Letters to the Editor, July 13

Quality of life is precious

To the Editor,

Transporting freight by rail may be profitable for outsiders, especially after locals are duped to pay out millions of dollars for upgrades to accommodate heavy (and maybe hazardous) freight cars. Also, that will have to include the millions to move existing rails to properly space a multi-use corridor.

“All things to all people” may be fantasized in return, but while a freight line can tolerate slow speeds on a single track, adding complexity of faster, two-way passenger traffic concurrently on this same single track is asking for trouble even without factoring in costs of stations, parking, lawsuits, etc.

Contrary to misleading information, the far less costly Greenway alternative that genuinely improves quality of life for locals is the only solution that could actually leave the tracks in place to result in a much sooner, totally functioning serene 32-mile corridor without preventing future improvements not envisioned at this time.

Why are we allowing outside interests to make excess profits at the detriment of our quality of life? Under guise of “solving” the housing shortage, will greedy outside developers next charge locals to remove all trees in the entire county so that the developers can squeeze in more housing and make exorbitant profits without having to deal with the consequences?

Where do we draw the line? Isn’t quality of life for those who live in Santa Cruz County a factor in decision making? Don’t let outside money sacrifice our quality of life!

Bob Fifield



Let’s start the Watsonville Renaissance movement

To the Editor,

It’s time for the Watsonville Renaissance.

I propose that we promote our agricultural economy, our artist community, our scenic beauty, our downtown, our airport, the Freedom Boulevard Corridor and the many special features our city has to bring rebirth.                 

It is clear that Watsonville has come to a defining point in its 150-year history.

Do we want to put the future of Watsonville on autopilot? Or do we take control?

That does not mean gentrification or paving over agricultural land. 

They are not at odds with other. And they can greatly complement each other.

This will require: 1. Low and medium cost housing in Main Street buildings that have vacant upper floors. 2. Tiny houses in vacant lots that sit as silent testament to inertia on Freedom Boulevard. 3. Granny units in neighborhoods that can absorb them without parking nightmares. 4. An artists’ colony, similar to the Tannery in Santa Cruz, to house struggling artists in downtown Watsonville.

We need to have more rooms in the hospitality industry for rent in Watsonville. But not if it creates massive traffic jams on small side streets that endanger children or seniors.

The sloughs need to be brought  back from the brink of complete toxification. We must provide housing for the homeless. And we must provide a mental health intake center for those who are unable to care for themselves.

The SP right of way needs to contain both a rail and a trail for traffic between Watsonville and Santa Cruz. Highway 1 is not enough to serve the needs of Watsonville or Santa Cruz County in the 21st century.

Our flora and fauna must be protected.  Our waterways must remain free of toxic chemicals.

Our children and seniors must have clearly defined sidewalks, crosswalks and lights so they can proceed safely in our community.

We need bicycle paths clearly marked so bikers can do the same.

In short, we have much work to do to take our city’s future into our hands and not leave it to others, or to chance. Some of this is already underway. I propose we start a movement to bring this about as the Watsonville Renaissance.

Steve Trujillo



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