Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: Money talks with Betabel project

Mary Zanger writes that the vote of the community was ignored.

This community opinion was contributed by resident Mary Zanger. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.


If anyone thinks that George Washington’s lips on a dollar bill don’t move, they have another thought coming, because this is how money talks. Money talks and talks big.

Not long ago before the pandemic we had a local election. One of the issues concerned growth of a planned development at Highway 101 and Betabel Road in San Benito County.  This planned community of retail stores worked extensively for voter approval. But guess what? This growth issue was soundly defeated by voters.

I just read, “Betabel project breaks ground” I couldn’t believe my eyes. On further reading there was an explanation  the supervisors changed the zoning designation from C-3 to C-1. Internet reading showed that Supervisors Bea Gonzales and Bob Tiffany attended.  This was no surprise because they agreed with the development. I have no problem with their position as it was public but I do have a problem with our democracy.

The overwhelming vote by the people against this development is supposed to be democracy. Where is the respect or even acknowledgement of the people?  When a minority of people think that they know better than the majority then that behavior has another name.  In fact it has many names: authoritarian, imperialist, kingly; none of them says democracy. This list of names all mean the opposite of democracy.

Money is this project’s motivator.  Newsprint tells us so.  The cancer stricken son, Errol, wanted the property bought so profits could go to cancer research. All profits are pledged to pediatric cancer research. The whole idea is “profit”. That is money talking.

Money also talks by donating to election campaigns and arranging for media publicity for ground breaking. Most of all money talks by thumbing the nose of George Washington on that dollar bill at ordinary citizens who use their vote against money interests.


Mary Zanger, Retired Pharmacist

Mary Zanger

I came to San Benito County as a bride and helped build out the Zanger family businesses, best known as Casa de Fruta on Highway 156. In the off seasons, I worked as a pharmacist in downtown Hollister. Now my work focuses on nudging my community to remember the power of fairness and justice that promote peace.