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Watsonville
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May 31, 2020

Donations to Watsonville’s Performing Arts Department greatly appreciated

Donations greatly appreciated 

On behalf of the Watsonville High School Performing Arts Department, I would like to thank several individuals who have recently donated instruments to our school. The first being the family of Jim and Marion Rector for their recent donation of a beautiful Baldwin baby grand piano. It is a wonderful addition to our music program and already is being appreciated by our students. Their thoughtfulness in the time of their parents’ passing is truly appreciated. Second, I would like to thank Brad Hubbard for his generous donation of the funds needed to hire a professional piano mover. WHS would have lost the Rector family’s donation if not for him and his constant dedication to the students of WHS. Lastly, I would like to thank the family of Bill Callahan for their donation of an alto saxophone and two guitars after his recent passing. Bill was a long time and much-loved science teacher here at WHS. He is greatly missed but his impact on the students of WHS will continue as they play his instruments. Donations of gently used musical instruments are always appreciated. Again, thank you.

Paul Seymoure Watsonville

Support Measure R

I would not be a homeowner today had it not been for Cabrillo. I grew up in a single-parent household with limited means, working from the age of 15 to help pay the rent that grew every year beyond the ability of my mom’s income to keep up. My grades suffered as a result and at one point I considered dropping out. I knew when I graduated from Santa Cruz High School that a four-year university was out of my reach, however, I knew higher education would help me achieve a better life. Cabrillo College was my stepping-stone. I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree, teaching credential, master’s degree and became a high school teacher. I teach many young people in the same desperate situation with housing costs higher than ever and jobs harder to find. They deserve the same chance Cabrillo provides. People have stated that we are paying too much already. The existing bonds are being used well but the needs are higher than the existing monies and Cabrillo receives no State funding to fill the deficit. As a homeowner, I honor this opportunity to give back to that institution that helped me achieve my dreams.

Heidi Alonzo, Watsonville

Support Superior Court Judge candidate

My husband and I are longtime teachers and coaches in Santa Cruz County. We are writing today to urge your readers to vote for Jack Gordon, who is running for Superior Court Judge. Through our local work, we know Jack as an exceptional person, who takes his responsibilities as a parent and youth mentor seriously. He is hard-working, pragmatic and focused, always showing respect with those whom he works and an open willingness to listen and consider different points of view.  In both his professional and volunteer community work, Jack encourages the best in our children, and keeps their safety and that of our community in mind at all times. Please support Jack Gordon on March 3 as our new judge.

Bob and Tami Kittle, Ben Lomand

What’s up with the Republican party?

We are living in a situation that one of the founders was referring to when he said: “you have a democracy if you can keep it.”

The behavior of Trump and other officials of the Executive Branch is grievously out of control, as is that of certain amongst their civilian associates. It is high time for the other branches, the Congress and the Supreme Court, to exercise their powers of control to bring the Executive into line and appropriately penalize all persons abusing the law in this situation. If they fail to do so, we could be kissing our democracy goodbye. 

Donald Trump has, in public, called the “Democrat” party the party of crime. First off, Donald, it’s the Democratic party, not the Democrat party. Get it right.

Furthermore, if there are parties of crime in America, the Republican party is the largest among them. The list of possibly criminal, certainly loathsome, activities of Republicans has grown large over a long period. 

To mention only a few, disenfranchisement of the opposition, mainly minorities and especially blacks. A long history of gerrymandering voting districts to their advantage and often putting party interests ahead of those of the nation. Currently, while the Democratically controlled House has sent hundreds of bills to the Senate, well over 300 of them are just sitting on McConnell’s desk. While Trump is accusing others of lying, there is a written record of some 15,000-plus of his lies while in office. There are more issues, too numerous for this letter, many of which could well have ordinary people in prison for years.

Thomas Stumbaugh, Aptos

Don’t vote yet

Our shortened election season in this tumultuous time begs for increased community conversations about candidates before we vote. More candidate forums and opportunities to reach out to Supervisor candidates for the Second District are happening this week. Come meet Becky Steinbruner, Supervisor candidate in the Second District. Learn how her platform will help residents better than no change, which will result in most of us having to move out of the county.

There is at least one more free candidate forum covering multiple offices Friday from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Capitola City Council Chambers, 420 Capitola Ave. It will also be available on YouTube over the weekend. It is sponsored by The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan, nonprofit that does not endorse any candidate.

Paying better attention to our local governance is our primary way to improve our lives. More than half of us struggle to pay rent and bills. This is partly because of how we have been governed for a decade. We need new Supervisors who will seek us out, ask what they can do for us and show us they will better supervise our county to help us, the residents.

Our ability to afford to live in Santa Cruz County needs informed community conversations, too. Encourage your friends and neighbors to converse as much as possible before Tuesday. It is better to vote well after seeing our candidates speak.

Monica McGuire, Aptos

Watsonville needs Measure Y, vote yes

As a former Mayor and Councilmember, I remember the years when Watsonville was not safe for our families and children in our community. Gang violence and drug use were on the rise. Our beautiful community was suffering and our police and firefighters did not have the resources they needed. Measure G, approved by voters five years ago changed that and helped save our community. Measure Y will renew the half-percent sales tax and make sure we continue to be a safe community for our families and youth. Please be sure to vote yes on Measure Y. Our police and fire departments are doing a good job keeping us safe. We need Measure Y to protect our community. Please don’t forget to vote for the betterment of our community.  

Antonio Rivas, Former Watsonville Mayor

Vote yes on Measure Y

As longtime Watsonville resident and former Watsonville Fire Chief, I know first-hand how important it is that the community votes YES on Measure Y. 

