I was recently astounded and disturbed when I received a mailer opposing Measure Q that proclaimed local Democrats opposed Measure Q. It called Measure Q a “privileged power grab” and made other groundless statements related to Latinos and farmers.
Firstly, the initiative process has been foundational to California’s constitution for over 100 years and is legal and fair. Far from a power grab by the privileged, Measure Q actually reclaims power from an elite and privileged group and puts it in the hands of the voters.
The “Ag Center” and “Traveler’s Station” envisioned for highways 129 and 101 are commercial fueling centers that include a truck stop that will have negative health effects on the community. See pages 4 and 5 in the following report: https://tinyurl.com/5kmyej5y. Also see: https://tinyurl.com/3kjtxkpy.
The proposed commercial developments in west San Benito County would concentrate and localize diesel exhaust and carbon dioxide pollution, promote the sale of unhealthy foods and substances, contribute to obesity rates, tobacco related illness/deaths, and illicit alcohol use. Asthma, obesity and cardiovascular disease are already existing health threats to children and adults in San Benito County. Sexually transmitted infections, drug dealing, human trafficking and arrests will also threaten Anzar High School students, all at a cost to taxpayers, if the proposed commercial center were developed.
The flier also claimed “countless jobs (loss)” and a disproportionate effect on the Latino community. Loss of projected jobs is no loss when jobs created by these developments will be low-wage service jobs which will keep families in perpetual poverty given the current economic climate.
The claim that Measure Q “devastates local farms” is also misleading. Selling off farmland to out-of-county, corporate developers will reduce the number of farms and farmers and endanger local food security. Over decades, San Benito agricultural landowners have gained substantial profits from development decisions made through county governance while straining county infrastructure. This is evidenced by crumbling roads, clogged highways and backroads and non-competitive wages.
Historically, the wants of developers have been put ahead of San Benito residents’ needs and quality of life.
History has taught us that projected tax windfalls from grandiose enterprises in San Benito County end up being poorly planned pipedreams that enrich developers and landowners. They usually create few jobs with little or no upward mobility for the working people in the county who live on an hourly wage.
The flier claims that the San Benito County Democratic Party opposes Measure Q, but the Democratic Party I know stands for protection of the environment, health equity, social justice and democratic processes, which YES ON Q supports.
The YES ON MEASURE Q campaign has a clear understanding of the history of governance in San Benito County which has resulted in the current state of sprawl, traffic gridlock, poor landfill and waste management, and suboptimal health outcomes. By giving more power to the voters, Measure Q offers a proven remedy for many of these problems.
Measure Q’s opponents are running a campaign that spreads misinformation and hopes it will be contagious. It peddles the same old false promises and divisive rhetoric that fractures the community. For a better future, I will be voting Yes on Measure Q.