Been there, ready for more
A member of the Grass Valley City Council since 1988, Gerard Tassone has voted on park development at Mulcahy Field, on solutions to traffic congestion, and on what land to annex into the city.
“I don’t need to be trained,” said Tassone, who is running for what would be his fifth and, he says, final four-year term on the council. “That does not mean I’m not open to new ideas.”
The biggest issues for the city are growth, traffic, the demand on city services and work force housing – affordable houses with yards, said Tassone, a high-tech consultant and one of two incumbents running for re-election this year.
“Traffic is our number one challenge” in determining where, when and how growth occurs, he said as he stopped on Morgan Ranch Drive recently to talk about traffic, roundabouts, cabinet making, land annexations, Italian restaurants, house prices, growing up Catholic, and how to get rid of moles in yards with Juicy Fruit gum.
“You put yourself out for ridicule,” he said as he walked from door to door. “But you also put yourself out for praise … It works both ways.”
Tassone was a custom cabinetmaker in Grass Valley when his first wife, Beth, was killed in a car crash in 1985 on Highway 49. He sold his carpentry shop and started a video business.
In 1988, he started working for Grass Valley Group, where he worked in the corporate studio and then in the customer service department. He worked there full time until 2001.
Tassone entered city politics in 1986, when someone asked him to serve on the Planning Commission.
Two years later, he was elected to the Grass Valley City Council after four of the council’s five members were recalled. Tassone served as mayor from 1989 to 1991.
His older brother, the Rev. Salvatore Tassone, a lecturer at Santa Clara University, said he is not too surprised to see his youngest brother involved in city government. “I always thought he had an interest in politics,” he said.
Teresa Poston, who has lobbied the city for safer neighborhood streets, supports Tassone and serves as his campaign treasurer.
“I think he’s a good, honest man,” she said. “Gerard listens. His record shows that he cares for the neighborhoods.”
A lifelong Grass Valley resident, Tassone was born in the former Jones Memorial Hospital on South Church Street, now known as the Swan Levine House.
The youngest of 12, Tassone’s mother died when he was 3. His father commuted to San Francisco. but did not want to uproot the family, so Tassone was raised primarily by his older sister, Mary Grace, now a surgical nurse at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
The Sisters of Mercy at Mount St. Mary’s School took care of him during the day, he said. Tassone attended the school until 1968, when it closed its high school-level classes. He graduated from Nevada Union High School in 1970.
The nuns taught him to respect himself and others, to give rather than to receive, and to know the difference between right and wrong, he said. “St. Mary’s was a great experience.”
Tassone now attends Twin Cities Church, where he plays acoustic and electric guitar in the church band.
The band cut its first CD last year, he said. Tassone also likes to fly fish, and to play golf and tennis.
Tassone remarried in January. His wife, Lisa, works for the city’s Public Works Department.
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