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September 22, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 13

The irony of Pajaro evacuations

On Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a press conference about the evacuation of people near the Pajaro River in the community of Pajaro. I was struck by the irony of the situation. 

In December the Monterey County Board of Supervisors overruled the Planning Commission and approved an H2A housing project in Pajaro next to the river which will increase the population of Pajaro 15-20%. H2A is defined as a nonimmigrant foreign worker program and does not address the housing concerns of County residents. The Planning Commission after several meetings ruled 7-1 against the project citing flooding as well as other unaddressed issues. 

Common sense dictates that a housing project next to levees in disrepair constructed in 1949 should be subject to additional scrutiny because of public safety concerns. The levees are scheduled to be replaced in the next 5-7 years. One is left to ponder how a project in a known flood zone could be overruled by our elected officials contrary to public safety concerns. 

And a late breaking update: As I typed this letter a friend of mine in Pajaro forwarded a mandatory evacuation notice. The irony is telling.

Steve Snodgrass, Royal Oaks

Tree cutting plan destroys natural landscape

I am objecting to the proposed destruction of over 400 trees along Segment 9 of the Rail and Trail Project.

The visual impact of clear cutting is totally inappropriate for our community. The natural tree-lined corridor cannot be replaced with fences and sidewalls. I love walking the rail line; they are a piece of Santa Cruz history. Do not destroy that for generations to come. Those trees take years to grow and minutes to be destroyed.

We do not want to lose the peace, the quiet and the visual beauty of our trees and wildlife. Our neighborhoods and that tranquility are being threatened.

We do not want to lose any more of our scenic views, our trees and natural landscape. The proposed clear cutting will destroy the general nature and rural charm of our neighborhoods along the Segment 9 corridor. The proposed will degrade our quality of life and the lives of all the wild creatures that call these areas home.

Thank you for your time in the matter, please take heed of the neighborhood objections.

We ask the Regional Transportation Commission, City of Santa Cruz and County of Santa Cruz to stand by their residents and deny the proposal for tree clearing along the Segment 9 corridor.

Ann McKenzie, Santa Cruz


  1. Agreed Ann McKenzie. The rail concept is insane on many levels, including the removal of the trees to make way for a concrete corridor and a horn blaring at every intersection as required by law. There is no way a train (steam, electric or diesel) to and from nowhere near population and/or business centers is viable. It seems the county has been hijacked by development obsessive politicians. This includes the removal of the heritage trees at parking lot 4 in downtown Santa Cruz to make way for a multi-story parking garage (Taj Garage). Insanity reigns in our county. There has never been a straight up vote for a rail.

  2. sadly, the board of supes ignored the planning commission. and if you were foolish enough to vote for Felipe Hernandez for supervisor, then you got 4 years of glad-handing and little else.
    I am glad Jimmy Dutra did not automatically support each proposed housing project, as the environment for those who live in it is a quality of life issue. sadly, too many developers just cannot wait to get their hands on the money. I hope Jimmy will continue to inspect every housing project that the planning commission considers.

      • I was speaking about proposed residential projects for Watsonville. sometimes it is best to LISTEN to your planning commission rather than just plow ahead without regard to environmental damage.

  3. Wow ST has no idea what he is commenting on. Mr Snodgrass is talking about the supervisors in Monterey County not Santa Cruz County. Steve why do you dislike Felipe so much? You have so much venom for Felipe because of his defeat over Jimmy Dutra it’s sickening. Voters in Watsonville take notice.
    I was once called a hater by ST who is the real hater ST?

  4. Losing those trees is like dropping pubic hairs in the shower, You will never know they are gone. The same can be said for those that deny the feasibility of rail as an alternative to the billion dollar soaking, ever polluting automobile nursery known as highway one, or more aptly named “one highway”. For those that have the forward looking minds enough to look back, there are more trees on Our landscape than there has ever been along Our coastal county thanks to residents planting and irrigating. One hundred years ago only scattered groves of Oak, Cypress and pines existed except for the higher elevations where those tress and Redwoods have been. This county was mostly pastures and plains. Take Your rail arguments to the ballot where You have seen the greenway farce defeated soundly because people want more options than asphalt widening, (which by the way requires tree removal). Not special interests. Look at a map of the existing rail route and it clearly shows the proximity of parks, beaches, schools, shopping, health services, etc.. So WHAT? the Hell do You mean?

    • I do not want to lose trees either, but we need to have the best and least intrusive path for segment 9 of the rail / trial project. Watsonville Wetlands project can help provide at least some of the removed trees. and yes, we need all the trees we can get.
      the publc hairs in the shower comment is really bizarre, and hardly appropriate.

      • No rail. Don’t care about the trail. Plenty of roads and sidewalks for pedestrians and bikes. Widen the damn freeway as approved by voters.

        Btw Trujillo, the pubic hair comment was indeed inappropriate, like many or most of your posts are often bizarre with juvenile name calling and patting yourself on the back when you had little or no impact on the issue. Frank Jr. is an unabashed rail advocate. Btw, Frank, you fail to mention any businesses near the tracks that might actually serve the population, the bulk of which would have to drive to the (non existing) train stations and parking lots. A train is not financially viable. No way around that. No train to and from nowhere.

