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In a recent Free Lance article regarding a break in the sewer pipe in Hollister, two elected officials made disparaging and unsubstantiated claims against Hollister City Council members: “They don’t care about what the citizens of Hollister, especially on the west side, have to endure. [Residents] have been saying that it smells over there. They’re pleading to find out why and they’re asking them not to expand the sewer services until we figure it out.” – Hollister City Council member Rolan Resendiz.

“To me, the west side of Hollister is constantly being dismissed. If this was going on in southeast Hollister, I guarantee you it would be treated differently. There would be a lot more aggressive inspection; there would be more consideration for what impact [residential] growth is having on these residents. But, you know, it’s the City of Hollister’s west side.” San Benito County Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki.

The article is very biased and unbalanced allowing one council member and his friend on the Board of Supervisors to level awful charges about other council members without seeking a response to those claims. It is particularly offensive that these two elected officials would falsely imply the city council does not listen to or care for residents of the westside. 

A large number of westside residents who attended that council meeting to speak about the sewer were not there to talk about housing, sewer connections or the maintenance of the sewer (not expansion as this article misrepresents—but replacement of two sewer membranes that had reached the end of their lifespan and needed replacement). 

Many came to raise concern about odors particularly around the Bridgevale neighborhood. And the city council did listen to residents and responded to their concerns right away. Council member Tim Burns immediately called for an investigation and the council supported it unanimously. That is what listening to your residents and supporting them looks like—not the political drama created by Council member Resendiz. 

Why did the Free Lance not ask Resendiz why he has never stepped up and demanded an investigation into the smell for his constituents? Council member Resendiz has known about the odor issue in his district area much longer than the rest of the council—but did not demand an investigation to find out the cause. He even has discretionary funds he could have used to help pay for such an investigation but has never offered to do so. 

The truth is Council member Resendiz is more interested in playing politics, and disparaging and attempting to discredit other Council members than focusing on the needs of his constituents. 

It’s a shame Supervisor Kosmicki would go along with this kind of bashing of other elected officials. 

This city council engaged proactively with residents of the westside. They started an investigation into the odor in this area and have committed to resolving it and approved funding needed to resolve any upgrades or repairs identified so far in the investigation. In fact, this investigation was the reason the pipe break was discovered. 

I would request that in the future, the Free Lance attempt to be more balanced and factual in its reporting and if you are going to print claims against elected officials, you should at least give them an equal opportunity to respond to such divisive and unsubstantiated remarks.

Mia Casey

Mayor of Hollister

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