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November 27, 2022

Letters to the Editor, April 15

Vote no on D

We need to look at all the benefits of preserving and restoring the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line, and not be swayed and misled by the anti-rail groups regarding Measure D.

The train, whether it be a light rail vehicle, electric tram or train, will provide a local and intercity environmentally sound transportation entity that we currently do not have. Hypothetically, let’s say Watsonville residents want to travel to Southern California to see family. A train on the branch line will provide Santa Cruz County and the Pajaro Valley with a link to Amtrak and/or Cal-Train.

Permit me to share a vision: Restore the vintage and historic 1880s rail depot on Walker St and make it once again a passenger rail stop. Have a small area inside the structure for a small museum dedicated to rail history which played a significant role in the development of Watsonville. Improve the area with landscaping and lighting. 

Removing the historic Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line would be akin to developing all the agricultural fields, demolishing historic structures and taking away a very viable piece of transportation infrastructure that has so much potential for young and old folks. Keep in mind, there are people and senior citizens who can’t ride an e-bicycle, or walk a trail only. Are we going to discriminate against them? Don’t be swayed by the self-serving and misleading propaganda spewed forth by the anti-rail groups. Vote NO on Measure D.

Gary V. Plomp, Gilroy 

It takes a little to accomplish a lot 

At a recent meeting of Watsonville Rotary, the suggestion was made that the club ought to safely donate funds to help the relief of Ukrainian refugees. With 15-20 members in attendance, it only took the remainder of their regular Wednesday lunch meeting to cobble together $3,000. These donations contributed through the Rotary Foundation will end up where it belongs. We can all chip in to help make the lives of these totally devastated families a little more bearable.

Theo Wierdsma, Corralitos

Vote yes on D

It was interesting to read the letter in the April 8 edition of the Pajaronian from Richard Stover regarding his view of Yes-Greenway’s Measure D ballot initiative in the June election.  He was commenting on Denton, Texas, a community that had railbanked their out-of-service rail line for a bike and pedestrian trail and then re-activated the line for a passenger commuter train. Mr. Stover complained that having replaced the tracks, and then replaced the trail alongside was a waste of money, and he hoped that Santa Cruz County wouldn’t do the same thing. Unfortunately, Mr. Stover was apparently unaware that Denton always meant to reactivate their 8-mile trail (acquired for only $10,000 in 1993) for commuter rail; as a suburb of Dallas, the city leaders intelligently recognized the value of the interim use and re-purposing when the population and funding dictated.

Denton’s situation is nothing like Santa Cruz’s.  We have no nearby large metropolis to connect to our 14-mile spur, consequently, there is little likelihood of re-instituting rail in the foreseeable future; that three railroad companies have been unable to make a profit on this line further justifies this view. Our railroad tracks are already 100 years old, and will, in any case, have to be replaced, so with the income received by recycling the steel, we actually gain by pulling them up. Finally, there’s no money for a train, but there is money for a modest bike and pedestrian trail, something that families and folks of all ages and abilities could use for recreation as well as for transit throughout the county.  There’s no reason to leave our rail corridor empty when a Greenway trail could be built in the next few years. Vote Yes on Greenway’s Measure D in June.

Nadene Thorne, Santa Cruz

The Pajaronian welcomes letters. Letters and columns may be dropped off or mailed to The Pajaronian, 21 Brennan St., Suite 18, 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.


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