Opinion pieces submitted by our readers and our community of citizen-journalists. Views and opinions expressed on BenitoLink.com are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of BenitoLink, its sponsors, partners, staff, donors, affiliates or other contributors to this site.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Congratulations Council Member Roy Sims II. I wish you well and look forward to seeing your good works.
I would like to thank those who endorsed my candidacy: the incumbent Mr. Victor Gomez, the Hollister Police Officers” Association and the Hollister Firefighters’ Union. I would like to thank my wife Denise and my two sons Jeremy and Tayler for their support. Thanks to the residents in my neighborhood for signing the petition which allowed for me to run for office and for tolerating my campaign signage.
A special thanks to the 1,396 individuals (a respectable 44.21%) of those who voted for me. I truly appreciate your support! In the future I intend to review Council agendas and comment during the “Public Comment” sessions of Council meetings on items of interest. If you would like to contact me in the future I can be reached through my e mail address or new Face book and Twitter accounts.
Until Mr. Gomes announced that he did not intend to seek re election I had no intention of running for public office. Now that I have experienced the process I would strongly encourage others to consider running for public office in the future. It was eye opening and an incredible experience! The experience reinforced for me what I already knew; Hollister has its’ challenges but is still a great place to live. I met some incredible people in the 8 weeks leading up to the election. Interests and concerns shared with me ranged from concern about the lack of adequate public safety and school resources to traffic congestion and environmental concerns.
This election results clearly demonstrated the commitment of Hollister residents by their overwhelming approval of Measures U, V and W.
In the near future the City Council will be dealing with several high profile, difficult and complicated matters such as; the regulation of medicinal and recreational cannabis, to have or not have the motorcycle rally, to have or not have the air show and future residential development.
The Council’s decisions will have a lasting impact. Whether you run for public office or not it is important that we as the residents of Hollister remain aware and informed of what is happening in our neighborhoods, our community and our city. Not only is it our right, but it is our responsibility and duty to stay engaged.
Step up, be engaged, volunteer, and get involved. It’s our city! Thanks again.
Resident District 4, email@example.com
Anyone who has experience with code enforcement in San Benito County will not be surprised by the tragic warehouse fire in Oakland on December 2, 2016.
Most people would like to see improvements to our area roadways, especially the "mangled" streets in Hollister, and solutions to our intra-county transit issues. However, the way Measure P is written can be viewed upon as a rush to solutions that are based on emotion rather than proper considerations given. The expenditure plan for this measure, as it is written, does not make sense! Consider the following:
- 50 percent would be used for Hwy 25 improvements? The proposed Hwy. 152/Shore Road/Hwy 25/Hwy. 101 connection has yet to begin. Besides, we don't even own Hwy. 25 so why make a 30 year commitment to do something the State should do on its own?
- Hwy. 156 West to San Juan Bautista is already planned for a four-lane improvement by the state. This will be their responsibility to maintain.
Measure P needs to be postponed and better thought out. 100 percent of any 30-year "special tax" revenue must be earmarked to benefit locally-owned county and city roads and streets, not state-owned highways, and to improve county transit issues. At this time, vote NO on Measure P.
John Ucovich, Hollister
An Opportunity to say “Thank You”
On Thursday, Nov. 12, on the occasion of our Community Foundation for San Benito County sponsored National Philanthropy Day, and whose venue was San Juan Oaks, I sat at the head of a beautifully appointed table.
It was positioned in a panoramic way as to allow me to view my lovely Women’s Club of Hollister attendees, who are so much a part of my extended family. I use the word panoramic, reflecting upon the word “panorama" and learning that it is a photograph - especially one that is unrolled gradually in front of the spectator.
And, gradually the unrolling occurred . . .
To my direct right, was my husband, Murray, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to contribute to the Women’s Club, at any significant level. He was the extra shoulder when mine was dislocated and had to be replaced at Stanford. He was my right leg when the surgery and subsequent healing process, left me with the inability to walk steadily. Murray, co-creator of so many projects – “load the car…unload the car …set-up…take down.” “No, Joan, the Flamingo egg needs another coat of paint!” Murray, who knows so many of our members by their first names and their cell numbers . . .
