Over the last few weeks, Gilroy Mayor Tom Springer seems intent on tumbling off his political pedestal.
Less than two years ago, he helped convince Gilroy voters to sweep onto City Council candidates who share many of his pro-growth views. In the same election, he refused to support the Gilroy Unified School District’s bond measure, which was narrowly defeated. He supported the subsequent version, and it met with voter approval. Yet Springer seems intent on turning those political victories into defeat at the ballot box when he runs for re-election this November.
I was surprised by Springer’s reaction to the dispute over 5-Day Furniture’s retail sales when it landed in front of City Council. Instead of showing statesman-like restraint, he used terms like “idiotic” and “bull-dickey” during the, er, debate.
Bull-dickey, especially, fascinated me. I admit I’ve lived a sheltered life, but I’ve never heard of that particular term. I did some research – “bull-dickey” doesn’t make an appearance in my trusty Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. It’s not in the online slang dictionaries I consulted.
So, I checked with a few people: Had they heard of the term “bull-dickey?” Bull-dickey stumped them all. One, a writer, asked for the context, so I explained that it was used to describe false accusations. He said that, in that case, it must not be a term for a turtleneck-style fabric insert covering the neckline worn by male cattle. I’m not sure if the context eliminates the possibility that it is a juvenile term used by teenaged cows to describe a key part of male cattle’s anatomy.
Bull-dickey remains a mystery.
But just when I was done chuckling over bull-dickey, his last-minute new high school site suggestion popped out of the mayor’s mouth.
As school district administrators neared then end of a two-year process to find a suitable site for a second public high school in Gilroy, after they’d narrowed the possibilities down to five potential sites, the mayor last week jumped in with a the notion of putting the high school in Southpoint Business Park on the east side of town.
Talk about ambushing GUSD administrators and trustees – these are people with whom the mayor needs a good working relationship. I’m willing to bet that if many GUSD officials were completing a report card for Springer, it would include the comment “doesn’t work and play well with others” – and perhaps a word or two about vocabulary.
But Springer wasn’t done yet. He followed his throw-a-wrench-into-the-works suggestion with the lame excuse that it was sarcasm meant to highlight problems with the school district’s focus on school site selection.
Isn’t that one of the things a responsible government agency does: Plan ahead for future needs? You know, like, what to do to relieve overcrowding if the Gilroy library doesn’t get scarce Prop. 14 funds? But no, the mayor says there’s no back-up plan for that very real possibility.
But I digress. What conclusions should voters reach about a leader who makes such a poor choice – in both timing and manner – about how to express his concerns?
Now that I consider it, it may be that Springer’s been bucking for retirement from the mayor’s office for more than the last few weeks. After all, how else to explain his so-far-unwavering support of a new Gilroy police station, seemingly at any price? When it was $19 million, he liked it. When it was $23.8 million, no problem. Up it to $25 million, he was still behind it. Now it’s more than $26 million, and he hasn’t blinked yet.
But then he tries to tell us that taxpayers aren’t footing the bill. Take Springer’s letter to the editor from March in which he complains about the paper’s editorial stance on the then $25 million new police station. In that letter, hizzoner states, “Gilroy taxpayers are not paying ONE cent for this new station.”
No matter how you try to slice it, impact fees are paid by homeowners, who are Gilroy taxpayers. Trying to say otherwise, now that’s bull-something, but I don’t think I can bring myself to use the term bull-dickey.
Not that I’m complaining. Bull-dickey and all, it’s shaping up to be an entertaining election season – and we’ll see what kind of grade Gilroy voters will give Springer in November.