Letters to the Editor, Nov. 16, 2018

Is cartoonist allied with anti-rail groups?

To the Editor,

I, for one, am sick and tired of seeing Progressive Rail vilified by R-P cartoonist Steven DeCinzo. PRG is seen as the bad guy when in fact, the new railroad has the best interest of the community in mind and is putting forth a commendable effort to improve the economy of Watsonville. In a show of goodwill, they even named their EMD GP-15 locomotive, “The Spirit of Watsonville.” 

Keep in mind, the northern part of Santa Cruz County has been somewhat hostile to PRG/St. Paul & Pacific who has had to clean up the mess left by the previous rail operator. The expedient removal of the rail tank cars from Watsonville is a perfect example of how they care about our community.

I can’t help but wonder if DeCinzo is allied with the anti-rail groups in Santa Cruz County by spewing out his negative, misleading and satirical cartoons? It needs to stop!

Gary V. Plomp



Saturdays were made for boxing

To the Editor,

For a short time in 1980, I was a member of the YMCA boxing club on Sudden Street in Watsonville. The club was mostly comprised of high schoolers and young adults. There were also a few older members who would train after work and on Saturday, the big day of training for all members. A former boxer and Watsonville wrestling promoter, Gene Hoularis ran the club.

Initially we trained in a downstairs room across from the back entrance to the former Freedom Food Center. There was a heavy bag set up in the gym area for a time, but other than that the first floor room, or space, was our “ring.” Toward the end of the year the club’s training space was moved upstairs where a speed bag and heavy bag were set up. Still we had no ring, and did our sparring on the floor of the room. In late June 1980 our club did participate in an amateur card in the YMCA gym.

Eventually, the club was disbanded due to liability and insurance issues. All told the club lasted about a year. A few members did go on to box at the Examiner Golden Gloves at the Cow Palace.

Now, all these years later I think back with much pleasure to those Saturdays training at the “Y.” It came at a time when the sport of boxing was intoxicated with some great new talent. Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran were set to meet in what might be the biggest non-heavyweight bout ever. All the divisions had memorable exciting boxers whose bouts were regularly scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays on free television.

Last weekend I drove by what used to be a small grocery store and more recently a furniture store, across from Barsi’s Liquors on East Lake Avenue. “Is that a ring?” I mused. Was I hallucinating, dreaming? I decided to take a look. Yes, it was a beautiful, real boxing ring inside and nearby several variations of heavy bags and equipment. There was no one inside. I looked at the posted sign: “Closed Saturday/Sunday.” I shook my head. Saturdays were made for boxing. I noticed the Monday through Friday times and realized I would not be home from work on time to make it work. And with that evaporated another hope of making a comeback, finally, in a real ring.

Charles Birimisa



Limit all outdoor activity in smoky conditions

To the Editor,

I was concerned after reading about the unhealthy air quality in Santa Cruz County. All the smoke moving toward Santa Cruz County is impacting the air quality. This is impactful to all of us who live here in this county. It’s upsetting that this unhealthy air is impacting elderly, children and people with diseases the most.

Schools, parks and facilities should not remain open while this situation is occurring. Santa Cruz County officials should have also warned all residents to avoid driving while we are facing this issue, to prevent more carbon that is already going into our atmosphere by all the smoke that is occurring from the fires happening right now in California. This impacts everyone, not only residents in Santa Cruz County.

Limiting all outdoor activity and any activity while facing unhealthy air quality, will prevent all Santa Cruz County residents from becoming unhealthy.

Angie Mendoza



Freight train to nowhere

To the Editor,

There is a paid full-page ad being circulated in some of the local newspapers. This ad (“Coastal Rail Trail: Are you confused? Learn the facts!”), is attempting to spread half-truths. Everything on this page is so misleading, that no ethical organization would take part in this! This ad may deceive anyone into thinking that the “Approved Plan” is far superior to any “Unapproved Concept.” Please use your own common sense to realize nothing could be further from the truth!

Any reputable organization has to realize that common sense can poke holes in every bit of such a deceitful ad (and such deceit only serves to tarnish their name). For starters, note that there is no mention of any passenger service. Accommodating any glimmer of hope for an eventual effective passenger transportation across Santa Cruz County is the whole reason that everyone in the county is on the verge of donating a portion of their hard earned savings to retain the old single track freight train system. Many have already come forward and vehemently stated that passenger trains would not be viable.

Being an engineer with decades of experience in common sense, it would certainly be smarter to try to implement a smart phone with vacuum tubes than to try to safely implement a very active two-way passenger train service on a single track intended only for slow-moving freight. Why foolishly introduce the possibility of head-on train collisions?

Anyone visiting any part of this corridor will note that the tracks go down the center. That made sense years ago, when they were first placed. Now, in order to accommodate the trail, the tracks have to be unconditionally moved to provide for a multi-use of this corridor. The tracks are so worn anyway, that they will all need to be replaced. Rather than putting down brand new tracks for a questionable freight “service” (at total taxpayer expense), why not put down a surface that we all could use? Why not take this opportunity to do something better?

Don’t be duped into donating your millions to a very questionable (with an unfavorable reputation) outside freight organization. I’m sure they will appreciate your generosity, but there are much better ways to spend your money. And why not spend less for something that offers much more and offers it all sooner? Seek all the facts and use your own common sense to decide what will truly benefit those in Santa Cruz County. Let’s accommodate people, not freight trains to nowhere!

Bob Fifield



Many thanks to Pajaro Valley Printing

To the Editor,

My many thanks to the employees of Pajaro Valley Printing for all their help and their excellence with my copying needs. Their abilities at making perfect copies of my poems as well as the professional techniques they use to bring out sharp "color resolution" on my artful drawings, has been outstanding. I am also touched by their cheerful greetings and kindness whenever I drop in. And, so, I "tip my hat" to Sean, Nanette and Dan!

Mike Bobeda



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