I have served on the FAST Credit Union Board of Directors for some 35-40 years. We grew from humble beginnings using Strat Tarvin's car trunk ofr record keeping, moved to a small converted Lemoore home and on to a new commercial building.
We then expanded to a second commercial building in Hanford, which then lead to refurbishing a blighted downtown abandoned Sears building. We are now the only locally owned three branch financial institution in Kings County serving Hanford, Lemoore, and the only financial institution in Avenal.
When we approached the city of Hanford about expanding to a new facility, we were told zoning restrictions disallowed us to locate outside the downtown as we were exploring other alternatives. We cited as unfair that another outside-the-area financial institution was allowed to locate near the mall area. Instead of pursuing unfair and unequal treatment, we took the high road and complied to the zoning requirements and invested our future in the downtown financial district.
Now we hear the current city council is considering changing the rules. I heard the term that we need to level the playing field, which in my opinion will "level" the downtown. Current zoning allows financial institutions to hold satellite facilities outside the downtown area, allowing the free enterprise system to flourish.
Protecting large investments in the existing Hanford downtown area seems only fair and good business sense for the long term "big picture" of continuity and stability. I spite of political inconsistencies and unfair application of policy, we have made the most of an unfair situation and urge everyone to go slow on any radical changes, preserve prior ethical commitments, and the viability of downtown.