drive in honor of all those impacted by the GGF shooting and in support of the American Red Cross. Appointments are highly encouraged but walk-ins are welcome!
Friday, July 28, 2023
11am-5pm
The Neon Exchange
7365 Monterey Hwy
Gilroy, CA 95020
RSVP here

CMAP TV

Social Media Workshop – Don’t miss this opportunity to learn the necessary tools and strategies of social media to grow your business. FREE ACCESS
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
5:30pm -7:30pm
7500 Monterey Hwy
Gilroy, CA 95020
More information at: www.cmaptv.com

Bay Area Community Health

Ohana Health Fair – Enjoy FREE live music, dancing, raffle prizes, engaging activities for all ages, resource booths, health screenings, and more!
Saturday, August 5, 2023
11am-3pm
Rebekah Children’s Services
290 IOOF Avenue
Gilroy, CA 95020
Click here for more information

 

2023 Spice of Life Susan Valenta Youth Leadership Award Recipient: Alexandra Beyret

Alexandra Beyret, a recent graduate of Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, highly values giving back to the community that has allowed countless to thrive, including herself. Whether at school or globally, Alexandra’s passion for advocating for the needs of her community has motivated her to always act and push towards solutions to better society.

As the GECA GUSD Board Representative and a member of GECA’s Honors Tribunal, Alexandra works to represent GECA students in the best manner possible. Alexandra is also highly involved in Gavilan College, from her work as a STEM tutor to being currently the only GECA officer in Gavilan’s Associate Student Body, where she is the secretary and GECA representative, ensuring accessibility and student representation. County-wise, Alexandra also served as a commissioner on the Santa Clara Mental Health in Schools Youth Advocacy Commission, where she had the opportunity to directly impact students and schools county-wide.

Alexandra hopes to pursue her passion for advocacy and public policy, as well as mathematics, by double-majoring in economics and mathematics. During her time in university, she plans to replicate and expand her current involvement in her community by joining advocacy groups, student government, and student-led initiatives that use economics to strengthen local neighborhoods.

Her advice to students is to always work hard and never stop following one’s passions, whatever they may be. Alexandra also emphasizes the power of being dependable, always putting forth your best effort, and never failing to act for the good of the whole in all aspects of one’s life.

Get your tickets for our Spice of Life Awards ceremony

July 17, 2023

Proud Members of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce appreciates the support of our members. Investment dollars are dedicated to vital programs such as economic development, business marketing, leadership programs and more. We applaud each of you for helping make Gilroy a better place to live and work.

30 Years & over

Fortino Winery
Habing Family Funeral Home
Longhouse Restaurant
McDonald’s of Gilroy – First Street
McDonald’s of Gilroy – Outlets
McDonald’s of Gilroy – Tenth Street
Pacific Diversified Insurance Services, Inc.
Rebekah Children’s Services
Recology South Valley

20 Years & over

Bracco’s Towing & Transport, Inc.
Clos LaChance Winery
E-Z Clean Car & Doggy Wash
MBS Business Systems
Abbas Raissi, D.D.S.
South Valley Civic Theatre

10 Years & over

DreamPower Horsemanship
Learning Services
Merrill Gardens – Village Green
Method Construction, Inc.
Pacific Coast Benefits, LLC
Power Pros
Ehsan Rezvan, D.D.S., M.S.
RFI Security Inc.
Denise M. Taylor, CPA

5 Years and over

Floors Direct Carpet One
Garlic City Embroidery Studio
Gilroy Compassion Center
Gilroy Police Foundation
Goodwill of Silicon Valley
Sonja Biggs Educational Services, Inc.
Straw Hat Pizza
The Realty Society
Vivian Investment Partners

City of Gilroy Starts Sidewalk Vending Discussions

Introduction and First Reading of an Ordinance Adding Chapter 16B, Sidewalk Vending, to the Gilroy City Code

Legislation adopted at the State level now allows vendors to sell food and merchandise on pedestrian paths, public sidewalks, and, in certain instances, public parks. Although the Gilroy City Code includes requirements for mobile vending, those requirements are not in line with current State legislation for sidewalk vendors.

