More Opinion

COMMUNITY OPINION: Measure G

For those who question the wisdom of massive growth.

This opinion was contributed by Kenneth Dunn. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

If I got this right, it appears that we are being asked to pay another full percentage point of sales tax on everything we buy so that the over-building and over-crowding of our home-town can accelerate. Well, if the waiting lines everywhere you go are not long enough now and the traffic is not already congested and scary enough now, just vote for Prop. G and you'll find yourself paying more for everything you buy and your quality of life will deteriorate even faster. The stress of overcrowding will effect your blood pressure, your mood will become more sour as you wonder more about why you're even living. Your health will decline faster as you are forced to increase your medications, you're less likely to go outside because the air stinks more due to the increased traffic volume and you're afraid to cross the street cause the drivers are going faster and with less respect than ever. Anyway, it is truly bad today but the future will be much worse if you vote for Prop G. That's why I will vote No on G. Our living standard is dropping fast enough, it doesn't need any help from me, and I can use the extra sales tax for something better.

 

 

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Comments

Submitted by (Franz M. Schneider) on

We've tried for over thirty years to find a way to smooth out the housing market, but it continues to move in fits and starts.  In the mid-80s, the late '90s, and again in the last couple of years, the local market has boomed and many houses have been built.  Conversely, the market went bust in the early '90s and again 2001-2012 or thereabouts and no houses were built here.  Another bust will come soon enough, I think, though there are always voices that say "This time it's different".  In the meantime, money is needed to build, repair, and improve local roads.  That money can come from the state (gas tax), the county (Measure G), and traffic impact fees (building new houses).   If we vote down the gas tax and measure G and refuse to build houses, where will funding come from?  There is no magic pot of money hidden away that will suddenly appear after the elections.  Honest, there just isn't.

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

Dear Franz, If there's anything worse than a simple solution that doesn't work, it's a complicated solution that doesn't work. The best thing about a simple solution is that it didn't cost you anything. But I know from 10 years of experience in Europe that a simple solution of a bicycle does more than save your roads, it saves your health, too. The good news is that even a magic pot of money will not solve our traffic problems, our housing problems or the condition of our roads. If it would, L.A. would have the best and least crowded roads in the world, and they have billions to spend on roads and housing to the horizon in all directions. Do you need more evidence that keeping your problems small is a better idea than growing a nice hometown into a large smoldering armpit of a city that still has bad, crowded roads? Europe has fast trains that go everywhere, busses, light rail, superhighways, subways, etc. the best in the world, and it's still hard to get around there, except for the one simple thing that always works, gets more than a million miles per gallon, adds years to your life span, and helps keep the blubber from your backside, the good old bicycle that you can get at a yard sale or police station for pennies. It works all over the world, so why not in America? Cause Americans still haven't learned that new houses and roads don't fix problems, they just make your problems and your butt bigger. By the way, we all need to ask our local reps. for more bike paths and more people will use them. Here is a solution that works, I know cause I did it for 10 years and still ride 2day and so do you, you sneaky thing you.

"There is no magic pot of money hidden away that will suddenly appear after the elections.  Honest, there just isn't." - Franz M. Schneider 

NOW you tell me?

Marty Richman

The opinion expressed does not solve the issue of San Benito County residents problems regarding the maintenance and reconstruction of its critical infrastructure; its roads. The solution proposed by San Benito County government is a reasonable sales tax for voters to consider imposing upon themselves so that those who drive cars and trucks - including families, commuters, commercial vehicles and emergency responders - can drive on safe roads, create more bicycle lanes/paths, improve public transportation and facilitate commerce and economic development that creates new jobs and additional tax revenue.

Measure G - like Measure E before it in 2016 which was supported by both Republican and Democrat parties in San Benito County - is a first step in solving a $400 million problem of failing/crumbling roads which is potentially hazardous to public health because people will always drive motorized vehicles which contribute to the wear and tear of the roadways.

Suggesting that everyone should just ride a bike is a ridiculous solution to a complex problem; most commuters travel between 50 - 100 miles a day. 

The problem of fixing crumbling roads in San Benito County is best solved through a self-imposed sales tax which is what Measure G intends to accomplish. 

