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June 27, 2022

Letter: Don’t let developers win the game

A person need not be a mind reader to know what is on people’s minds. The overabundance of housing is, and it reminds me of the game of Monopoly. 

For example, both occupations use paper money and wood houses. Those house builders want to make the most money by landing on the best spaces to build and charge rent to accumulate the most money and win the game. But building a community is not a game.

Our town/city Hollister has resources of land cheaper than in San Jose. That fact makes developers come to Hollister because of land values—cheaper for them but good for landowners here. Cheaper land makes more money for developers. This is exactly what is now taking place right here in Hollister.

If you like games, see how the housing game works. Landowners want to sell land for a big price; that could happen by the land becoming part of the city. Once on city property a developer can build houses and make money, just like Monopoly. Growth of houses means enlarging the city. Growth of houses benefits developers but pressures the city. City taxpayers are the ones who pay more for water, sewer and roads. 

Similarly events can happen in the county. Supervisors hold the cards and developers know it. Supervisors can change zoning requirements. That would be like the developers getting a “Community Chest” card. Supervisors also could allow a development to progress by not enforcing contracts and agreements. That would be like developers picking up a really good “Chance” card.

In the game, one of the most loved pieces is the “Top Hat”—maybe because only wealthy men wore them with a tuxedo. Another enduring piece is the wheelbarrow, because only that can hold a great deal of money.

In such a situation we can feel helpless, but a few people operate as volunteer guardian angels. 

Now is the time we can actually thank them by one simple action. When approached, we can add our signature to a petition to place an initiative on the November ballot to allow voters to have the power over supervisors when making major decisions. Because an initiative such as this would rile developers’ big money that will be going into this November election. Look forward to plenty of advertising that is misleading, distracting and only partially factual. 

Developers will be playing this game with no “Go to Jail” cards. Let’s not let them.

Mary Zanger


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