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August 19, 2022

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 2: Trail and rail?

Trail and rail?

To the Editor,

Realistically, is it really a perfect solution to implement a light duty trail (open to all not in a motor-powered vehicle) only within feet of passenger trains traveling well in excess of 30 mph? Or in trying to be all things to all people, will it be a disappointing money pit and be useless to many for years? (The entire rail system will have to be upgraded, including requiring significant expense to beef up all bridges to accommodate the much heavier trains. Railroad crossings also become extremely dangerous with a likelihood of accidents with all the extra activity, even if trains blow their horns at every intersection.) In the meantime, let’s implement a safe, cost-effective implementation now.

The tracks do not have to be moved. They can remain in-place to serve as forms and filled with concrete, covering only the roughness between rails to achieve a smooth surface. This minimizes material and even accommodates existing trains. This functionality can be retained even if the material is filled level with the top of the rails, with (temporary?) inch-wide “inserts” between the inner rail and the material. To easily accommodate two-way activity on the trail, this process could be extended outside the rails to allow safe passage of bicycles traveling in opposite directions.

Until an All-Express passenger train implementation can run concurrently in both directions in future phases or on a raised system above Highway 1, why not provide a safe pathway for families to leisurely travel between Watsonville and Davenport sooner than never?

Bob Fifield



Is America really that great?

To the Editor,

In response to Mr. John Skinner’s editorial of Nov. 21, “How Trump is making America great again,” I would change the heading to read “How IS Trump making America great?” I would like to address a few of his comments therein.

Mr. Skinner states that his thinking about “Make America great again” was  “When was America not great?” and “What is wrong with the country?” Assuming that the questions were sincere, the list of answers to them is too long for this letter, but how about all the homeless, including veterans who put their lives on the line for this country? And are we not, once again, living through a period of ridiculous maldistribution of wealth with Trump and Republicans in Congress trying their best to make it worse for those of us on the lower end of the scale … just for starters?

Have we been asleep at the switch? So much totally astounding stuff going on in this, the richest country in the world? Americans have gone through this sort of thing time and time again.

Thankfully, Mr. Skinner points out that there is hope; the results of the elections of Nov. 7 “suggest that there is a strong backlash building.” Are Americans waking up to the facts that during the 1980s, and continuing unto today, nearly all the new money in the economy went to the top 10 percent while the income of the rest of us flat-lined or diminished, turning this country into a corporate oligarchy?

Something very much like this happened in Italy when Mussolini was in power there, 1922-43. Political and economic leaders took over which gave birth to a form of government known as Fascism which was adopted by Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan which led to World War II. Thankfully, the U.S.A. and the Allies prevailed in that war.

Kinda makes one wonder about America today where the corporate oligarchs and their supporters are pretty much in control of things. Personally, I am in hopes that upcoming elections will see a powerful Progressive comeback.

Thomas Stumbaugh



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