PATTERSON -- The City Council is unanimously against the proposed 4,800-acre industrial park on the former Crows Landing air base.
Council members voted Tuesday to adopt a resolution as a first step in what they hope will become a united front -- along with other West Side city governments, school districts and fire agencies -- against the project.
The PCCP West Park LLC project, headed by Sacramento developer Gerry Kamilos, is centered around a short-haul rail line connected to the Port of Oakland.
The resolution was written by Patterson and Newman and is set to go to Newman's council next week. It also will be forwarded to the Patterson Unified School District and West Stanislaus Fire District for consideration.
Before voting, the council listened to pleas from about a half-dozen residents who said they wanted the project to go forward because it would provide desperately needed jobs to the West Side.
Donna Worley, who is in the process of becoming a teacher in Patterson, said she was bothered that the council was trying to get the school district to sign the resolution.
"I cannot understand your reasoning. The people who live and work in Patterson are working at Longs, McDonald's or Burger King," Worley said. "They cannot afford homes."
Newman resident Roy McDonald said people must commute to jobs in the Bay Area, which is "tearing the fiber" of families. The project would change that, he argued.
"We're not talking about minimum wage jobs. We're talking about jobs with stability and credibility that can pay the mortgage," said McDonald, who recently began working for Kamilos to garner support among residents on the West Side.
Councilwoman Annette Smith questioned Wednesday if any of those who spoke in favor of the project were working with the developer or were paid to show up to the meeting. "It was almost as if they were on a time clock," Smith said.
She noted that many who spoke in favor of the project left the room before the council voted on the resolution.
Mike Lynch, a consultant working for Kamilos, denied that any of the people -- except for McDonald -- were working for the developer. He said the project has been gaining public support through outreach efforts.
"They came to the meeting to speak and left. That's what people do," Lynch said Wednesday.
He asked the council to table the resolution until negotiations with the county are finished.
Members of the West Side-Patterson Alliance for Community and Environment, a grass-roots group against the project, also spoke. President Ron Swift said Patterson already has an 800-acre business park that is generating jobs.
"I'm not ever going to agree that a 4,800-acre development in Crows Landing is a good development," Smith said Wednesday.
With the resolution, "We hope the county takes pause," Smith said. "This is a public asset and is something for the entire county. It is not something to destroy the West Side."
Bee staff writer Christina Salerno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 238-4574.