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Hollister
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June 27, 2022

Letter: San Benito landscape is not a Monopoly board

Re: Ballot drive seeks to preserve county’s farmland, Free Lance 2-4-22

When I hear the overhead grind of a single engine aircraft in the quiet sky of my area it gets my attention. I often wonder what view presents itself to the pilot of this low flying craft. I have seen aerial photos and marvel at the perspective of geometric green fields compactly arranged into each other and yet remaining separate. I wonder how the appearance of housing clusters mars the view.  

Photographs of this view reminds me of a board game like Monopoly but with no labels like “Railroad” or “Farm” or “Wall Street.” I think maybe people who analyze photos such as this do locate spaces for housing construction. People would study market values, schools, roads, water and sewer, safety, and fire and earthquake hazards. All of these are present for housing issues. Our beautiful town of Hollister has them all.  

Some regard campaign contributions to those on the ballot for supervisor or city council as good as a roll of the dice to move houses on the board game of our town. Unfortunately, this happens.

Gratefully, a citizens group exists that wants to protect our agriculture and prevent a type of growth known as sprawl. Sprawl impacts roads, creates expensive water and sewer connections and overburdens protective services.  

We voters are the ones who pay taxes for all these impacted services. We need a voice at the table. This group, ProtectSanBenitoCounty.org, is not against growth; it simply takes key decisions about growth away from supervisors and puts them in the hands of voters.

Voters in Napa, Sonoma and Ventura counties approved a similar initiative over 20 years ago. Since then it has protected their agriculture, open space of parks and maintained a strong economy.

As soon as the pandemic subsides, volunteers will be circulating the petition, “Let Voters Decide How San Benito County Grows.”  With enough signatures the initiative will be on the Nov. 8, 2022 ballot. When the initiative succeeds, growth in our town will no longer be “A Roll of the Dice!”

Mary Zanger, Retired Pharmacist

Hollister

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