Letters to the Editor

Newcomer suggests Modesto look inward to expand

A barn in the heart of Wood Colony, which has been an agricultural community for a century.
A barn in the heart of Wood Colony, which has been an agricultural community for a century. jlee@modbee.com

Re “County responds on Wood Colony” (Page B1, Sept. 30): As a newcomer to Modesto and Stanislaus County, I was surprised to read anything about expansion plans, particularly near prime agricultural areas like Wood Colony. Moving here from far north, we drive on weekends to farmers’ markets like crazed tourists, marveling at the farmland, growth, beauty and sheer economic wonder of the agriculture in this area. When we return to the city, we sometimes stare incredulously at the incredible vast acres of vital, usable soil for sale within residential areas that must have stood ready for development but remain pristinely vacant because of the terrible economic downturn during 2008.

I would love to see those turned into temporary urban farm lots until the housing industry fully recovers. Perhaps those lots could be used to employ or support the many poor in this area. The downtown and South Modesto sometimes look post-apocalyptic with the decayed infrastructure, closed businesses, graffiti and seedy vacant lots. So I wonder why our leaders would focus anywhere but their own backyards?

I would look to our political and business leaders to revitalize my newly adopted and renowned agricultural city and not even consider anything related to expansion outside it for now.

Joe Greene, Modesto

Maybe he’ll move home to fight expansion

I was born in Modesto, where I played in orchards, attended church and fellow-shipped with family friends. My father is buried at Wood Colony Cemetery. Not only is the land grab by political interests morally wrong, it is also constitutionally prohibited – in spite of continual revisionist modifications.

The German Baptist Brethren played an important role in developing an agriculture economy by settling American frontiers through determination, hard work and peaceful existence – nurturing their neighbors in hard times with quiet temperance and enjoying the blessings of success in better times. For politicians with no moral compass to advance a development agenda just to gain favor of developers who would destroy this historical fabric of society and, through political process, steal a heritage richly established by The Brethren is unacceptable. I do not now live in Modesto, but I might move back to lead a fight to thwart this travesty from going any further. Some of us are not going to back down and be silent, but will fight the good fight to insure the Wood Colony property owners are not manipulated into losing the property that they and their ancestors worked and toiled to preserve for the betterment of all.

Owen Shuler, Savannah, Ga.