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November 27, 2020

Letters to the Editor | July 31, 2020

Thoughts on Washington monument

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I recall when the George Washington statue appeared in the City Plaza, and wondered, “what does George Washington have to do with Watsonville?” Washington never visited Watsonville because the town wasn’t around when George was. Washington had long finished his business before California became a state. I recall musing maybe a bust of Cesar Chavez would make more sense. He spoke in Watsonville and at the City Plaza. His work dealt directly with farmworkers in our agricultural community. Chavez fought for worker rights and their welfare. Whether you liked him or not, and a lot of people didn’t, Cesar Chavez was a significant figure of the last 50 years. Yet, Washington got a bust in the park. And today protesters want to remove it because Washington owned slaves. If the trend of wanting to remove Washington comes to fruition, Washington D.C. will have to be renamed. How about Floyd D.C.? Washington’s profile on the quarter will be scrapped for George Floyd’s? Floyd will soon grace the dollar bill? The Washington Redskins will become “The Floyd team?” The father of our country, the man responsible for battling the Brits and winning the revolutionary war on top of being elected our first President will be replaced by a man, a suspect in a crime, who was snuffed out of his life by a police officer?

Let’s keep George Washington in the Watsonville City Plaza. He is by far the most historically important figure in our nation’s history. If anything, seeing his image will inspire some of his history, of his being a slave owner, which was a fact of life in those times.

Charles Birimisa, Watsonville

Regarding the propane facility

Lately, there has been misinformation put out by writer Bob Fifield and others regarding the St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (Progressive Rail) and others regarding future freight train operations on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line.

Now it has come to my attention that there is new opposition to a proposed small propane facility at 950 W. Beach St. in Watsonville that will be served by rail.

First of all, it will not be built and serviced “on or near” the sloughs. Second, shipping propane by rail is four times more efficient than trucks with less exhaust emissions. 

The St. Paul & Pacific Railroad has helped to revitalize the industrial district of Watsonville and in serving its customers, has contributed to the city’s economy and provided jobs.  

I respectfully ask that the Watsonville City Council dismiss the negative and erroneous rhetoric and look at all the positives the propane facility will bring to the area and vote “yes.”

Gary V. Plomp, Gilroy

Why Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was a cancel culture villain

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was a ruthless, cruel, ambitious soldier of fortune who plundered his way into the Central California coast looking for riches.

Since the Ohlone culture did not encourage or condone large amounts of personal wealth, Cabrillo took what he wanted from them. He made his way to Guatemala, mining for gold, trading for whatever he could bring back to Spain, and participating in the slave trade.

He was sent by the Spanish king to arrest Hernan Cortez, but instead became his ally as they plundered the Aztec empire. Until his death at the hands of the Tongva people in 1543, Cabrillo worked at canceling all indigenous first peoples’ cultures in what later became known as the United States. Why, on earth, knowing what we know, would we want his name on our community college?

We need to recognize that when we name a place such as a park, a street, a building, a college or other permanent institution, we are giving the person for whom it is named exalted status. Does Cabrillo deserve this kind of status? Is his life’s story one that we wish our community college students to follow?

And please spare me the phrase “politically correct.” This is morally correct, if we are to live up to our stated beliefs in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, then we need to take actions to support those beliefs.

I have lived on the Central Coast since 1983. The first 15 years in Monterey County, and since 1998 in Santa Cruz county. This is a progressive place to live. We must show the rest of the world that we live up to our reputation. Drop the Cabrillo name from our community college. 

Steve Trujillo, Watsonville

In defense of the Washington bust

A couple of years ago I was walking through the Plaza in downtown Watsonville and was happily surprised to find a bust of George Washington there. I assumed it was placed there because he is the father of our country, and genuinely worthy of our continued gratitude and respect.

I was therefore somewhat shocked recently to learn that there is a movement to have this monument removed. I guess the current counter-culture craze sweeping across our nation was bound to reach us sooner or later, tearing down visible reminders of our national heritage. But I would be in favor of having the statue removed and replaced with a larger one of our first President, full-bodied, in uniform, on his horse.

No one else but George Washington served selflessly and led our armies, without pay, for six long, hard years, doing the impossible—winning the Revolutionary War against the greatest war power of his era, nor presided over the Convention that gave us our Constitution, nor was unanimously elected President and serve two full terms without every joining any political party. He defined that office at a high standard that no later President had reached. It is no wonder that our nation’s capital city, which he chose, bears his name, and that no structure therein is allowed to reach higher than the 555-foot tall monument that bears his name.

Every citizen of our nation, state, city, or village owes a debt of gratitude to this unmatched hero. The very least we can do is respect the man in whose home we all live. Anyone who believes otherwise needs either to gain fuller assimilation into the American culture, or to find a new home.

Jeffrey Bosshard, Watsonville

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