It was only April 24 that councilman he would be entering the city's 2012 mayoral race, but it didn’t take long for his campaign to organize an intimate gathering of supporters and curious community members at the old Joe’s Restaurant.
On Saturday, as a group of 35 munched on tortas provided by the restaurant’s owners, Arellano outlined the three main components of his platform:
- Improving education
- Improving the economy
- Environmental stewardship
Arellano spent much of the time focusing on the first two items. He told the group that, as mayor, he would work in partnership with the school district to solve educational issues, like truancy and poor performance.
On the economy end, Arellano said the city needs to create "good jobs with good paying wages" if it hopes to have a thriving economic future.
As mayor, Arellano said he would work with to create programs, such as bilingual business classes, to help community members build their businesses.
Among his ideas for implementing environmental initiatives, Arellano wants to create a fast-track program for businesses that want to be LEED Gold certified or higher.
He also spoke of the need for more stringent fiscal responsibility.
"We are spending tax payer money with no way of measuring how we spend it," he said. "Show me that the money we spent actually did what you said it was supposed to do."
While the evening primarily served as a kick-off party for Arellano's campaign, some attendees, like Julieta Lucero, 66, of Gilroy, came to see what the candidate is all about.
“I want to see people work for Latinos,” she said. “There is a lot of power in the Latino community and if they just have some guidance, they can get involved. He seems like he can reach them.”
After hearing Arellano speak, Lucero said liked what she heard and might volunteer in his campaign.
Elizabeth Jiminez, 39, said she is a supporter of Arellano's. She thinks his platform is feasible as long as people come together to make it happen. Arellano, she said, is the right candidate to build bridges in the community.
“It seems like he is motivating the community to come get together," she said. "We need a leader that is going to be able to do that, because that is the only way things have a chance of getting done.”
board member Dom Payne attended the event Saturday and said he was ecstatic Arellano decided to join the race.
He related the story of his experience seeking the councilman's endorsement when he was running for the school board. He remembered being struck by Arellano's thorough examination process.
"We had multiple meetings before he gave me his endorsement," Payne said. "He didn’t reject me, but he had a lot of deliberation. He asked me thoughtful questions about where my ideas were coming from. I got a lot of respect for the way he went about making thoughtful decisions."
Payne said that he's excited to hear a mayoral candidate talk about collaboration between the city and its schools.
"The ideas he's talking about, that's the kind of perspective I want to see the mayor of Gilroy have," he said. "I want a mayor that looks at education as an investment in our future."
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