The chair at the head of the table would have been empty if it had not been for Dr. Daniel Wang who two-and-a-half weeks before was watching the pulse rate: “47-45-40-35-30 . . .” Enter, the front door of Hazel Hawkins Hospital, ICU, the temporary pace maker without a significant amount of anesthetic – too dangerous! 10:30 p.m. – looking over the sheets, watching Dr. Wang’s face, listening to Roger Hewes, from Respiratory Therapy describing what he was doing…looking for Murray, seeing Heather Shepherd my ICU Nurse (who provided that Oh! so important continuity of care, by extending her 12-hour shift) . . . Hearing that I was to be air flighted to Stanford. “No! Dr. Wang won’t be there.” “Father Heibar won’t be there.” “My friends won’t be there.” Then, hearing Dr. Wang say to Dr. Moheyuddin “Joan’s staying here.”…Hearing the Nurses discuss putting a special sling on my right arm so there can’t be the slightest movement. …Hearing my husband say, after the sling moved and showed a number that was cause for considerable concern: “I’ll sit next to Joan and hold her arm”. And, so he did…Throughout the night, and until all was in readiness for surgery the following day.
The panorama – the ultimate setting – the ultimate sense of being embraced by those I love so much: Cindy Biesemeyer, Martha Blaser, Glenda Goldstone, Kathy Kessler, Irene Hurtado, Laura Lee, Suzanne Stalder, Bonnie Wilkinson–watching their smiles-watching their eyes…
…Looking into the room and seeing this exquisite love affair being replicated in the world of dozens of non-profits.
The iconic photo appeared on the screen (thanks to Cindy Biesemeyer and Kathy Kessler) - I, as the mother Flamingo with Cindy’s granddaughter, Tyler, as my Baby. There was laughter throughout the room and at our table. I laughed too. Perhaps, no one saw my tears as I thanked God, my Physician, Dr. Wang, my surgeon, Dr. Moheyuddin, my pastor, Father Heibar, my husband, Murray, and each of the members of the Women’s Club of Hollister for allowing me to sit at the table that night . . .
What kind of person digs up three lovely, tall thriving Hibiscus plants from a church's landscaping area, out front? That really happened just a week ago. Well, all I can say is God bless you! You needed them more than God! Where will it end? Will we let a neighbor who has toiled for seasons producing prize winning specimens of gorgeous varieties labor all for nothing? Someone may say, "Well, I'll let you smell them, but after that they are mine to claim!
As a community I hope we will watch out for these signs that are trivial but alarming! I mean, come on, who steals flowers from church property? Is this the New Low? How low can you go? Lower than that? Really?
The citizens of San Benito County should have access to public swimming pools.We are well into the twenty- first century with a growing population
that would benefit by having an aquatic center,a place for all of our youth to have the opportunity to learn how to swim and provide exercise programs
for all age groups in our community. This could be lap and recreational swimming, along with water aerobics and water polo. The physical benefits of
aquatic activities will be an enhancement to all participants. I would strongly encourage the City of Hollister, the County of San Benito and the
Hollister High School District to explore a plan for the development of an Aquatic Center in Hollister.
High School parents: Are you looking for a more intimate high school experience for your student? Do you want a school that has college prep expectations and rigor for all of its students, with the support necessary for success? Do the ideas of a four-year Advisory system (=the same counselor for 4 years with daily interactions) and 6 semesters of required service appeal to you? Do you want a school where active participation in competitive athletics and leadership opportunities are accessible to all students? If so, maybe Anzar High School is the place for you. We are a 20-year-old public high school located right by the freeway in San Juan Bautista, intentionally small, and we warmly welcome interested families to find out more about us. Please contact Principal Charlene McKowen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last chance to comment on the San Benito County General Plan Update is coming soon! The Final Environmental Impact Report goes to the Board of Supervisors this Wednesday (July 1). The 2035 General Plan could herald huge changes in the County. Major features of the Plan are four “New Community Study Areas” scattered out in the north part of the County, a large “Winery/Hospitality Priority” region, and lots of new and expanded roads. One of the New Community areas includes the site of the huge Rancho San Benito development that was proposed a few years ago between Hollister and Gilroy. Road plans would include extending Shore Road to Highway 101 near Y Road, and realigning Highway 25 in that area, which would also accommodate the Rancho San Benito development (could this also be the reason for a proposed expensive bridge across the San Benito River near Y Road?). The other New Community areas are west of San Juan Bautista, northeast of Hollister to the Santa Clara County line, and south of Hollister.