The ordinance proposed at the July 10 City Council meeting provides permit requirements and standards for those seeking to sell goods or foods on City-owned paths, sidewalks, and parks.

At the meeting, the details of the ordinance were presented and members of the public had the opportunity to provide feedback.

Staff was asked to incorporate changes into the ordinance and to bring the item back to Council for a study session for further review and discussion.

Sidewalk Vending Ordinance Study Session: July 19 at 6 PM

2023 Spice of Life Educator of the Year Award

Michelle Anderson: Educator of the Year

Originally, Michelle Anderson never considered a career in education. She grew up in Nebraska and had the reputation as a slightly incorrigible student. She graduated from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a concentration in Economics, and then received a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University in the Bronx.

While in graduate school, she dabbled in education as a part-time teacher at the Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Hospital. After finishing grad school at Fordham, Michelle was hesitant to settle down to an office job. Instead, she joined the United States Peace Corps and was sent to the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, where she taught elementary school in the village of Satawal. It was there, at Sapwalap Elementary School, while the roosters crowed outside her classroom with its chicken wire windows and a leaky roof that it occurred to Michelle that she rather enjoyed teaching and thus began to consider a career in education.

After the Peace Corps, Michelle continued working in the Pacific, as a college instructor in South Korea, the Marshall Islands, the island of Yap, and then back on the island of Pohnpei. During this time, she earned an additional Master’s degree in the Teaching of Languages/ English as a Second Language from the University of Southern Mississippi. Receiving this degree was an homage to her mother who learned English as a second language while growing up in post-World War II Germany.

Michelle moved back to America permanently and taught a year of college in Fresno before joining the Gilroy Unified School District as a kindergarten teacher at Glen View Elementary. After two years as a kindergarten teacher, Michelle moved to first grade where she has been teaching for the last nineteen years.

Teaching in GUSD and being a part of the Gilroy community has been rewarding for Michelle. The camaraderie of the Glen View School community has been a constant support for Michelle. She is truly inspired by the compassionate and talented staff, as well as the wonderful leadership of her principal, Christine Vasquez. Encountering former students around Gilroy continues to be a great joy for Michelle as they share what they are doing with their lives after having her as a teacher. Michelle is a volunteer for the Gilroy Garlic Festival and the Gilroy Rodeo, both of which have shown her that Gilroy is a tight-knit community where everyone seems to be connected in one way or another. She is also involved in the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd of Gilroy.

Both of Michelle’s sons attended school in Gilroy: Ben graduated from Gilroy High School in 2021, and is a sophomore at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Will is a junior in the Computer Science Academy at Christopher High School, where he plays on the percussion line for the Midnight Pride Marching Band and is a member of the Boys Volleyball team. She is proud of how they have made their way in the community of Gilroy through their involvement in band, sports, academics, volunteer work, and their church.

For Michelle, the most rewarding aspect of teaching is observing first graders become readers, writers, mathematicians, and most importantly, young people who are capable of being responsible, honest, and hard-working world citizens. She takes particular pride in teaching students who are learning English as non-native speakers. She finds it incredibly rewarding to work in a District with outstanding teachers, including those who taught her own children: Melissa Wadsworth, Russell Taranto, Erin Phipps, Maricela Rivera, Mark Feisthamel, Janet Lee and David Salles. So many of Gilroy’s fine teachers are passionate about their jobs and inspire students in so many ways.

Michelle’s major accomplishments, in addition to currently being in her 35th year of teaching, include taking almost every possible training offered by the district including SEAL (Sobrato Early Language Academy) and the LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) programs. She provides tutoring to students after school and holds reading groups for emerging readers before the school day begins.

Michelle’s advice to anyone considering education as a career is to listen to their heart. If someone truly hears the call to teach, every single day requires intense passion, dedication, energy, and a sense of humor. It is rewarding to be part of a child’s life for 180 days and to (hopefully) have a positive effect on the rest of their lives. Michelle feels blessed to have had that “Aha” moment so many years ago in that classroom on the island of Pohnpei to reconsider and redirect her path to becoming an educator.

