Strada Verde measure loses by 5,000-plus

Opponents report more campaign contributions

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Several volunteers at the San Benito County Registrar of Voters office on Nov. 10 were busy processing mail-in ballots from last week's 2020 President Election. Credit: Juan Reyes

With just less than 1,100 ballots left to count, San Benito County’s Measure N appears headed for failure by the same proportion reported in early results after Nov. 3.

As of 4:23pm Nov. 10, “No” votes on Measure N account for about 60 percent of the vote tally, or 16,443 ballots. “Yes” votes account for about 40 percent, or 11,187 ballots counted.

According to the county registrar of voters website, there are about 1,060 ballots left to count before the tally is final. Even if all those ballots voted “Yes” on Measure N, that would not be enough to overcome the deficit.

Measure N would have created the Strada Verde Specific Plan on a 2,777-acre property in northern San Benito County, in the area of Highways 25 and 101. The plan would have created zoning for a variety of commercial and industrial uses—including an automotive testing facility—as well as a 209.5-acre park. The plan would also preserve about 561 acres of the site for farmland.

The key proponent of Measure N—site developer Newport Pacific Land Co.—has not publicly indicated if they are still going to try to develop the property through the normal planning and development entitlement process.

Throughout the Measure N campaign that started earlier this year, Newport Pacific spent more than $700,000 on its effort to promote the measure to the voters. The company had contributed $868,000 toward the Yes on Measure N campaign as of late October.

The latest campaign disclosure forms for committees that opposed Measure N show more late contributions. The Protect San Benito committee—also known as the Coalition to Protect San Benito County—received a $25,000 contribution from Charles Knowles on Oct. 27; plus another $4,500 from Carolyn Tognetti on Oct. 25. The coalition also reported $1,400 from Green Foothills on Nov. 3.

Prior to the recently filed late reports, the Coalition had collected $5,496 in campaign contributions, and spent $19,316, according to the reports filed with the county registrar’s office.

Another committee opposing Measure N—led by former county supervisor candidate Frank Barragan—reported a $1,000 contribution from Kasra Ajir on Oct. 27. This committee is known as “Vote No on N – No More Traffic and Unsafe Developments.” This committee previously reported only $550 spent since this summer.

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