Last Friday’s ASB Class was pretty cool, seeing the relationships of issues going on. Yuto covered the issues in the distinct areas, but I’d like to talk more about Monterey (my assigned area) because there are interesting economic tensions which are pulling at that fabric of the local community. The Williamson Act is being repealed, which had subsidized the property taxes of Monterey farmers, protecting them from the incredibly high property taxes (beach houses) and only taxing them for what the land could produce. The repealing of this act will drive out many small farmers and will make for fewer “new farmers,” strengthening the old generational farmers who pay low property taxes thanks to Prop 13. This creates a weird hierarchy of “old-money” farmers squatting on many hundreds of acres of land bought at a fortuitous time with low property taxes, and very few new farmers (such as small migrant worker families saving up for new land), potentially aggravating class tensions.
In addition, the shale oil deposits found in the Monterey Area, extending down to LA bring a new option for revenue generation to the table, but comes at the cost of the land that is becoming so expensive for the farmers. The oil extraction process includes pouring into the earth acid, which seems like a great way to damage that precious land.
Ultimately, these tensions (one pushing farmers out and the other pulling land towards oil companies) seem to spell trouble for the agriculture in Monterey, and maybe even for the ecosystem there, with the shale oil extraction. I found it a disturbing process to see the land being haggled over for resource pillaging, and also that this money game we’re all in has so much power to push and pull people.
yuto and shirley chatting
us being very happy about posters