Caroline Mitton’s suggestion in her letter to the editor regarding local economic development seems to make a lot of sense. In fact, her comments echo the words of former Modesto City Council Member Dennis K. Jackman. He used to say that 80 percent of local job growth is generated by existing businesses within the county.
Unfortunately, while many local businesses have been successful and expanded, the number of business failures and relocations have been high enough to keep the local unemployment rate at the top of California’s worst counties for decades.
In short, a healthy mix of local business expansion combined with attraction of new businesses will be needed for Stanislaus County to solve its chronic unemployment problem.
Ms. Mitton also noted in her letter that Stanislaus County needs to do a better job producing crops locally and import less. But accomplishing such a goal is not as easy as one might think.
As an example, blueberries are grown on local farms. They ripen and are in season only in May and June. Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, so blueberries ripen in their spring, which is our fall. So, we import blueberries from Chile when we are unable to grow them economically here. Canada also grows and sells blueberries outside of our season.
Local agriculture is constrained by the growing season. Farmers do an excellent job of producing large amounts of food. In Stanislaus County, a few billion dollars in crops are grown each year. The agricultural sector is not the problem beyond the fact that farm labor is a seasonal occupation.
Solving the unemployment problem is not going to be easy without an economic plan that is better than the ones we used in the past.
Bruce R Frohman, 24 December, 2021
When I read in your article about supply lines becoming a problem, I thought of the reading I’ve been doing about people trying to organize in a more self-sufficient way. Maybe this is the time to look at that idea. Maybe focusing on bringing in more industry is the wrong way to go.
Supply lines are just one part of the increasing vulnerability we have generated. Another problem is the energy wasted in shipping things all over — things that could be grown or produced locally. Several years ago, I looked for bones in my supermarket — I wanted to make bone broth, but the bones were imported from Mexico ! Certainly we grow enough bones here. I also have vegetables grown in Mexico — vegetables I know we grow here. I have frozen cherries and frozen strawberries for Chile, of all places. We grow those in our country, even in our greater area. With increasing energy supply problems, local self-suficiency will become more important over time so another reason to start working on it now.
So, rather than looking at how to attract more business, I would first look into increasing our locally produced food. Tastes better, better for you and for the planet. But not industrial food — really organic. Grass fed beef, chickens who have real access to outdoors. Who would be able to help working out such a project? Maybe one or more of the farmers who run the farmers’ market?
There is a lot written about groups of people all over the planet trying to be more self-sufficient, so we could get ideas from those sources. We wouldn’t have to start from scratch.
Since January 6, We have Seen Two Types of Leaders Emerge
January 20, 2021
This country accepted my family as refugees when we were escaping a genocidal political regime. My gratitude for being here includes the moral obligation of seeking clarity and upholding truth. It requires weighing ideas like common good and democracy, distinguishing between nationalism and patriotism, and identifying racism and fascism.
We have seen in the days that have followed the attacks of January 6 two types of leaders emerge, those who can swiftly name and repudiate domestic terrorism and justly call for accountability and those who failed.
People who have long been silent are now compelled to lend their voices in bipartisan outrage, and to call for leadership that can meet this moment. Many of us refute the dangerous false equivalency in drawing comparisons when none exist. Violence on both sides rhetoric is weaponized to appease those who would incite it rather than those who are victims of it.
Now that we have endured insurrection, some wonder if the moral fiber that connects us has been too weakened to hold us together.
The strength of our communities has never come from the power outside of us. The source has always been within; it’s what we dedicate to the collective good and worth getting into “good trouble” for. We must again find our way to a better world for all of us. We must require nothing less of those who lead us, even if that means embarking on that path by ourselves.
Stanislaus County does not have a Voter Fraud Problem
January 20, 2021
Ever since Donald Trump started trumpeting charges of election fraud, people who believe his every word have complained.
Ever since witnessing the operations of the Stanislaus County elections office first hand, I have no doubt about the integrity of county elections.
On the winning side of a local sales tax initiative, I spent an entire day as an observer of the interaction of now retired County Elections Clerk Lee Lundrigan and advocates for a recount. I watched as protestors grilled Ms. Lundrigan about every aspect of the voting process. I was amazed at how securely votes were held and how precisely operating procedures were adhered to.
As votes were recounted, no one could find flaws of any kind.
Towards the end of the day, it became evident that the election outcome had been flawlessly determined. To recount the vote would take several more days and would require the protestors to pay the cost.
At that point, I said to the group that wanted to challenge the outcome, words to the effect: “You have been here all day and the elections clerk has run a flawless operation. Do you really want to spend your money on a recount where a change in outcome is unlikely?” The protestors gave up and went home.
Anyone who doubts the integrity of Stanislaus County or national elections has fallen prey to phony proclamations of sore losers. Given the intense scrutiny of the recent election and the failure to find substantial defects, the election process is the least of our worries.