Ken Willmarth: Stanislaus County shouldn't go after short-term gain

January 23, 2014 

Sustainability – economic, social and environmental – is a goal all residents of Stanislaus County should seek. We cannot ignore the immediate need for more jobs, but neither can we ignore the legacy we leave our children’s children. Our economy is now tooled up to support agriculture, and as occupiers of some of the very best land and growing conditions (including water and climate) anywhere in the world, we have a sacred duty to be wise stewards of those natural resources. Further compromise of our uniquely productive land, whether by Modesto or any other political entity, must be subject to scrutiny of the highest order to justify that a greater good will be served.

Socially, Stanislaus County has consistently produced outstanding leadership in public affairs. Not surprisingly, much of that leadership has come out of our agricultural communities. Wood Colony, perhaps our best remaining example of a cohesive, visible and viable rural community, continues to add quality to life in Modesto and the county in all three dimensions of sustainability. To fracture it for some possible short-term gain and its convenient location would diminish us all.

KEN WILLMARTH

Modesto

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