This public letter was contributed by Sally Silva. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors. BenitoLink invites all community members to share their ideas and opinions. You can write counter opinions or share your insights on current issues by emailing Noe Magaña at and following our Terms of Use.  Lea este articulo en español aquí

I am writing to all of you to express my opinions on the expansion of the John Smith Landfill.  I am definitely against it.  I was born and have lived on John Smith Road for almost all of my 79 years.

I am not sure where to start so I will list the points that I think are most important.

1. First of all, safety: If you could all come out and observe the traffic that is backed up when the dump first opens it would concern you too. Traffic is backed up almost to where Best Road intersects John Smith.  People traveling past this back up drive on the wrong side of the road and come head on to those traveling toward town.

During winter ‘slop’ is carried out on the tires onto the road creating a very slippery and dangerous condition.  It also carries out nails, staples, screws etc. in this ‘slop’ and those of us who travel this road on a daily basis have flat tire after flat tire. Someone is going to be injured!!

2.  Road conditions: None of our roads are built to withstand the weight or frequency of an increase of trucks bringing in out of town garbage.  I would like to see the accounting of how the revenue from this, pays for the repairs of our roads. The increased traffic of these trucks are dangerous to our already crowded roads and the litter blowing from these trucks is a blight in our beautiful countryside. Also, the illegal dumping along John Smith Road is a huge problem. We have to pick up liter in our fields all the time because it is a danger to animals grazing.

3.  Pollution:  light pollution, bright lights are on all night long and are a real nuisance.  Noise pollution, back up warnings are heard all day long.  Water pollution, I would like to see the real reports on how the run off is polluting the water downstream from the landfill.  There is a huge culvert that runs full blast during the winter and that water from the landfill runs down the inside of John Smith Road towards Santa Ana Creek, then to Pajaro Creek and eventually runs out to the ocean.  Probably the worst is air pollution: The smell from the landfill is sometimes so bad that you cannot be outside.

4.  Several years ago, when I was on the committee to stop the RRP [Resource Recovery Park -transfer station] across the road from the landfill, we were promised that the entrance to the landfill would be made safer and also there would be a beautifying project. None of those promises were kept.

5.  I was told straight out by a supervisor some years ago that because there are so few people who live on John Smith Road that none of these problems matter. But at this point in time, I believe that ‘these problems’ are affecting all the residents of San Benito County.

I really feel that the expansion project should be put to a vote of the people. Just the Supervisors, who do not live in the area, see the problems first hand or even know of them should not be making these decisions.  As a voter, I feel that the citizens are not taken into consideration or their voices heard.

Please do not vote to approve the magnitude of this project.  Keep the landfill for San Benito County residents.

Sally Silva