Silicon Valley Creates Awards $75,000 for Revitalization of Downtown Gilroy

SVCREATES is thrilled to announce six Gilroy artists and arts organizations selected as this year’s inaugural Gilroy Elevate the Arts Grant awardees. This new Gilroy grant program aims to elevate artists and the arts community in Gilroy by demonstrating the role arts can play in equitable community empowerment, activation, and revitalization. The 2023 awardees are:

⭐ Gallery 1202 | Project: Exhibition Series 2023-2024
⭐ 6th Street Studios & Art Center | Project: Traditional Arts Workshop Series
⭐ MANOS | Project: Second Annual Chalk Festival “Día de Muertos” Theme
⭐ Melanie Reynisson-Retail Genie & Local Color | Project: Gallery in the Alley-Capos Murals
⭐ Rubén Darío Villa | Project: La Ofrenda Festival — Gilroy’s Día de Muertos Festival and Wellness Fair
⭐ Gilroy Veterans Hall | Project: Eigleberry Street Patriotic Mural

Congratulations to our grantees! We look forward to seeing the results of your work over the coming year! Learn more: https://bit.ly/3pOclgh

Status of Job Killer Bills at Summer Recess

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with CalChamber to track job killer bills and advocate on your behalf.

Six California Chamber of Commerce job killer bills that threaten jobs and, if passed, will increase the cost of doing business in California remain active as state legislators headed home for the summer recess last week.

Two job killer bills, one imposing an onerous return to work mandate and another undermining arbitration, were placed on the Assembly Appropriations Committee Suspense File.

The Legislature will reconvene from summer recess on August 14.

Active Job Killer Bills

The following job killer bills are actively moving in the legislative process:

  • AB 524 (Wicks; D-Oakland): Exposes employers to costly litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act by asserting that any adverse employment action was in relation to the employee’s family caregiver status, which is broadly defined to include any employee who contributes to the care of any person of their choosing, and creates a de facto accommodation requirement that will burden small businesses. In Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • AB 647 (Holden; D-Pasadena): Significantly expands statute related to successor grocery employers, including disrupting ability for independent small stores to join together, expands number of workers covered under the law, and creates a significant new private right of action. In Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • SB 399 (Wahab; D-Hayward): Chills employer speech regarding religious and political matters, including unionization. Is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment and preempted by the National Labor Relations Act. In Assembly Appropriations Committee.
  • SB 525 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles): Imposes significant cost on health care facilities and any employer who works with health care facilities by mandating increase in minimum wage to $25. In Assembly Appropriations Committee.
  • SB 616 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach): Imposes new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by more than doubling existing sick leave mandate, which is in addition to all other enacted leave mandates that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply. In Assembly Appropriations Committee.
  • SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles): Imposes an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for nearly every industry, including hospitals, retail, restaurants, and movie theaters, which will delay hiring and eliminates contracts for at-will employment. In Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Job Killers in Suspense

The following bills are already on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File:

  • SB 365 (Wiener; D-San Francisco): Discriminates against use of arbitration agreements by requiring trial courts to continue trial proceedings during any appeal regarding the denial of a motion to compel, undermining arbitration and divesting courts of their inherent right to stay proceedings.
  • SB 723 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles): Imposes an onerous and stringent process for specific employers to return employees to the workforce for specified industries, including hotels and restaurants that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic, and removes guardrails on existing law by making mandate permanent and significantly broadening the applicability of the law.

 

July 10, 2023

Gilroy is a Great Community for New Businesses and their Employees

A new business in Gilroy is cause for celebration, and if that company has employees relocating from other areas, Gilroy has many activities and recreational opportunities to keep them excited about their new home. If their transition to Gilroy is made enjoyable, the transition to the new job will be a more gratifying experience, also.

Families will enjoy our special attractions, such as Gilroy Gardens and Casa de Fruta.

