Letter: Sign the Initiative to Preserve San Benito County – SanBenito.com

The problem of surplus housing remains. Unlike Monopoly – where we can put the pieces back in the box, fold the board game, cover it all up, and put the box away – we can’t remove the big, expensive houses and bring the cattle back to pasture. Two-storey houses on square lots bordered by rectangular streets cannot be replaced by linear rows of carrots, lettuce, onions or garlic. We cannot go back.

We can learn from the past. For example, many if not most of the new people who move here leave San Jose. They flee traffic jams, noise, smog and crowded stores. They crave openness. They want to see lots of blue skies. They rejoice to see real growing fields become fans of greenery. It seems like freedom to them. They need less traffic, less crowds and less congestion. They don’t want more restaurants. They love to wake up quiet. They long to watch the growing fields and the trees in bloom. So let’s see what’s at stake here.

San Benito County’s number one economy is agriculture. Agriculture, with all of its supporting industries and suppliers, is big business. We should be serious about preserving our great business, our fertile lands, and our clean air and water. A current misunderstood movement threatens these very valuable assets. This movement is known as “Sprawl”.

Spreading by any other name is known as “knots”. In the 21st century, building better is “up” and not “outside” or “inside” urban spaces, and not “empty” spaces. Services for nodes make municipal, taxpayer-provided services like water, roads, garbage, police, and fire more expensive and less efficient due to distances. Node sales taxes are shared with other entities, making them not fully available locally. Labor travel is also expensive and affordable housing is not available.

Voters in Napa and Sonoma counties chose to preserve their vineyards and open spaces while continuing to prosper economically. Voters in Ventura County have done the same by preserving their strawberry farming and thriving economy. We can do the same by signing an ongoing initiative. Let’s become a unique Hollister, not another “sprawling” city.

Mary Zanger


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