Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: Library need elicits buck passing from local politicians

Marty Richman says that leadership means getting out front with the right answer, not just counting votes or making excuses.

This community opinion was contributed by Hollister Councilman Marty Richman. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

The most populated portion of San Benito County, Hollister and adjacent areas, is in dire need of a modern and expanded library/resource center, but there are elected officials who won’t even ask the voters if they would fund it. What’s the problem, are they afraid the public will say yes?

Reluctant county officials point at the city’s measly $15,000 a year contribution to the San Benito County Free Library operating budget to cover a population of 40,000 while reluctant city officials point to the uneven tax-sharing agreement applied to annexed properties. Those petty peripheral issues are just convenient excuses. If they were not available, the naysayers would simply find others.

A recent column by George Will explained that humans get their total aptitudes in two ways, naturally and by education-socialization.

The problem comes, “when the transmission of cognitive aptitudes and skills becomes so much a matter… of family advantages that a child’s prospects can be largely predicted by information about his or her parents.” Sociologist Richard Sennett called it the “hidden injuries of class.”

Education-socialization starts when you’re young and feeds your natural aptitudes; you either get the foundation you need or operate at limited capacity, many times for life.  All honest work is worthwhile; however, most parents—no matter their background—do not want to see their children try to make a career out of seasonal low-paying jobs.

Our county has a large underclass suffering those hidden injuries, but we can offer the children a better future with an adequate library and resource center. Today, San Benito is a county with a big new jail and a tiny old library—there is something wrong with that picture.

No matter what path we choose we will meet the younger generations again. The key question is where; will they be incarcerated, living in a creek bed, lining up for public assistance, or will they be able to gain the advantages that good opportunities offer?

If we want a better tomorrow, we have to make that investment today and that all starts with the leadership.



Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.