Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter because I am a homeowner, and one of many concerned citizens of Patterson who will be affected by the zoning changes on Weber Avenue from low density to high density traffic.

On November the 18th, 2020 I attended a Zoom meeting concerning this matter. I realized my worst fear when I asked the panel: “How many of the 11 people present at the meeting are homeowners being affected by the rezoning?” You could have heard a pin drop; there was absolute silence in the meeting as no one answered. I voiced my concern about this matter by reiterating that many people in this area do not own a computer; much less are they going to have access to a Zoom meeting. As a result, many homeowners in this area could not attend this meeting. Needless to say, my brother and I were the only ones who attended this meeting.

The letter sent out to the public was sent in English to a community that, I have repeatedly informed, are Spanish speaking. The meeting was also close to a major holiday, Thanksgiving. The next meeting is scheduled to go before the panel to discuss the rezoning on December the 1st, 2020. My sentiments are that The Community Development Department is moving too fast and not allowing the citizens of Patterson to exercise their right to be informed.

Our concerns are as follows: the infrastructure in our area is not designed for high density traffic due to the fact that Weber Avenue is a short stretch of street surrounded by streets zoned for high density traffic: Las Palmas, First Street, Walnut Avenue; And yes! It is also greatly affected by M Street and Highway 33. The way the streets of Patterson are designed like a wheel, the locations of the schools, of warehouses (like Amazon), and the building of apartments on Walnut Avenue have made traffic horrendous in this very, concentrated, small area.

I asked the panel,” Tell me honestly would you want this in your own backyard?” Again complete silence. No one answered me.

We understand that Patterson is growing, and that it is good business for the City of Patterson. But what about us? My brother stated that the community wanted Weber Avenue to remain zoned for low density traffic.

My understanding according to Mr. James is, “Just because you don’t want it, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.” Mr. Apland, himself, spoke to me and stated that he was against the building plans the city wanted to do. He stated that he wanted to organize and gather a group of people to fight this. He invited me to be part of the group. When I told him that I wanted to get a petition going against the rezoning, he told me not yet, to wait. It was something to do further down the line. He never contacted me again.

Have we become a society where our public servants, who are supposed to serve the people, are no longer there to do what is in the best interest of the people? Are they going to raise their mighty, powerful fist and shove their will and agendas down our throats? I ask you Patterson, are we not a Republic? Are we not endowed by our creator with human rights and dignity? According to our constitution, the answer is YES!

If you are so dead set on bulldozing over the community and doing what you want anyway, then why have meetings? Don’t misunderstand me, I am very grateful for the opportunity given me to express myself at this meeting. In all fairness to them, they did stay overtime to speak to me. It just saddens me to hear my neighbors state: “They have the power. Who can fight them? In the end, they are going to do what they want.”

I ask you citizens of Patterson, in an area whose needs are oftentimes forgotten by the city; but an area remembered only when they want to exploit it: “What are the poor and marginalized to do? Who will come and rise up in our defense?”

Ofelia Lopez

Concerned citizen of Patterson

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