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November 25, 2020

Harvest time fun | About Town

I stopped by the pumpkin patch on Soquel Drive just south of Dominican Hospital recently. They were offering tractor pull rides as part of all the fun.

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Election Day is a week away and the ads keep piling up. I’ve seen Yes and No on prop this and that, candidate him and candidate her 5,000 times each on TV and they keep coming.

One of the biggest issues this election, for me, is homelessness. It’s terrible. I see all ages out there on the sidewalk, some sleeping right in the dirt, others passed out, surrounded by booze bottles. On my bike rides around Watsonville, along the slough trails and the levees I roll past huge homeless camps frequently. I see scores of people living out of their vehicles. Campers routinely line Nielson Street. Many of them are run down and surrounded with people’s belongings. Riding the METRO bus I’ve seen scads of people slumped over bus benches or shopping carts filled with everything they own. Some are begging for change. Others flash signs asking for any kind of help. The problem has gotten worse and worse. 

I know some folks that moved to California from China and they simply cannot believe how widespread the homeless issue is here. And it bothers me when our politicians boast that this is the greatest country in the world. How can it be, with millions of folks without homes, living on the streets, under bridges, in the riverbeds? And the coronavirus is adding to the problem.

I spoke with one man recently who was staying at the homeless camp at the benchlands at San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz. He looked around 40 and his name was David King. David told me he was once making around $80,000 a year in the tech field when his marriage fell apart and things started to unravel fast. Soft-spoken, gentle in nature, he kindly spelled out to me how one negative step led to another, he couldn’t afford his meds anymore and there he was in a blue tent, no car, few belongings, wondering what was next.

The new updated logo and sign for Wendy’s restaurant on Freedom Boulevard is now in pace. A crew from Northwest Signs replaced it yesterday. Wednesday’s is doing the same for all their restaurants, a chain that got going in the late 1960s. Wendy looks a little older and doesn’t have the turned up pigtails anymore. She’s matured.

The four towering flag poles that doubled for decades as radio towers in Aptos at the former Par 3 Golf Course were lowered to the ground today. All of us have seen them from Highway 1 just off of State Park Drive. While one burned at the bases several months ago and fell over during the night, the remaining three held out until today. One man there told me the poles have been there since the 1950s. Just to give you scale, I spotted one of the copper balls that once sat at the top of one of the poles: It was as big around as a large trash can lid.

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