Balancing the harms,
Superior Court Judge Steve Sanders found the perfect middle
ground in a dispute between the City of Hollister and two county
“Balancing the harms.” Superior Court Judge Steve Sanders found the perfect middle ground in a dispute between the City of Hollister and two county agencies.
Sanders, on Wednesday morning, allowed the Hollister to continue construction of an emergency storage sewage pond despite arguments from the county and the county water district to stop the project because of potential environmental impacts on the aquifer and on downstream water resources, including the San Juan Valley water basin.
Sanders, however, balanced potential disasters by issuing a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from filling the 12-acre ponds and ordered an environmental review to begin immediately.
The county is correct in its concerns for environmental harm and the city is correct in that it must move forward with its sewage project or face a $150,000 fine. Also, an El Nino season is projected this winter and the city’s sewer capacity could become overburdened and lead to a spill if the forecasted rains develop and no storage ponds are ready.
The correct decision between these parties is for bigger minds to decide. However, there is a larger issue involved beyond the one item of the construction of a seasonal storage pond, and that is the community and the future of our area.
The city and the county are like a bad marriage. Of course, no one wanted to wind up in court, but the bodies that govern this community wound up there. And who is suffering? We, the community.
The two most influential agencies that are leading us into the future cannot work together. But they must. The city and the county are tied together, like it or not.
Each group harps about the past. Learn from the past, yes, but take those lessons and move forward to better this area for all of us.
Of course, they can disagree, but in disagreement they must learn to work together, and that is not happening on any level.
This community, this county have many issues to resolve, including infrastructure needs, a lack of revenue, a lack of jobs and a lack of services for residents and seniors.
As one of our representatives in Washington, D.C. said about our county, we are at a crossroads to develop our identity as a community and county, and it isn’t too late to act. But action must be taken now or it will be lost forever.
Without a professional working environment within our governmental walls, our community will only be left facing divorce, and that is not good for the future.