By Emerson Drake
As most now know, Stanislaus County and Modesto have paid $30,000 each towards a study of the costs surrounding the possible annexation of Salida by Modesto. After going to several meetings in Salida, from the Hammett Road Interchange meeting to a Salida MAC meeting, it’s obvious most civically active Salidans are overwhelmingly against the annexation. Unfortunately governments are seldom driven by what their constituents desire, rather, they are motivated by either special interest groups or political self-interest.
In this case it’s obvious it’s both.
Stanislaus County would like to get Salida onto someone elses checkbook. Salida has a simple problem, they don’t have the tax base necessary for easy independence at this time. In years past Modesto held the metaphorical gun to their head when it stole Costco and the rest of the stores on the north side of Kiernan from Salida in a water/sewer deal for the sales tax generated by these businesses. The County has been careful to keep the small strip business parks lining North 99 for themselves too.
Now developers like Modesto Councilman Joe Muratore, who was caught with his finger in the Federal HUD/NSP2 money pie, are at it again. Councilman Muratore, thru his company Benchmark Realty, is representing land owners in Salida, one being a current business partner, Stephen Endsley. At the same time the Councilman voted to move Modesto a step closer to the annexation of Salida. See it’s easier to control development if you have friends on the Planning Board and are a Councilman. Modesto already has 5,700 acres in their sphere of influence to develop but that isn’t enough according to Modesto politicians and their political donors.
At a recent City and County liaison meeting we once again heard the term developers love, when the phrase “low hanging fruit’ was used several times when referring to Salida.
Most Salidans say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
An online petition has been created for Salidans, Modestans, and indeed ALL citizens of the county to sign to register their concerns. I invite everyone who wants to help David from being devoured by Goliath, to sign and let their thoughts be known. Say NO to greedy special interest groups who would plant driveways instead of crops and change the quaint, rural environment of Salida into the city controlled by developers that Modesto has become.
Please consider clicking on the link and filling the form out. Thank you.