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December 2, 2023

Letters to the Editor, April 16

Stunned at Cabrillo’s backpedal after name change discussion 

I was absolutely amazed that the president of Cabrillo completely rejected the presentation given by Dr. Iris Engstrand, University of San Diego history emeritus professor, on the history of Spanish Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. This presentation was part of the “public informational phase” of the renaming process. Is this another; “If you don’t say what I want to hear, I will reject it?” First of all, we are looking at the customs of over 500 years ago. It was the age of exploration and Cabrillo, as a soldier and explorer was a man of his time. He successfully explored the uncharted coastline of California. Cabrillo actually died when his ship wintered in San Miguel and was attacked by Tongva warriors. For a College President to completely reject an historical presentation by a qualified history professor is quite amazing.

Now, on to today. There are tens of thousands of students that attended or graduated from Cabrillo who are adamantly opposed to the change of name. Additionally, how much money will be diverted to cover several hundred thousand dollars in name change costs? During our time of visual teaching due to the pandemic, it certainly doesn’t seem to be a high priority to rename the school. I would think that this money could be better used for student scholarships, staff pay and facility improvements. In closing, the school may very well risk alumni support and extensive good will across the community. 

Judy Doering Nielsen, Watsonville

Trail would provide recreation opportunities for South County

The front page of a recent Pajaronian explored the shortage of park space and recreation activities in Watsonville. The need for wholesome and free, accessible sport and recreation for families and young people was clearly laid out. But no solution was offered.

On the next page, four local politicians “were disappointed by” the Regional Transportation Commission’s (RTC) vote to discontinue funding for more studies on rail. The reason for stopping the rail studies was based on an RTC-submitted rail business plan that didn’t pencil out.

So, Watsonville: how does a 32-mile linear park without cars sound? It’s already taxed for and paid for by Measure D and would cost the city very little, if anything. Walk or bike to Galligan, Watsonville and Harkins Sloughs for birding and exercise. Continue on to Manresa Beach, if you wish. But the trail is two way. Imagine the influx from the north, of bicyclists liberated from the guilt of extra calories to chow down in Main Street restaurants. They’ll also get a carbon neutral view of the resilient and vibrant downtown and probably drop some more bucks.

Getting a green route to and from Watsonville is not only about transportation. It is also a boost to quality of life through recreation and to economic growth by added commerce. It gives kids safe and healthy miles of exploration and imagination: the ideal of healthy minds in healthy bodies.

Lamenting too few parks and bemoaning no rail are portrayed as policy loses, essentially political lemons. To follow the old saying of “when life gives you lemons,” enabling and building a trail for active transportation and recreation is making “lemonade.”

It’s not a cure-all, but it’s a sweet opportunity.

Gregory Becker, Santa Cruz County

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.


  1. Judy, Cabrillo will lose a lot of money if they change the name. I remember Cabrillo first starting at Watsonville High in 1961 and my dad was on the original facility and worked with many others creating Cabrillo College, and nameing it. He taught there for over 20 years and helped create his department which was a new inovation. Changing the name will cause many to stop donating to Cabrillo with me included. I know many alumni feel the same and many have very deep pockets. I have donated thousands and will totally stop if name is changed. Very bad idea coming from a small group of people who also attack our first president George Washington. What a pity.

  2. The following represents MY view only; I do not speak for Cabrillo College or any other trustee.
    I was proud to see and hear so many of our community college students denounce Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo as the namesake of our college this evening. Their insight and intellect was inspirational.
    I pledge to them my unwavering support of changing the name of our community college, and to bringing change to college policies and practices to have it represent ALL of our community. That is what I was elected to do. I am proud to work toward that goal. And I dont require a pseudonym to do it.


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