Trust Jeff Grover's judgmentJeff Grover was elected by the majority of the public; he is obviously qualified for the job, having served on more boards and commissions than I can count. We elected him because we wanted the best man for the job, and we wanted a man that we could trust to make the difficult decisions that we -- as the public -- are not qualified to make.
Approving the Salida Now initiative could not have been an easy vote, and I respect the fact that my supervisor felt that he had enough information -- having done far more research than any of us -- to pass it through. Grover is an honorable, intelligent man who deserves respect as an elected official, and I believe he has earned that respect.
THOMAS W. REEVES
vice chairman, Salida Municipal Advisory Council
Developers never wanted vote
In response to Don Murphy and Jan Moore's explanation of how the Salida Now plan came to fruition ("Despite The Bee's bluster, three Stanislaus supervisors had courage to do right thing," Aug. 17, Page B-7): On June 6, 2004, the 4th Appellate District upheld the city of San Juan Capistrano's adoption of a voter- sponsored initiative, even though the council acted without evaluating the environmental impacts (Native American Sacred Site and Environmental Protection Association v. City of San Juan Capistrano).
This decision went relatively unnoticed, but not by those with a development interest in Salida. The court's decision gave the Salida developers a way to beat the Stamp Out Sprawl initiative and obtain the right to build and an exemption from environmental review. Although the project will be subject to environmental review as actual development is proposed, this initial approval allowed a plan to circumvent the California Environmental Quality Act.
Technically, what the developers proposed is not illegal, but will never withstand legal challenge. The California Supreme Court weighed in on this in Friends of Sierra Madre v. City of Sierra Madre.
However, this leads me to believe that the developers never planned on a public vote. They spent quite a bit of money on an initiative that no one thought the voters would approve. Can the three "courageous" supervisors who approved the initiative explain why the Salida developers were so confident that they would not have to take their proposal to the ballot box?
A circular boost to economy
The Salida Now initiative is going to really boost our local economy. First, development will remain active and the county will receive revenue as they build on the land. We will be able to attract more businesses that haven't opened here in the valley yet. These businesses will create more jobs for the locals. The new expressway will make it easier for people to travel to these jobs. And eventually, we will have so many relocating families and not enough houses to meet the need that we will begin building residential again.
Let public vote on lawsuits
One should not be impressed at how efficiently the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors approved the Salida Now plan. There was virtually no public debate about the largest plan for new urban sprawl in county history! There's no environmental impact report and no dependable water source identified. When the board wants something, why do they have to ramrod it? Is this wise leadership?
Before the public has a say or a lawsuit is even filed, the board brags about a willingness to use our tax dollars to defend the plan against lawsuit! With the board's "bring it on" attitude, numerous lawsuits against the plan are inevitable. Our government gets sued when its leaders become arrogant and unwilling to listen.
How about this modest proposal: Put Salida Now on the February ballot for an advisory vote of the taxpayers. After all, 24,000 voters said that they want the opportunity to vote on the plan. If it passes, the board may spend as much money as needed to defend the plan in court. If it is defeated, then not one cent of taxpayer money shall be used to defend it or promote it. Does this seem reasonable?
Democracy is a great investment. Lawsuits are a total waste of money.
BRUCE R. FROHMAN
Jobs and business for us
I wish people who oppose Salida Now will stop playing the "no more houses" card. This initiative is the best thing to happen to Salida in a long time. We will get so many new jobs and business opportunities right down the road from our home. No more major traffic congestion and more time with the people in our personal lives.
Eventually, we will need to build more houses when the need arises, but right now the focus of this initiative is the new expressway, new jobs and more businesses for the valley. I think it's great!
Only Salidans should decide
I was somewhat taken aback when I read recent comments in The Bee regarding the Salida Now initiative. It seems to me that the citizens of Salida have a right to choose actions affecting their future and the future of their families. This vote does not extend to those outside the Salida community. Let's leave the future of Salida with the citizens of Salida.