Letters to the Editor, Aug. 31


Take action now for our future

To the Editor,

So here’s what I think is happening.

The long-term issue is of course climate change. Science tells us that even if we were to stop using fossil fuels around the world today, our grandchildren (if they survive the coming chaos) will still be living in caves (to be cool and out of the weather — and maybe for protection from other humans). No, I’m serious. If you just draw a straight line from now to 2100, the temperature, erratic storms, diminishing worldwide water tables, overpopulation and many other things will lead to the destruction of human civilization. Most people don’t want to talk about it, but that amounts to giving up. There is a slim chance that, using as-yet uninvented science, we can bend the curve, but time is critical.

That brings us to today. We must take immediate action. First, all elected climate change deniers must go. In order to do that, we must confront the two political threats to our democracy: Russia’s invasion and the takeover by the 1 percent.

It seems clear to me that Trump is — at best — a dupe of Russia. We must get rid of him now to be able to mount a real defense of our democracy and ultimately, civilization on Earth.

Why haven’t we been able to impeach him? Because all of the congressional Republicans and most of the Democrats are working for the Koch brothers and others in the 1 percent. Look at Congress members’ funding. They have to spend half their workday begging rich folks for money in return for policies that favor the rich. Enormous corporations have — by charter — only one goal: short term profit. They do not consider either the health of the environment or the well-being of their employees. That’s unfettered capitalism, and it has to be changed.

So our survival as a species depends on how quickly we can reclaim our democracy. Grassroots organizations are popping up all over, and people are turning despair into action. If you’re worried about the future, I implore you to join me us by taking action — for our children.

I just hope we’re in time.

Don Eggleston

Aptos

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Fight fire with smoke-free communities

To the Editor,

California continues to experience an unprecedented fire streak, with more than twice the amount burned this year than last, and nearly all fires ignited by humans. Fires sparked by discarded cigarette butts are spreading from Greenfield to Tahoe, contributing to some of the worst air quality conditions on the planet. Even beloved hometown haunts are at risk, such as the Monterey Wharf that caught fire from a cigarette butt last week. Lighting it up is, in fact, burning it all down, housing included.

It is sadly ironic that cigarettes still have a seat at the table while their smoke pollutes our air and we cough and scoff at blustery wild and domestic fire-skies set ablaze by their very own waste. It is widely accepted that there is no safe level of exposure to second hand tobacco smoke, and known that smoke travels freely from smoking to non-smoking units.

There is no constitutionally protected right to smoke. There is an inherent right to life which is jeopardized by the roulette-esque flicking of combustible butts, and a threat felt deeply in our polluted lungs.

Renters in this tight market are often in so much of a pinch that self-advocacy becomes obsolete. If our new reality is a tinder box, why continue this house of cards? Local property owners/managers have the power and right to enact smoke-free property policies, indoors and out. Support property managers and business owners who embrace their community’s health and safety through smoke-free housing and establishments.

Rachel Kippen

Co-chair, Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition

•••

Greenway: Facts not smears

To the Editor,

A recent Letter to the Editor attacked Greenway by falsely smearing those who support it. Greenway is supported by more than 10,000 county residents, scores of individual donors and community volunteers, and is growing by the day because it advocates for a doable, common sense plan with equitable and effective public transit value. This type of attack is a classic act of desperation, resorting to name-calling rather than facts.

The bizarre conspiracy theory proposed by the letter writer could have been easily dismissed if she had done a simple Google search to understand who supports Greenway. The specific supporters she attempts to smear have a long track-record of community service in the arts, education, the environment, public policy, increased access for the underserved, sustainable economic development and affordable housing.

Greenway encourages opponents to put validated facts forward and engage in a constructive civic discussion about what is best for our community.

Will Mayall

Board Member, SC County Greenway

•••

Principled until the very end

To the Editor,

Senator John McCain’s passing last Saturday elicited an outpouring of condolences and well-deserved accolades from allies and political foes in this country, as well as from political leaders in Europe and elsewhere. To quote Senator Chuck Schumer, a frequent critic: “As you go through life, you meet few truly great people. John McCain was one of them.”