The EIR includes several alternatives that would reduce the impacts of new development projects in the County. The “Environmentally Superior” (so designated in the EIR) “City-Centered Growth” alternative would direct new development to Hollister and its immediate surroundings, instead of creating whole new communities. According to the EIR, the City-Centered Growth alternative would accommodate anticipated growth needs in the County, but reduce impacts to agricultural lands, wildlife habitat and other natural resources, potential of flood damage and injury, air quality, transportation, cultural resources, and aesthetics when compared to the “chosen” Plan.
The Final EIR can be found on the County's website. Whatever your opinions about growth, open space, development, urban sprawl, and traffic, if you care about the future and quality of life in San Benito County, contact your County Supervisors, and let them know what you think. Better yet, speak up at the Board of Supervisors meeting, starting at 6:00 on Wednesday evening.
Memorial Day Weekend is the beginning of the busy season for Thousand Trails San Benito RV Resort. Saturday and Sunday will both start with breakfast available from 7:30-10 a.m. You may start your shopping around 9 a.m.. Our 30+ Vendors should be ready to show their wares no later than 9 AM. Our Vendors will have everything from Baked Goods To Wind Chimes and Windmills. Terry Brown, Country Western Singer/Songwriter from Tennessee and Hilda Machado, Trick Roper, will entertain on both days. They were a hit last year, so make sure you come see them this year. Terry has performed with Chris LeDoux, Aaron Tippin, Toby Keith, Brooks and Dunn and many other major stars. He's written songs for Charley Pride, The Marshall Tucker Band, Aaron Tipipin and many more. Hilda has performed her rope tricks in many shows, rodeos and on Johnny Cash's video "Shoeshine Boy". See Grins RV from Gilroy will have several RV's for you to see. Also included in the weekend events will be a Chili Cook-Off, Salsa Cook-Off, Children's Activities, a "Chair-In" Movie on Saturday night and much more. This will be a weekend you won't want to miss so please come spend part of it or all of it with Thousand Trails San Benito RV Resort.
On behalf of the Hollister Downtown Association Board of Directors, I would like to thank the volunteers and sponsors for our Annual Spring Downtown Clean-up effort that took place on Saturday, April 18.
Our tireless volunteers included community members and people from the following groups: Boy Scout Troop 400, Cub Scouts Packs 408 and 455, Girl Scout Troops #20020, #20022, #20023, #20024, #20028, #20029, #20030, #20533, #20402, #23403, #23407, #23414, HOPE Services Inc., and the LDS Church.
Many thanks to Recology for their support of this community effort.
The volunteers were:
Giada Dela Cruz
Maria Dela Rosa
Breanna Maya McKay
Alyssa Zavala Maxfield
With tremendous appreciation,
I would like to thank Nora Conte, head librarian, and all of the staff of the San Benito County Free Library, for a wonderfully organized Volunteer Appreciation Celebration, held last Monday evening [April 13, 2015]. As a library volunteer, my duties do not always bring me in contact with others who volunteer there. This once-a-year celebration of the many services which San Benito County residents are provided through the library is not only a thoughtful way to thank us, but it brings together a diverse group for an evening of camaraderie and feasting. It is a chance to make new acquaintances and renew old ones, to share ideas and successes, and to relax in the very positive atmosphere found at our library.
I have always found the staff to be friendly, helpful, and welcoming, as they are with all customers. The library provides services to people with a wide range of backgrounds and ages, and it is a link to the larger world outside San Benito County. Also, the services are constantly upgraded, with more technology and "links" available both at the physical library and through the website. So as a volunteer, I find myself both in positions of teacher and student. An advocate of lifelong learning and literacy, I heartily applaud the staff, volunteers, and the library "family". If you haven't been there lately, drop by and see what is happening…it's great!
At approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 28th on Nash Road in Front of Safeway a Hispanic male riding in a newer SUV threw bolts at a new black Corvette causing significant damage. This individual not only threw them from the passenger seat of the SUV but exited the vehicle in the roadway and continued to throw bolts at the Corvette. A reward of $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individual that caused the damage. If you witnessed the incident and can provide any information please contact Rick Rhodes, Farmers Insurance Agent at 637-3832.
Dreams & Visions Community Development is hosting Financial Literacy Workshops during the month of April.
States and cities across the U.S. have proclaimed it! Dreams & Visions and our partners have joined in the celebration and set up special workshops for those seeking information on home-buying and re-building their credit.
