Letters to the Editor

Light rail craziness?
Light Rail from Gilroy to Hollister is the funniest thing I’ve
head in transportation since Rodo ben Diridon was named to head up
the Bullet Train and instantly converted its $900 million annual
operating loss to a profit. It would bankrupt every small business
is SBC and make housing totally unaffordable, forcing future
generations into high rise, concrete


Light rail craziness?

Light Rail from Gilroy to Hollister is the funniest thing I’ve head in transportation since Rodo ben Diridon was named to head up the Bullet Train and instantly converted its $900 million annual operating loss to a profit. It would bankrupt every small business is SBC and make housing totally unaffordable, forcing future generations into high rise, concrete “Dirodonominiums.”

If you believe LR-Heavy Socialism from Gilroy to Hollister is feasible, then you probably think that Amtrak was a success, that European countries’ tax rates are not confiscatory and that Free Light Rail Shuttle really is. You probably also believe that VTA’s No. 1 priority is safety of the public, not their own person (so you better not review their Board’s decisions unless you want your paradigm shifted). Even the social engineers in the Marx Engels Trotsky Stalin Dirdon Gage Ministry of Truth at VTA haven’t announced plans for that boondoogle (publicly) yet. Dream? No: nightmare. Even if you could build it for less than VTA’s say, $100 million per mile, the contractor would receive $1.3 billion and since SBC taxpayer get back only $.11/dollar from Sacramento, we would have to raise $11.818 billion just to build it. To put this staggering sum in perspective, SBC’s entire assessed valuation for land, improvements and personal property is $3.46 billion. (Santa Clara is $160.2 billion). Operating expenses would be extra on top of that. Since Union Pacific owns their right of way, we would also be acquiring land-more expense. With but a tiny fraction of Silicon Valley’s assessed valuation and manufacturing employment base, the idea is pure unadulterated B.S. Lunacy. Instead why do it the way the Big Four did it originally? Just substitute intermodal tonnage for boxcar tonnage. Commerce does the rest. But this narrow launch window will close on SBC if Salinas, Gilroy or Parajo build an intermodal facility and ice us out of a unique opportunity. Caveat Viator!

Joe Thompson


County fire protection needed

For many years development in California cities has been monitored by LAFCO. The primary purpose of this law enacted under Gov. Pat Brown is to promote orderly growth, prevent leapfrogging, and to insure that there are adequate services: police, water, fire protection, recreation etc., before an annexation is made from county to city. Our local LAFCO has taken a responsible position in regards to city matters.

At present there is a double standard in our community. The county, not bound by LAFCO requirements, is allowing development without adequate services – especially fire protection. The issue is of great concern to me. I have called it to the attention of several supervisors a number of times in the last five years. We are talking about a moral obligation to provide a safe and healthy community. So far, despite advice from California Division of Forestry officials in the Monterey district office and reports by two previous grand juries, there has been no visible progress. The county’s response to well developed North County, lower Cienega-Union district is significantly above the four- to five-minute requirements. There has been talk of consolidation between the city and county, but the county’s firefighting ability is far below required standards, the city is much better equipped. There is no place a mutual aid agreement between the city and county. But the county is deficient in staffing and equipment. The county is inadequate in its ability to serve, not only for those who live here now, but also in its preparation for anticipated growth.

Growth is an element in our society, however, not without proper services. It will take money to solve the problem.

There are two viable ways to finance county fire protection. First, there is a County Service Area #26 in place, which could be activated. Second, fire district areas could be established. These individual areas would have four- to five-minute response times to provide fire protection. Unfortunately this will have to be financed on the local level.

City and county tax revenues have been shifted from local government to the state since 1992, when the state had a $12 billion dollar Budget Deficit, at which time a bill ERAF (Education Revenue Augmentation Fund) was enacted. This bill took 40 percent of our local city and county taxes since 1992. Before ERAF the county received about $5.6 million in yearly tax revenue. This dropped to about $3.4 million yearly and has continued since then. As a result a significant revenue for General and Discretionary funds has disappeared and as such funding dropped.

As previously recommended an appropriate feasibility study could show the need for fire protection. Leadership by the Board of Supervisors and with Allocated Funding, the property owners to invest will achieve these goals. We must pay for services locally; no one else is going to show responsibility.