        • What about the boardwalk? That happens to be the largest employer in the county. What about all those microbreweries and wineries on the westside? What about Santa Cruz bicycles? What about Graniterock and Las Animas batch plant? Tons of businesses currently relying on trucking. Get Yourself a white cane Bro. Stations are not required for commuters, merely a ramp for loading folks as We saw with the TIG/m demonstration. By the way, voters rejected highway widening but it was renamed auxilliary lanes which will cost millions and millions but will do nothing to alleviate the nightmare commute. Are You making this crap up? I’m not.

          • What about the boardwalk? How many potential are payer/riders would there be today when it is virtually closed? Your willful ignorance is epic. Trucking is and will be always the most viable method of transporting goods. Stations are not required? How do people get on and off the train to their cars? Where would anyone catch the train? No parking. The train demo you referenced did not prove a thing except to promote more false propaganda from a blind train advocate come hell or high water. Yes, widening will do more for the community than your train fetish. The RTC confirms that a train will not reduce traffic. Also Frank Jr, you are making this crap up. Your pants are on fire.

          • Trucking is only superior for end point deliveries. Rail can deliver to anywhere in the country far cheaper and cleaner. That is why it dominates now. Too bad the oil companies snuffed passenger rail back in the day when the U.S. had the best commuter rail in the world. Look at the RTC studies for answers to Your redundant ignorant questions. Highway widening is impossible here beyond a section here and there, which only creates a bottleneck. My statements are backed by fact. You however are writing fictional fairy tales, bordering on comedy. But thanks for the laughs.

  5. Ann McKenzie needs to read the Environmental Impact Report, which explains that fewer than 400 trees of all sizes and species will be removed.
    The Trail Only plan, on the other hand, removes a total of 404 trees. Fortunately, rail and trail for Segment 9 got the highest score and will be built.
    Trees will be planted in other parts of the county to mitigate the loss of any trees.

    • Oh gee, only 400 trees for rail and yet 404 for the trail? What the heck, go for it (nope). When did you make up the notion that trees planted elsewhere would mitigate the destruction of mature trees? New planting takes years for them to even begin to mitigate the loss. No rail, no trail. That way Zero tree will be removed!

      Give the money back for the purchase of the corridor which was not approved by voters in the first place. ‘No’ on the trail-only poorly written misleading measure (by rail advocates) was not a Yes on rail. But don’t let facts get in the way.

      • It WAS yes on rail because the measure would have removed rail
        and that was soundly rejected by 75% of voters. Many trees will need removal for highway widening and wall construction. Where do You widen after capacity is reached again? How can You be so blind to the current needs of commuters? WHAT? is Your beef against clean light rail which can be implemented along Our existing rail line. You keep mentioning money which has been mostly granted from state and federal sources. We paid into that, We might as well utilize it for Our needs or lose it to another grant applicant. I’m glad to advocate for rail. So You dont want a trail and are against rail. What do You propose for the 32 mile SC branch rail line? WHAT? the hell are You talking about?

        • Nonsense, the defeat of the measure was not a yes on rail. The tracks will have to be removed regardless of the mode. What the hell has happened to logic from trail minions, blind to obvious reasons why the rail nonsense is impractical.

          What do I propose for the corridor? Abandon ship (train).

          As previously mentioned, give the money back for the purchase. It was never approved by the voters.

          Only a few pie-in-the-sky dreamers made it happen. Rail is not feasible regardless of the train type, period. We might as well utilize it? Even if it is completely impractical, which it is.

          Yes I keep mentioning money. That you don’t is so naïve it must be willful ignorance. The costs are not known, so how can you make any conclusions?

          If what you say is true, why did the RTC authorize another $million+ dollar study?

          I recall you wrote that your pop (RIP) worked for rail companies over the years. Seems to me you are on some sort of mission to connect with him. No train.

          Lose it to another grant applicant? Here, here, in a heartbeat, make it happen. It won’t because are are no others foolish enough. Give me one entity that may be interested. No? Hilarious.

          • You should start Your posts with “Once upon a time”. That money You are concerned with will no doubt be eaten up by millions per mile highway widening. And You wont like what You get for Your money. And dont forget to add “And They all lived happily ever after” to Your fairy tale. You should have seen the TIG/m car move along the existing rails from Pogonip to Capitola. That was real. No stations needed. Only bus stop like locations. Only a matter of time before We have no choice but to utilize rail. But there always will be a few, like Yourself that for whatever reason believe We can keep up with ever increasing auto traffic. I’m glad We still have forward thinkers in this county that know better. The measure D farce to rip rails up was spanked by the voters. You apparently are one of the minority that keeps whining instead of being constructive and doing something to enhance Your community as S.T. suggested. Measure D is dead and gone. Stop sniveling.

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  6. This is Martin Luther King’s 94the birthday. Do something for the community in which you live.
    I do. everyday. this is what he taught us. this is what I also learned from studying the life of Jesus. and you do NOT need a church , or its dogma, to learn it.


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