Modesto Bee readers weigh in on Wood Colony issue

January 27, 2014 

  • Meeting Tonight

    The Modesto City Council is scheduled to vote on inclusion of Wood Colony in its general plan amendment tonight at 5:30 at Tenth Street Place, basement chambers.

A matter of rights

The issue at Wood Colony is an issue of rights. Our Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. Since our rights come from God, does he grant the right for city leaders to take away the land and heritage of those of Wood Colony? Did they not buy a farm because they wanted to farm? Did they not buy it in Wood Colony because they wanted to live in Wood Colony? That is their right. Does the city have the right to trump their rights? The answer is simple. Government cannot disburse rights it does not have. It is dangerous when government attempts to take God-given rights away from us. No entity can grant what it does not first possess. According to George Washington, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” This “force” should be used to protect our God-given rights of property and heritage, not to take them away.

PASTOR WILLIAM H. HEINRICH

Modesto

Open your minds, council

To the Modesto mayor and City Council: When it comes to making changes to our city for the future, please be smart, do not have closed minds. Do not already have your minds made up to a bad idea; this city has had enough of those. Look to areas that are in need of something better, such as the area off the central Modesto exit on 99. Revitalize that area and get rid of all the old existing eyesores. It is just one idea of many that is better than taking away Wood Colony. Let us have a positive change for our city, not another negative against us.

LORRIE MEIER

Modesto

Pavement can’t grow food

I just finished watching a program about the starving people of India. The thought came to me that this could be America eventually. If we continue covering wonderful fertile land with more buildings to go with all the empty ones, where is the food to fill the tummies of all the multiplying hungry people going to come from? Wood Colony is just a small portion of a growing number of farms that could be displaced by commercialism. Please, City Council and Mayor Garrad Marsh, take an interest in filling the empty buildings and leave Wood Colony alone.

BEATRICE PRATT

Modesto

‘Jobs’ often becomes housing

It has been 40 years since Vintage Faire Mall was proposed in a rural area north of Modesto. The pitch was that the project would create jobs, lower our high unemployment, boost sales and property taxes and be a “stand-alone” shopping center with no surrounding development. Well, we all know what has occurred since – similar high unemployment and an explosion of housing and strip malls all around.

Every zoning change and growth proposal beats the same mantra of more jobs, jobs, jobs and local economic growth. It’s a carrot on a stick. Are we still naïve enough to believe that by allowing our beloved Wood Colony to be opened to expansion that our area will actually improve? There is a new generation of City Council members and staff – yet, the same old song is being sung: second verse, same as the first.

DAVID COUCHMAN

Modesto

Don’t forget we are a farm town

I am a voter in Modesto, and I will not vote for any council member who votes in favor of annexing the Wood Colony to the city of Modesto. I can only hope that others follow me and let our council members know how we feel about this unpopular plan. We are a farming community, not Silicon Valley. Covering farms with pavement will not create jobs in Modesto.

LINDA BRAY

Modesto

League was right; leave it alone

The League of Women Voters in its commentary, “Many reasons to leave Wood Colony alone” (Jan. 24, Page A15), illustrated profoundly that there are no solid promises being offered in the general plan amendment targeting Wood Colony – only the surety that the significant treasure that is Wood Colony will evaporate if allowed to pass.

Our mayor and City Council have not fully addressed existing areas designated for commerce and industry. Before the current Wood Colony proposal, this same group set a goal to annex Salida. Its residents said no. The jobs of our mayor and City Council should be to maximize the use and quality of what they already govern before seeking to carelessly expand the borders of Modesto. Ethically, they should be concerned with the desires of their constituents as well as those whom they would impact by general plan amendment.

But then, this is the same group that steered, planned and determined the new Stanislaus County courthouse location without significant community input. When finally pressured to get that input, the process was complete enough that they could pass blame to Sacramento. Maybe they are simply politicians.

GARY L. GERVASE

Modesto

Clean up the city first

Someone needs to load up the City Council members and take them for a ride around Modesto. They are so eager to create more jobs, then try redeveloping in existing buildings such as Long’s on McHenry, Valley Sporting Goods on Carpenter, Gottschalks on Oakdale Road and the Raley’s, to name a few. They’re all over town. These are eyesores, with boarded-up or papered-over windows with real estate signs and graffiti. All this land was once farmland, and look at it now; they want to do the same thing to the Wood Colony community.

Clean up what you’ve got! The City Council needs to concentrate more on today and less on the future. Leave Wood Colony as is.

DEBBIE F. POWELL

Modesto

Build Modesto up, not out

I am embarrassed that the mayor and the City Council are favoring developing Wood Colony. I am also embarrassed that it was done years ago, too, and the home I live in was former Wood Colony property. And I am embarrassed that the council developed the mall and other “west side” neighborhoods away from Wood Colony. Modesto needs to build up, not out!

Please reconsider your position.

RITA MATTHEWS

Modesto

Time to consider recalling council

To the mayor and council members:

Your arrogance in the face of the will and wishes of the people of Modesto is almost beyond belief. Only you, the council, and your development friends want to ruin Wood Colony, desecrate fertile farmland, destroy a 100-year-old community, and persecute a gentle and devoted people, namely the many Brethren families who live there.

I notice you haven’t considered the Gallo vineyards for annexation. These vineyards are a very small part of their vast holdings, but you leave them alone. Obviously they are untouchable. I wonder why?

Stop this insanity. How dare you!

Withdraw this annexation proposal at once.

Concentrate on developing the many empty parcels and filling the empty buildings already within city limits. If you continue this pursuit, then it is time to begin recall election petitions for all of you. We voted you in, we can vote you out!

JOHN and KAAREN OLIN

Modesto

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