We support our community in all aspects of charitable and beneficial causes. It is equally if not more so to support our business community and local governments by whenever possible buying locally. Sales tax revenues are a huge issue for reasons expressed. Neighboring communities encourage shopping centers to lure rural community shoppers. Gilroy’s outlets provide a huge source of sales tax revenue. We shop away for many reasons, however when we can our option should be to think and shop locally to strengthen our local business and to help our cities and the county which sales tax revenue to boost the discretionary funding.

Let’s support our community every way possible.

Don Gabriel


Many to the rescue

On Saturday the San Benito County Chapter of the American Red Cross was asked to provide canteen service for the Emergency Services personnel that were called to the scene to a fatal big rig accident on Highway 101.

I’d like to take a moment to recognize the heroic efforts of all the personnel involved in this incident: California Highway Patrol, San Juan Fire, California Department of Forestry, Monterey County Search and Rescue, San Benito County Sheriff’s Office, Doc’s Towing and the Cal Trans workers. Thanks, you guys did a terrific job!

I’d also like to thank Flapjack’s Restaurant in Tres Pinos, which provided an outstanding breakfast for the rescue workers, and the Nob Hill Deli for providing the sandwiches for lunch. Too often, when time is of the essence, we don’t acknowledge those who work behind the scenes of an incident such as this, so I’d like everyone to know their efforts were appreciated.

Charron Contival

Program Director

San Benito County Chapter

American Red Cross

Silva will be missed

On Sunday night, with the passing of Enos Silva, the community of San Juan

Bautista lost one of its most beloved citizens. While I personally did not

grow up here, I have been here for 20 years now, and I can truly say that I was enriched by knowing Enos.

Mr. Silva was a member of our Volunteer Fire Department and continued to support all our efforts even after his retirement. I know that Enos was involved in many aspects of our community, from city government to his time as a County Supervisor, as well as being a long-time, well-respected local farmer. I know there is probably a lot that I do not know about Mr. Silva, but one thing I do know for sure is that this volunteer fire department, this City, and this County have lost a true friend and supporter. Enos, may you rest in peace…

Rick Cokley

Fire Chief

SJB Volunteer Fire Department

Beware of calls

On return from the State Republican Convention over the weekend, I received phone calls asking me to explain why the local San Benito County Republican Central Committee would endorse a candidate in a local non-partisan race. Apparently numerous registered republican voters are being contacted by phone from the local headquarters of one of the candidates. The caller, after asking the call recipient’s political party affiliation, implies they are a Republican Central Committee member and their candidate has received the County Republican Central Committees endorsement. The caller then implies that the voter should follow suit and vote for their candidate.

The Central Committee has not issued any endorsement and any such claim, inference, or impression is false. The By Laws of the committee do not currently allow us to endorse any local non-partisan candidate. Further a member of the committee is not allowed to mention their membership in the committee in any personal endorsement of a candidate. In addition I personally have taken care to remain neutral in all of the local races.

However as the Chairman of the Committee I must set the record straight and hope the misleading potentially fraudulent calls stop.

Charlie Scott


SBC Republican Central Committee

County resident wants council ousted

All of us who live in the rural areas of San Benito County are feeling the repercussions of the 2 Tony’s and Brian Conroy just as much as the folks in San Juan Bautista, Aromas and Hollister. The Hollister City Council has destroyed this town and the only people who have a vote for these morons are the people who live and vote in Hollister city limits.

It is appalling to me to watch the destruction they have brought down on us. Why is it that so few have the vote and the power to ruin this beautiful county? We can only vote for our supervisors and they don’t seem to have any control over the city either, unless I am misreading the news. I would love to sign and help get signatures for a recall of all the city council members, but since I live in the unincorporated county to do so would invalidate any petition that I sign.

There are quite a few of us in the county who have our homes for sale, and we have our own water and septic to take care of our needs. The city doesn’t, and I feel that people think all of San Benito County has no water or proper sewage.

Now we are in a building moratorium that was totally avoidable and unnecessary. The city council now can’t build the new fire station we all need, and they want to raise the CDF rent to $92,000 per year. We lose them, and we have one fire station and one small CDF station for town, so we don’t even get the chance of updating our fire protection. Good Grief, Charlie Brown! How much more do we have to lose as a county and city?

