Letters to the Editor, June 21, 2019

Leave the City Plaza alone

To the Editor,

A word of advice to the new Parks & Rec. Director and the City Council, don’t mess with the Plaza. It’s been tried before and failed, even a politically motivated attempt to change the name.

Make any needed repairs to the iconic bandstand and LEAVE IT WHERE IT IS. The City has built pocket parks all over where children can play. They don’t need a fenced park in the Plaza.

If you want to improve it, plant flowers in the flower beds, install low fencing to keep ignorant adults and unsupervised children from trampling them and take care of them.

The Plaza has survived many years and hundreds of Council members and City employees for one reason. It’s a piece of or history and we like it the way it was intended to be. 

Joyce Wagoner



A man with a BIG heart

To the Editor,

I am so happy that Rudy Lopez has been chosen as Watsonville’s new Fire Chief. Here’s a little story about him:

In 1994 New School Alternative High School was just starting at La Manzana on Main Street. New School was part of the response to a surge in gang violence and specifically the murder of Jessica Cortez.  We brought together leaders from Watsonville Northside (WVN), Poorside (PSW), City Hall (CHL) and Varrio Green Valley (VGV) to make peace. Needless to say, it was touch and go, and thanks only to Albino Garcia, our gang counselor, did the school survive and eventually thrive.

As the teacher, I always looked for ways to make subjects real. Rudy took an interest in New School students, and we teamed up and developed a lesson in which students had to solve a simplified algebraic formula to calculate how much pressure a fire hose needed to reach a window at a certain height. We took the class to the Second Street station and as soon as each student solved the equation, they got a chance to test their results with the firehose and then recalculate their work (lots of fractions involved) until their stream of water reached the window. 

It was a great lesson, and resulted in one of our girls joining Rudy’s Fire Explorers group and eventually becoming a CDF firefighter.

Rudy has a BIG heart.

Don Eggleston



Watsonville Marching Band

To the Editor,

I was glad to see in “RP History” (June 7) the photo from your archives, titled “In Step.” But the caption, “A marching band makes an appearance in a parade...in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in 1960.”

A marching band? A MARCHING BAND? What you show is the Watsonville Band, led by Gonzalo “Bert” Viales (who led it for 39 years!). The band’s founders wanted a group that would shout “Watsonville!” from the moment it hit the street, and we have been doing just that since 1947, throughout California, coast to coast, and in a dozen countries from Australia to Hungary. Now proudly bearing the name Watsonville Community Band, we still represent all the communities of the Central Coast wherever we travel, and here at home as well.

If you like “a marching band” — especially a GREAT marching band — catch us July 4. We’ll be in the Aptos and Watsonville parades. Even better, you — or anyone — can join us. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the Watsonville High School band room. We’ll save you a seat! 

Eugene Smith



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