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November 27, 2022

Letters to the Editor, May 27

Hospital rating is unacceptable

This is the type of news that does us no good. This is not the only article that has placed Watsonville Community Hospital in a less than positive view for the general public.

What is to be done about this current situation immediately and what is the plan for determining why the hospital was graded “C” by The Leapfrog Group? There has to be reasons and they must be investigated and remedied, there is no excuse. This is not acceptable.

How are we to gain the community’s respect and loyalty after such a report? What is the Board going to do about speaking to the public? How is the Pajaronian going to respond after researching the situation at the hospital? Or are we going to ignore this report and move forward without addressing the factors behind the low grade “C”?

This is a management problem at all levels.  

Fred L. Castillo, Watsonville

It’s easy: No on Measure D

In March, my family and I left Watsonville for two days in the Sierras. In that six-hour journey, our first hour was spent on Highway 1, trying to get to Highway 17. The rest of our trip went smoothly, with few traffic problems. I call that a Santa Cruz County traffic fail.

Proponents of Measure D appear to have a strong aversion to public transportation. For years, “Greenway” supporters have spent huge amounts of money spreading falsehoods and misinformation about our county’s transportation future. Their literature assures us that, by supporting Greenway, we will be able to “walk our dog and run local errands” and “enjoy the outdoors and nature.” We are currently able to do both.

People sent to propagandize our neighborhood seem to believe that commuting from Watsonville to Santa Cruz in wheelchairs and on skateboards will solve Highway 1 gridlock. What we really need is transportation that is accessible for all, including students, elderly, disabled and poor.

Enough big money lies. My family, friends and I agree: Stop deceptive Greenway. No on D.

Dave Miller, Watsonville

Make the best use of corridor for now and the future

I’m an engineer with an All-Express Passenger Train patent. Unfortunately, the local application intended over 100 years ago for only slow-moving freight trains and twice a day tourist trains would be better served today by a flexible surface that would be useful over many generations.

One surface worth consideration, already proven on playgrounds, can eliminate “used-up rubber tire wastes” by incorporating them within a gem of a transportation corridor that has been wasted for the past 10-plus years!

Rubber-wheel trains throughout Paris, France proved passengers can’t tell the difference from standard trains. That aspect and local interest in TIG’s “wannabe bus of tomorrow” implies genuine buses can be made desirable.

A Strategic Bus-Trail doesn’t have to violate the integrity of a Trail-Only, it can be used in conjunction to more expeditiously transport passengers between Watsonville and Santa Cruz than any Rail-Trail without involving time-consuming transfers.

Vote Yes on Measure D!

Bob Fifield, Aptos

Light rail is an investment in the future

The Watsonville City Council opposes Measure D, and so does the city of Santa Cruz. The League of Women Voters opposes it as does a long list available on the No on D website (nowaygreenway.com). 

There are three ways to travel from south county to north: Highway 1, Freedom Boulevard and potentially using our existing rail line. People may have noticed the upgrade to the parking area for the Salinas train station. In the near future, the Capitol Corridor is scheduled to start service. A light rail between Santa Cruz to Pajaro would mean a connection to the statewide rail system. Planning has been done for a Pajaro train station and is waiting for funding. 

I see the light rail system as an investment in a new future for transportation. It’s a small start but an important start. I’m old enough to remember BART when it was new, and it took a while for ridership to grow. We don’t need to build a transbay tube, we just need to use existing rail. The Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce opposed Greenway because “its core principle objective is to eliminate a rail option.” Greenway has been deceptive about their motives, and “deceptive” is the polite word.

Alan Clarke, Watsonville

Snodgrass’ credentials are unsurpassed

I am writing to give my unqualified endorsement to Steve Snodgrass for Monterey County District 2 Supervisor.

Since my time on the board, not many people have served as North County’s representative on the Board of Supervisors. First, Judy Pennycook and I shared the responsibility as supervisor of District 2 and 3, respectively. Then I served as the sole supervisor after all of North County was consolidated into the Second District; and then, after my retirement from the board, I was succeeded by Judge John Phillips (Ret.). We all shared one common trait: an undeniable love of North County and an unfathomable understanding of its unique residents and their peculiar needs with respect to Monterey County government. In my estimation, there are only two candidates in this election who possess this trait: Steve Snodgrass and Glenn Church.

With all due respect to Glenn Church, I choose to endorse Steve Snodgrass for a variety of reasons. I worked closely with Steve on many issues in North County. He was particularly instrumental in ending the years-long lawsuit between Pajaro-Sunny Mesa CSD and the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency. He also championed the development of the Pajaro Community Park, one of the best projects ever completed by the Monterey County Redevelopment Agency. He was a Jefferson Award winner based on that accomplishment.

I appointed him to the Pajaro-Sunny Mesa CSD Board of Directors and he soon was elected chairman. He did his job so well that he was also elected as the Alternate Special Districts Commissioner on LAFCO, and he soon assumed the role of Special Districts Commissioner and chaired LAFCO. Later he was elected the Alternate Public Member Commissioner. There is no doubt he has the acumen to serve on the Board of Supervisors with distinction and honor.

