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June 28, 2022

Where Were the Leaders?

I was surprised to observe at last week’s meeting of the Gavilan
Board of Trustees that while

locals

packed the chamber, San Benito County leaders, with two
exceptions, were conspicuously absent. Only Pat Loe, board chair,
and Mike Smith, planning commissioner, attended.
Editor,

I was surprised to observe at last week’s meeting of the Gavilan Board of Trustees that while “locals” packed the chamber, San Benito County leaders, with two exceptions, were conspicuously absent. Only Pat Loe, board chair, and Mike Smith, planning commissioner, attended.

This issue is not small potatoes for the county: Are Gavilan’s new campus and the Hollister Airport compatible side by side? Both have long-term plans for expansion. But the college, by its very presence, will threaten the airport with its built-in public safety hazards and noise – especially if, as is likely, it can be expanded for jet aircraft capacity. And that likelihood will obviously threaten the college’s plans for potential growth.

Obviously, county and city leaders should be keenly interested in this question. As proposed, the college site means that two necessary and potentially prosperous economic values for the county will be competing with each other for space, and that one will ultimately preempt the other’s growth. With “Smart Growth” the mantra of both Hollister and the county, this proposition seems off target.

There will be another meeting to discuss Gavilan’s proposal. All of us who attended the first will welcome gratefully the presence of all county leaders who elect to then join in our collaboration with the trustees to find a site that benefits both college and airport and risks harm to neither.

Rich Morris, San Juan Bautista

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