Watsonville kicks big tobacco in the butt

To the Editor,

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Watsonville joined the County of Santa Cruz in passing a resolution to support AB 2308, legislation that would prohibit the sale of cigarettes containing plastic filters, ultimately eliminating cigarette butts statewide. According to the Surgeon General, filters have no proven health benefits compared to unfiltered. They are representative of the industry lying, quite literally, through their teeth.

Cigarette butts, however, are the most ubiquitous litter item globally, and Assemblymember Stone’s unconventional bill, Banning Butts to Eliminate Toxic Waste, places the onus back on the exorbitantly wealthy tobacco industry to produce something better or not at all (preferably the latter). This industry continues to disproportionately prey upon youth, communities of color, and those with less resources, while bearing none of the costs.

It’s time that we collectively stamp out the unjust degradation of our environment and public health, and the significant and ineffective cleanup and disposal burden faced by municipalities.

Rachel Kippen

Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition


Senator Monning honored

To the Editor,

The Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada honored State Senator Bill Monning as Senate Legislator of the Year on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at the annual Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day in Sacramento.

Senator Monning authored SB 449 which was signed into law in September 2017. This bill strengthens the training, job skills and dementia competency of California’s Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) by requiring a minimum number of hours of training specific to Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The intent is to improve care for persons with cognitive impairment living in skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities.

It’s difficult to imagine that with an estimated 60-80 percent of persons residing in skilled nursing facilities having some type of dementia, such training has not been specifically required. Thanks to Senator Monning partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association, this is no longer the case.

Francie Newfield

Santa Cruz

Board Member, No. California and No. Nevada Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association


Educational needs are not being met

To the Editor,

I was dismayed and angered to read about the six-figure salary and other monetary perks of the school district’s new hire, Joe Dominguez.  

Every year, Pajaro Valley Unified School District loses teachers to higher-paying districts. These vacated positions, particularly in science and math, go unfilled because few teachers want to work for what the district is offering. Failing to fill these vacancies with full-time teachers, the district squeaks by every year by hiring a series of long-term substitute teachers and by claiming that the presence of an adult in the classroom means that the position has been filled. 

Just one example of this is at Cesar Chavez Middle School, where I teach seventh grade. Since August of this year, the eighth-graders have not had a science teacher. These eighth-graders are not receiving the education that they need for high school science coursework.

This practice by the district is a disservice to the students and parents in our community and a violation of the Williams Case, which mandates the following: “There should be no teacher vacancies or misassignments. There should be a teacher assigned to each class and not a series of substitutes or other temporary teachers. The teacher should have the proper credential to teach the class, including the certification required to teach English learners if present.” We teachers are required by law to post this information in our classrooms. How this act is routinely flouted by the district is a mystery.

Almost three-quarters through the academic year, we teachers at Cesar Chavez Middle School are being asked to volunteer for the additional assignment of teaching one period of this science class. Yes, administrators who have not found a teacher to teach this class are now requesting that those of us who already have our own classes take on yet another job. Meanwhile, after years of hiring superintendents, assistant superintendents and other district office employees for salaries many times higher than those of classroom teachers, the district tells its teachers that it does not have the money to make the teacher salary schedule competitive. Instead, year after year, our students have long-term subs, and we are in violation of the Williams Case.

The parents of these students have grounds to sue the district. Perhaps if parents did so, the district would stop crying poverty and fix the teacher salary schedule so that students’ educational needs were actually being met.

Anne Hale Selby Guerrero

Teacher, Cesar Chavez Middle School


How to keep DUI drivers off the road

To the Editor,

There is a way to keep drivers with DUI’s off the roads. We should take every available way to do so. They can cause a lot of grief and misery, especially to other people.

I suggest after the first DUI, their vehicle should be impounded for 30 days, because everybody needs a car. After the second DUI, 60 days, then for the third DUI it’s adios, auto.

Anthony Ivelich


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