Five years ago, the community came together to approve Measure G, a half-cent sales tax, to provide much-needed funding to hire more firefighters, police officers and replace old equipment and vehicles. Today, Watsonville has highly trained, equipped and effective police and fire departments. We have been able to raise the level of service and provide excellent 9-1-1 medical response, community policing and fire services to the community.

It is important to note that Watsonville’s General Fund is about $45 million per year. Santa Cruz, serving about the same size population, has a General Fund of $106 million. That means Santa Cruz has more than twice the funding to serve roughly the same size population. As a result, Watsonville really needs the revenues from Measure Y to maintain a high standard of service.

Measure Y is not a tax increase and it is not a property tax. It will renew an existing half-cent sales tax. I have strong confidence in both Fire Chief Rudy Lopez and Police Chief David Honda. Both departments are moving the City in a positive direction. Please join me in voting yes on Measure Y.

Pablo Barreto, Watsonville

My family supports Measure Y

I had the honor of serving the community for over 40 years with the Watsonville Fire Department, beginning my career as a volunteer firefighter and recently retiring as a Division Chief. My family has deep roots in Watsonville, after settling in the Pajaro Valley in the early 1900s. My grandmother was one of the first students at Moreland Notre Dame School, my mother worked for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District for many years and my father worked in our local produce industry. My family and I care deeply about this community. After some tough years, Measure G provided much-needed resources for our Fire and Police Departments. We were able to hire more firefighters and police officers, replace old vehicles and equipment and invest in keeping our youth safe. Watsonville is on the right track. Measure Y will continue the good work and renew the half-cent sales tax. That’s only half a penny for every dollar to keep our community safe. Please join my family in voting yes on Measure Y. 

Rob Ryan, Watsonville

A reason to support Measure R

When Cabrillo opened in 1959, I was an Aptos Elementary School sixth-grader oblivious to how much this new institution would impact my life.

Retired now, I can see myself getting to be more like those who think, “I got mine, so….” It’s easy to become calcified against supporting modern advancements to education programs.

Truth is, I did get mine and I hope to not forget it. Everything I value about life today can be linked to Cabrillo College. At the least I found two career paths, exceptional teaching, longtime friends, a husband and life perspectives supportive of women. Why would I not want community college students today to have what I was so privileged to receive?

Gratitude isn’t sentimental. It’s a good reason to support Cabrillo College and Measure R.   

Carolyn Swift, Watsonville

Time for a 5-year moratorium on drive-thrus 

The City Council met on Feb. 25, with tortured positioning regarding the Seaside Company project to build a Starbucks and Chipotle drive-thrus at Main Street and Auto Center Drive. Support and opposition was evenly divided on the Council, but not in the audience. I was one of six speakers at the podium against the project. I want to thank our Mayor and councilmembers Estrada and Gonzalez for voting against the project. You are to be commended.

It is clear we need a five-year moratorium on drive-thru fast-food outlets. We have 10 already. Enough is enough. 

That will give the city time to explore alternatives to drive-thru fast-food outlets, and allow the city to measure the CO2 poison, massive amount of litter and heavy impact on traffic and biker/pedestrian safety of these drive-thrus. 

What else could the 3-acre parcel be used for?

How about a Watsonville Visitor’s Center? With exhibits, life-like replicas of our great herons and other birdlife (we are the Pajaro Valley, after all). It could contain a gift shop, cafe, restrooms and auditorium for presentations, small classrooms (for use by Pajaro Valley Unified School District and Cabrillo College) and a parking lot. All of this without the congestion, CO2, litter and noise of endless numbers of idling cars.

The City of Watsonville can no longer claim to be leading a green environmental movement. The only green they want is the taxes from Chipotle and Starbucks. Watsonville needs a Chipotle like Rome, Italy needs a Chef Boyardee drive-thru. 

Watsonville needs to bring tourist dollars for experiences unique to Watsonville. Not big box stores, not drive-thrus, not outlets, not tourist traps. 

Shame on the four fossil fuelish fools on the council.

Steve Trujillo, Watsonville

Yes on Y, is a yes for our students

There is no question that the safety of our community is foundational to the success of our students and their educational experience in Watsonville. As trustees for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, we see every day how a safe learning environment, at home and in school helps to ensure the positive development of our youth. Like the City, the District is on the right track. 

We are now one of 19 California schools districts and the first in Santa Cruz County to become a member of the League of Innovative Schools, we are experiencing strong growth in both English and Math statewide assessment scores, and we have adopted a “Whole Child Approach,” requiring promotion of student academic, social and emotional learning, physical well-being and college and career readiness. Measure Y’s focus on public safety and youth development is directly aligned with the mission of PVUSD. 

The funds will help ensure our youth can thrive in and out of the classroom. A yes on Measure Y, is a yes for our students. Please join us in voting yes on Measure Y.

Daniel Dodge Jr. PVUSD Board President & Jennifer Schacher PVUSD Trustee

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The Pajaronian welcomes letters. Letters and columns may be dropped off or mailed to The Pajaronian, 21 Brennan St, Suite 14, Watsonville, CA 95076. Letters and columns may also be sent via email to [email protected] Letters should be less than 300 words, and columns are no more than 700 words. All letters and columns must be signed and have an address and phone number for confirmation purposes. We reserve the right to edit and condense all submissions.

ARTS & CULTURE

Watsonville Brillante

Photo: First phase of ‘Watsonville Brillante’ unveiled

Workers with Nor-Cal Scaffolding on Friday morning finish up their work for the first phase of "Watsonville Brillante," a 1,200-square-foot section of...