Outdoor adventurers can explore many parks, including county parks—Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch, Mt. Madonna, Uvas Canyon, and Chitactac-Adams Heritage, Henry W. Coe State Park, and Pinnacles National Park. In the city, you can take advantage of multiple bike trails or enjoy the paved Uvas Creek/Levee Trail, which runs 11 miles roundtrip from Gilroy Sports Park to near Gilroy Gardens.

Vinophiles can enjoy a diverse group of 30 friendly wineries along the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail, of which Gilroy is a part. Many have live music and delicious food on weekends and special events throughout the year.

Downtown Gilroy is also expanding its options, with new breweries, tap rooms, a coffee place, and donut store with a dining option. The bowling alley, undergoing an extensive remodel under a new owner, is scheduled to open by the end of the year.

Events downtown are drawing larger crowds than ever, including the Wine & Art Walk, the Halloween Beer Crawl, the Garlic City Car Show, Holiday Festival and Parade, 3rd Friday Art Walks, Día de Los Muertos, and the summertime Downtown Live Music Series. Downtown also has a great meeting space at the Neon Exchange.

Gilroy also has some fantastic new things to look forward to, as our community, our businesses, and our offerings are growing. Thanks to a grant the city received from the state, downtown will be receiving some improvements on the Gourmet Alley and Railroad Street alleys by June 2024, creating safely-lit, beautified, pedestrian-friendly walkways and with places to congregate along Gourmet Alley, including outdoor dining spaces. A new Sharks Ice rink coming in the next two years will provide a fun, additional sports and recreation place.

Gilroy is a great location for a new business, and the newest members of that business will find Gilroy to be a welcoming community.

What's New With Business?

Veterans Day Parade Highlights Month of November 

 In November, Gilroyans will be able to combine their love of parades with their patriotism when the South Santa Clara Valley Memorial District and the Gilroy Veterans Hall host the Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11 at 1 pm.

“The Gilroy community has always shown strong support for local veterans and we know our residents love parades,” said Parade Committee member and Army veteran Jesse Sanchez. “So we hope the Veterans Day Parade continues to be a tradition that provides a way for the community to come together and properly honor our local veterans.” 

The 2023 parade theme is “Our True Heroes.”  The parade will start at 7th Street and Monterey and travel north to 4th and Monterey. Staging will be in the new parking lot at 7th and Eigleberry Street. All parade entries must display patriotism with decorations and/or music selection. The entry rules and conditions, as well as the application, are available on the Gilroy Vets Hall web site (GilroyVeteransHall.org under community events/Veterans Day 2023).

The entry fee is free, thanks to generous donors. Companies and individuals interested in sponsoring the Parade can contact the Parade Committee at 408-842-3838 or visit the Parade web site at https://www.sscvmemorialdistrict.org/basic-01-1.

There will also be other activities throughout the month to celebrate and honor veterans including the Veterans Day Ceremony hosted by the American Legion Post 217, and a Veterans Art exhibit. More details on each activity are available on the web site as well. 

 

Is Threads Right for Your Business?

If you’re on Instagram, the answer is probably. And it’s easy to do.

Facebook err…Meta does it again. We have yet another social media platform to consider. Usually when advising businesses on whether they should participate on a social media platform, I ask them who their ideal client is and then we go by demographics. If your ideal customer is on the platform, go for it. If not, skip it—unless you just really enjoy being overextended in your posts and social media attention. But threads isn’t exactly a new platform. Well, it is technically. But if you have Instagram, it feels more like an extension.

Note: at the time of this writing, members of the EU cannot join because it is blocked currently owing to privacy questions.

What Is Threads?

Threads is the newest baby of the Meta world, and it’s taking aim at Twitter. Threads allows you to log in with your Instagram username. You have the option of importing from Instagram or creating a new bio from scratch. Just like Instagram, you can make your profile public or private. (For business, private isn’t going to do you much good unless you operate a Speak Easy or something where membership has its privileges.)