To celebrate the month; Dreams & Visions Community Development will be offering four free workshops during the month at the following times:
Affordable Housing Information Meeting, Information will be covered on upcoming projects and programs, Tuesday, April 11, 2015 at 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023
Financial Reboot Orientation, we will talk about how to build and rebuild “good” credit, spending plans, and how to create a “healthy” financial future, Saturday, April 14, 2015 at 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023
Homeownership - Credit, loan programs, down payment assistance and homeownership, Saturday, April 18, 2014, 9:00 AM -5:30pm, Dreams & Visions Community Development, 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023. RSVP required.
Mortgage Help - Are you struggling to make your mortgage payments? Certified Counselors will be available to assist on Saturday, April 25, 2014, 9:00 AM -12:00 noon at 1111 San Felipe Road, Suite 101, Hollister, CA 95023.
Executive Director, Holly McWhinnie says “there’s a ‘right’ way and a ‘wrong’ way to buy a home and what we’ve seen mostly in the past several years through the housing crisis is the “wrong” way. A sustainable community is a financially healthy community and we must move in that direction. For over six years we have provided low to no cost services to over 600 families with foreclosure intervention, financial literacy and homebuyer education.”
Financial Literacy Month is designated to raise the awareness of the services provided by Financial Educators all over the country. Did you know that during the height of the housing crisis; home value losses to foreclosed homes and neighboring homes totaled a minimum of $632 billion and up to $1 trillion in our county and surrounding communities?
Studies show that Pre-purchase counseling can help reduce the likelihood of default and foreclosure by helping individuals determine if they are ready for homeownership, and by connecting them with safer and more affordable mortgage products. Pre-purchase housing counseling from a certified housing counselor can improve homeowners’ access to appropriate mortgage products.
Our primary goal and mission is to create foreclosure “resistance” clients and educated homebuyers.
We would like to say thank you to our partners and sponsors:
Wells Fargo, CHISPA, Union Bank, AAA and CSUMB Internship Program
Ok, for years now we have had a VRBO and AirBnB vacation rental, in our new home we are building to add that feature and now as we move out of San Benito County and I need to return for a few final arrangements I can't find a decent AirBnB or VRBO place to stay. We talk about San Juan being a tourist destination but this is proof positive that is true only for taxpayer subsidized fourth-graders who stay for three hours.
We have a wonderful, historical ghost town I heard a local say at the council meeting. Time for City Council to pass an AirBnB and VRBO Incentive Ordinance - subsidize homeowners who will cater to tourists. We know there are a few nice homes around here - right? Plenty of room to show a weary traveler a good time?
Roger? Council? Can you get on this right away! TOT taxes are waiting to be collected.
One Man’s Vision …
There's an old saying that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. It's this same sentiment of the importance of having direction, of defining your purpose, that permeates the very being of JL White International's CEO, Jim White, PhD. "Living a life without purpose is living an unrealized life. In short, you are the walking dead," says Dr. White, who is based in Carmel, California. This credo is underscored by his work in helping others to discover their own passion through the various programs he leads including an online teleseminar program, "What's My Purpose? Life Mastery Course", based on his highly successful book, his engaging "12 O’Clock High Leadership Summit", and the year-long Circle of Success® Business Mastery course.
Late last year, Dr. White opened the JLW Regional Training Center in Hollister, in order to bring his unique approach to business within reach of the Central Coast. By doing so, he intends to expand opportunities for the community to identify priorities, develop specific strategies, and create a road map for their future by providing much needed access to management and leadership programs, branding and public relations strategy consultation, and best business practice advisory groups. The Training Center will provide a venue for learning, sharing, connecting and consensus-building; but more importantly, a place where individuals and their ideas can become catalysts for change.
A broadminded visionary and "out of the box thinker", White feels strongly that leadership development is one of the best tools available for building and strengthening community connections on the Central Coast. A partnership with CSUMB Small Business Development Center last year whetted White's appetite for further work in San Benito County and the surrounding region. After providing individual counseling and group workshops to start-ups and business owners, with help from a grant from the Community Foundation for San Benito County, White expanded his clientele to include Hollister based companies and graduates of his "12 O’Clock High Leadership Summit", Jim and Mari Rossi of B & R Farms, Tim Borland of Bar SZ Ranch, and Christine O. Breen of the Breen Law Firm. “Jim’s program is intense, challenging, and ultimately transformational. The results are in the bottom line. Our revenues have already increased by 30 percent. This was the missing piece to our long-term success,” Christine O. Breen said of her experience.
