Letter to the Editor: BETCH Supports Workforce Housing and Salida Bottling Enterprise Project – By Community Contributor

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to Kirby Perschbacher’s letter to the editor. As the founder of BETCH, which represents, supports and includes much of the Salida workforce, I disagree with his statement that the workforce does not support the Salida project Bottle Company. BETCH representatives have been regularly and proactively attending board meetings to advocate for our workers since last December and we use this venue to speak for ourselves.

BETCH representatives attended all meetings on the Salida Bottling Company. We originally came out against it, but after reading hundreds of pages of blueprints and participating in hours of conversation, our opinion has changed. We have worked hard to get these four qualified accommodations and BETCH fully supports the project.

I disagree with Mr. Perschbacher’s choice to speak on behalf of the workforce as well as challenge project code deviations that have been made public and hashed out over months of discussion with the planning commission and the city council. It is impossible to fit everything into a one-page “fact sheet” to properly inform petition signatories.

I’m happy to say that BETCH’s experience with City Council has been positive. They listened to us and worked with us.

I invite Mr. Perschbacher and his peers to begin to participate in the process of providing workable housing solutions, by continuing to attend council meetings, attending BETCH fundraisers and donating to housing causes. . We are in a housing crisis. It’s time to lead, follow or get out of the way. There is no single solution.

I also disagree with Mr. Perschbacher’s view that the four restricted action units offered to the Salida Bottling Company are not affordable. They are below the market rate.

As a restaurant employee, I could afford it. Any BETCH board member could buy one. Teachers, police officers, the service industry, firefighters and nurses could all qualify for these units. They are downtown and a millionaire couldn’t outbid us, due to income restrictions. These four units are not perfect for everyone. But, they will be perfect for four households.

These condos are just a drop in the bucket. We need 500 more homes to slow down this crisis. We have already fought for all four at Salida Bottling Company. This project ensures that at least four households would no longer be vulnerable to massive rent increases and would no longer be subject to housing instability

Salty Riggs

BETCH President, Salida

Michael A. Bynum