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December 5, 2023

Letters to the Editor, March 4

We must address homelessness 

On Wednesday morning I went to our dog groomers, Vanity Fur, at 10 Alexander St. in Watsonville. There was a huge mound of black garbage bags near their door and I wondered if they were going out of business. As I got closer, I could see that two men were on the sidewalk sleeping near the bags, and one of the men had his pants down around his knees with his naked behind sticking up. I parked further down the block and came back to the door of the groomers so that I didn’t need to be near the men.

I conducted my business inside, asking the receptionist if she knew they were out there. She said “It’s an ongoing issue. We phone and the police come, but the men come back. It doesn’t stop.” I left and got in my car and locked the doors. Immediately, the man whose pants were now pulled up, knocked on my window, asking for money. I said “No.” And he again, knocked and said, angrily, “You don’t have $2?” I said, “No.” He then crossed the street, pulled down his pants and peed in the gutter.

I am appalled that this is allowed to go on in the business district of Watsonville and I feel sorry for Vanity Fur to have this outside their place of business. I know this is a huge problem that exists here and up and down the state. I know there is no easy solution. It doesn’t seem right that these people can camp outside businesses who are trying to make a living. Can’t we at least control where they can spread out like that?

Dinah Walters, Watsonville

Come celebrate the Watsonville Band

I would like to thank the Pajaronian editor and Tarmo Hannula for the wonderful article and photos of the Watsonville Community Band’s “birthday rehearsal” in the Feb. 24 issue. Tarmo has been around the band for a long time and always seems to get great shots! 

There are at least a half dozen other community bands on the Central Coast, but none quite like the Watsonville Band, and certainly none celebrating a 75th Anniversary! Please join us on March 25 in the Henry Mello Center or March 26 at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz for our 74th Annual Spring Concert Series, “For Those Who Serve,” paying tribute to all who serve and protect us. 

As always, there is no charge for admission to our concerts. As a special bonus, in the Mello Center, the Watsonville Community Band Youth Band will begin the concert at 7pm, with the WCB on at 7:30pm. Downbeat in Santa Cruz is 2pm. The Pajaronian has always been a wonderful supporter of the band and we are grateful. See you at the concert! 

Eugene Smith, Mokelumne Hill

We need leaders on PVHD board

I have submitted my name for consideration to become one of the five members for the newly formed Pajaro Valley Health District Project; which now represents Watsonville Community Hospital. I am a lifetime resident of Watsonville. I have been fortunate to attend our local schools for my education: Salsipuedes, Radcliff, MacQuiddy, E.A. Hall and Watsonville High School. In 1966, I received my education in Radiologic Technology from Cabrillo College. I continued my education in 1981 at St. Mary’s College and earned my bachelor’s in health services administration.

I could not accomplish this alone. I was blessed to have several people help me along my educational journey. This in turn made a huge impact on my life and my family’s well being. I was lucky to have had the support and confidence of others to be hired as an employee of Watsonville Community Hospital in September 1966. I worked for the hospital for over 50 years and also had the pleasure of serving as the Radiology Department Manager for several of those years. I was elected as a Board member for the California Society of Radiologic Technologists and was the President of the Society for two consecutive terms. 

I was also the President of the CAL-TEC UNION at Watsonville Community Hospital for over 20 years. This is where I was directly involved in negotiating labor contracts with several different owners of the hospital.

Over my 50 years at the hospital, I have had the privilege to experience many administrations and board of directors. These included nonprofit and for-profit administrations. I listened and learned from their decision-making process for the hospital. All of those years have allowed me to develop an informative mindset on what it takes to make Watsonville Community Hospital successful. With this new beginning, I know I am the right fit to take our hospital in a positive and rewarding direction. 

Fred Castillo, Watsonville

Ukraine needs aid

The pathetic display of parochial ignorance by those suggesting that the U.S. has no national interest in Ukraine would only be sad, if it was not potentially consequential. Democratic norms, values and institutions have been under fatal attack for years. Our stewardship as a beacon of hope to the free world was significantly diminished when the previous administration withdrew much of our support from traditional alliances. The invasion of Ukraine by a mentally disturbed autocrat is reminiscent of Hitler’s Nazis invading Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1939, which led to years of Fascist dominance and which affected millions for a lifetime.

If we don’t take a stand now, the demise of democracy might well become irreversible. Our involvement is a small price to pay.

Theo Wierdsma, Corralitos

War and Climate Change 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a tragic development not only because of the immense suffering and loss already being experienced by both Ukrainian and Russian citizens. A war also increases the risk of passing climate tipping points from which humanity won’t be able to recover. 

This war is unfolding just as the IPCC releases another report in a series detailing the threats posed by global warming. Scientists warn us—again—that countries are not doing enough to protect people from climate impacts caused by past warming—nor enough to reduce emissions quickly in order to prevent escalating effects. Military conflicts are a major driver of climate change, they intensify deforestation, desertification, air pollution, and water and soil contamination. They destroy infrastructure and other resources which is carbon-intensive to create. They displace large numbers of people, who will be more at risk from climate threats. 

Global military spending is upwards of $1.8 trillion per year, with the U.S. military being the single biggest institutional source of carbon emissions in the world. If resources currently spent on war were re-directed to addressing the climate crisis there would be ample funding to pay for the transition off of fossil fuels. We simply can’t afford to keep destroying life if we hope to keep calling this planet our home. 

We can all seize this current opportunity to stand together to sustain life as we work for peace and justice. War can and must be ended so that people can unite around a common goal of protecting a habitable planet. 

Nancy Faulstich, Director Regeneración-Pajaro Valley Climate Action

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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