DENNY JACKMAN: Help Modesto’s, Stanislaus’ elected officials decide how to use the land

01/03/2014 12:00 AM

01/03/2014 9:33 PM

Air, water, food. Not much distinction between us humans when it comes to our need for the essentials of life. Individually and collectively, we are bound by the need for all three from the moment of impact on our bottom ends.

As a nation, we moved with amazing certainty to clean up our environment following passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts of the 1970s. We continue to work to secure food.

Food security is not a discussion that often leads to extended personal or political dialogue. We humans tend to jump into an “I’ve decided” position early. Our use of such language leads us down paths we rationally might not choose. The word “decide” shares the same suffix as homicide, suicide, genocide, etc.

In the process of choosing a future for our community, local elected leaders will be choosing land-use options in an effort to help us avoid what we would not do as individuals – diminish or cut off our food supply.

Modesto and Stanislaus County elected officials are the land-use authorities.

What I can and cannot do with my property is not my choice alone. If I were to decide to have farm animals, let’s say roosters, my neighbors would intrude on my decision. I likely would not appreciate their input. Farmers aren’t any different; they tend to be wary of urban intrusions on their land-use decisions.

Our community is served by various approved land uses. Thus, the zone within which property lies becomes the guide for its use. To use it otherwise requires the owner to make a request and get an approval. Seems simple.

This new year you will hear more discussion about land uses and food security. How do we grow our economy? How do we maintain our best agricultural land so we can grow our economy? Our local leaders could use your participation and support to help choose the best options.

It won’t be easy for them, like breathing or drinking water. It will be more of a process. Like making sausage.

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