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August 15, 2020

Letters to the Editor, May 9

Aptos/La Selva firefighters protecting community

To the Editor,

I attended, along with about 200 other residents, the Aptos/La Selva Fire Protection District Board meeting on April 13. There, citizens, local medical professionals, and representatives from many other firefighter unions spoke out in support of the brave Aptos/La Selva Local Union 3535 members who unanimously voted “No Confidence” in Chief Jon Jones. The testimonies lasted nearly two hours, with all being in support of the firefighters.

It must be made clear that the firefighters have taken this unprecedented action as a last resort, having exhausted all other means of communication with Chief Jones. The issues are not related at all to their contract, but rather cry out in protest against the lack of leadership, respect and support of programs that support good service to the community. These firefighters have taken a stand to protect us, the residents and merchants.

I was shocked to learn that excellent seasoned and community-service stalwarts Deputy Fire Chief Carol Wallace, Division Chief Mike Conrad and Fire Captain Robert Snyder all recently retired early because of the work environment that Chief Jones created. These people have many times over the years lead public service trainings in my community to help residents learn better emergency preparedness and safety. They have responded with their fellow firefighters to save my community from wildland fire devastation, medical emergencies, and numerous downed trees and utility wires. Consistently, they have responded quickly, professionally and with concern for the residents.

How could the District Board allow such disarray and trouble to escalate to the point that excellent employees just leave early and those remaining vote “No Confidence” in their chief?

Among other things, I learned that because Chief Jones did not take a leadership role two years ago in requesting a change in the county’s contract with American Medical Response (AMR) for emergency medical response in the county, the busiest fire engine for Aptos/La Selva Fire District will continue to be regularly taken out of service to allow for the paramedic-firefighters to respond in a small medical unit when 911 calls in the county cannot be covered quickly enough by AMR. This contract will now be extended for another 18 months at least because Chief Jones did not act to make any timely requests for changes and now it is too late to make that request.

I feel that the Aptos/La Selva Local 3535 firefighters have stood up to protect our community’s safety and well-being because they truly care. Now it is time for the community to speak out in their support.
Please write the board with your thoughts:

• Bob Spisak: [email protected]
• George Lucchesi: [email protected]
• Joe Foster: [email protected]
• Jim Abendschan: [email protected]
• Vincent Hurley: [email protected]

Becky Steinbruner


Admit more California students to UC

To the Editor,

There is quite a stir over the University of California’s $175 million “slush fund.” It is only .7 percent of the $25 billion-plus UC budget. Should there be some accounting for it? Yes, but I would rather have the Chancellor working on more important matters.

Let’s admit more California students and fewer out-of-state and foreign students. The UC system is paid for by Californians to educate our children. This would mean less revenue for UC. Limit the number of campuses that offer liberal arts programs that do not lead to identifiable jobs. An example is Ethnic Studies. Provide two campuses, one in the north and one in the south, for such programs.

Increase the number of classroom hours for professors. They should be teaching more than writing the next definitive textbook or doing research.

Bill Beecher


The rest home on Arthur Road

To the Editor,

My last fall was not good, a broken wrist and leg injury. I had six weeks’ rehab where I met some caring, dedicated, wonderful people who took care of the elderly. There were five people that took care of me: Maria, Sarah, Susan, Miss Prunedale and Glen the therapist. A great guy, got me up and walking early on, also with other patients. The people gave you tasty, well-prepared meals with water and milk.

Brother Jim got me six miniature bottles of wine. I was doing good until I dropped an empty bottle and got busted before I could retrieve it. Then they sent in a wine cop who got my last bottle.

The place is kept spick and span. A great place to go to if you have to. The people that work there are just wonderful.

Anthony Ivelich


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