Letters: Cattle rancher makes point about stewardship and taxpayer land buys

I am a local cattle rancher near the Willson Ranch that was
recently purchased by the Nature Conservatory. My ranch, and many
others like it, has been protected for more than 100 years without
taxpayer dollars.
Dear Editor,

I am a local cattle rancher near the Willson Ranch that was recently purchased by the Nature Conservatory. My ranch, and many others like it, has been protected for more than 100 years without taxpayer dollars.

My practice of rotational grazing attracts wildlife as it gives them an open, secure place to live. It also lessens the fuel for fire. While I provide water sources for my cattle, wildlife in the area have access to those water sources as well.

The number of raptors and several other species of birds on my ranch demonstrates that wildlife and cattle can coexist very successfully.

Often ranch land that is protected by agencies does not provide optimal habitat for wildlife as it becomes overgrown with invasive weeds. I would just like the public to know that cattle ranchers do protect the land and the wildlife that inhabits it.

Kyle Wolfe, Gilroy

The Golden Quill is awarded occasionally for a well-penned letter.

President’s weak, forlorn message harming the nation’s economy

Dear Editor,

Our president has been saying “this the worst recession in our time” for 18 months. When people hear this they don’t buy major items. Stores and dealers lose sales and lay off personnel. Factories that make these items lay off factory workers. Subcontractors and suppliers lay off their employees also. With all of these people out of work they can’t buy anything.

Now the president is saying the recession is over. The problem is the people are still out of work. Saying the recession is over does not put them back to work. You can talk the economy down but not up. You need jobs to bring the economy back. When people have jobs they will buy things.

Keith C. De Filippis, San Jose

A mosque two blocks from Ground Zero? Wrong, wrong, wrong …

Dear Editor,

Recent reports that a mosque is being planned for a site two blocks from the 911 memorial site make me wonder, what are we thinking? That Imam is about to take a tour to Islamic countries paid by your taxpayer dollars.

You can bet he will be making contacts to raise money for this monument to an Islamic victory.

So just think what comes next. Soon, we will have a call to prayer wailing out over the Ground Zero site while people are there to venerate those who died there.

Isn’t that going to be disheartening?

John Herren, Gilroy

Invested in learning all about high speed rail, convinced it’s a sham

Dear Editor,

At great personal expense and time, over the course of this year, I have conducted public outreach and awareness – providing current, relevant and factual information regarding the proposed California High Speed Rail project through Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin.

Apparently, even more vigilant efforts have yielded much disappointment. In last week’s press release about San Francisco-to-San Jose track alignment options, the High Speed Rail Authority clearly signaled they are not listening to communities and have no interest in understanding or considering what is important to the people who actually live and work in these existing environments.

As reported, “The agency dropped the tunnel and cut-and-cover alternatives despite heavy lobbying on their behalf by Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Mountain View and other Midpeninsula cities. The only design options recommended by staff engineers are at-grade trains, aerial viaducts and open trenches.”

Meanwhile, as we await our fate here in Gilroy, there are two options being considered: The program route along the existing Union Pacific Railroad corridor. Union Pacific, though, has made it abundantly clear, early and often, they do not intend to share their right-of-way with high-speed trains.

An April letter to HSRA stated that plan, “… could result in one of the worst rail accidents in American history, with dozens or even hundreds of fatalities.” Doesn’t sound like they are posturing for negotiations. The alternative route (east of U.S. 101) was never studied in the Authority’s Program Environmental Impact Report and there is much evidence that such an alignment would induce urban sprawl and have devastating impacts on agricultural uses, grazing lands and open space. The eminent domain forced land takings are severe in both options.

The unreliable ridership figures used by the HSRA mandate that the city of Gilroy pay for a 6,600-car parking structure and make room for an airport terminal (station). The HSR Authority’s recent response to such expensive absurdity, is to suggest “phased construction” – which might mean that where we live, work, shop and play will be under massive construction for 15 to 20 years instead of 7 to 10 years. We are told this project, with high speed trains traveling 220 mph, with 22 trains per hour, is environmentally responsible and will improve our quality of life.

Without multi-modal transportation connectivity, the only way to and from the HSR airport terminal (station) will be by car – that’s MORE cars on our local roads … but there should be plenty of parking: “Welcome to Gilroy, HSR Park-n-Fly”.

The noise and vibration impacts of these speeds and frequency have yet to be revealed. A very high percentage of the current construction unemployment comes from owner/operator construction trades and a severe reduction of residential and commercial projects. How many of these will be awarded a contract from HSRA? Government contracts may eventually be issued to demolition, heavy equipment and grading contractors. (Another environmental “benefit”, 800 miles of construction and demolition debris that should negate our landfill diversion efforts over the past three decades).

The April 2010 California State Audit Report characterizes their findings, “High Speed Rail: It Risks Delays or an Incomplete System Because of Inadequate Planning, Weak Oversight, and Lax Contract Management.”

A June 2010 Gilroy Community Pulse Survey with 1,546 votes asked: “Should California abandon or press on with the High Speed Rail Project? Fully 78 percent said “abandon” and only 22 said “press on”.

This HSRA’s disrespectful masquerade is disturbing. This project lacks funding, reliable ridership figures, options which are context sensitive, and current public support. In the absence of a credible process and accurate information, perhaps more and more cities will have no other option, but to take a strong position to self-protect. Just weeks ago, on July 27, the City Council in Orange voted unanimously to approve a resolution opposing high speed rail’s push to take property in their city by eminent domain for an under-funded transportation project.

Yvonne Sheets-Saucedo, Gilroy

Quit burdening our children with debt – ‘No’ on all bonds

Dear Editor,

We have a tendency in California to want new toys and such, but we don’t want to pay the bill. The high speed rail concept is only one example. We can’t afford the anticipated $45 billion, so we assume that someone else will pay for it, either a higher level of government, or a bond issue passing the cost along to our children and grandchildren.

The same seems to be true of the old movie theater downtown. Many want it rebuilt, but if they are told that they personally must pay for it, they will scream. Why have we Californians developed the philosophy that we can have all of the toys we want, as long as they are free?

My recommendation is simple. Taxpayers, never, ever, vote for a bond issue that passes the costs along to our kids and grandkids. Their cup is already running over with debts we have accumulated.

If we want something badly, we pay for it ourselves, no nonsense about passing the cost along to someone else. If this were practiced by a majority of the voters, I bet that at least this part of our spending binge would grind to a halt!

Keep this in mind as you go to the voting booths in November. Our kids and grandkids should not have to pay for our toys.

W. R. Blakley, Morgan Hill

Just ban all religious buildings around the Ground Zero site

Dear Editor,

The Constitution prohibits banning the building of a mosque near where the World Trade Center was because all religions have to be treated equally, as they should be.

So, ban all religious places of worship equally around the area where the Twin Towers were leveled by religious terrorists. If we banned all religions equally, it would then be constitutional.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy

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