Residents should vote against Measure G

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There are lots of reasons to vote against Measure G
– the Growth Control Initiative that will appear on the March 2
ballot – not the least of which is the fact that supporters tried
to deny San Benito County residents the chance to make their voices
heard on the matter.
Measure G appears on the ballot because of a referendum
initiated by residents who were appalled that the county Board of
Supervisors approved the ordinance and collected enough signatures
to put the issue before voters.
There are lots of reasons to vote against Measure G – the Growth Control Initiative that will appear on the March 2 ballot – not the least of which is the fact that supporters tried to deny San Benito County residents the chance to make their voices heard on the matter.

Measure G appears on the ballot because of a referendum initiated by residents who were appalled that the county Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance and collected enough signatures to put the issue before voters.

Supporters of the growth control initiative didn’t like that idea and rounded up an out-of-town environmental group, Earthjustice, to try to keep San Benito County residents from having a chance to vote on this important issue.

Thankfully, Earthjustice lost in every appearance before a judge on this issue, all the way up to the California Supreme Court.

Although Earthjustice’s ill-advised and arrogant lawsuit is perhaps the most irritating reason to vote no on Measure G, it’s not the most important one. Here are several others:

– Measure G, if enacted, will reduce county property tax revenue at a time when local governments are facing severe cutbacks from the state.

– San Benito County already has effective growth control measures in place. There has been very little growth in unincorporated San Benito County, the area this measure addresses. Most of the growth in the county over the last several years has occurred in the City of Hollister, an area this measure does not address.

– Tools are already in place to protect agriculture land, and do so without punishing farmers and ranchers.

– Measure G, if enacted, will threaten San Benito County’s top industry: agriculture. In a county that already has too many residents forced to commute for hours a day to jobs in Silicon Valley, we can’t afford to do anything to slow our economic engine.

– Measure G, if enacted, will be the subject of lawsuits from farmers whose property rights will be infringed. It will also invite lawsuits from anyone who thinks its Byzantine regulations were or are about to be violated.

– Measure G, if enacted, would impose changes on the county’s General Plan without input from the community.

– The text of Measure G contains language that would make it nearly impossible for farmers to subdivide their land, thereby denying them of the ability to realize any profit from their primary asset, their land.

– Measure G confuses agriculture lands with open space. They are two different entities, and confusing them does a disservice to open space advocates and farmers.

It’s a simple choice really.

If you favor punishing farmers and ranchers, if you favor harming San Benito County’s top industry, if you favor hefty spending of your tax dollars on lawyers’ fees, if you favor reducing the property tax revenue our county generates, if you can’t tell the difference between open space and farmland, then Measure G is for you.

If you don’t like those ideas – and we don’t – then vote no on Measure G.

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