Another graduate of White's leadership program, Tamra Koll of Creative Design and Consulting, a full service management consulting firm, recently became an affiliate of JL White International, shared her enthusiasm about this collaboration in a letter to Dr. White. “We appreciate you and everything that we have learned from you and look forward to learning more and sharing a bigger success story,” wrote Koll. "I truly appreciate your knowledge and concern for each of us individually, as well as the whole group. Your graciousness and honesty are sincere, and I feel like you have opened your heart and welcomed all of us into your personal circle of friends. I look forward to reporting and sharing our successes with you and continue to build this relationship for many years to come."
With a firm belief in developing strong and diverse community leadership, White sees opportunity where others do not, and has a very holistic perspective on economic development. His inclusive and collaborative approaches to business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurial development, and the creation of tourism attractions in the Central Coast are grounded in identifying local assets, mobilizing knowledge and talents throughout the community, and maximizing economic resources. He sees a need to create a critical mass in the region - to work together and join forces so that the Central Coast can seize opportunities, spur economic growth, and create jobs. He sees a world of possibilities in recreation and ecotourism opportunities around natural assets like the new Pinnacles National Park, development of agritourism and wine-related tourism, and in attracting businesses to underutilized areas of San Benito County such as near Hollister Municipal Airport and in the city of San Juan Bautista. Bringing his own thoughtful brand of leadership to the table, White believes his training facility and series of programs will help communities invent new strategies while building on the region's economic strengths. With the area's easy access to higher level policy makers and state regulatory authorities, White also sees promise in cultivating regional growth in the field of agriculture research and technology, which in turn, will help strengthen the agriculture community as a whole.
When discussing his vision for San Benito County, White is quick to say that his ideas are focused on providing a better quality of life through smart growth that doesn't destroy the region's authenticity, natural beauty, or diminish the historic charm of towns like San Juan Bautista. He talks of finding alternative solutions to the myriad of problems facing the world today - environmental issues, energy use, education, workforce development, healthcare, affordable housing, infrastructure, and crime. White wants to attract the best and the brightest by offering a venue for people to explore collaborative opportunities and teaching them how to adapt new ideas and new practices. He says that in order for things to shift, we must be both aware and involved. With over 50% of Hollister residents commuting to out-of-town employment each day, one of the biggest challenges White sees is changing the perception of the area so that it can attract everything from emerging industries and biotech labs to corporate expansions and start-ups.
While the Central Coast has a wealth of assets to attract growth, White is banking on one asset in particular to help bring his vision for the area to fruition. With their deep sense shared heritage, culture, and history, it is not money, but people who are essential to successful economic, social, civic, and environmental development. White says the JLW Training Center will be an anchor to economic initiatives throughout the area, and a place to harvest local opportunities. It will support the broad range of needs of local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and residents alike by enabling them to more effectively address the community’s core challenges. The center will provide new perspective to local challenges and spread the idea that the Central Coast can and will capture the interest of Silicon Valley By redefining and broadening what economic development means to communities like Tres Pinos, Aromas, San Juan Bautista and Hollister. With a focus on supporting the livelihood of local communities, White intends to build partnerships, energy, and momentum by offering people the expertise and resources they need to launch major economic growth and development.
Dr. White's belief that small towns can have big ideas is evident in his broad-based and multifaceted approaches to everything from leadership development to philanthropy. For him, it is about inspiring excellence in people, getting them to look inward to find new solutions to old problems, and most importantly, giving them the tools they need to overcome barriers to growth and achieve long-term success. As an authority on helping people to realize their full potential, Dr. White is confident in his methods and excited to get the ball rolling. Firmly committed to making a difference, he welcomes the entire community to join him in making this vision for the Central Coast a reality.
About Jim White, PhD
Jim White PhD is the founder and CEO of JL White International, Inc., a full service management consulting and leadership development organization. Jim first found his entrepreneurial spirit at age five when he created his first business collecting and selling Coke bottles to help support his family. From these humble beginnings, Jim went on to serve his country in Vietnam before entering the corporate world upon his return. Throughout his career, he has bought, expanded, and sold 22 companies, operating in 43 countries, generating more than $1.8 billion in revenue. For over 35 years, he has worked with organizations and individuals worldwide to help define and implement excellence. To learn more about JL White International and the JLW Training Center services, including the new accelerated "Circle of Success" program for small business owners, visit www.jlwhiteinternational.com.
JL White International, Inc.
JLW Regional Training Center
2440 Bert Drive, Suite 202, Hollister, CA 95023