Resolution follows public comment from a wide variety of residents and business leaders.
The San Benito County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Oct. 25 to oppose Measure Q, which will be on the Nov. 8 election ballot. Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki, who has maintained that he is neutral on the measure, was the sole no vote.
Measure Q is a San Benito County ballot initiative that would remove all decisions on commercial and housing developments in the unincorporated area of the county from county supervisors’ approval and place them in the hands of residents to vote for each proposed development. County documents included in the meeting agenda packet pointed out that the county is one of the poorest funded in the state and has insufficient revenue to maintain roads, provide public safety, social services, or maintain the public library and parks.
During public comment, a wide swath of community members and business leaders spoke in favor of the No on Q resolution, including representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as the San Benito County Farm Bureau, the San Benito County Business Council, a former San Juan Bautista councilmember, a local farmer, and the executive director of the 35,000-member Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council. No member of the public spoke in opposition to the resolution.
Graham Mackie, the executive director of the San Benito County Business Council and business owner in the county for 43 years, said if Measure Q passes it would “bring new business development to a halt.”
“Businesses will not want to go through planning and environmental costs, and then wait for a ballot measure to see if they can go ahead,” he said. “The risk is too high. They would probably resort to moving their operations to another county, like Santa Clara or Monterey. Local jobs and revenue would grind to a halt. We need local jobs so people don’t commute.”
Seth Capron has lived in the county for 52 years and is vice chair for the San Benito County Democratic Central Committee. He said while he supports many of the goals of Measure Q, “I just think that this measure is the wrong way to get there.”
David Bini, of the building and trades council, pointed out that Measure Q would not stop housing development.
“It’s going to have the sole purpose of pushing jobs to neighboring counties and increasing the daily traffic without jobs,” he said. “The county is not going to have the tax base to serve the residents that we have. Now, the question of Measure Q is a question of the quality of life for San Benito County residents. And for a better quality-of-life vote, vote no on Measure Q, on behalf of the building trades council’s 35,000 members and especially the ones who live here.”
Rob Bernosky, currently running for Secretary of State and chair of the local Republican Party, reminded the supervisors the 2% revenue the county receives from taxes is far outstripped by the current 8% inflation. He said inflation cycles typically last 10 years.
“The community needs to understand that you guys have got to do your job and get that sales revenue going up today and over the next 10 years just so we can have a justice system, so we can have Behavioral Health, and so forth,” Bernosky said. “The other thing is Measure Q is being run by the mayor of Hollister. Why? It’s because they want to control everything. They will have all the sales tax revenue to operate their city, but we want to operate our county and not let the voters of Hollister, as the concentrated voter base, control everything else in the county.
“It’s wrong,” he continued, “to let the city of Hollister determine everything that goes on in the county, which is your job. Please do take a stand. No on measure Q.”