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February 8, 2023

Letters to the Editor, May 4

Time to update Second Amendment

To the Editor,

Whenever I want a chuckle, I envision a rifle-toting militia man against our U.S. juggernaut. Trying to apply and justify that amendment to the reality of today’s U.S. manpower and equipment is ludicrous. And I couldn’t imagine a General wanting a bunch of crazies running around with rifles when he has a trained military with awesome equipment, helicopters, etc.

We should update the amendment, or better, just dump it. We can then decide what to do about guns in the hands of the public. We should probably outlaw rapid fire guns of any type and allow only long barrel single shot guns for animal hunting. The NRA can then state the “R” stands for just that, a single shot rifle and not sweep in all types of guns.

Ray Gardner



April was Child Abuse Prevention Month

To the Editor,

Our second annual Caring 4 Kids Rhythm Event in Watsonville on April 22 was great fun! Thank you to Don Davidson for leading us in making music together. We served up Mission Hill Creamery’s delicious ice cream to over 700 community members. We had many engaging and meaningful conversations with parents and caregivers that came by our booth who were very interested to receive our Good Touch Bad Touch coloring book for their children. The kids really enjoyed making art together. 

We so appreciate the support from many local businesses and faith-based groups, who sponsored our event ( A big shout out to our volunteers and for the wonderful support provided by 10 Bay Federal Credit Union helpers! Thank you to the City of Watsonville for hosting such a beautiful Earth Day/Day of the Child event. The Pajaronian has sponsored our efforts to end child sexual abuse in our community for many years. Thank you for caring so much about the safety of our community’s children and for your great coverage again this year.  

Kathy Riley

Friend of Survivors Healing Center


Why renaming our civic center after Joaquin Avila is a good idea

To the Editor,

Joaquin Avila, simply stated, brought democracy to Watsonville.

Prior to his leadership, Watsonville elected the same old, same old familiar elite in citywide elections. Those who had money and owned property ruled the city. Most of them, but not all, were white males. 

While everyone has the right to run, serve and be elected to office, those marginalized populations were regularly excluded from that process.  

Avila changed all that. 

And that is probably why some are complaining about renaming anything after him. He was a “disturber” of the status quo, which really needed disturbing. 

His leadership of MALDEF (the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund) has brought the Latino population political power that it never had. And yes, there are some people in this community who are disturbed by that. 

Avila’s leadership in leading the case to the Supreme Court of Gomez vs. the City of Watsonville led to the CA voting rights act and district elections.  

We owe Avila a huge debt of gratitude. The Civic Plaza should be renamed after him.  

Our public library, housed in the same building, should have (near the main entrance) a permanent exhibit with his photos and the legal work he championed to make our city a center of true democracy. 

We have public schools and parks named for people in Watsonville. There is no logical reason why the Watsonville Civic Plaza can’t be renamed the Avila Center, or AC, for short. 

And, by the way, the Salinas Union High School district (my former employer), recently named their newest middle school after Dolores Huerta. A great honor for a great woman!

Steve Trujillo



A letter to the PVUSD Board of Trustees

Dear PVUSD Board of Trustees,

I write today to strongly urge your opposition to the Navigator Charter Organization and their petition to create an independent K-8 school in Watsonville. I am currently in my 10th year as an educator, and I have spent the last five years at Diamond Technology Institute, one of our District’s currently existing, accredited, unionized charter schools. Diamond Tech is an innovative career technical education focused school, producing well-educated and exemplary students.

What will Navigator give this community that we don’t have already? Navigator offers nothing that PVUSD schools have not already implemented in our existing K-8 charters, which go above and beyond anything mentioned in Navigator’s petition.

Navigator plans to use PVUSD facilities. They have stated in their charter that they may exercise a law (Prop. 39) that allows them to use PVUSD’s facilities, whether it’s the first year or thereafter. Our families and employees all know how impacted our facilities are! Let’s fix our existing facilities, not bring on more!

Diamond Tech is a public and district dependent charter school, where teachers are employed by PVUSD, represented by our union, and given due process rights. Navigator, however, is part of an independent charter organization, through which teachers are employed in a non-unionized environment and could be hired and fired at will. As a district dependent charter school, Diamond Tech has accountability to this district and school board, and transparency exists in how our site operates.

In 2016, unhappy parents from Navigator’s charter school in Gilroy cited a “pattern of mismanagement” and called for the removal of its director. Duplication of such a scenario in our community would greatly disrupt the education of the students attending this school.

Members of the board, I strongly urge you to reject the petition from Navigator Charter Organization. Let’s stop this before it starts.

Ian Licata

Diamond Technology Institute teacher


Homeless shelter program must be done wisely

To the Editor,

Readers have commented on the homeless and the rail trail. Our county is squeezed for funding. The homeless situation has urgency; the rail trail does not.

In responding to the homeless we need to learn from our own experiences. Opening our doors to the homeless invites in people from elsewhere so any program must be done wisely. Having a shelter[s] is a good thing but it has to have boundaries.

About two-thirds of the homeless have mental health issues. Many are supposed to be on medication but are not, compounding their problems. Our shelters should be a handup, not a handout. Participants must take their meds and do some kind of service to pay back our investment in them. If they can not follow these simple guidelines then we do not offer any services.

Bill Beecher



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