Seems to me that there isn’t anything left to lose, except business, families, property, and property values. My home, as well as many others, has been on the market for many months now. We all dropped our prices to accommodate the lower property values this city council has brought us, and still there are no new people coming to this area to look.

Do I see a correlation here between the destruction of our main city and our beautiful county, or am I just a frustrated homeowner trying to sell her home?

What do you think folks? I say all of you in the City of Hollister need to get out and vote these morons out of office. We can’t do it, but you sure can! Please help everyone in San Benito County and get rid of these idiots!

Christine J. Pearson


Mail was misleading

I was very upset this weekend when I opened up a letter from ‘Maria Cortez’ in support of the Cantu for DA campaign. The letter was very negative against John Sarsfield. Rather than take the letter on face value, I did some research and discovered that it was a series of lies ‘supposedly’ written by a woman who can barely speak or write English.

When I asked John Sarsfield about the letter he said that it was false and that he didn’t want to respond to a negative letter like that, but rather let the official record speak for itself. Mr. Cantu said he didn’t want to talk about it.

Mr. Cantu sponsored a letter full of lies and wouldn’t respond. Mr. Cantu lied about his support from Law Enforcement agencies. I ask Mr. Cantu: “What else have you lied to us about? Is this what we would expect from you as DA? Lie after lie?” Lets stop the dirty campaigning and talk about the issues.

Briggs Latham


A crime is a crime

I was dismayed to read your editorial in the Sept. 19 newspaper. I was saddened when I read the account of the tragic accident that took the life of a woman who obviously was a wonderful parent, teacher and citizen of our community. I also realized the terrible loss she would be to her family and friends. No one with an ounce of compassion could not have been struck by this story. You are correct in saying that two people made a terrible decision to drive while under the influence and a terrible tragedy occurred as a direct result. However, that terrible decision happens to be a crime in this state. Many individuals and organizations (not the least of which is MADD) worked tirelessly to get effective legislation passed to protect us from people who make these wrong decisions. The hope is that strong legislation will limit the number of times these decisions are made. I cannot support the idea that this man, no matter how wonderful a person he is, no matter how much his family and his wife’s family don’t want to see this happen, should escape being charged with the crime. Everyone has the right to defend themselves from criminal charges. That should be the time for family and friends to step forward in his defense. It is wrong to put this kind of pressure on the District Attorney, whose responsibility is to enforce the laws that we have passed.

Katherine Hough Hollister

Everyone’s a loser now

The question is not what Mayor Tony LoBue, council members Tony Bruscia and Peggy Corrales and the city staff have done for the community, but what have they done to the community of Hollister taxpayers. To wit, $600,000 RWQCB fine, doubled to $1.2 million by the request of councilman Bruscia.

There are also unknown thousands paid for an attorney to represent Hollister at the RWQCB when Hollister already has a well-paid city attorney. The $56 million lawsuit, the $25,000 redistricting consultant when the county bought the computer program for around $3,000, $15,000 lost lease revenues at airport, unknown thousands lost from the city mishandling the CDF airport lease contract, $22,000 for brick sidewalks downtown. Hollister’s share to RDA. Unknown thousands from the general fund to clean up sewage back up in people’s

homes. Unknown millions lost from “cease and desist” sewer hookup order from

the RWQCB for new construction until after 2005.

During the last two years of asking the hard questions on issues facing

Hollister, I have endured being referred to by LoBue and some of his associates as a “loser.” So now I put it into perspective.

Bruscia, LoBue and Corrales have continued their effort to annex property for their developer friends. Their failure to address our infrastructure as promised during their campaign for city council have now left Hollister facing many health and safety problems. With construction stopped, low-income and seniors will not have housing and are the losers. With construction stopped, commercial and light industry cannot build to supply new jobs and the job seeker becomes a loser. Without new businesses to supply additional revenue, the city becomes a loser.

LoBue, Bruscia and Corrales’ persistent arrogance, ignorance and complete disregard to public health and safety have created a whole city of losers for years to come.

