Community Opinions

COMMUNITY OPINION: Sam Farr to San Benito—Stay poor my friends

Marty Richman writes that San Benito County needs more revenue to support its residents; without it the county will just become a sleepy backwater and pocket of poverty.

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

Former U.S. Representative Sam Farr has aligned himself against San Benito County’s Measure K, which would allow four commercial nodes, similar Casa de Fruta, along Highway 101.

The problem is the Honorable Mr. Farr worked under a unique financial system. When we want something we have to pay our bills, whereas the federal government just puts it on the cuff—your cuff and mine.

When Mr. Farr joined the House around 1993, the national debt was $4.41 trillion and the debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was 64%. By 2014, the national debt was $17.82 trillion and the debt/GDP ratio was 101%.  Adjusting for inflation, the debt should have been “only” $7.22 trillion; so, where did the other $10 trillion plus come from during his tenure?

Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Farr had lots and lots of help from both political parties (rule one, always blame the other side), but the basic issue remains, the feds live on debt while we have to pony up.

As the local joke goes, we are the only coastal county in California without one inch of coastline. That lack of coastline puts us in the poorhouse. If Mr. Farr were kind enough to arrange to move Carmel, where he resides, estimated median house or condo value in 2017 over $1,000,000, to San Benito County, we would not need the nodes. The other option would be to give us the revenue from Carmel-By-The-Sea, which is a heck of a commercial node, for a few years.

With a population of less than 4,000, Carmel-By-The-Sea has an FY 18-19 Operating Budget (city department/services) of over $20 million. More than $6 million of which came from hotel taxes, the kind Farr does not want in San Benito County—I guess the money turns dirty when it leaves Monterey County.

If the coastline really belongs to all California residents as the state claims, where’s our share of the take Mr. Farr?


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.