Letters to the Editor, Jan. 4, 2019


Concerning a potential Brown Act violation

To the Editor,

I wish to address the concern about a potential Brown Act violation stemming from a get-together that occurred Nov. 27. I spoke with many Pajaro Valley Unified School District trustees during the campaign, but had not had a chance to get to know Ms. Osmundson beyond a few words. Ms. Osmundson, Ms. Acosta and I agreed to meet prior to the California School Boards Association conference, to get to know one another in a more casual setting. As I recall, at the beginning of the get-together, Ms. Osmundson and I briefly discussed the possibility of her becoming board president.

Shortly afterward, Ms. Acosta mentioned that Ms. Schacher might stop by. The discussion had already turned to general topics and I had no objection. Ms. Schacher arrived shortly thereafter, and the conversation continued. Mr. Dodge arrived later, and Ms. Schacher said she had let him know that we were at Coffeeville. 

At the time, my understanding was that the Brown Act applied once the election was certified. Even so, I was mindful of appearances. In retrospect, I can see where I may have erred. Toward the end of the gathering, I spoke about how many constituents had said they wanted an effective board that worked well together. I said to the group that it was important that we treat each other with respect, even when we disagree, and I urged Ms. Osmundson that if she became board president, she promote courteous behavior and a collaborative environment. Though my focus was on respect and civility, I take full responsibility for mentioning that she wanted to be president outside of a private conversation. I will not make that error again.

I felt assured that I would be working with people deeply committed to both their individual trustee areas and the wider education community. I am genuinely saddened that I may have contributed to a perception of a lack of transparency in the PVUSD board. And yet, I appreciate that this is what democracy looks like. Freedom of the press ensures that we have a fourth estate that allows for issues to be brought forth and cleared up. It is a check and balance on power, and I remain committed to integrity and honesty in my tenure as board trustee.

Jennifer Holm, MSN, PHN, RN

PVUSD Board Trustee, Area 7

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PVFT and academic achievement

To the Editor,

At the Dec. 12 Pajaro Valley Unified School District board meeting, PVFT President Francisco Rodriguez embarrassed our students and teachers with his comments about the poor academic performance of the Watsonville schools. They are rated in the bottom 10 percent of the state, a state that ranks 44th in the nation.

You can watch my comments and his to the board by going to the PVUSD website, pvusd.net, and clicking on “Live Stream of Board Meeting 12-12-2018;” fast forward by dragging the bar to 3:31:50 through 3:34:35 for my presentation and 3:45:00 thru 3:46:10 for his.

He did not want to address the low academic performance because PVFT and the teachers share part of the responsibility for this low performance. He would rather misdirect your attention to other issues. For most of his tenure as president, Francisco has dodged this issue. Repeatedly I have asked what PVFT and the teachers can do to improve performance; no answer. It seems that he is only interested in raising wages, not raising student performance.

I believe that the teachers deserve better leadership. I also believe that our students deserve better performance from our teachers as well as from our administration. For those who have been following the activities of the district over the last two years, you are seeing improvements brought on by the aggressive changes enacted by Superintendent Dr. Michelle Rodriguez and her staff. It would be nice if this was met with positive actions from the union, PVFT.

Bill Beecher

Aptos

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Proud to be a Watsonvillian

To the Editor,

Steven DeCinzo’s cartoon (Register-Pajaronian, Dec. 28, 2018-Jan. 3, 2019) about multi-talented and seemingly omnipresent Tarmo Hannula made me giggle, and at the same time proud to be a long-time Watsonvillian. Such rich talent overflows this great community! Thanks for exposing it!

DeAnne Hart

Watsonville

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Amusing photo in last week’s edition

To the Editor,

Holy moly! I was so amused by Tarmo’s photo in the Spotlight section (Register-Pajaronian, Dec. 28, 2018-Jan. 3, 2019), with the caption “A man balances a wicker sofa and other goods on his bicycle in Santa Cruz.” The man’s huge pile of goods is more than a foot above the top of his head, and yet, he is smiling at the camera without a care in the world. Wow, maybe he does those balancing acts all the time!

Mike Bobeda

Watsonville

•••

Banning the sale of flavored tobacco products will save lives

To the Editor,

Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Inc. supports Santa Cruz City Council in their November decision to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city. In the long run, banning the sales of these flavored products will save lives by limiting access to the products, including flavored cigarillos, and the flavored e-juices and pods used with e-cigarettes and vapes.

An impassioned testimony by former Santa Cruz High School student, Naomi Epps, reiterated that young smokers are not to blame, rather the tobacco industry which uses flavored products to entice young folks to start smoking in a seemingly benign way, “misleading us to believe we were inhaling a harmless vapor when in fact we were breathing aerosols which contain chemicals that are known to be toxic and highly addictive.”

Good work, Santa Cruz Tobacco Education Coalition! And good work, Santa Cruz City Council!

Erica Padilla Chavez

CEO, Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Inc.

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