Paul Grannis


Air base has more benefits

In addition to providing the much needed quick initial attack on any wildland fire in our area, this base also provides other benefits to our

“Community” of Hollister, San Juan Bautista, Tres Pinos and the rest of San

Benito County.

This base also houses (and would continue to do so) the local CDF Bulldozer, along with its Heavy Fire Equipment Operators. These people are also the “mechanics” who do the bulk of the maintenance and repairs on the San Benito County Fire Departments (CDF operates as the San Benito County Fire Department by virtue of a contract with the County) emergency equipment, including their Fire Engines. Money is spent locally on parts and repairs. Without these services available, more money will be spent on outside maintenance costs, or additional personnel will have to be hired. This means more money from the General Fund Budget, and less money that can be spent on providing “direct” services to the community. Also working at this base are several personnel who have helped deliver quality fire service training to all the local departments at one time or another, including the City of Hollister. These valuable resources would also be lost to us!

What also must be considered is the potential cost to our area if a large, devastating wild fire were to hit our area. Areas such as San Juan Canyon are very susceptible to wild fire, and only quick action by CDF and the local fire departments has kept our area from having a very large fire that destroys homes, recreation areas, and natural resources. If a few dozen or even a few hundred people were to lose their homes, what do you think the impact on our County and the City of Hollister would be? I can assure you that not all of them would rebuild and stay, so the money they spend in our local economy would be lost.

I for one agree that the City of Hollister should not “give away the farm,” but think they should do whatever is necessary to come to an agreement that both side can live with, and keep this very valuable emergency resource where it belongs, right here in San Benito County!

Rick Cokley

Fire Chief

City of San Juan Bautista

Hollister Council should resign

Given the current state of events, poor decisions of previous and present city officials are coming back to bite us. I think it is time to ask for a change.

If we look to where the root of the problems lie, we see that growth, above all else, has put us in the quandary we are in now. The poor planning and corruption of the last 10 years will continue if things do not change.

In recognition that current council members are only human, I think we should expect them to act in a dignified manner. More arguing and unwise choices will only make the problems worse. Real leadership is needed right now.

I feel that the current city council, with the exception of Mr. Conroy and possibly Mrs. Valdivia, has contributed to the problem by voting for growth at every chance they got. The status quo is what the city wanted at the last election and that is what they got. Without much of an educated or farsighted viewpoint, the council has got the whole city in over our heads. You need to remember that the real strength lies in the staff behind you. They are the ones that enact your decisions and deal with the issues on a daily basis. Most likely, they have better judgment.

Since their job is to represent the will of the people, they have let us down.

By electing people with little wisdom or creativity into positions of power, we made a mistake. Council members, recognize that you were only picked because you seemed to represent the established status quo. I feel that the public is ready for a change. The political climate necessitates it. We expect more from our leaders now and I think I speak for many when I say that you are not up to the job.

With this, I am asking for your immediate resignation from the city council. The opportunity to act has passed and I think its time to give others a chance. New elections are coming and there is still a little time for campaigning. We can only hope that current city staff can keep things afloat until new leadership is in place.

Tras Berg


Information denied?

For 12 years I’ve served local businesses in San Benito County publishing the county Abstract, a weekly public record newsletter, The Abstract Property System, a database service containing real property information and other services, some of which is published in The Pinnacle.

Now the county records office is trying to dictate terms under which I can access public records in such a way as to make it impossible for me to continue my business here. I rely on timely access (within 1-2 days). Without notice they discontinued the daily paper copies I was scanning, and they will not allow me to scan the originals (which I can do in Monterey and Santa Cruz). As an alternative they refuse to provide prompt copies of their electronic versions of these records available on their computer every day.

They claim Recorded Documents are not “Public Records” subject to the Public Records Act even though the act says: “Public records includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the publics business prepared owned, used or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.”

Frankly the conduct of the Records office Staff leads me to believe they are conducting a business; they consider me a competitor and they plan to restrict timely access. Last Tuesday when I was denied Fridays records one staffer said: “All you’re gonna do is build up your database and take our customers.” This seems to explain why months of earlier meetings produced nothing.

The only way the people can keep a check on excesses in government is to demand openness by insisting that bureaucrats obey the law as the people are expected to do. Please help me defend the peoples’ rights.

Gary Baley

Abstract Information Service

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