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Hollister city employee injured while clearing out homeless encampment

Oct. 4 incident occurred near railroad tracks by cannery.
City trucks, ambulance and heavy equipment near temporary housing made of tarps, signs and other accumulated items. Staff photo.
City appeared to be clearing temporary homes behind Tomato Cannery along railroad tracks. Staff photo.

A Hollister city employee was injured Oct. 4 at 9 a.m. while clearing out a homeless encampment along the railroad tracks near the San Benito Foods Cannery.

City Manager Bill Avera confirmed the injury of a female city employee at Railroad Way. He said he was not aware of the nature of the injury.

Heavy equipment may have been involved in the incident, according to a BenitoLink staff member onsite that morning. The employee was loaded on a stretcher and taken from the scene in an ambulance. However, Avera could not confirm the cause of injury.

Management Services Director Michael Chambless (who also oversees the Hollister Municipal Airport) was at the scene, but referred BenitoLink to Administrative Services for information on the incident.

Administrative Services Director Brett Miller declined to provide BenitoLink information related to the accident, saying the city does not disclose information on personnel. After several calls, Avera was the only city representative prepared to inform the public about the situation. He said the employee did not suffer serious injuries and was released from the hospital within a few hours.

The city has cleared out homeless encampments in the past located along the San Benito River, as well as near Vista Park Hill. There are currently over 520 homeless individuals in San Benito County, with the HOME Resource Center and My Father’s House providing shelter and other services.



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Carmeldb's picture
Carmel de Bertaut (Carmeldb)

I have a BA in Natural Science, a minor in environmental studies and an AA in communications studies. I have worked as an ecologist and as a writer.


Submitted by (Robin Pollard) on

I hope the injury was minor, its a hazardous job moving among this population. 520, wow! Here on park hill, they are pushed from one part of the park to another.  There are hideholes all over the banks and bushes. This constant flux leaves a trail of refuse, once their belongings. Its sad! Sad for them, sad for our park. It surely has reached a tipping point where it would be less expense to have a couple of places in the city where they CAN camp. Add dumpsters and portable restroom. It would be much cheaper on the public budget, than clean up crews and workmen’s comp claims. Many in this population are transient, therefore having only one public camping area could feel concentration like. With two or more they could move around. Also the police/ enforcement  would have a place to send them, more than just “a move along” .  Why can’t the old leatherback areas, or the old dry sewer ponds, or even the parkhill buildings area if properly managed, be used. Id rather see a contained mess than the trash from one end of the park to the other. Its got to be better than this push and pull that’s costing a fortune, degrading an already fragile population, and draining our public funds from better uses. If the 520 count is correct the shelter cant house them all anyway. Its a mess and not going to go away, let’s get a solution.  Let them camp somewhere and stop this shuffle.


Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

The problem will get worse as the space per person ratio becomes less and less. We all know this as we continue to increase the population and ignore the reality that the earth is way over capacity and the homeless are stark evidence that we have no solution for what to do with the overflow. If we don't educate the ones who are over-breeding us into oblivion then oblivion is surely where we will end up, and it's much closer than we think. Homeless folks are possibly sending us the most valuable lesson of our time, it will destroy our entire society if we don't take it seriously now. There is nowhere to put these people and we just look foolish pretending that we can move them around and somehow that will help. Well, has it helped? The problem is bigger than ever. Some say the homeless areas look bad, but what looks bad to me is the rest of us who are actually causing the problem and ignoring the fact that we are the cause that so many are suffering. Many of us care mostly about our "family," what a laugh, as the maternity ward is cranking out more and more bodies with nowhere to live, as we keep looking stupider telling them they must move when there is nowhere for them to move to. It's not their fault, it's ours.

Ken, actually, the U.S. is far below replacement rates

U.S. Births Dip To 30-Year Low; Fertility Rate Sinks Further Below Replacement Level

The birthrate fell for nearly every group of women of reproductive age in the U.S. in 2017, reflecting a sharp drop that saw the fewest newborns since 1987, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 3,853,472 births in the U.S. in 2017 — "down 2 percent from 2016 and the lowest number in 30 years," the CDC said.

The general fertility rate sank to a record low of 60.2 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 — a 3 percent drop from 2016, the CDC said in its tally of provisional data for the year.

The results put the U.S. further away from a viable replacement rate – the standard for a generation being able to replicate its numbers.

"The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971," according to the report from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.


If it were not for immigration the U.S. would likely have a declining population.  We are doing our share, the developing countries are not.

Marty Richman

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

Thanks so much, Marty, for acknowledging that someone still reads and admits that humanity has a very serious problem that threatens our very existence. I've studied statistics and understand what you're saying. The problem is that not nearly enough is being done to deal with overpopulation, and when people refuse to even discuss that we have a massive problem that threatens to devastate civilization worldwide it's even more alarming. But as an aspiring leader, I believe that you know that your responsibilities go beyond just what happens inside your immediate district esp. if it  affects the quality of life of your constituents. Here's a quick stat for you, Hollister has approx. 8x more people now than when I was in high school and the no. is growing, not shrinking as you might be suggesting. Overcrowding causes stress, and a higher cost of living coupled with lower standard of life. Birthrate in the U.S. is irrelevant as long as total pop. is growing not only here but outside the U.S. as well. The world is projected to add billions to its no's soon and it sure looks like that's what's happening. My own intuition tells me that the world has about double the pop. that it needs to be sustainable. More than that means we are the road to an ugly end to humanity. Virtually every person I've approached with this scenario agrees that it looks true, so the question is why are we not doing anything about it? I do suggest that building more houses in a country that is Trillions in debt is not a viable answer. But a declining pop. would be a good start, if we had the right leadership. I hope I can vote for you.

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

So doing our share needs to include making pop. reduction part of everyday conversation everywhere in the world because according to you, pop. increase elsewhere is what's causing pop. increase in the U.S. and all the accompanying life threatening conditions, such as accelerating greenhouse gasses, increased production of artificial foods, less and less private space per capita leading to insanely expensive and ever decreasing housing space. One respected source has recently put the sustainable pop. no. at 2 billion. My question to Marty is, using your stats, how long will it take to reduce the current population of near 8 billion to a more sustainable no. of approx. 2 billion? My math tells me that we don't have that much time. We can't even come close. With a few exceptions it seems that some of the people running for public office seem decent, but to be worthy of a leadership position, we desperately need folks with more on their mind than just how soon can we build more housing and how fat we can make our roads. Our environment is dying as we look on and our "leaders" are doing nothing about it. So I would ask all folks running for leadership roles, "What is your plan to make the human race sustainable with enough affordable living space for all, without turning us all into chemically fed semi-humans living in increasingly smaller abodes? Or living with their parents forever in the greatest country in the world? We truly live or die on how we answer these questions. Thanks Marty, we need more folks like you who actually listen to others.

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