Professionally, Steve’s credentials are unsurpassed. Until his retirement this year, Steve was a top executive at Graniterock, a multi-million dollar, family-owned company, leading their finance department. I have nothing but confidence in Steve’s ability to lead Monterey County and its $1 billion-plus budget.

Good luck to all the candidates; may the best one win, but my vote will be cast for Steve Snodgrass and I encourage all of your readers to do the same.

Louis R. Calcagno, Monterey County Board of Supervisors (Ret.)

Setting the record straight

A letter to the editor was published in the Pajaronian recently criticizing a pumpkin patch I used to operate. One of my opponent’s public supporters, Ron Eichhorn, claims I abandoned a piece of land where I once operated my business. He made allegations that I leased the property, made promises to the owner and left it to become blighted. Not only are Mr. Eichhorn’s assertions false and dishonest, they are borderline malicious and appear to capitalize on the death of my father in 2016. 

Despite the fact that the election is just days away, the slanderous claims of Ron Eichhorn are obviously politically motivated and a blatant attempt to sway voters with untruths. We see these shameless tactics in politics all too often. This practice is precisely what deters so many good people from participating in our political process. A conversation with the actual owner of the property, my father’s business partner, or obtaining a copy of the lease would confirm the inaccuracy of Mr. Eichhorn’s letter. 

Residents who might not have been able to travel to larger pumpkin patches outside of Watsonville had the opportunity to enjoy the season at my pumpkin patch. Over the years, I donated thousands of pumpkins and dollars to local schools and organizations. Today, there are still many people who remember the joy that my pumpkin patch brought to their families. It was heartbreaking when I could no longer provide that opportunity and it is not acceptable to use it as a political tool to attack my candidacy for County Supervisor. Despite this distraction, I will not permit it to take my attention away from the work that needs to be done. The change we want to see in our community is up to us and we deserve better.

Jimmy Dutra, Santa Cruz County Supervisor District 4 Candidate

We need Dutra’s leadership

I am writing to support Jimmy Dutra for the 4th District County Supervisor seat. Jimmy is a multi-generational son of Watsonville, whose love and grassroots support for students, teachers, small businesses, social and environmental justice are at the forefront of tireless leadership and hands-on activism. 

Jimmy has worked as a teacher at Pajaro Middle School, and through the pandemic as lead teacher of the afterschool program at Lakeview Middle School. Jimmy shows up for the community as a worker, as well as in his role as a bravely influential, beloved and responsive political figure—having served for multiple terms on City Council and as Mayor of Watsonville.

On environmental health Jimmy particularly has my vote: he was one of two dissenting City Councilpersons who recently voted against allowing developers to proceed with a plan to sell homes to people who would have to agree to maintain a 20,000 cubic yards pit full of neurotoxic motor oil waste on-site. Jimmy is a proponent of alternative methods to pesticides. This is big for where my family lives, in the unincorporated outskirts which is the jurisdiction of the 4th District Supervisor. Jimmy is concerned about ag companies’ responsible use of water, and he is in favor of water regulation.

Jimmy wants our youth to have exciting, good-paying job opportunities and quality of life right here, so that we do not lose them—as opportunities seem to call many elsewhere, leaving many youth feeling disenfranchised. A vote for Jimmy supports responsible, progressive growth opportunities that include all people and holds the key pieces of our current global crisis in focus: environmental health, equity and opportunity for our precious and unique town through diversity and cooperation.

In 2021, many small businesses were deeply grateful for his “small business highlights” and a Mayor’s Proclamation—helping many of us that are desperately struggling to maintain visibility to the public, and to remain stoic during the darkest hours.

While my business was starting out on Main Street downtown for the first four years, Jimmy was one of the more responsive and encouraging City Council representatives who met my frustrations with crime, drugs and public works failures with compassion, respect and advocacy. I have been a resident of unincorporated Watsonville for 12 years, and the County Supervisor is our de facto Mayor who influences very important things affecting our safety and well-being—like renewing our damaged roads, where people commonly drive into oncoming traffic to avoid potholes, going 40 mph up a blind hill! Unincorporated, largely ag areas of Watsonville need a responsive person like Jimmy, who understands both the business of farming and the needs of residents, and who can help effective dialogue about interlocking matters.

Jimmy is both bold and sensitive. He listens to constituents, has a huge heart of compassion, and is decisive when he speaks. His ability to sensitively influence progressive economic change comes from being born into a farming family. He was educated at PVUSD schools and then went on to Santa Clara University and further to University of Southern California. This could have taken him anywhere politically, but he loves our town, its people and history and is keenly aware of both the rich traditions—and navigating the way out of entrenched, complex and dysfunctional aspects in our civic process here in Watsonville. 

Now more than ever, at this time of profound opportunity for the peoples of South County, we need Jimmy to take his seat as the 4th District County Supervisor.

Phoenix Artemisia, Mother of two, owner of Watsonville Yoga, Dance and Healing Arts

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