When you join, you’ll be asked if you want to follow the same accounts you follow on Instagram (even if these people haven’t signed up yet).

The app is powered by Instagram, and it uses your Instagram information to personalize ads and other experiences across the two platforms. According to the intro, Meta has plans to create a “fediverse” where people will be able to interact with one another across platforms. (Perhaps that means it will allow the young people on Insta to see what their oldie relatives are doing on Facebook and vice versa.)

As you would expect, you must agree to the terms and privacy policy on your data/data sharing, etc. Etc. One important thing to note in the Supplemental Privacy Policy, “You may deactivate your Threads profile at any time, but your Threads profile can only be deleted by deleting your Instagram account.”

The User Stats

At most recent counts, Instagram boasts 2 billion users while Twitter has only 250 million. If only a fraction of Instagram users sign up, Threads will quickly outpace Twitter. But it remains to be seen if the same communities on Twitter will switch to Threads. Twitter is big in the sports recruiting arena as well as the publishing pitch world. Will they make the switch?

What’s New with Threads?

Like most new platforms, it looks vaguely familiar but with slightly different functionality. After all, people don’t usually love big, sweeping changes. Threads adheres to this through a format that looks a lot like Twitter, but it allows for longer posts. Most Twitter users have a 280-character limit (remember the early days of 140 characters?), while Thread users can enjoy 500 characters (what will you do with all of them?) and the ability to upload a five-minute video.

Since Threads resembles Twitter more closely than Insta, it’s overcome one of my biggest pet peeves with the photo sharing platform. On Threads you can easily share links. Yippy!

To encourage the migration, Threads prompts people to follow the same individuals they do on Insta and then automatically sends a follow request. I logged into my new, linked account with about 100 requests waiting for me. I was surprised how many people had made the switch a day after the platform launched. According to early reports, Threads garnered 10 million users on one day and are now up to 30 million.

It looks like most are viewing it as an extension, not necessarily a new platform. And that’s understandable. Users in Threads can also easily switch to their Instagram profile with a click of the icon.

According to Meta, Threads was developed with features that “promote positive and productive discussions.” Users can manage who can mention or reply to them on the platform. Like Instagram, Thread users can utilize hidden word filters to exclude replies containing specific words from their threads. Managing profiles on Threads uses familiar activities such as unfollowing, blocking, restricting, or reporting through the three-dot menu. Additionally, any accounts blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads as well.

In addition to these features, Meta has announced its plans to enhance Threads by making it compatible with the ActivityPub protocol. They also aim to introduce improved recommendations in feeds, real-time trend tracking, and enhanced search functionality.

Currently, Threads is accessible on both iOS and Android devices, and users can download the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Will you explore Threads for your business?

Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story. 

California Competes Fiscal Year 2023-24 Notice Announcement

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) and California Competes Grant Program (CCGP) application periods, amounts available, and committee meeting dates for fiscal year 2023-2024 have been posted here. The first application period will start on July 24, 2023, with $164 million in tax credits and $120 million in grants available (pending budget approval). Starting July 24, the online application can be accessed at www.calcompetes.ca.gov.

Application instructions, FAQs, and other technical assistance documents are available here and businesses interested in learning more about the CCTC or CCGP may register for a free application webinar:

July 26, 2023: Details and Registration

August 3, 2023: Details and Registration

August 8, 2023: Details and Registration

If you have any questions regarding the California Competes Tax Credit or Grant application process, please contact our office at

(916) 322-4051 or send an email to CalCompetes@gobiz.ca.gov.

Digital Equity Survey, Deadline Extension

Thank you to all who have taken and distributed the survey. Given the significant response and the ongoing outreach efforts of several entities, we are extending the deadline to July 15.

 The Digital Equity Survey is intended to identify the digital equity barriers and needs of California’s residents. The survey can be taken online or via mobile phone. It is accessible in 14 different languages and includes audio functionality for limited English proficiency and limited literacy residents. Please take a few moments to complete and share the survey with your family, friends, constituents, clients, and customers.  

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.