Editor: As a concerned citizen of the city of Merced, I feel that a lot of issues need to be addressed.
I live here because I grew up here and have become quite comfortable being here.
My parents are here, sister, as well as an aunt and uncle and a set of grandparents. I have a family of five.
Now here is one of my concerns: I work out of town in Stockton.
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I consistently hear of the economics being bad here.
Every town in the United States right now is experiencing some sort of pains economically.
However, I have been here pretty much all my life.
I have been here to see the closure of Castle Air Base, and noticed how new home builders kept building in an effort to attract more residents here.
I was extremely upset when I learned of the decline of an offer from Ford Motor Co. to place a factory between Merced and Atwater.
I was happy when we won the bid for the UC campus.
Now we have groups of citizens fighting opportunities with Riverside Motorsports Park and the proposed Wal-Mart distribution center.
The politics of this town is getting in the way of growth and employment opportunities for many.
In fact, what bothers me most is that since I live here, it is not even attractive for me.
I have a 144-mile roundtrip commute.
Why would I want to go to Valero here and pay $3.17 when I can stop in Livingston, Ceres or Ripon and use Chevron for $3.05.
I would rather stop at any Food Maxx or Winco to buy my family's groceries.
The reason for this is in the savings and sense of security. Food 4 Less locally is not an appealing store.
I feel way more secure stopping at Winco at 3 a.m. than Merced's Food 4 Less at 4 p.m.
Raley's is overpriced and Save Mart monopolizes the rest of town. I do enjoy Rancho San Miguel and Costco, but not for all my food shopping needs
Our city bill has dramatically increased in past five years.
As much as I would like to, I am going to continue to put my money elsewhere.
I know it hurts our local economy even more and benefits the neighboring communities.
I also wish that Merced would take a look at Fresno and Stockton both for an example.
Both cities are adding industries. Stockton is building the bumper factory for Toyota and it is incredibly huge.
Merced is doing whatever it can to turn away business, then standing around complaining about it.
Some of my family are now talking about moving out of this state, as we all feel we work hard for what we have, and now talk of schools funding deteriorating.
There is so much negative going on here in this state, even more negative in this city, I am thinking of joining them.
KENNETH BROWN JR.