Bernie Knoll: Developers have ruled since ’62

January 22, 2014 

The letter (“Developers salivating over Wood Colony farmland,” Jan. 8) brings up a subject that’s long been a sore spot. Modesto needs not to keep annexing good farmland, but instead make use of land that’s already within city limits or is just adjacent in the county. For example, the Beard Industrial District – annex that, not pristine farmland.

The letter writer says he’s been hearing the “worn out” development cry since 1986. We moved to Modesto in 1962, and it was going on even then! It’s a simple story: Developers want to get their hands on relatively cheap farmland and convert it to expensive industrial or residential property. They say it’s about jobs, but it’s not.

When we moved to Modesto, former Mayor Dick Lang wanted to “make Modesto one of the 100 largest cities in America.” So we grew and grew and grew and grew. What happened? We have a “top 100” city but still have high unemployment, high crime and poor streets – and little industrial development that’s not related to agriculture.

Instead of lining the pockets of developers, we should have been recruiting Stanislaus State. We should have been recruiting UC Merced.

Urban sprawl must be stopped! The Central Valley is prime agricultural land and should remain so.

BERNIE KNOLL

Modesto

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