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To the editor:
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend a news conference about evacuation of people near the Pajaro River in the community of Pajaro. I was struck by the irony of the situation.
In December, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors overruled the planning commission and approved an H2A housing project in Pajaro next to the river, which will increase the population of Pajaro by 15 to 20%. H2A is defined as a nonimmigrant foreign worker program and does not address the housing concerns of county residents.
The planning commission — after several meetings — ruled 7-1 against the project citing flooding as well as other unaddressed issues. Common sense dictates that a housing project next to levees in disrepair constructed in 1949 should be subject to additional scrutiny because of public safety concerns. The levees are scheduled to be replaced in the next five to seven years.
One is left to ponder how a project in a known flood zone could be overruled by our elected officials contrary to public safety concerns.
And a late-breaking update. As I typed this letter, a friend of mine in Pajaro forwarded a mandatory evacuation notice. The irony is telling.