Measure G is a prudent, responsible solution to our most critical transportation needs.  Our regional transportation needs are a shared responsibility of federal, state, regional, and local sources, including commercial, residential, and industrial developer fees.  Even with this, we have a funding shortfall to address our most critical needs.  Measure G is the missing puzzle piece.

Measure G is the result of months of community engagement to build a detailed roads and transportation safety investment plan.  It is a reliable source of locally controlled funding to be used only according to the detailed plan and ordinance.  Nothing can be taken by the general fund or state.

Highway 25 is unsafe and congested, and our roads are crumbling.  Measure G will ensure Highway 25 becomes a 4-lane expressway with interchanges to reduce traffic and increase safety, as well as provide funds to help repair and maintain our roads in Hollister, San Juan Bautista, and all of San Benito County.

Voting Yes on G will put us in line with neighboring counties to become self-help, leveraging taxpayer dollars further, potentially doubling our investment.

I'm voting Yes on G to fix our roads, create good jobs, and increase our economic vitality within our community.

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

Our neighboring cities also have nightmare traffic and growth and taxes have not helped them, that's why so many of them are moving here and for those of you who claim that not fattening our roads will not reduce the influx of population, I know of several folks, including myself, who have always wanted to move to a neighboring city which I won't mention, but when we saw the traffic problems they have and the poor roads and we all decided to not move there. It is a fact that widening roads brings more and faster traffic, which will ruin the roads even faster and we will need new taxes to fix them. So for those myopic sufferers among us, please put on the long vision glasses and take a look at L.A, S.F, S.J, and any other uninhabitable smog pits and remember they all told themselves the same lie, that if we just pay more taxes our city will be nice again. It did not work for them and it clearly is not working for Hollister. Hollister is not getting better, it's getting worse every day, and all the taxes in the world wil not stop it from looking and smelling just like L.A. with exactly the same traffic. So thanks a lot to all of you who like to believe in lies.

Submitted by (Grant) on

Bob Tiffany, Franz Schneider and I agree on many things but not all. My issue with Measure G, just like the last sales tax measure is the same - spending hundreds of millions of dollars making highway 25 a 4 lane road to the county line - or even to highway 101 will not solve the congestion on that road and it will not make the road safer. Why not? Because the basic issues are lack of road capacity on highway 101 for the vast quantity of commuters, the capacity of the interchange at highway 101 and 25, the manner in which drivers drive and the number of vehicles that drop down into San Benito County to go to and from the Central Valley for their commute to Silicon Valley.

When I get caught in the traffic, I am not pleased, but I recognize that the 25 widening would only be a band-aid, not a solution. As a farmer, I am affected by the congestion we have now and I am extremely affected by the bad condition of the non-state highway roads in our county. I would vigorously support a more modest sales tax measure for the actual repair of roads to supplement the gas tax and local funds, especially if it addressed the worst problem roads. I cannot however support a measure that spends half of the money on a 25 widening that will have a marginal improvement on the traffic issues.

Please vote no on G and send the message to elected officials that a measure that raises the Sales tax 1/2% and is for repairs to help the new gas tax funds would pass.

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

Thanks so much for a refreshing taste of reality.

I am supporting Measure G even though I know it will not be a panacea for our transportation issues.

These are very long-term, very complex and very expensive partial solutions, but you have to start somewhere to get anywhere at all.  I might not even be in the land of the living when it is completed, but I drive on roads others built and left behind by others every day.  Ok, 101 to San Jose is bad, but I remember when there was no 101 to San Jose and we used Monterey Highway, that was worse, much worse. 

The transportation problems are a result of being a "tweener" we are in between a low population all rural area and an area that has enough people to support private business transport such as shuttles.  We are trapped because the lack of transportation discourages better employment (quality and quantity) which is the real key to reducing the commute. 

We have to put a crack in the wall that keeps us where we are and this is the only way I can see that is likely to eventually do it.

