Patterson population growing for better or worse
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Dec 13, 2012 | 1783 views | 2 2 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Although I’ve never opposed the population growth of Patterson, the time has arrived when I ponder whether bigger is better.

We’ve had community debates on the subject, and each time the issue was placed before the public, the pro-growth concept won out.

Planning for the future in City Hall pegs Patterson’s population climbing to 65,000 — certainly not overnight, and possibly well into the future. Why that number and not 75K or 55K is information I don’t have. However, growing to 65,000 will certainly create incentive to get even larger, so the number itself is irrelevant.

These questions keep popping into my scrambled mind:

Is Patterson a better community at 20,000 than it was at 5,000 or 10,000?

Have increased numbers given us better schools?

Are our churches flourishing with the higher head count?

Have municipal services improved as we have grown?

Has growth improved the retail and services offerings in our business community?

Has crime risen only in proportion with the increase in population?

Admittedly, growth has given us a new swimming pool, senior center and city hall. And in another month, it will have given us Walmart, which some shoppers consider to be the ultimate retailer.

As this community gets larger, it surely will bring additional chain merchandisers, but it’s unlikely we’ll have a hospital or even a movie theater until we are well above the 65,000 mark.

Which gets me back to the question at hand: Is bigger necessarily better?

What do you think?

Another turns 90

I was beginning to think that no one was having birthdays.

Then I learned that Rose Beltran turned 90 this past Sunday, Dec. 9, and thus joins our 90-Plus list. Happy birthday, Rose.

Rose, we are told, enjoyed a gala party thrown on Saturday by family and friends, including her three offspring and seven of eight grandchildren. She’s a lifelong Crows Landing resident.

Any more magic birthdays on the horizon? (I’m hoping to go into the candle business.)

Let’s get it right

Last week’s column mentioned that A.O. Blomgren, one of Patterson’s earliest settlers who died in 1912, had lived in the home now owned by Harold and Faye Hill.

Wrong! Instead, he lived on the other side of East Las Palmas Avenue, in what we refer to as the Totman house.

It was Nels Blomgren who resided in the historical house now owned by the Hills. And Nels, you will remember if you have studied Patterson’s history, was one of the early real estate salesmen who sold Patterson family farmland for the broker, Payne Investment Co. In fact, the story goes that he sold about $2 million of the newly irrigated land in about two years some 100 years ago.

Were the Blomgrens related? Possibly, but we don’t know for sure, so I won’t go out on a limb and risk another error. And no, I wasn’t acquainted with Nels, either.

It can’t be

There are times — and this is one of them — when I feel I’m fighting a losing battle.

Recently in the mail came a notice that cellular phone service is being offered through a “government assisted” program.

Yep, a free cellphone with up to 250 monthly minutes at a discounted rate. All I needed was to be enrolled in a Federal Lifeline Program, which includes reduced-price school lunches, food stamps, Medi-Cal and a few more offerings.

I’m not about to apply for a cell even if I were eligible, now am I? Nonetheless, my tax dollars — and yours, too — will help pay for the intrusive devices to be handed out to others.

No wonder our federal government is at cliff’s edge. Someone back East should realize that cellphone use is not mandatory — as is eating — for life to go on, despite what many may think.

Time for a quiz

OK — all you students out there participating in the educational program offered to our readers at no extra cost, it’s time for a spot quiz.

•How do you correctly fold a fitted sheet?

•Was learning cursive really necessary?

•How many times is it appropriate to say “what?” before you just nod and smile, because you still didn’t hear or understand a word someone said?

Send your answers for grading to the email listed below, marking them “Fast Talk answers.”

And be brief.

For the sports fan

It is rumored that football analyst John Gruden might return to coach the Oakland Raiders, should that job come open (and it might).

I liked Gruden in his previous stint as the Raiders’ coach, but like many before him, he didn’t produce enough for owner Al Davis. He might do a good job this time, should he return, for the Raiders can only improve.

I hope he does return. Anything, actually, to get him off the tube. As an analyst on TV, he drones on like a professor I once had.

Now, on to the upcoming bowl games. No fewer than 70 college teams will vie for honors in 35 bowl games over the holidays, so stock up the refrigerator.

But get this: 14 of those teams have only 7-5 records, 12 others are 6-6, and one — Georgia Tech — has a losing record (6-7). And after the bowl games are played, even more teams will end their season having lost more than they have won.

That’s about as exciting as a cellphone going off in church.

Here’s an idea: Why not add 28 more bowl games, and that way every Division I team would have a chance at year-end glory? Then half could end their seasons on a winning note, maybe the only game they won all season.

But no, that wouldn’t quite work. Division I teams number 127, and one would be left out.

Maybe it could play Central Catholic.

And finally…

Here’s a tip that arrived by email that we’ll pass along, also without charge:

Always keep a couple of “get well” cards lying about, so that if guests unexpectedly arrive, they’ll think you couldn’t clean because you’ve been sick.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 14, 2012
Great post Ron,

In regards to the growth issue. I don't think the issue was ever really placed before the public. It's not as if the City put an advisory vote on how they would like the city to grow with the possible exception of the 1992 general plan. back then there was a citizen measure put forward that would coontrolled growth but then the Patterson power brokers couldn't have that so they put their own misleading measure which passed.

The growth debate occures when general plans are drawn up and approved. I have been to many of these meetings over the years and in Patterson the attendance from regular patterson residents was always light. Most of the people attending these meetings have been landowners, developers, and other real estate interests who have a financial interest in the City's growth. The latest general plan simply leaves the growth rate in the hands of developers as it has been in Patterson for years. Years ago alot of people in patterson did not want to see it grow this way but weren't vocal in doing so and people were generally apathetic about it. Also, when people vote for Councilmembers they generally don't vote single issue. Also, most of these potential council members are never really honest about their growth positions. How many come out and say they want alot of growth? Few do. They say they are for smart growth or responsible growth whatever that means.

At the end of day, what type of town (large or small) depends on what one consider's quality of life. With a big town, you get more conviences. More retail, big box. More amenities. But you also get more traffic, more crime. A town that becomes impersonal.
December 13, 2012
I have lived in Patterson my whole life and have witnessed our town grow, but have also witnessed more crime as well. i believe our town has reached the maximum amount of people it can hold, and i am worried that Patterson will become another Stockton.

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