Many don’t seem to understand that many farmers are not rich, especially the ones I know. We have a few here in Tracy who are rich, but we don’t want to mention their names, for fear of reprisal.
Farmers have had some windfalls over the past 20 years, but only for a few in this area who have owned land for the past 85 years or more. The bottom line is that many landowners sold to developers, or became developers themselves, with the help of most of the same elected office-holders that are still in office.
Soon, we will see some changes in the elected officials who will be termed out, but we will not see any changes in the policies carried over from past administrations going back 20 years.
The concerns I have are that no matter where I go, I hear comments such as, “those Bay Area people have caused this mess.” With that in mind, I wonder if those who criticize those who moved here from other areas realize that if it were not for those transplants, Tracy would still be alfalfa fields.
The amount of money that was generated by homes for the past 20 years has put Tracy on the map. The only thing that has hurt Tracy has been its transportation links to other communities.
Along with that issue, Tracy never generated the jobs that were promised to the people who bought homes here, and some ask why. There are no high-paying jobs in Tracy. All we had here was housing and construction labor, and transient workers who would come and go.
Now the city is hurting for funds. Where do the city officials think the money will come from to run the city?
Let’s go back and inventory the mess. No jobs, no help for small business, home foreclosures, tax reduction for the city and county, and this equals bad times ahead. We must understand that businesses need tax relief, as do the home owners and other service-orientated business.
To sum up the issues, the home foreclosures and the short sales do not help those that are underwater. Businesses move on, but families can’t do that without stress to the family unit. Let’s hope that things get better for the sake of those who moved here who just wanted a chance for home ownership and a better quality of life.
• Thomas A Benigno is a Tracy resident, former business owner and farmer. He has also campaigned for numerous elected positions.