Election Candidates: Do Political Parties Matter in Local Government?

Find out what the candidates for Gilroy City Council and Gilroy Mayor think about party politics and local government.

In general, city council races are not considered partisan elections. It's not supposed to be about which candidate is a Democrat and which one is a Republican. 

But it doesn't always go that way, especially when newspapers and big organizations make endorsements for certain candidates overtly on the basis of their political leanings. 

So we asked the candidates running for Gilroy City Council and Gilroy Mayor whether they thought their political parties mattered in this race. See the candidates' responses below.

Question: Do party politics matter on a city council? Some people say it's not a partisan race, but others argue that personal politics play into decisions made on the council. What do you think?

Gilroy Mayor Candidates:

Dion Bracco: No, it is not partisan and I agree that party affiliation should be irrelevant in our local races. These campaigns should be about the issues important to the community, not who’s following the party line or has the big party endorsements.

Peter Arellano: Although local races are said to be non-partisan and on the surface they may seem this way, in reality they are not. The local chamber of commerce, unions and political parties work to influence local races as they do in state and national issues. Our candidates and elected officials are lobbied and influenced by special interest groups just like they are at the state and national level.

Don Gage: Yes, Gilroy politics are non-partisan. We are a small community, where people work together for the betterment of the total community.


Gilroy City Council Candidates:

Paul Kloecker: In the city of Gilroy, the mayor and council elections are non-partisan. Evidence of partisanship, such as indications of party affiliation are not permitted in campaign signs, literature and is usually not a point of discussion in various forums. Obviously, voters are free to choose which candidates they support or oppose for whatever reason they desire. I suppose it is inevitable that some voters may choose on the basis of party affiliation as it may become known.

Rebeca Armendariz: I think the decisions we make locally are based on our values which do reflect our party affiliation, of course.

Cat Tucker: As an elected official, I represent all of Gilroy, no matter what the party affiliation. There are some core groups who feel otherwise, but the majority of Gilroyans want equal representation and support my view.

Terri Aulman: A city council should be non-partisan and represent all citizens. I will focus on bringing strong common sense leadership to the position, should I be elected, and make decisions based on facts, not on a partisan basis.

Do you think political party affiliations play into city council races and ultimately city council decisions? Can personal beliefs and personal politics be separated as suggested above? Tell us in the comments!

OldTimeGilroy November 02, 2012 at 02:13 PM
The only local candidate touting his political affiliation is Peter Arellano, a Democrat, as are Kloecker, Tucker, and Armendariz. Gage and Bracco are Republicans. Woodward is an independent who leans conservative. Did I miss anybody? But at this level of politics, party affiliation essentially means zip. Few of the national issues of high contentiousness come before the council. It's nut and bolts administration. There is no Democrat or Republican way to collect the garbage.
no crime please November 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM
It takes Democrats only to empty the garbage in Berkeley. San Francisco is totally left wing. Gilroy? who knows. There are partisan issues in city government. Don't let anybody kid you. It is important to know what all candidates stand for. Their party affiliation does matter. San Francisco has so many left-wingers that right wingers don't dare run there. Be careful to know who governs you.
OldTimeGilroy November 03, 2012 at 12:57 AM
If you want Gilroy to stay somewhat conservative, you should avoid voting for Arellano and Armendariz, who both are very left-wing.


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