A slogan commonly used by the League of Women Voters is, Democracy is not a spectator sport.
This was amply demonstrated during the Jan. 28 Modesto City Council meeting when an overflow crowd voiced its opposition to the proposed inclusion of the land west of Highway 99, commonly known as Wood Colony, in Modestos general plan update.
The City Council is to be commended for allowing every person who wished to speak to do so.
The many speakers are to be commended for expressing their strong, often passionate, opposition to the citys plan in a civil manner. It was particularly gratifying to see the many middle school and high school students who not only stayed throughout the lengthy meeting but also courageously stood at the microphone to address the council. These young people demonstrated that democracy is in good hands moving into the next generation.
Based on the leagues land-use policy, the League of Women Voters Stanislaus County strongly opposed the inclusion of any of the prime farmland west of Highway 99 in the citys general plan. Our opinion has not changed.
While the boundaries adopted by the council designate a significant portion of the Wood Colony area for agricultural use, we remain deeply concerned that opening any of the area for potential business or industrial development will adversely affect the long-term viability of all of Wood Colony for productive farming.
Participation in democracy is also not a sprint; it is a marathon. As council members pointed out several times during the proceedings, this vote was only a step in the process. The proposed land-use boundaries will now be submitted to staff for an environmental impact review.
There will be opportunity for public input during this process. The amendment will then return to the City Council for final adoption sometime in 2015, where again there can be public comment.
Concerned citizens need to remain informed and engaged in every step of this process.
Giventer is president of the League of Women Voters Stanislaus County