The Bee has received many letters concerning the inclusion of Wood Colony in the city of Modesto’s general plan update. The City Council is scheduled to decide on adopting the plan during its Jan. 28 meeting. The council will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 1010 10th Street. For the agenda, go to www.modestogov.com/ccl/agendas.
Submit letters to The Bee by emailing email@example.com, or mailing to PO Box 5256, Modesto, 95352.
Modesto takes ag for granted
I have lived in Wood Colony for 30 years – half my life! I’ve raised a family, coached at Hart Ransom School, participated in school functions and helped in the community. This is home for us and another 500 people who are taxpaying citizens. Wood Colony was built on the backs of hardworking, God-fearing, taxpaying people.
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Look up Modesto online and you’ll see “Modesto has a large agricultural industry which is based on the fertile farmland surrounding the city.” This means farming, ranching and raising food products. In the article “Opponents pack meeting” (Jan. 8, Page A1), The Bee identified the Beard Industrial District as “the Modesto area’s largest industrial park. The rub for the city is that the industrial park is not within city limit.” So, Modesto City Council, annex it!
Why we’re on ‘worst’ lists
Here we go again, another weak defense of the city of Modesto (“Modesto joins biggies on new list,” Jan. 11, Our View). This is a city of beautiful trees, but one cannot eat trees or eat great cheese, fruits and nuts or drink fine wine when one does not have a job and cannot afford them. Many, if not most, of these products have to be shipped out of here to become profitable. The writer noted the successful entertainers, but they had to get out of Modesto to become successful.
On the same page was a more far-sighted view (“Why Wood Colony should be developed,” Page A9). There will always be resistance to anything this city attempts to do to expand and become the place I have always felt it has the potential to be. Farmers rule, and until we can elect visionary politicians like Mayor Garrad Marsh, who can take the heat, the city will continue to appear on more worst lists.
Learn from past mistakes
“Humankind, despite its artistic abilities, sophistication and accomplishment, owes its existence to a six-inch layer of fertile soil and the fact that it rains.” – Anonymous
My father, Luverne Donker, taught soils, among other courses, for more than 30 years at Modesto Junior College. That quote hung on a plaque above his desk for all those years. I learned at a young age that the Central Valley of California is one of only a few valleys in the entire world that has the perfect combination of fertile soil, mild climate and water that allows it to be remarkably productive in terms of the world’s food supply. My parents hung onto their farm just north of Wood Colony until it was surrounded by housing developments in 1986 and they were forced to sell. This sad scenario has played out time and time again in our area despite the farming community’s best efforts to educate the public on the value of farmland. I hope the Modesto City Council will learn from mistakes of the past and protect Wood Colony.
Nip this in the bud
What a shame it is that the Modesto City Council, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and “developers” have begun rolling the ball for the eventual total destruction of the beloved and historic Wood Colony. Once this ball gains momentum and starts its downhill run it will be ever more difficult to stop. The folks who live and farm in Wood Colony know this all too well and that’s why so many were in attendance at the Jan.7 city council meeting, voicing their opposition to this immoral land grab. In the parlance of farmers everywhere, they were there to “nip it in the bud.” It is obvious, based on subsequent council member comments, that more than a few had already made up their minds in favor of the proposed general plan update, mesmerized by the misguided thought that Modesto will be a much better place to live once all these “improvements” are constructed, a sort of “build it and they will come” mindset. Oh, the folly of their ways.
Repeat: Leave them be
Three words. Jeff Jardine (“Keep hands off Wood Colony,” Jan. 12, Page A1) has said it best: Leave them be.
Colony makes Modesto unique
Having lived for 13 years in Europe, we cringe coming back to the U.S. where every town looks the same from the freeway – strip malls consisting of the same stores, or empty stores. Our humble Modesto has the wonderfully unique reality of green farmland on the west side of the freeway, from Pelandale to Briggsmore. How odd, how unique, how encouraging to pull up Modesto on Google maps and see the lopsided green area on the left side of the diagonal that defines Modesto. We hope Modesto’s citizens will join the citizens of Wood Colony to protect Modesto’s unique map against developers. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
TODD and SARAH HUNNICUTT
Farming creates jobs, too
I attended the Modesto City Council meeting last week to oppose the eventual annexation of the Wood Colony district into the city. My family has lived in the Wood Colony area for 111 years. I am so very grateful to live in this very prosperous community.
The council’s bottom line seems to be all about jobs. Let me enlighten those who are unfamiliar with the jobs that farmers already create. Think about all the people who contribute to the food we eat. The growers have to plant and nurture with continuous watering, protecting them over many months until they are ready for harvesting. Then we hire pickers, packers, and find distributors and transportation people who drive our products to market. Then there are the meat growers, sheep, beef and dairy farmers who work tirelessly to bring us the freshest and finest meats. Food is a gift of nature. Where would we be without food and water?
The very idea of turning Wood Colony into an industrial park is short-sighted. It will mean taking away from Modesto the food, water and jobs that come from raising and distributing these products. Next time you sit down to a meal, thank a farmer.
LINDA K. COVER
Choosing our future
I attended the Jan. 7 Modesto City Council meeting. Council member Dave Lopez stated that his job is to bring jobs to Modesto. I thought that the citizens of Modesto were supposed to be job creators.
I researched the jobs that had left Modesto as one audience participant suggested. Big surprise. The biggest job loss in the last four years was in the “mining, logging and construction,” category – basically, construction. ( www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov) The recession has forced a halt to construction. Now is the time to figure out what our future could be.
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors had the CSU Stanislaus Center for Public Policy Studies do a report on chronic unemployment. That report said food processing has the highest employment multiplier among all industries. It stated that job growth in our area was largely population driven and based on housing affordability and other non-job considerations.