Letters to the Editor, Sept. 14


America’s checkered history

To the Editor,

The late senator’s daughter, Megan McCain, has a rather shallow view of our history, saying that America has always been great; no need to make her great again.

Was America great when the intrusive Europeans killed off the Native Americans by the hundreds of thousands, millions? How great was America during the importation of Africans into slavery? It took more than 200 years and a civil war before they were declared free by our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, and the intruders were still killing the Indians.

The United States of America has a rather checkered history.

Thomas Stumbaugh

Aptos

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WEACT is always ready

To the Editor,

Last week at the Watsonville Municipal Airport, WEACT, the Watsonville Emergency Airlift Command Team, participated in the 2018 Bay Area Urban Shield Yellow Command Exercise under the coordination of the Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center (SCC EOC). The exercise simulated a 7.9 magnitude earthquake having struck along the San Andreas Fault, centering near the Golden Gate Bridge. In the exercise, Santa Cruz County experienced simulated severe damage, 19 counties felt the simulated earthquake and 14 counties experienced simulated severe to catastrophic damage.

WEACT flew six emergency airlift missions for the SCC EOC, including reconnaissance flights to observe simulated damage to the Pajaro levee, to overfly Highway 129 to check for simulated landslide damage and provide information about alternate traffic routes, and to observe conditions of certain Santa Cruz city roads to facilitate evacuation routing.

WEACT’s participation in the 2018 Yellow Command exercise was a great success! WEACT demonstrated their operational capabilities to the county, solidifying a working relationship under development for the last couple years.

A catastrophic earthquake remains the number one hazardous threat, likely to cause severe damage to Santa Cruz County. WEACT was originated in 2012, with the sole purpose of preparing an emergency airlift organization for the next big earthquake. WEACT is made up of all volunteers from the Watsonville Municipal Airport community. There are approximately 100 individuals in the WEACT database, made up of pilots from the Watsonville airport and aviation supporters who want to perform ground jobs associated with supporting the pilots up in the air. WEACT is always ready!

WEACT would like to thank the local businesses who have helped feed our volunteers during our 2018 exercises: Ella’s at the Airport, Togo’s, Safeway, Nob Hill, and Target in Watsonville, and Trader Joe’s in Capitola. WEACT would also like to thank our dedicated volunteers who enthusiastically give their time, expertise and aircraft for this vital purpose.

For more information about WEACT and our upcoming exercises, please go to www.emergencyairlift.org or www.facebook.com/groups/EmergencyAirlift.

Marjorie Bachman

WEACT Incident Commander/President

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Parker’s knowledge would benefit constituents

To the Editor,

In a recent letter to the editor regarding Ari Parker’s candidacy for city council (Register-Pajaronian, Sept. 7-13), I’m perplexed as to why the writer is only questioning one candidate’s situation in a field of three. He has unfounded concerns about her full-time teaching position and family commitments.

I feel it is important for voters to look at each of the candidate’s backgrounds including their professional and governmental responsibilities with which Ari has had a lot of experience. She has done an amazing job with everything she has been involved in with the community for quite some time. We have all learned what is important to us in life, how to prioritize and manage our responsibilities and time effectively.

There is a saying: “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” I feel strongly that Ari Parker has a broad perspective and knowledge of the issues in our community, as well as compassion and sense of duty which would in turn extend to her constituents.

Joyce Parr

Watsonville

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We expect leadership from councilmembers

To the Editor,

The residents of the “casitas” near Ohlone Parkway were disappointed that their concern about the extension of Loma Vista Drive that will bisect their community was made into a disagreement about whether the Sunshine development should go ahead. The council deciding to go ahead with the project without actually addressing their main concerns about safety was a disappointment.

It was also disappointing that one member of the City Council declined to vote on the grounds that he lives near the area in question, although he does not in fact have a direct or indirect financial interest in the situation since he does not own his home. He does, however, have an election coming up in November which seems to have affected his willingness to make a difficult political call. Of the several councilmembers facing elections in November, only Jimmy Dutra failed to do his duty to his constituents and make a clear decision. Rebecca Garcia was the only council member voting against the development and we can respect that she at least took a position.

We elect our officials to make decisions on issues that are important to the community. Sometimes these decisions are on issues that are easy to deal with, at other times elected officials have to make decisions that generate tremendous amounts of controversy. Responsible councilmembers cannot walk away from tough decisions because they have an upcoming election. We expect more!

Pat Fohrman

Watsonville

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Enjoy reading Anthony Ivelich’s letters

To the Editor,

I’m writing to express my gratitude to the Register-Pajaronian for publishing the letters to the editor of Mr. Anthony Ivelich, a local resident.

He has a down-to-earth sense of humor, sharp wit and uniquely refreshing ideas concerning our lives while amusing and educating us.

Our thanks for his voice in our town.

Dante Stewart

Watsonville

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Councilmembers’ duties require fortitude

To the Editor,

Amador Valdez’s letter to the editor (Register-Pajaronian, Sept. 7-13) questions if District 7 City Council candidate Ari Parker will have the time to provide “full time” attention to her councilmember obligations because of her job as a teacher and having to care for her elderly mother.

First, I find it commendable that Ms. Parker has a job, cares for her elderly mother, and is still willing to sacrifice some of her time to our community. Second, Watsonville has a Council-Manager form of government. The City Charter states: “Except for the purpose of obtaining information, the Council and its members shall deal with the administrative branch of the City government solely through the City Manager, or his designated deputy, and neither the Council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the City Manager, either publicly or privately.” Thus, the City Manager is in charge of all city departments and staff including Police, Fire, Airport, Economic Development, Public Works and Utilities, Parks and Community Services, and the Library, to name a few.

Our City Manager earns (in total compensation) in the vicinity of $200,000 annually. In contrast, a City Councilmember earns around $500 per month. A Councilmember’s duties include creating policy; assure that the City Manager, the City Attorney, and City Clerk (all of who they can hire and fire with a majority vote) provide the adequate and necessary information to allow them to render the best financial decisions for our city as a whole. This does not require as much time as it does fortitude. Ari Parker is no less qualified than any previous councilmembers who served our community or any city council candidate today. 

Unfortunately, Watsonville has been victim to politicians whose self-interests far exceed the best interests of our community. Add in racially divisive politics and you have a city which after 20-plus years of mismanagement still lacks business diversity. Seems to me like we are headed back to our old ways?

Emilio Martinez

Watsonville

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Tank cars are still in South County

To the Editor,

In her commentary (Register-Pajaronian, Sept. 7-13), Janie Soito writes that “the RTC accepted an amendment … that excludes tanker storage” at their June 14 meeting. She must be referring to Ryan Coonerty’s amendment to the Administration, Coordination, and License Agreement that excludes storage of rail cars, but specifically in his North County district. It’s in the meeting minutes as item 22, exhibit B. The remainder of ACL section 2.5, “Temporary Rail Car Storage” is intact. There were no diligent politicians for the fields and wetlands of South County, and the tank cars are still there.

She writes that “Mr. Becker ignores or doesn’t know that there are major Greenway supporters who are partners with or support the Land Trust.” As a long-time supporter of the Land Trust I am quite aware of this; the Land Trust’s support of fuel tankers is therefore doubly disappointing.

I agree with her that “nobody wants tanker storage on the Santa Cruz Branch Line.” Their presence is ironic during the current Global Climate Action Summit. I will be happy when the fuel tank cars are gone, and stay gone.

Interested readers can find a footnoted version of my Aug. 31 commentary at laselva.us.

Greg Becker

La Selva

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