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March 20, 2023

Letters to the Editor, July 20: Fair poetry deadline is soon

Fair poetry deadline is soon

To the Editor,

It’s time again to remind the community the Santa Cruz County Fair will soon be here — Sept. 13-17. Our 2017 theme is “Fly Me to the Fair.” This year’s entries must be filled out on the Fair website, which are now available at

As Poetry Chair, I would also like to remind our great poets the deadline for poems is Aug. 12. Make sure and print out the Poetry Entry Form, filling in the necessary information and include three copies of each poem, which needs to reach the office by Aug. 12.

You will find my name and email address on the Poetry Department page of the contest rules if you need further help. (Please read and follow instructions on each application, as they vary according to department.) Thanks to all who participate in our wonderful Fair and help support this great endeavor. We hope to repeat last year’s awesome success story.

If you have any questions, please call the Fair office: 724-5671 — 2601 East Lake Ave.

JoGene Vega

Poetry Chair


Thank you Watsonville Fire Department

To the Editor,

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Watsonville Fire Department for the fast response to a fire I had in my microwave oven and for the kindness they showed me. I especially would like to thank Matt, Danny and Mike from Station 2, you are the greatest.

Sandra Lewis



Government holds its sway despite popular objection

To the Editor,

A standing-room-only crowd was in attendance April 10 at a meeting of the Historic Resources Commission (H.R.C). Most of the attendees were there to object to an item on the agenda concerning the Hihn Apple Barn in the Aptos Village Project. A majority of the group strongly advised the commissioners not to approve an amendment to the Preservation Plan of the Barn. Despite strong popular objection, the commissioners voted to approve the amendment.

This meeting of the H.R.C. was illegal owing to a number of violations of the Brown Act concerning proper notice of the meeting. Any and all actions of the commission on that date were null and void. A letter of protest was filed with the County Counsel to this effect. Subsequently, the County Planning Director scheduled a special meeting of the H.R.C. for May 12, during which the April 10 approval of the amendment was rescinded and the commissioners voted to approve it once more. In a letter from the County Counsel dated May 24, we were advised that simply repeating the April 10 meeting legally made everything OK. No mention of consequences for those responsible for the illegality on April 10, nor any discussion of the popular objections.

During a meeting of the H.R.C. on July 10, we learned that the County Board of Supervisors had directed that the commission’s minutes of their meetings shall reflect its actions only; nothing regarding the input by the people is to be included and thus not to be known by the general public!

This makes one wonder how much of this sort of thing goes on. My experience with respect to the Aptos Village Project is that some of those working there are not above skirting the law and regulations whenever they believe they can get away with it, such as in the case of the oil spill in March of last year. A minimal fine was imposed in that matter. In such cases as the oil spill which was the result of the unearthing of a large fuel tank which ruptured in the process, and the subsequent disposal of the tank, all of which was illegal as there was no permit to do so, it would be good if the perpetrators could have been cited or arrested and the case settled in a court of law. However, that is not the way it works, unfortunately. Adding to the enormity of the situation, the county issued a permit one week later, after the tank had been totally scrapped!

So, it appears that those with money and power are at liberty to do as they please without fear of official reprisal. Government is hired and paid to represent and serve the general public but it appears that it looks out for those with the money and power much better. It is very difficult and expensive for the people to object effectively. We once had, and are again in need of, a citizen’s review board to exercise control over such nefarious activities.

Thomas R. Stumbaugh



Tribute to Venice Valdez

Editor’s note: Venice Valdez of Watsonville died on April 9 at the age of 40.

To the Editor,

My uncle is a unique individual. I adored the way he possessed many talents and abilities. He was an artist, a musician, a visionary, and also a very crazy yet exceptional driver. Anything you would ask him to do, he would do it with style. Not only did he have a wide scope of talents, he was also a joy to be around. His ridiculous sense of humor would have me laughing uncontrollably. Whether it’s him making me say random things to people on the sidewalk or just him showing me a random Youtube clip.

I also praise him for always being there for my family regardless of the situation. My uncle drove us to places, helped us when our truck broke down, and even helped a lot with caring for my grandma.

Between me and him, I felt we shared so many similarities. We were both into being stylish, listening to a wide variety of similar artists, and just into creating things overall. Of course, he was the more accomplished version of what I aspire to be, but soon I will reach his level.

These things and more are what I love about my uncle. Forever I will cherish the time I had with him. I will pass down these memories to my own kids and nephews.

Angel Gonzalez


My uncle, Venice Valdez, had a lot of names: Ven, Vince, Tug and Tugboat. I know him as Unkie. That’s what I always called him ever since I was little.

My uncle was always there for me if he was not at his job. He went to all my school events and graduations. He helped me choose my outfits for school dances and big events. He picked me up and dropped me off at school and work.

He gave so much to me: food, gifts and time. I will always be thankful for how much he cared about me.

I could not have asked for a better uncle!

Alex Gonzalez



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