West Siders have in the last five-plus years learned much about the workings of county government and the accountability of our supervisors to their constituents.
Fortunately, the recent consequence of circumstances has required that county government start over with plans to develop an industrial park at the former Crows Landing Naval Air Facility just two miles south of Patterson. The five-plus years, I hope, will have provided all parties, including West Siders, with a much-needed education about how to proceed with such planning.
There’s no question that Stanislaus County needs substantial-paying jobs — plenty of them. No one argues that point. And the 2.5-square-mile former base is a good place to start. If the site’s development in future years needs to grow beyond that acreage, then let it be considered at that future date.
A final note: West Side leaders — not necessarily the municipal governments of Patterson and Newman, although they should be represented — should be at the table when a future project enters the planning stage. We have the most at stake, having the project in our backyard.
Listening to West Siders back in 2007 might have avoided the West Park boondoggle.
And while we wait, let me thank the hundreds of county residents who have given their time, energy and money to this lengthy battle.
Ronald Swift, president, West Side-Patterson Affiliates for Community and Environment