Marty Richman

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

Marty, I gotta love your optimism. I too am an optimist but the reality that S.J. is no longer of a size that can be altered to work better. A road that has bigger traffic jams and takes years and billions to build is very near the textbook definition of an exercise in futility and I don't want even one cent of my money wasted on it. Even if it would make even a tiny difference that would not be worth the fortune and massive disruption it would cost. We are now destroying Ag land to make more room for roads and houses. Next, we will be eating our children, after we have destroyed all the wildlife habitat and paved over the Ag land. Maybe a better investment would be in billboards that say, "Stop the lunacy." We are right now in a position to use our technology to make the world a wonderful place to live but if we keep overcrowding ourselves that opportunity will be lost, and the world will look like just another bad SCI-FI movie. You'd be shocked to know just how many folks see the future as exactly that. To show just how much of an optimist I am, I still think we can turn this Titanic we're on around, though most would disagree. It will likely take some massive disasters to convince us that we have finally hit the iceberg. I do hope you win the election, as I am telling everyone I know to vote for Marty.

Thanks for the vote of confidence; I really appreciate it.

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." - various attributes

Marty Richman

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

As I mentioned in a previous note, I've driven the entire 101 Hiway from Mexico to Canada many times and it is congested the entire distance. At the candidate's forum tonight the question was asked about whether the fattening of hi25 would be obsolete by the time it was complete, and the answer suggested that it could take several years to complete and could very well be no help at all. Especially since hi101 by then will be far more congested than it is now. The only hope for better traffic flow on hi101 is to make IT much,much fatter than it is now for its entire distance. That job would be monstrous and take so long that even IT would be obsolete by the time it was finished. What I feel is true is that what was once "Growing Pains" in Ca. has now become full-blown paralysis, and in my most humble opinion, to spend even one cent widening hi25 would be a total waste of money and time. I'm also an optimist but I don't like to gamble large amounts of money on projects I don't think will work. I would much rather put my money on a sure thing: i.e.That same money from hi25 spent on Hollister and SBC's streets would give us some of the most beautiful roads in the world. But how do folks get here? Well, with the disruptions and years of constructing a new hi25, I'm afraid that the days of quick trips to the City are fading fast and not likely to return, and after it's all complete, a trip to S.F. or S.J. will not be even 1 minute shorter, and most likely will take longer than it does today. Anybody want to bet on that one? The optimist in me says we'll be biking and walking much more then and that should be a good thing. If we can still afford to live. Chin up, now.

Submitted by (Vincent) on

I have said this before but I will say it again.  Everyone please look at the Caltrans documents for the highway 25 "widening".  It is not a widening.  They are proposing to build a brand new 4 lane expressway and abandon the old one and/or turn it into a frontage road.  That's why the cost is so high.  How about widening the road we already have.  This is akin to saying I need a new car.  This mercedes I need is $100,000.  Please pay taxes for it.  You do not want to keep driving that old car do you.  How about buying the Toyota instead, widen the existing highway.  Better yet, they raised the gas tax under SB1 to pay for local road repairs and other projects.  Now they are asking to pay an additional sales tax for the same thing.  Between all the bonds and taxes, these politicians are using the "good times" to pass as much taxation as they can.  Fact is, enough money is collected, it is just spent inappropriately.  A lot of the gas tax is going to these regional transportation agencies and squandered on studies, salaries, or on bike lanes, and not being translated into fixing pavement.  Fix that 1st, then we can talk about underfunding and the need to pass a sales tax.  In order to get SB1 passed, the other regions state senators secured state money for projects in their regions.  How come for our region, our senators didn't stick up for us?  Now we have to pay to upgrade our own road?  So I am paying gas tax to fix roads everywhere else but not here?

My 18-year old Toyota thanks you for the compliment.  Well, you have some good points that need to be addressed, I'm afraid that some of the facts will only harden your position, but it is important to understand some of the "driving" forces involved (no pun intended).  As I understand it, Caltrans, as you probably suspected, has some archaic rules about how they will build things one of which involves entrances and exits.  They put in or designate frontage roads so these highways or expressways have limited access.  In this case there is another player, Santa Clara County, they are going to improve the 25-101 interchange and their piece of 25, but they have an ulterior motive.  What they want to do (easy now) is drop a new road from 152 through San Benito County to marry up with 25 near the county line.  The purpose would be to divert southbound traffic on to 25 and then to 101 at the new/improved interchange, thus relieving the traffic pressure on the Gilroy 10th Street overpass feeders.

I would readily accept a "widening" or even adequate passing lanes if they were offered, but I doubt Caltrans would agree and Santa Clara would probably pull out of their part too.

Marty Richman

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