There are insufficient adjectives to describe this larger than life, courageous, principled, American hero, who consistently reflected a level of moral character and integrity that has recently been sorely missing at the pinnacles of power in our country. Senator McCain made a point of asserting that there was nothing inherently inconsistent between showing the courage of showing respect for political opponents, and forcefully defending differing viewpoints. However, he drew a distinction between ideological positions and those he considered morally repugnant, a distinction that appears to be reflected in instructions he left organizing his own funeral.

President Trump pointedly tweeted condolences to McCain’s family, without uttering a kind word about the Senator himself. No wonder, possibly anticipated, Senator McCain requested that former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush should offer eulogies, while insisting that our current president not attend.

Principled until the end.

Theo Wierdsma

Corralitos

•••

Why are we ignoring perils of coal?

To the Editor,

Lookouts for fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains provide a very valuable “nip it in the bud” service 24/7.

At the other extreme, our “fearless” “leader” is “providing” unacceptable coal miner jobs where some don’t even survive long enough to collect benefits. In the meantime, what quality of life does black lung disease provide? (Any health care for coalminers is questionable.) Why not educate them of alternatives to get them out of that rut, rather than exposing more generations to such suffering?

Let’s not be myopic, only seeing immediate profits and not the whole picture. Coal will likely follow the banished path of asbestos. It initially was valued as being very useful, but its use was eventually linked to health problems. Why are we now ignoring similar perils of coal? (Perhaps coal should be limited to barbecues and Trump’s Christmas stocking.) There are better alternatives. When will we ever learn?

Bob Fifield

Aptos

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Gangs in Watsonville: A four-decade perspective

To the Editor,

It was in the late ‘70s. I was with some friends playing tackle football on E.A. Hall school’s front grass, when someone we knew, who wore gang attire, displayed a blade at one of us. Nobody was cut but nerves were frayed. Another time that same person threatened my friend and I, and a concerned citizen alerted the police to interview us. These incidents were the only direct involvement with gang activity during my youth.

Then came one morning in 1980 during P.E. class in the old Watsonville High School gym. There were whispers abound. News of a horrible gang-related murder on Mount Madonna, just outside of Watsonville. There was much rumor and innuendo about the details of the murders of the two youths, also high school students. Eventually arrests were made.

A year and a half later came the trial. According to a Nov. 10, 1981 Register-Pajaronian article, the detective told the jury “how the two victims and the five defendants piled into a car in search of beer ... During the ride for beer (the defendants) said they would make the victims ‘payback’ the shooting ... They (the victims) were stabbed more than once in the car, and at least one victim was beaten in the face. The victims were driven up to Mt. Madonna where everyone got out of the car ... A fight erupted ... after which the victims were stabbed repeatedly...”

In the ensuing decades, Watsonville has continued to experience gang activity and crimes. Yet, it seems, at least to me, that gang crimes are not as prevalent as most people are led to believe. True gang crimes are sporadic and few. Watsonville’s gang problem is certainly not like that of Salinas and other similar cities.

It was about a month ago, maybe two, that I noticed a highly unusual spate of gang graffiti around Watsonville. There might have been a story or two of a gang-related stabbing, shooting or beating.

Despite all this, it seems that, in general, gang activity has declined in Watsonville. I’m beginning to believe there are more posers than real actors in the gang world of today. More tagging than sticking, if you get my drift. Maybe the gangs are duking it out in their living rooms playing gang video games with the only blood being shed oozing off a high definition screen? If the proliferation of video games has any merit, it just might be that. It keeps the gang members off the streets, acting out their dastardly deeds in their own private living rooms.

Charles Birimisa

Watsonville

•••

Questionable motives

To the Editor,

I wish to expound on the excellent letter regarding local money being used to fund Greenway’s ambition to “kill” the rail with trail project (Register-Pajaronian, Aug. 24-30). The letter was right on!

What behooves me is that among the anti-rail Greenway members mentioned in the letter, one prominent local grower uses a downtown Watsonville rail customer to warehouse and ship his product. This sounds like a perfect example of biting the hand that feeds him. Greenway’s motive is bad news all the way around.

Gary V. Plomp

Rail Advocate

Gilroy

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