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July 24, 2021

Letters to the Editor, June 25

A response to pro-rail letters

The Pajaronian has printed pro-rail opinion pieces that, in fairness, require a response.

First, it should be said that almost everyone initially likes the idea of a train. Many of us have been to mega cities and rode the rail. But those cities are not in Santa Cruz County. The practicalities, utility, efficiencies and price of a train between Watsonville and Santa Cruz are not there.

In both pieces “electric passenger rail” is depicted as a lost dream. The dream is not lost: if enough fresh water is found to increase population densities and enough taxpayers support it, electric passenger rail or even a hyperloop may one day join North and South County on the railbanked corridor. Meanwhile, it looks like express buses on the Highway 1 shoulder and an active transportation corridor on the rail right of way are what we can afford.

There were some misrepresentations slamming Greenway and Trail Now positions and members that need correcting.

The first and most obvious correction is the misstatement of Greenway’s proposed trail routing into and out of Watsonville. It has never been to route people on foot or bike down Beach Road and on to San Andreas. Greenway’s route follows, and has always followed, the rail corridor across the sloughs, up the hill from the valley, continuing to Manresa Beach, and then the rest of the county.

One of the unfortunate talking points rail proponents have been coached to repeat is to characterize trail proponents as rich elitist North County quiche-eating bicyclists, and South County as down-trodden proletariat victims of North County political domination. It has a familiar ring, but a few philanthropists don’t spoil a progressive movement any more than a few populist comments on “normal” people represent all Watsonville viewpoints.

Greg Becker, Watsonville

Protect our historic rail line

Erik Hansen wrote a letter, titled “Getting the Shaft,” in the June 6 edition of the Pajaronian.

He is correct. Regarding the ongoing controversy over the Santa Cruz Branch rail line, the southern part of Santa Cruz County, including Watsonville, has been left out of the picture.  Keep in mind, most people here support restoring intercity passenger/commuter rail, however, their wishes have been largely bypassed and ignored by the elitist anti-rail groups, politicians and other wealthy people in Mid- and North County who have an agenda.

The good folks in the Pajaro Valley need to get informed, seek the truth and see through the facade and deceptive tactics being used in an effort to remove the rails. Just think how much money has been wasted by those entities opposed to trains which could have been better used to improve the infrastructure in Santa Cruz County.

Be on the tip of the spear, defend our historic rail line and don’t let ‘em give us the shaft.

Gary V. Plomp, Gilroy


The Pajaronian welcomes letters. Letters and columns may be dropped off or mailed to The Pajaronian, 21 Brennan St., Suite 18, Watsonville, CA 95076. Letters and columns may also be sent via email to [email protected] Letters should be less than 300 words, and columns are no more than 700 words. All letters and columns must be signed and have an address and phone number for confirmation purposes. We reserve the right to edit and condense all submissions.

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