Hilton Hotel construction
Of course developer Mr. Patel has every reason to feel “disheartened” regarding the opposition to his Hilton hotel project on Western Drive.
Here is a man who has invested time and money in an effort to finally build something upscale that will benefit downtown Watsonville. Ask yourselves, how many years has there been talk of revitalizing the downtown and now you have a man who is putting his money where his mouth is, yet the NIMBY (not in my backyard) folks want to derail his plans.
Face it, Western Drive area is blighted and that old, dilapidated Motel 9 is a dirty stain in an otherwise nice area of town. The new hotel will bring people and added tax revenue to downtown Watsonville which it needs. It will also be a source of pride.
Thankfully, the downtown is starting to come back with new businesses. I commend Mr. Patel for having faith in the future of downtown Watsonville and a desire to improve its image.
Gary V. Plomp, Gilroy
I was very glad, and somewhat relieved, to read in the paper about the two men that escaped from the Monterey County Adult Detention Facility, have been captured. The dangerous duo were both awaiting trial on unrelated murder charges and other felony charges. As I see it, these two jailbirds flew the coop, and lost their wings.
Mike Bobeda, Watsonville
Symons was an inspiration
I began my career as a prosecutor in Santa Cruz County. I am fortunate to have worked side by side with Judge Ari Symons when she was a prosecutor and when I appeared before her during her time on the bench. She was a tremendous mentor to me and many attorneys and law students who worked close to her as both a prosecutor and judge. I personally watched Ari Symons pursue justice for the people of Santa Cruz over the course of my career as a lawyer. I saw her console victims of crime. I watched her work side by side with law enforcement to gather evidence, building criminal cases in the most heinous of crimes against our community. I witnessed first-hand how she captivated a courtroom during trial as a prosecutor, producing facts and arguments the way a conductor produces music from an orchestra, ultimately leading to convictions and holding those responsible accountable. I became inspired as a trial lawyer by how she captured juror’s attention, teaching them the facts and the law persuasively, professionally, and passionately to achieve justice for those impacted by crime. Later when she served as a judge, I watched her communicate with jurors, litigants, and the public with respect and decorum in her courtroom. I read the transcripts where she demonstrated compassion for defendants who deserved it and imposed for fair and just punishment for those who the public needed protection from. I respected her rulings because they were fair and in accordance with the law, even when I was on the losing end of those rulings. Her decades of service to the people of our community is recognized and respected by those who know her, have had the good fortune to have worked with her, and have witnessed her pursuit of justice firsthand. I wish her happiness and well-earned fun in retirement.
Jason Gill, Gilroy
Symons is an outstanding person
I have been a family law attorney in Santa Cruz County for 26 years. I have appeared in Judge Symons’ court many times. She is not just an outstanding judge but an outstanding person. She is intelligent, knowledgeable, and well respected. She has high standards in her courtroom requiring attorneys and litigants to be prepared and to act properly. She is always well prepared and thoughtful when deciding cases. That is what we want from our judiciary. She is involved in many community programs and organizations, always generous with her time. Her decision to retire from the bench is a great loss to our court and our community.
Robin Towse, Aromas
Public deserves answers on Benefit Assessment Tax Ballot
Rural Santa Cruz County property owners have just received a Benefit Assessment Tax Ballot in the mail to fund County Fire Dept. The problem is that all information is very vague. How were the benefits calculated? How are large public entities being taxed, if at all? Some parcels were examined on an “individual discretionary basis”…by whom, and using what criteria? Voters who own large parcels and homes or businesses will have a greater say in this, because the votes are weighted. The County did not allow any opposing information to be published in the Voter Information Guide sent with the ballot.
The real question that begs an answer from the County Board of Supervisors, who approved this ballot measure, is why doesn’t County Fire Dept. receive any money at all from the $18 million the County receives every year from the Prop. 172 Public Safety sales tax, a permanent half-cent statewide sales tax to support emergency responders? Also, why is it that County Fire will receive zero dollars from the new Countywide sales tax, passed last November as Measure G to fund fire and emergency response?
Come to the Town Hall Meeting Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Corralitos Padres Center (35 Browns Valley Road, Corralitos) and get information.
Becky Steinbruner, Aptos
Vote no on Fire Tax Increase
Please vote no. It looks like the proposed fire tax increase ballot for County Fire, C.S.A. #48, will be arriving in the mail today or during the next few days. This is a tax increase which will cost more than double of what you already pay. Only property owners can vote. The tax increase is around $150 to $200 per year additional for a house on one acre. Properties with a house and over one acre are proposed to be assessed larger amounts for the amount of acreage over one acre. I am not an anti-tax zealot; to the contrary, I like it when taxes help the people. I do not support this proposed tax, since it just helps Cal Fire hire another firefighter in the offseason, but it does nothing to support the Volunteer Firefighting program. Sadly, Cal Fire wants more paid staff, not more Volunteers. Please vote no.
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