letter to the editor pajaronian

Flood risk remains high

Regarding the article “County issues ‘plea’ for Pajaro levee repairs” in the Pajaronian on Dec. 8, I paid my attention to two points: 

1. “But the two other sites in need of emergency repairs have yet to be completed, the letter noted. These areas include erosion near the Highway 1 bridge and further downstream near the Pacific Ocean.” 

As for the erosion near Highway 1, I went to see the site of erosion in April. I found a large pipe between the river and the agriculture field very close to Highway 1. The area around the pipe in the river was severely eroded. I wonder whether the pipe was removed or not. I handed a copy of a photo near the site to the Watsonville City Council members as well as Supervisors Felipe Hernandez and Glenn Church. 

2. “‘Any storm system this winter that elevates river water levels to the elevation of the compromised levee system at either Site 2 or Site 3, ahead of permanent repairs, jeopardizes the protection of life and property adjacent to the Pajaro River in those locations,’ the letter stated.”

We have advocated to take care of the Murphy Crossing bridge area since May. We have done as much cleaning near the bridge area in the river as we could in order to reduce the risk of flooding in the bridge area. However, the water flow in half of the space under the bridge has been blocked due to sand debris and plants. We have urged Santa Cruz County to clear the sand debris and plants under and near the bridge for several months. But nothing has been done yet. Transportation would be seriously disrupted once flooding occurs near the bridge this winter. We will continue to monitor the bridge area.

Takashi Mizuno


Flavored vapes and youth 

Did you know that out of 2.55 million middle and high school students surveyed in the country, nearly 85% used flavored e-cigarettes? This is a shocking amount of students. 

Vaping and smoking in the state of California is only legal for those 21 and older. Most people that are using flavored vapes got introduced to them by friends, who got introduced to it by their friends. But at one point on that line someone got introduced to flavored vapes by the ads targeted toward them by vape companies. 

There are a lot of ads that use different types of tactics to try to appeal to the youth and to get them to become future smokers/vapers. Some of the tactics that they use are putting cool-looking young people using vapes with flavors. But the biggest tactic that they use is that they make their vapes flavored. Flavoring anything that is meant for adults is always to advertise to a younger audience. 

For example, when looking at alcohol, one of the most popular drinks among teens is BuzzBallz. Although only intended for those 21 and older, they have various flavors that appeal to young adolescents. It is the same with vapes, flavors like “Watermelon Sour Peach” and “Strawberry Banana” don’t seem to exactly be aimed at people that are of age to smoke. They sound like candy, and the main audience for candy are kids and teenagers. It doesn’t seem like such a wild idea; after all, the main focus of vape companies is to make the most amount of money by any means possible, including young teens in their range of targeted customers. 

You may still be thinking, “OK, so what. I can’t do anything about this.” I have to tell you, you’re wrong. Although you as a single person practically can’t do anything about vape companies advertising toward young audiences, together we can. If we all keep talking about how big of a problem it is to have teens smoking, we can make a difference in our communities. And that will spread to our cities and then to our counties and so on. 

So I ask you, if you gained something from this, please advocate against flavored vapes. In the city of Watsonville, where I’m from, we already have a ban on flavored tobacco, so why not flavored vapes next?

Hector Lopez


Thank you for supporting Elks

We had a great dinner and a wonderful turnout for Elks State President Ted Talbot and First Lady Jeanie. 

Hollister Elks prepared and served a delicious dinner and dessert for us. Thank you so much!

Thank you to Watsonville’s first responders and everyone who donated teddy bears. We collected teddy bears to hand out when they are on a call where children need comfort. 

Hoop Shoot was Dec. 9 at Lakeview Middle School. The Hoop Shoot has been unleashing gritty kids for 51 years. The Elks Hoop Shoot is a free throw program for youth ages 8-13. We had two contestants represent Watsonville. Great job! 

Please join us for a delicious home-cooked dinner Wednesday evening. Cocktails and social at 5:30pm, with dinner at 6:30pm. Please make reservations at 724. 2493.

Kathy Oldakowski 

Elks Watsonville

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