Desal vote said plenty
Don Lane: "UCSC is not the reason we need desal." Cynthia Mathews: "Optimistic that the project will move forward." Mike Rotkin: "We're going to outspend (opponents) dramatically in 2014." And Bill Kocher: "Public has to be convinced desal is acceptable ... are having great difficulty grasping the significance of the landslide Yes on Measure P victory." For many citizens and water ratepayers, the passage of the historic grass-roots initiative represented a referendum on the failed efforts of Santa Cruz officials to promote an expensive and environmentally risky desal plant. Over the past three years, nearly $14 million of citizens' money was squandered, while water rates more than doubled -- all without a voter mandate. It is time for the city to provide our community with a contingency Plan B for cost-effectively and safely managing the region's water future.
Timmi Pereira, Santa Cruz
Morrissey store needs help
I agree wholeheartedly with Greg Haws about remodeling the Safeway on Morrissey Boulevard. It is in dire need of improvement. And now that there is land adjacent to it, Safeway should invest in a major renovation to make it as nice as the other locations in the county.
Wade Garza, Santa Cruz
Strikers 'earn,' aren't 'given'
It is no secret that journeyman clerks and butchers "earn," in exchange for labor, not "receive" the wages and benefits you disclosed in last Friday's paper. However, thank you Brianna Howell for your courageous diligence to promote the advantages and benefits attributed to organized union labor. What exactly did you mean by saying "these employees"? Did you mean the subordinate ones? Did you mean the indentured servants? Or did you mean to say the working class?
Sergio Gomez, Watsonville
Support the Nob Hill strike
Raley's-Nob Hill wants to freeze wages, eliminate weekend and holiday premiums, and reduce medical benefits, including those already earned by retirees under previous contracts. Strikers at Nob Hill aren't making any unreasonable demands. How sad that the term "middle class" hardly has any meaning in today's economy. A modest house, a decent car every five or 10 years, tuition for a Cal State or UC school, adequate health care, and retirement in your late 60s? It's been a long time since any "middle class" earner lived in that universe. No one even pretends that Nob Hill workers are demanding that kind of money. They're not the only ones in this country getting squeezed, but that doesn't make it right. As Watsonville's mayor and the chairman of UTU Local 23 (Metro bus drivers), I urge you to support them in their efforts to work hard and get by.
Eduardo Montesino, Watsonville
Crossing the picket line
Speaking with checkers at Nob Hill confirmed my reasons for crossing the picket line. Among other things said to me as I went in, one man insisted I had to stand in solidarity with humanity. I pointed out there were humans on the other side as well. Two of those humans working that day eloquently went into details of the negotiations and strike from their perspective. They felt in these tough economic times that the offer was fair, but the only "choice" the union had given them was to strike. When I encouraged one checker to write a letter to the editor, she replied that she feared reprisal from the union since letters have to be signed with your real name. In all of my adult working life I have never had union protections, but I've also never been bullied like many I know who are unhappy with their union's leadership, and have never had a part of my paycheck raided to pay for political thuggery masquerading as social justice advocacy. Proposition 32 opponents would often claim union members could always opt out from paycheck deducted dues if they didn't agree with how they were being used. I'm sure there would never be any reprisals feared there either.
Anne Breiling, Aptos
Thanks for the flags
Thank you for the volunteers who place the tall U.S. flags along the driveways at the Santa Cruz Memorial Park on Paul Sweet Road in Santa Cruz: Moose Lodge, Sea Scouts and Retired Officers. It was a lot of work for all of them, in honor of the veterans buried there, but so much appreciated.
Gale Geurin, Capitola
Nazi salute questionable but allowed
We used to live in a great country. It seems we don't anymore, especially since freedom of speech apparently has been murdered in Santa Cruz. I am, of course, referring to the Robert Norse Nazi salute fiasco. While I agree Mr. Norse's choice of expression was questionable, his right to express it should never have been questioned.The fact is that the actions of then-Councilman Tim Fitzmaurice and then-Mayor Christopher Krohn were a clear denial of the First Amendment, since a quiet salute, which goes unnoticed by most, cannot be construed as disruptive. Sadly, as unreasonable as their actions were, the real violence to our nation's greatness happened later. Somewhere along the line, someone in the judicial system should have thrown it out! At any rate, the subsequent actions of the prosecuting attorneys, judges and jury were at best irresponsible and at worst treasonous. But then, I'll probably get arrested for saying so...
Jesudas Baba, Felton