Guest View: Council ignored people on 400 block vote

City Hall

The Hollister City Council never ceases to amaze me. In my 26 years as a resident, more than 20 of those as a business owner, I have been appalled by many lamebrain decisions. Monday’s decision to sell the property on the 400 block of San Benito Street to developers for retail and condominium space is at the top of list. I can’t begin to imagine what council members are thinking. Have they taken a walk downtown lately and counted the empty retail spaces? Have they driven on the pothole-filled streets that can’t even handle the existing traffic?
God bless Mayor Velazquez for having the dignity not to vote on an issue that affected him directly. I think Karson Klauer, whose livelihood depends on the real estate business and whose family’s has had longtime involvement with downtown development, should have recused himself also. It wouldn’t have made any difference, but it is certainly a matter of integrity.
With so many members of the community against the sale of the property to developers, the council went right ahead and voted to do it anyway. What happened to listening to the voice of your constituents? It’s clearly been a challenge for many Hollister City Council members.
I’ll confess to not knowing about the Community Foundation’s connection to the project until I read the Free Lance article about the decision. Why in the world would the non-profit be involved in the first place? How will board members benefit from this transaction? I don’t know, but I can tell you that the Community Foundation will not be receiving anymore donations from me.
My lengthy internet search of the Del Curto Group offered very little information about the company. The only information I could find proved that their expertise is in single-family housing construction and that they have six employees. If that information is outdated excuse me, but it’s the only information available. What makes them a candidate for this project? Does the city council bother to research the companies they get involved with? I can’t help but wonder what the connection is between the company and the Community Foundation.
What will the city reap from the sale? A whopping $52,603. That won’t make a dent in the way they do business. As if the parking garage and the ghastly paint job on our streets weren’t ugly enough. Let’s throw into the mix a three story eyesore in place of the green area where the community enjoys gathering. I’m with the mayor. The council made an exceptionally bad decision. Even a City of Hollister youth commissioner voiced opposition. There is nothing for our young people to do in Hollister. How about continuing to use the property for something that benefits them and our community? I’d put a lot more value than $52,603 on the Hollister Downtown Association’s Farmers Market, Street Festival and movies on the lawn. They are events that bring the community out to enjoy downtown and you can’t put a price on that. It’s not always about the money.
Please folks, if you agree that the city has made a terrible decision, let your voice be heard. We the people have got to stop being ignored. I know it’s hard to be respectful when you feel like you are not being heard, but do your best. This is not the first time that Mickie Luna has complained that opponents of a decision have been disrespectful. How about the council showing the City of Hollister residents some respect by respecting their opinions?

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