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May 31, 2023

Letter: Mayor should show strength on affordable housing

Re: City council postpones affordable housing ordinance, Free Lance May 12, 2023

A decision not to decide concerning a decisive issue is difficult to understand. This makes me think that Mia Casey might prefer to be mayor of a city like Monterey rather than of a city like Hollister. The matter of choosing to delay a vital ordinance like affordable housing simply over the number of five houses in a hundred is out of balance. Referencing Monterey, in that city the voters issued a memorable decision some years ago.

The issue that I remember would have transformed forever the beauty of the coastal landscape at Moss Landing where the hills, fields and marshes meet the blue waters and white foam of the Pacific, where the iconic P.G.&E. towers generating energy for the area wanted a twin, as corporate officials envisioned a side-by-side power plant/oil refinery.   

The key to the whole project was Moss Landing; unlike Monterey, Moss Landing is a cliff overlooking a valley all underwater. This deep sea port would allow large oil tankers from offshore oil fields in Southern California to steam close enough to pipe oil to the ovens and columns of a refinery where power would be abundant to produce petroleum and fuel gas products. Imagine if that had occurred—another city similar to Richmond would have occupied that environmental gem.

Monterey voters, rather than Salinas voters, realized the scenic, environmental and ecological value of their area. Our problem may be similar to Monterey/Salinas voters as we have growth and slow growth voters. Growth voters seem to encourage large, expensive, double story homes overflowing gated communities. Slow growth voters need affordable housing for workers with Hollister jobs.  

Affordable housing is good for business as business owners choose locations that house workers. Affordable housing helps overcrowding, high rents and housing shortages while creating jobs.

For Mayor Casey to voice concern over the construction trade leaving Hollister seems akin to children holding their breath to get their way. Rather than postpone a critical issue like housing, Hollister City Council should demonstrate sufficient inner strength to make decisions and do their job. 

Mary Zanger


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