More questions about Crows Landing plans
by Ron Swift for the Patterson Irrigator
May 16, 2012 | 733 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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It’s now been more than five years since our board of supervisors selected developer Gerry Kamilos to proceed with job-creation plans for the former Crows Landing naval airbase, about 1,500 acres of property just south of Patterson now mostly owned by the county.

Kamilos claimed that if he were allowed to develop 4,800 acres, more than 7 square miles, his West Park project would eventually create about 37,000 jobs. A year ago, he scaled his project back to 2,800 acres, of which more than 1,300 acres is privately owned farmland. A portion of it would be used as a solar farm, which would create very little employment.

A number of us on the West Side objected to the scale of the original proposal, given its proximity to the city of Patterson. Developing the 1,500-plus acres of the former Navy base was one thing; expanding the project to three times that size was another.

We also didn’t agree that using a small portion of the property for shipping and receiving cargo to and from the Port of Oakland made much sense. More economical sites are available, job creation would be minimal and truck traffic would be horrendous.

But for nearly three years, those of us in opposition to West Park have held our peace. We’ve waited for Kamilos to present a more detailed plan for his project, a plan required by Stanislaus County that would include details about financing the project’s necessary infrastructure.

It stands to reason that the costs of acquiring the private property, installing water and sewer systems, building roadways and completing the county-required utility upgrades for the nearby community of Crows Landing would be extensive. A plan for financing these improvements appears to be the key for the success of the project.

All of this will come to a head when the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors meets June 19. Kamilos was given 15 months to finalize his plans and complete the project’s Environmental Impact Report. But next month, he will request of the supervisors a six-month extension.

A recent report in the daily press indicates that West Park has already run up a sizable list of unpaid debts. The supervisors will undoubtedly take this into account when they consider whether to grant the extension and continue to partnership with Kamilos.

Meanwhile, what was hoped to be a job-creation project on county-owned land hasn’t moved out of the starting blocks.

A lot of greats

Mention was recently made in Fast Talk that this writer had not previously encountered a local gathering of six generations. That comment came after reading the obituary of Lena Correia Masi, who died April 25 at age 94. She had a great-great-great grandchild.

Then, one of my faithful spies pointed out that Bertha Criswell, longtime Grayson and now Patterson resident, was one of six generations who gathered at her home in 2009 to celebrate her 100th birthday (she’ll turn 103 in August). To prove it, I was forwarded a photo of the six, which is reprinted here.

I stand updated.

Ah, civil times

After the recent city government snarls in Hughson, then Riverbank and now Oakdale, isn’t it pleasant to see Patterson City Hall settled down to just a civil disliking of each other.

But wait: We elect three in November. Just two months until the filing period opens in July and the battle begins.

A thoughtful gift

I received a thoughtful gift the other day from our own Mark Kuhn.

Mark was out of town recently when he spotted an old typewriter. Remembering my propensity for casting aspersions at the computer world, he brought it back to Patterson and made me a presentation.

I do possess older typewriters, but their condition is not adequate for the quality work I demand. Mark even acquired a couple of new ribbons, and I’ve put the machine to use at the local museum, where it fits write in . Got it?

There are times, all too frequent, when a computer does not do the work of a typewriter. I may even go into the business of providing typed copies, thanks to Mark.

What Patterson needs…

At the top of the list of what Patterson needs in the way of public services is a new post office.

The present facility was opened 45 years ago and adequately served the community for most of those years.

But not anymore. It’s out of space, needs to park its delivery trucks up and down the street, and should be brought to the attention of the powers who decide such matters as a new Patterson facility.

A good project for the local chamber of commerce.

Here’s a challenge

To prove to yourself that your brain is pre-programmed, give this a try.

While sitting at your desk or in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

Now, while you are doing the above, draw the number “6” in the air with the right hand. Your foot will change direction, whether you want it to or not.

Remember where you read it.

Education time

To keep improving your mind, learn something new every day. I offer the following:

n A grenade thrown into a French kitchen would result in linoleum blown-apart.

n Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

n A soldier who survives mustard gas and pepper spray is called a seasoned veteran.

Really. The absolute truth. I don’t make these up.

Sign of the week

This sign was posted on a maternity ward door:

“Push! Push! Push!”

More questions

Will there ever be an end to questions sent me by readers? Here are some of the latest:

“If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?”

“If the police arrest a mime, does he have the right to remain silent?”

“Where do forest rangers go ‘to get away from it all?’”

You provide the answers. Now, enough.

For the sports fan

First we had an NBA player seriously cutting his hand when he smashed the glass of a fire alarm box, and now we learn that a Nationals player whacked his bat into a wall, caught the ricochet above his left eye and needed 10 stitches to close the gash.

Temper, temper.

And finally…

Someone said: “Get rid of everything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.”

That certainly would make for a better life.

• Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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