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May 25, 2022

Letters: Act now for economic development

Recently, the San Benito County Supervisors voted to delay, for two weeks, voting on the Betabel project C-1 zoning change.  Two Supervisors cited “unfamiliarity” with the Virtual Town Hall-Zoom meeting approach to the public meeting as the reason for the delay.

No, participation by phone is NOT ideal; but, this is our new reality! Boards all over the state are holding hearings telephonically; this is the new-legally accepted norm. Over 40 people participated on the Zoom call, demonstrating that participation was strong, stronger than many in-person meetings. 

PORC’s  rabid opposition to this zone change is misguided and perplexing when our county is desperate for jobs. Previously a junkyard existed on this property, and the McDowell Charity Trust that owns the property has planned an attractive and well thought out replacement (Betabelproject.com). I applaud the McDowells’ transparency, vision, and sense of community. 

C-1, which they’re requesting, is not C-3. However, the vote on C-3 was before the Coronavirus. With a projected national loss of 12 million service industry jobs, including restaurants, I would surmise that C-3 would likely pass today. 

This is a new day and age. The economic impacts will be severe. Perhaps you or your family members have already felt the pain of losing their job. The county cannot preserve and protect if it cannot fund critical infrastructure.

SBC BOS should see PORC’s request for delay for what it is: a strategy to defeat the project!  PORC is trying to push things beyond their possible “new initiative” which could prohibit all commercial development for decades! We all know how PORC feels about the project. 

If the board agrees that economic development is essential, then the time to act is now!  The voters are anxiously looking to local government for help and leadership. We must provide it!

Bea Gonzales, Supervisor-Elect

San Benito County BOS, District 5

Node vote is wrong priority

I am astounded that our board of supervisors would make rezoning of our agricultural land for a commercial node a priority after a NO vote by the people. 

Supervisor Hernandez said at the March 24 meeting that we need income from this unbuilt node to help provide health supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are in a time of crisis where our supervisors need to be working with state and federal agencies to get the COVID-19 testing equipment and hospital beds we need now. We are facing a depression in which 30 percent of our workforce will be unemployed in our nation. 

A mini Disneyland node is not going to save our jobs, much less our lives. 

Natasha Wist 

Hollister

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