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February 20, 2020
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Residents endorse candidates, measures | Letters to the Editor

Re-elect Supervisor Zach Friend

As a long-time Second District voter, I write in strong support of Zach Friend’s re-election as our Santa Cruz County Supervisor in the March 3 election. He was originally elected in 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz with honors in History, Zach also earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University. In addition to serving on the Board of Supervisors itself, Friend also represents the Board on over a dozen diverse regional agencies and boards, including those addressing natural resources, transportation and criminal justice. In particular, the following qualities have enabled Friend to serve as an extremely effective Supervisor: his experience in governance; his expertise in issues confronting local government; his collaborative abilities with constituents, stakeholders, fellow Board members and County Department personnel; his ability to achieve results; his accessibility; his responsiveness to constituent concerns; his excellent staff support. Please join me in voting for Zach Friend.

Sara Clarenbach, Aptos

Vote ‘No’ on Measure R

I attended Cabrillo College, support its mission and believe it is an important asset for our community. That being said, I cannot support Measure R and urge you to vote “No” in the March election. As others have mentioned, we are still paying off two Cabrillo bond measures. Measure R is a $274.1 million bond that will cost residents an estimated $550 million to repay over its 30-year life. That’s over $275 million in interest payments to investors who will pay no federal or state income tax on that interest income if they live in California. 

Measure R will raise property taxes in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties. This doesn’t affect only homeowners and out-of-town landlords, but every resident. In order to maintain current profit margins, landlords will increase rents either proportionally or use it as an excuse to increase rent even higher, further making one of the least affordable places to live in the country even less affordable. We should be looking for solutions to make our area more affordable, not less. The unintended consequence of this bond measure could further drive potential students from the area that Cabrillo serves. 

Finally, we are in what most people consider a student debt crisis. Americans owe close to $1.6 Trillion in student loan debt and many in my generation are being held back by crushing student loan debt. As an institution of higher learning, Cabrillo should be setting the example and not asking residents to saddle our children and grandchildren with even more debt. Please vote against debt and a higher cost of living by voting “No” on Measure R.

—Evan Benevento Watsonville

Support Jack Gordon for Judge

Jack Gordon has been deeply embedded in our community for more than 40 years. Starting out as a Santa Cruz County Deputy Sheriff, Gordon has a profound understanding of public safety for all. After his time as a deputy, he switched from police uniform to suit, becoming a criminal defense attorney in private practice. After decades’ experience as an attorney, he has defended people from all walks of life and ages; his case history includes civil, family, labor, immigration and criminal defense. 

As an active member of the community, I hold general public safety and human rights for the whole community in the highest regard. I want a Judge with superior knowledge of the law, respect for human rights and who demands dignity for every person in their courtroom. I believe Jack Gordon is that individual and I support him becoming be Superior Court Judge for our community.  

—Amy Sheppard, Santa Cruz

A look at hydroponic farming

Many of your readers are familiar with the EcoFarm Conference, which is held annually at Asilomar in Pacific Grove and just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Each year the conference starts off with a farm tour, and this year the tour was in the Pajaro Valley. One of the stops to Coastal Sun Cannabis/Coastal Moon Blueberry Farm was covered in your Jan 24 paper. 

Many of your readers may also be noticing in our area and elsewhere the growth of some crops in containers, so-called “hydroponic” farming, where the plants are grown in buckets or pots. While this type of farming has some advantages and can be suitable for some areas, it is highly controversial, particularly in organic agriculture.

Agriculture is extremely complex and variable, and the cultural practices that we observed at Coastal Sun Cannabis/Coastal Moon Blueberry Farm on the bus tour are unique to that farm. The EcoFarm bus tour visited to put the discussion about hydroponics in organic farming on the table, and there was a follow-up discussion at the conference. EcoFarm was very clear that they do not promote hydroponics, but recognizing that it is occurring and has been allowed by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), wanted to give people the opportunity to talk about it and not pretend it wasn’t happening. Additionally, the rise of cannabis farming in California was another important topic to be discussed. 

The two most prominent issues about hydroponics in organic farming are: (1) the cornerstone of organic farming is building a fertile healthy soil and farm biodiversity which produces healthy plants and food; and (2) the need to have a separate label, such as “Hydroponically Grown with Organic Practices,” so that the organic consumer is informed about the products they are buying.

—Sam Earnshaw, Watsonville

The Pajaronian welcomes letters. Letters and columns may be dropped off or mailed to The Pajaronian, 21 Brennan St, Suite 14, 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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